The Top 7... Spin-off games you've never heard of

3) Golden Axe Warrior (from Golden Axe)

Was Sega really struggling that much to come up with ideas for new IPs on its 8-bit machines? Apparently so. Master System already had a port of the arcade original, only slightly scaled back despite the inferior technology. This spin-off was released on the Master System and features a top-down perspective. However, rather than have random battles with a side-on perspective, this game lets you see and attack enemies in real time, a bit like a certain pointy-eared hero of legend we could mention...

Looks familiar, doesn't it? In fact, I'd go so far as to say that this is Link in a blow-up muscle suit and daft pants. You can play this game on the Ultimate Genesis Collection if you really want to. Yup, thought you'd be excited.


Special mention: Ax Battler

Golden Axe actually had another 8-bit spin-off, equally obscure, so if you're talking about one, you can't really ignore the other. Ax Battler: A Legend of Golden Axe is a Game Gear RPG – a genre that was understandably under-represented on Sega's handheld. Understandably because the batteries would likely run out by the time you'd discovered your first village.

The top-down camera in the main world scenes is remiscent of Pokemon - as are the random battles as you walk around. But there were ultra-hardcore side-scrolling sections too, which looked amazing at the time on Game Gear's colour screen. 

Nowadays, however, it's only worth remembering for what is likely gaming's only use of the word 'scoundrel' in complete sobriety in its end sequence.

Above: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never... actually, that's really mean. Big bully!


2) Chaotix (from Sonic The Hedgehog)

The Sonic game that didn't have Sonic in it. Weird, huh? In fact, you can probably see this game as the turning point for the series in general. By the time Sonic & Knuckles had come out, the formula was starting to look a little stale. Magazines at the time said 'it's still great, but there's only so long we can keep playing the same thing'. So Sega started working on an alternative.

The first part of this was Sonic Crackers – a Mega Drive prototype that found its way onto the internet in the late '90s – which featured Sonic and Tails tethered by a sort of magic string. The game was scrapped before it was completed, leaked onto the internet a few years later, but the tether mechanic was kept for the series' debut on 32X.

Above: Sonic Crackers had a pretty 'crackers' game concept. Not good enough for the hog?

Only Sonic wasn't involved. Perhaps it was too different for the company's mascot. Instead, Knuckles got his only lead role. Sure, he had a load of other characters with him (Vector the Crocodile, anyone?) but the game was known as Knuckles Chaotix in the US so we'll give him that one. Nowadays, the game is a collector's item (and getting pretty expensive in all honesty), but not because it was particularly amazing to play. Just that it's quite rare. And the fact it appeared on 32X made sure that almost nobody bought it. Mind you, the graphical style is rather lovely - check it out in action:

But while it's high-quality, totally obscure and has never appeared on any 'best of' collection anywhere, it can't hold a candle to the next game in terms of WTF-ness. Suffice to say, a lot of people at Capcom would be pleased if this next game had never been made...


  • sirkidd2003 - June 7, 2011 2:53 p.m.

    Heard of all of them but Golden Axe Warrior (which I must now track down and play)... I feel proud of myself!
  • IvansTreehouse - May 9, 2011 12:54 p.m.

    I would love to see Ken 2010's costume in SSFIV.
  • zeno_zabatsu - May 8, 2011 6:58 p.m.

    What about Mortal Kombat: Special Forces
  • rxb - May 6, 2011 6:35 p.m.

    Good work Towelly, played a few of these but some are real rare finds.
  • angelusdlion - May 4, 2011 2:26 p.m.

    I remember watching my cousin beat Street fighter 2010.. multiple times. He loved that game.
  • angelusdlion - May 4, 2011 2:09 p.m.

    I remember playing the demo for Death by Degrees and thinking "Appropriate name, this game makes me feel like I'm dying inside a tiny bit at a time." No seriously.
  • VercettisShirt - May 4, 2011 2:09 p.m.

    I loved Knuckles Chaotix. One of the few games that made the 32X worthwhile.
  • screwuguys - May 4, 2011 12:16 p.m.

    I actually played Virtue Quest. I been looking for that game but i forgot the title. THANKS!
  • Link555 - May 4, 2011 12:04 p.m.

    Yup its good that these games stayed as obscure as they did.
  • fullmetallegend - May 4, 2011 1:39 a.m.

    I've heard of all of those other than Street Fighter 2010. Mainly due to Nintendo Power back in the day and X-Play.
  • ThatSkinnyGuy - May 3, 2011 3:21 p.m.

    Nice Top 7, and an Ultravox reference for us old bastards. Nice job, Towelly.
  • linhanqiang42 - May 3, 2011 3:18 p.m. best on-line shopping The best online stores.Free shipping I believed that you will like her Good thing. Does not look regretted
  • jmcgrotty - May 3, 2011 11:49 a.m.

    To those making suggestions that they felt should have also been mentioned, it isn't like the list is endless. It has a finite number of spots, so they aren't going to get them all.
  • philipshaw - May 3, 2011 9:29 a.m.

    I have heard of most of these but that the ones I didn't know were awful isn't suprising
  • quincytheodore - May 3, 2011 7:25 a.m.

    I shamelessly admit I knew "Death By Degrees" and I even finished it when I was in high school, I guess. I bought it in shady homemade DVD store, granted I was a bit drunk and it was late. Yeah, it was my friend who stopped by there and yeah, they opened until night and no, it's not porn. They sold, still do, in batch of dozens/tens. I saw the game and went, "meh, rip-off spin-off, why not?" Okay, it might went like, "Hahahahah, shameless fapservice guys!!! wkwkwkwk.. hahah... Put it in the bundle..." After a brief test, the opening CG was okay. Yeah, we could test it beforehand. It was crap, I forgot about it and then months later, I got sick after "retreat" (like mountain/countryside tour) The only unfinished game was that Sonya Blade's kickfest. It was mildly amusing and awkwardly memorable. I got better after I finished it. It might have healing properties for all I know.. Or maybe I got better after NOT playing it anymore.
  • Dvsshark - May 3, 2011 3:34 a.m.

    I knew of three of these games and actually owned one. I don't wanna say which one, because knowing would reveal that I owned a 32x...crap. Well from what I remember it was sorta fun but weird dragging around a bubble be or crocodile. Now that I think about it chaotix was the first game that showed all those turds.
  • Cleanser247 - May 3, 2011 2:45 a.m.

    Nice Top 7!
  • Fedexcommando - May 3, 2011 1:56 a.m.

    On the topic of GnG "for those who actually saw him, he was an instant hit" lulz because the game was pretty much impossible, even the first level.
  • TradeMarkP - May 3, 2011 1:01 a.m.

    Street Fighter has only EVER meant one thing to me: beating the shit out of old cars. All of the SF's without that are just like Street Fighter 2010 to me. Also #Nothingsomegoodbionicscantfix would be the greatest TT ever.
  • hanktherapper - May 3, 2011 12:05 a.m.

    Every time I see a picture of Tingle it makes me want to quit gaming.

Showing 1-20 of 60 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000