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The Games of the SEGA Genesis Mini: Part 3

On 11/12/2019 at 01:55 AM by Cary Woodham

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Like I said, I saved the best for last.  These final Genesis Mini games are the ones that impressed me the most, or at least impressed me that they got put on here in the first place!  Most of these games have never been on a Genesis collection before, and some have never been released at all!  So let’s take a look at them!


What?  I had no idea Darius was on the Genesis!  Actually according to the Mini, it was never released, but if it had been, I might’ve considered buying one as a kid.  And this version of Darius is extremely arcade perfect.  I was very impressed.  But I guess I’m getting ahead of myself.  Darius was an arcade 2-D shooter by Taito, and it had two unique things about it. The first was that most of the enemies were robotic fish, and the second was the arcade version was three screens long!  So the Genesis version isn’t three screens, but otherwise it’s extremely close to the arcade.  My only problem is that with the arcade version, you had three screens to react to enemies coming toward you.  But the enemies move at the same speed on the Genesis, and you only have one screen to react, so it’s pretty hard!  Darius is one of my favorite shooter game series, and the Stage One theme, “Captain Neo” is one of my all time favorite pieces of video game music.  Go listen to it on YouTube when you get a chance.  So yeah, really glad this game is on here.


So the Genesis Mini box says it has 40 games plus two bonus games.  And this and Darius are the two bonus games.  I guess this is the equivalent of the SNES Mini having Star Fox 2.  “The fabled unreleased Genesis version of Tetris,” they call it.  Eh, I dunno.  I mean, it is a good game and all, but after playing more modern versions like Tetris 99, it’s hard to go back to the slower early versions of the puzzler.  It’s not bad, just very bare boned.

Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse

I’m really surprised this is on here, especially considering it’s a Disney licensed game.  Anyway, when the Genesis first came out, there really wasn’t much on it that I wanted to play.  That is, until this came along.  It was an early Genesis title but it was a high watermark for the pre-Sonic days.  I played it at a demo station and thought if I ever got a Genesis, I would get this game.  Unfortunately for SEGA, a little while after the SNES came out, Capcom made a Mickey Mouse game (Magical Quest) that was MUCH better.  But Castle of Illusion is still a good game, even if it’s a bit unforgiving in places.  Did you know that a few years ago, SEGA made a 3-D reimagining of Castle of Illusion?  I reviewed it on the PS3 and it was pretty good.  Did you also know that there is a sequel to Castle of Illusion on the 3DS?  When Epic Mickey 2 came out, they made a 3DS side game called Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion.  It’s meant to be a direct sequel to Castle of Illusion and it’s pretty good, too!

World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck

I didn’t even know there was a Genesis sequel to Castle of Illusion until a few years ago, and even then I’ve never played it until now!  You can play as either Mickey or Donald, who are now performing magicians and have magic related attacks.  It’s a better game than Castle of Illusion, but I still think Capcom’s SNES Mickey games are much better.  Too bad QuackShot isn’t on this collection.  I’ve always wanted to play that one.

Mega Man: The Wily Wars

Oh man, this is one of the main reasons why I got a Genesis Mini.  I’m a HUGE Mega Man fan after all.  It’s basically a 16-bit collection of the first three Mega Man games, kind of like Super Mario All-Stars, but with Mega Man.  But the only way to get this game in the US was to download it on the SEGA Channel, which was a cable service that let you download games and stuff back then.  I never saw that as a kid because our cable sucked back then. But if they made a cartridge version of this for the Genesis in the US, I might’ve considered getting one!  Too bad this never came out on the SNES!  Kind of surprised it didn’t!  Only problem with this game is that since I think the Genesis controllers feel a little mushy, the play control on this just feels slightly off.  But maybe it’s just me.

Earthworm Jim

This was a HUGE franchise back in the mid 90s.  It’s a run and gun game where you are a worm named Jim in a super suit, and shoot all sorts of wacky enemies in off the wall settings.  It’s an all right game and all, but I think it’s more fun to watch than to play.  I always heard the Genesis version was better, but I dunno, the SNES always had it beat on sound and graphics.  But it’s been a while since I played the SNES version so maybe I’m wrong.  Does anyone remember the Earthworm Jim Saturday morning cartoon?  It was pretty good, as it was made by WB and the same folks who did Animaniacs.

Castlevania Bloodlines

I never was a big fan of Castlevania.  Just could never get into it.  I didn’t like how your guy controlled like he ate a big breakfast that morning.  This one feels like more of the same, but it’s still not bad and I bet Castlevania fans were happy to have this on the Genesis.  One of the main characters you can play as in this one is from Texas, so I thought that was kind of cool, even though he still controls just like Simon Belmont.  I still think that Super Castlevania IV is a much better game.  Although the only Castlevania game I really like is Kid Dracula.

Contra Hard Corps

Another classic Konami franchise I bet Genesis fans were glad to get a version of.  I wish I wasn’t so bad at Contra, otherwise I’d be into it more I’m sure.  I know I sound like a broken record, but I think Contra 3 on the SNES is a much better game than this. I do like that one of the characters you can pick in this one is a tough as nails female soldier.  The voice samples are so awful on the Genesis, though.  This game also reminds me of a game I recently reviewed called Blazing Chrome.

Ghouls N Ghosts

When I was a kid, I saw Ghosts N Goblins in lots of arcades and my friend even had the NES version, so I was surprised and delighted when I saw a sequel in arcades years later.  The Genesis version isn’t quite arcade perfect, but it’s close, and like the Castle of Illusion game, it’s a high watermark for the pre-Sonic Genesis days.  Only problem is these games are way too hard for their own good.

Dynamite Headdy

This is another Treasure game that’s been on a few Genesis collections, but not all of them. It’s a 2-D platformer where you play as a puppet who can throw his head at enemies and get new heads for powers, and the levels are set up like stages in a play with backdrops and everything.  It’s just way too chaotic for me and like most other Treasure games, it’s way too hard as well.

Thunder Force 3

Most of the time I’ll say the SNES is better than the Genesis, but there is one type of game that the Genesis had the upper hand most of the time.  And that was 2-D shooters.  They just seemed to run smoother and faster on SEGA’s console, while SNES shooters would suffer from lots of slowdown.  Thunder Force 3 is a good example of that.  Although the garish backgrounds really hurt my eyes sometimes.  You know what 2-D shooter I wish were on the Genesis Mini?   Gaiaires.  That was an awesome shooter with a Kirby-like mechanic where you could absorb any enemy’s power to change your shots, and it also reminded me of a later shooter I enjoyed on the PSOne called G Darius.

Phantasy Star IV

The first Phantasy Star game was on the Master System and blew any NES RPG out of the water.  But it also had first person dungeons that were hard to navigate so I didn’t get into it.  I wasn’t impressed with Phantasy Star 2 or 3 on the Genesis, but once I played IV, I was blown away.  It was almost on par with Square’s SNES RPGs.  Maybe even close to FF6, which is saying a lot, since FF6 is one of my top five favorite games of all time.  If I had a Genesis as a kid, I would’ve been totally into this game.  It’s too bad that only one Phantasy Star game is on this collection, but if they had to pick just one, IV is the way to go!

Wonder Boy in Monster World

Wonder Boy is one series the SNES never really got, since it was a SEGA license.  It’s too bad, too, since it’s a fun Metroidvania action RPG kind of game.  Since this one came out early in the Genesis life, it’s a bit slow and clunky, but still good.  Personally, I prefer the Dragon’s Trap remake and new Monster Boy games, even if the Monster Boy game got too hard near the end.  And speaking of Monster World games…

Monster World IV

Oh man, this game is SO good!  SEGA never released this game in the US on the Genesis, but they did release it as a downloadable SEGA AGES title on the PS3, 360 and Wii, and I reviewed it.  I’m so glad it’s on here.  Anyway, it’s another Metroidvania style game starring a girl in an Arabian setting, and is very much like Shantae.  Definitely the type of game I would’ve really gotten into on the Genesis.  Only problem is some of the dungeons are way too long, but otherwise it’s one of the best games on the Mini.

And that’s all of the games on the Genesis Mini!  What do you think of the games included?  What games would you liked to have seen?  I think I would’ve liked to have Sonic 3, Ristar, Crusade of Centy, QuackShot, Gaiares, and maybe some more obscure third party stuff.  But that’s all for now!  Later!  --Cary




11/12/2019 at 02:22 AM

Castlevania Bloodlines was a good game, though more basic than SCV4. I actually like Hard Corps better than Contra 3, however. My only issue with Hard Corps is that the explosions cover up a lot of the screen, which causes enemies to ambush you. Phantasy Star IV is a good game and one of my favorite Genesis games, but again I like Lunar and Lunar 2 even better.

I never did get into Earthworm Jim. It got overshadowed by a lot of other stuff that came out in 1994. The N64 game killed and buried Earthworm Jim.

Cary Woodham

11/13/2019 at 04:45 AM

I wasn't THAT into Earthworm Jim back then.  Like I said, I enjoyed watching it more than playing it.  But it seemed to be very popular all around me at the time, so I was familiar with it that way.  I rented the first one a couple of times, and my brother Jeff had the sequel on his SNES, and we watched the cartoon.  I never played the N64 Earthworm Jim 3-D game, though.

I remember reading about one of the creators of Earthworm Jim speaking out against Nintendo because they released Donkey Kong Country on the same day that Earthworm Jim was released on the SNES.  That guy was like, "How are we supposed to compete with that?"  He's not wrong.  Nintendo's a great company, but they do things like that sometimes.  They ain't perfect. 


11/14/2019 at 06:09 PM

I don't think it was deliberate on Nintendo's part, but it was silly of him to expect Nintendo to rearrange its release schedule to accomodate them. DKC didn't happen overnight, after all, and Nintendo planned its release months in advance. Doug TenNapel and Dave Perry are both kind of prima donnas anyway.

Cary Woodham

11/15/2019 at 09:25 AM

That's true, but it's not the only time Nintendo did something like that.


11/12/2019 at 10:02 PM

On a previous Genesis collection I played Phantasy Star I-IV. I didn't get far in I-III but when I got to IV, I started to actually get through it. 

Cary Woodham

11/13/2019 at 04:46 AM

IV is vastly improved from the others.

Super Step Contributing Writer

11/14/2019 at 12:31 AM

Bloodlines is honestly the reason I want a Genesis Mini, even though I know you can get it in other ways. I love classic Castlevania and wish they'd focus on those rather than Metroidvania, honestly. 

The Wily Wars sounds neat and Castle of Illusion and Darius sound fun. 

I honestly forgot Earthworm Jim was on Genesis as well, but I played the SNES version and remember the cartoon. 

Cary Woodham

11/15/2019 at 09:29 AM

I think they should focus on classic and Metroidvania Castlevanias equally, but since I'm not really into those games, I don't really care that much.  I want another Kid Dracula game.

How else can you play Castlevania: Bloodlines?

Darius on Genesis is so amazing.  It's so arcade perfect aside from not being three screns long.  It even sounds like the arcade.  Here is a video of the level one music: Captain Neo.  It's one of my favorite pieces of video game music ever.

And here's a remix of the same song they put in Arkanoid DS and Groove Coaster, both fun Taito games as well.

Super Step Contributing Writer

11/15/2019 at 11:09 PM

I like the remix better, but it's a fun song. 

You can play Bloodlines and Kid Dracula via the Castlevania Anniversary Collection, if I'm not mistaken. 


11/15/2019 at 11:30 PM

You can. That's how I first played it, in the CV collection on Switch. Contra: Hard Corps is likewise on the Contra collection. Those two games kind of killed some of the impetus for me to get a mini Genesis.

Cary Woodham

11/16/2019 at 08:00 AM

Games like Mega Man and Darius are why I got the Genesis Mini.

Cary Woodham

11/16/2019 at 07:59 AM

And to think the remix was first on Arkanoid DS, a paddle ball and brick game that shouldn't have had such good music!  I liked it so much I even imported the soundtrack!

If the Konami Collections had a physical release, I would've gotten them.

Matt Snee Staff Writer

11/14/2019 at 07:02 AM

yeah, some of these are pretty out there. 

I played Castle of Illusion a ton. I didn't own it but my friend did and I would go over to his house and play it. I love the toy board where it goes upside down. 

I've never finished Phantasy Star 4 but I love it. These games had a big effect on me... I never had a SNES and they were my first experience with JRPG's. 2 and 3 were unplayable, but I didn't know it at the time, ha ha. 

Cary Woodham

11/15/2019 at 09:31 AM

Have you played the Castle of Illusion 3-D remake?  Or the 3DS sequel?

Matt Snee Staff Writer

11/15/2019 at 01:24 PM

I haven't but I really want to. 

Cary Woodham

11/16/2019 at 08:01 AM

I'm lucky I got to review both of those.  I wonder if they are hard to get now?

Matt Snee Staff Writer

11/16/2019 at 11:27 AM

I think you can download the remake and it's on pc too. Don't know about the sequel. 

Cary Woodham

11/17/2019 at 08:10 AM

The sequel is only on the 3DS.  I don't know how hard it is to get old 3DS games.

Matt Snee Staff Writer

11/17/2019 at 09:25 AM

Yeah those can get pretty expensive sometimes. 

Cary Woodham

11/17/2019 at 09:29 AM

25 bucks on ebay.  Not TOO bad.

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