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 letters “X and Z”.
In the nineties, before all the X-Men movies, there were the comics (which I didn’t read) and a cartoon series (which I didn’t watch). However, I was somewhat aware of what the X-Men was all about, and Wolverine in particular was a character that was instantly memorable (even for someone as out of the loop as I was). In 1993 this game appeared and it was my first real experience with the franchise. And wow, was this game hard – mostly due to the fact the game limits the player’s ability to use each character’s mutant skill power. Gameplay wise this title wasn’t the best. However, there was just something about it – the atmospheric vibe, the look, the music and the stylish cover – that has always made it stick in my mind.
Where would we be, literally, without Zero Tolerance? I’m sure my editor would agree that the legacy of this game cannot be understated! A Mega Drive exclusive first-person shooter, Zero Tolerance is a game in rare company, genre wise. More than an attempt at being a mere Doom clone, Zero Tolerance featured 40 very large levels and required the player to fully clear each stage of enemies before progressing to the next. I fully remember the tense feeling that accompanied each playthrough of Zero Tolerance, a game that does well to create a good sense of atmosphere with its sci-fi setting and dark, expansive levels.
Editor’s Note: Fun Fact – I actually did get my username from this game.
“All your base are belong to us!” Before it was a popular meme, Zero Wing was a popular arcade shmup game that was ported to the Mega Drive in 1991 (with some rather shoddy translation). As with most decent shmups, Zero Wing had a relatively generic narrative and some pretty decent gameplay. It wasn’t the best shmup to grace the console but hey, it gave us a great meme. That’s a legacy, right there.
A platform game which featured a gremlin-like ninja as it’s protagonist, Zool was also (somewhat randomly) sponsored by Chupa Chup lollies – hence its bright, sickly sweet aesthetic. Gameplay-wise Zool is a pretty smooth and agile platformer; complete with colourful and dynamic backgrounds, and some decent sound effects.
Tune in next week for the next collection of titles.