A Deeper Shade of Inky Black – Sega Genesis – Phantasy Star II – 1990

Phantasy Star II Title

Phantasy Star II
Sega Genesis
Sega
Genre: Sci-Fi Role Playing
1990

Having recently played through the original Phantasy Star recently, I can say that it took a lot of steps to revolutionize role-playing games and was quite ambitious for the time.  You can see my impressions on that game here.  At the time, the market wasn’t as saturated as it is now, and while the premier role-playing games of the time can be difficult to go back to for a number of reasons, they tend to conjure up feelings of nostalgia and warm feelings of falling in love with a genre that was really beginning to flourish in the West.

Phantasy Star II has a few things going for it over the original from the beginning- Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy came out around the time so the market was starting to come into its own.  Not to mention the fact that its predecessor had been well reviewed by critics and the public alike.

Having had a couple of years to perfect and enhance the experience for their fans, how does the second entry to the series fare not only against the test of time but against the previous entry?

As a note, I’m going to try to delineate certain discussion points for future reviews to keep them segmented and outline where spoilers might be.  It may be expected, but given that this is a sequel related to the original, there may be spoilers throughout.

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Pretty But Not Much Upstairs – Sega Genesis – Greendog: The Beached Surfer Dude! – 1992

GREENDOG – THE BEACHED SURFER DUDE!
Sega Genesis
Sega of America
1992
Genre: Action Platformer

The Sega Genesis came around at a time where there was a need to be ‘cool’, and a lot of the games from the system show the ‘radical’ tone of the time.  A lot of them used sports like skateboarding, racing, and, of course, surfing. Parsing through some of these brightly colored and sometimes garish games of the part, Greendog: The Beached Surfer Dude was unveiled. I remembered playing this briefly when I was younger, lured in by how cool this Greendog seemed.  Really, though, who is this Greendog and why is he beached?

We can find out and remember together.

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Too Fast for the Semi-Closed Eye – Sega Genesis – Sonic the Hedgehog – 1991

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG
Sega Genesis
Sega
(c) 1991
Genre: Adventure Platformer

When the Sega Genesis arrived on the video game scene, competition wasn’t exactly booming. The Nintendo Entertainment System had its feet on the ground and Sega Genesis, while having great graphics and potential, needed something to trump Nintendo’s lovable kingdom-saving plumber, Mario. Enter Sonic, a cool blue hedgehog with an attitude to match his super-fast feet. When Sonic the Hedgehog appeared, an epic battle that lasted for years began, pitting the plumber and the hedgehog against each other. How does Sonic fare all of these years later, though?

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OMGTHAT’SALEG!!!1 – Sega Genesis – Growl – 1991

GROWL
Sega Genesis
Taito
(c) 1991
Genre: Adventure Beat Em’ Up

It’s somewhat rare nowadays to find a game that tackles tough issues. Every so often, we see Mario fighting pollution or a stray Scribblenaut picking up trash, but back in the day, there were so many games that fought against drugs, littering, robots- you get the idea. Even fewer, however, dealt with the rampant issue of ‘poaching’. Okay, so it’s not exactly ‘rampant’, and Sonic the Hedgehog loved to saved animals from dire fates, right? Well, had he done it with an array of weapons and explosions complete with bloodless limb-flying, I think it may have been a bit more poignant. With that descriptor, I present to you Growl for the Sega Genesis.

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Bamf, snickt, skrazzkoom, fshraakk! – Sega Genesis – X-Men – 1993

X-Men (U) [!]_001

X-Men
Sega Genesis
Western Technologies Inc
© 1993
Genre: Action Platformer

It’s been said before, on this very blog: franchise games tend to be cringe-worthy.  Once in a blue moon, clever developers realize that they shouldn’t make a game based on a franchise merely to sell games, but they ought to put some damn effort into it, and maybe check out the source material.  Tapping into a long established franchise to produce a game that does both of these things is a rarity.  Considering how old this particular comic franchise was, and that it had been dug into before (and after), it was unsurprising that the Genesis’ X-Men came to be. Continue reading