Virtual Console Wishlist – Mega Drive

August 28, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Posted in Gaming Article | 2 Comments
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Yesterday’s blog entry was supposed to be a short piece on games I’d love to see on the Wii’s Virtual Console service. I started off talking about some N64 games and got a little carried away! I promise to try and keep it short and sweet this time.

For this entry I’m going back to the 90s, with a selection of Mega Drive titles that are still absent from the Virtual Console. I’ve also got a few SNES and Amiga games up my sleeve too – I know the latter format isn’t available yet, but I’d like to think Nintendo might one day look into bringing us a few of those classics!

Part two: To be this good takes Sega


I remember the playground wars fought between Nintendo and Sega fan boys very well. The current three-way Sony-Microsoft-Nintendo flame wars circulating the internet are immature and petty, but nothing compared to what went on at my school in the 16-bit days. Donkey Kong pencil cases were defaced, a plush Tails was hung out in the rain one lunch break, and some kid went so far as to scrawl ‘Legend of Zelda really sucks!!!’ in one of the boys loos (yes they even underlined the word ‘sucks’, the bastards). Forget the crips v bloods, or east side v west side, they had nothing on our Mario v Sonic arguments.

Although I was (and still am) firmly on the Nintendo side of the fence I had a lot of great times on my sisters’ Mega Drive too. Playing video games was one of the only activities we enjoyed together; a quick blast on Toe Jam & Earl or Streets of Rage was enough to distract us from our daily sibling squabbles and give our Mother a bit of peace.        We shared so many great times playing through the Mega Drive’s ample two-player collection, most of which I’ve since picked up on the VC. But there are a couple missing from my collection.

Platform games were ten a penny in the 16-bit era, but there weren’t quite so many that supported two-players. Mickey & Donald’s World of Illusion was one such game. I remember our friend’s cousin bringing this round for us all to play on when we had a sleepover one night. We took turns as the two Disney favourites (one life or level per go, if I recall) and must have spent the next five hours playing over and over again. We always got to the same level (I think it was just after the cave level, the one with lots of cobweb platforms) before we lost all our lives and had to start again. Had it been re-released on VC (sadly unlikely given the Disney license) I’m not sure I could manage that degree of perseverance again – maybe it’s a consequence of having so much choice that we no longer have the time or inclination to replay a game over and over. I have to say I miss those days in a way.

Now to get back to my point (sorry).

World of Illusion had got me hooked and seeing as my sister’s birthday was coming up I did my best to persuade her to pick it up. She chose something else; something that would have a pretty big impact on the whole family. The game she eventually chose was a cheesy platformer that soaked up more play time than any other Mega Drive game in our household.

Bubsy got a bad response when it was released; the controls were unresponsive, level design was awful, enemies were uncharismatic and the graphics were poor. Or so the reviewers said. My family and I were completely oblivious to Bubsy’s faults; to us it was the most fun and addictive game we’d ever played. During family gatherings my Mother, Uncle, Auntie and Nan wouldn’t bat an eyelid over Mario or Donkey Kong but if I fired up Bubsy suddenly they would all gather round the TV. Some families sit around the table playing snakes and ladders; mine would get together to play and watch Bubsy. Everyone has guilty pleasures, I have Shania Twain’s greatest hits CD sitting proudly alongside Romeo & Juliet on DVD, and I guess Bubsy is my video game equivalent. Please bring it to the VC Nintendo…

I’m sticking with the two-player theme for my next suggestion; I was reminded of this game when I saw Wild Guns appear on the VC menu. It was another Western shooter – Konami’s classic, Sunset Riders. Before we had our Mega Drive (our uncle gave us his when he got bored of it), I only got my Sega fix playing on friends consoles. Sunset Riders is one of those I played at a mate’s house that still sticks in my mind today. It was a great run n gun title, with wonderful graphics and a terrific soundtrack. I actually still remember the little tune that played at the end of each stage (along with a digitized ‘thank you nice boys’ from the damsel you’d just rescued), it’s one of those strange memories that stays with you.

My last Mega Drive pick also has a fond memory attached to it. I was recently the best man at my best mate’s wedding and while we were reminiscing after the ceremony this came up in the conversation. My friend and I were into football management games in a big way growing up and the first one we ever played was Premier Manager on the MD. When he first got the game I came round and we spent an entire Saturday playing it. We both chose teams from the lowest league to see if we could get them into the Premier League. In season one, he got promoted, I stayed where I was. Season two, I got promoted and he got relegated. In season three I stayed up and he got promoted, so we were back in the same league once again.

At the start of season four we both had an influx of bright young players promoted from our youth team; I had a couple of good defenders and he had what can only be described as a world class wunderkind – if Ronaldo, Fabregas, Torres and Rooney were all digitized and put into a 16-bit football management title then this player would have been the result. Now Premier Manager used to like to throw a few curveballs at you every once in a while. Along with injuries, you were sometimes faced with problems like players not turning up for training, or being called up for jury duty (?). But fate was about to chuck something far worse at my friend. No word of a lie, his genius 17 year old winger was struck…by…Lightning.

Yep, you read correctly, he was struck by lightning. I’ve never seen my friend cry but he got pretty close to bawling his eyes out at that moment. Any sensible kid would have hit reset but as we hadn’t saved for about six hours we had no choice but to carry on and without his star man, my mate was relegated by the end of the season. Hoping for a VC release is a bit of a long shot, what with all the unlicensed football players from fifteen years ago, but I still hope one day my mate and I can try and recreate that electrifying moment.

I’ve waffled on for long enough, but I’ll leave you with a few honourable mentions:

Krusty’s Fun House – The Simpson license and Acclaim’s demise mean this will likely never see a VC release. A shame as it’s a very fun platform-puzzler, featuring the animated clown trying to rid his home of pesky rodents via some amusing exterminator traps.

Rolo to the rescue – This colourful platformer was one of my youngest sister’s favourite games on the Mega Drive. Rolo the elephant had to collect map pieces in each level in order to rescue his lost circus friends. Finding and releasing his animal pals meant you could use their unique abilities to get to previously inaccessible parts of the levels and hunt for secrets.

Rocket Knight Adventures – Another classic Konami hit. I’ve heard great things about this but never got around to playing it on the Mega Drive. It’s also quite pricey on ebay, so a VC release would be most welcome.

Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker – The King of pop may not be with us anymore, but his legacy is. This was his only appearance in a video game, until Ubisoft’s dance title hits the shops, and one of the earliest Mega Drive hits.

Fantastic Dizzy – I’m a huge Dizzy fan, having cut my teeth on Magicland Dizzy on the C64, and later working for the Oliver Twins at Blitz Games. This was a the egg’s only appearance on the Mega Drive and a hugely enjoyable adventure that updated the exploration and puzzles elements for the 16-bit technology.

Spot goes to Hollywood – Another MD game I never got round to playing, that is hard to find today. Cool Spot on the SNES was awesome fun, I hope this was just as good.

Sega CD & 32 X Library – Sega’s hardware add-ons passed me by completely so I ‘d really like to have the chance to play some of them on the VC. Sonic CD and the Star Wars shoot-em-up are definitely top of the list!

Ok, that’s all I can think of for now, let me know your own suggestions or comments below!

Related articles:

Virtual Console Wishlist Part One: N64

Virtual Console Wishlist Part Three: SNES

Other Gaming Articles

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2 Comments »

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  1. Thakfully, I agree with you on a great many of those, including Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker. However, I believe MJ was also in one of the Space Channel 5 games on the Dreamcast. Just a correction on your Michael Jackson being only in Moonwalker bit.

    BJ

  2. […] Virtual Console Wishlist Part Two: Mega Drive […]


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