The From A to Z series lets our editors go back and take a look at games from past generations that are classics, overlooked gems, or just titles they remember fondly. The idea behind this is to pick five games from each letter of the alphabet, once a week to showcase. This delivers 26 weeks and 130 games to talk about. Hopefully it sparks some conversation, and of course plenty of memories.
The third in our series focuses on Sega’s Mega Drive (Genesis in the US).
Let’s continue with the letter “R”.
An original side-scrolling shooter, with a really appealing aesthetic. The player, as Ranger X, must fight against an invasion force on their home planet, equipped with various weapons, a jetpack and a motorcycle. I really liked the intuitive gameplay of Ranger X. It was well paced, a good challenge and had some really nice tactical elements. The game also looked amazing at the time.
This top-down strategy game split its gameplay between ground and aerial combat. It was pretty tough, but rewarded forward planning. One of the more overlooked games of the era, Red Zone had a fabulous soundtrack, superb graphics and was ahead of its time technology wise. There was also an arcade machine the player could find that provided access to a hidden version of the classic game Asteroids, which I always then wasted ages playing before returning to actually playing Red Zone itself.
Revenge of Shinobi
The first Shinobi game released for the Mega Drive, Revenge of Shinobi successfully imported the side-scrolling action game franchise to the 16-bit console way back in 1989. The game had eight stages of decent platforming action. The player, as main character Joe Musashi, had the ability perform an array of ninja attacks against various enemies. This game was one of the Mega Drive’s early hits and its iconic box art is something I vividly remember from back in the day.
Rise of the Robots
I recall this fighting game getting an absolute panning from critics at the time of its release, and as such I have fond “it’s so bad, it’s good” memories of Rise of the Robots. It had nice looking fighter models, and a bold sci-fi plot seemingly inspired by 80s cyborg movies. It all fell apart with the gameplay – bad controls and terrible mechanics.
Road Rash 2
This game was truly savage. Road Rash 2 was brutally entertaining and, in my opinion, the best of the Road Rash trilogy. The formula was much the same as the first game: the player participates in motorcycle races across various US states, attempting to place in the top three whilst avoiding other traffic and beating opposing bikers out of the way. This sequel introduced additional elements to the fighting mechanics, and bikes with nitrous oxide. The ensuing carnage was extremely fun.
Tune in next week for the next collection of titles.