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 start with the letters “D and E”.
A shoot ’em up with an apache helicopter. Desert Strike attempted to balance action with strategy, while seemingly capitalising on the events of the first Gulf War with its desert war theme. I remember the early encounters were quite fun, but I tended to get quite distracted from the given objectives and preferred to just fly around.
A brash beat ’em up that I also played a lot on the Nintendo Game Boy. A huge arcade hit, Double Dragon involved the player taking control of one of two brothers and fighting a gang named the Black Warriors. I didn’t play it as much as other beat ’em ups on the console, but I appreciated its nasty side.
The player controls Headdy, who has a head that can be detached and fired in numerous directions. By firing his detachable head, Headdy can attack various enemies. By attacking something called a Head Case, Headdy can get a head with special powers. With this totally random arsenal at his disposal, Headdy must defeat Dark Demon, an evil king whose minions have run amok in puppet world. This game is brilliantly bonkers.
What a character! Earthworm Jim was certainly one of the more iconic figures of the 16-bit era, and his first game appeared on the Sega Mega Drive before being ported to other consoles. Jim himself certainly embodies the game’s bizarre-yet-brilliant humour, given that he’s a worm suited up in robot gear ready to battle hordes of evil enemies in this superb platformer. I mean, who doesn’t remember launching a cow into the air using Jim’s head as a whip?
Ecco The Dolphin
I never really understood what I was actually supposed to be doing in Ecco the Dolphin, but it’s still a game I remember fondly. At the beginning of the game when the player is jumping around with Ecco (a dolphin!), a waterspout sends his pod away and seemingly throws all marine life out of sync. Ostensibly Ecco must then figure out how to find his pod (and sort everything else out), but I never got that far. I just enjoyed the swimming around, the echo speech and charging into fish to eat them.
Tune in next week for the next collection of titles.