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Have six AA batteries, will play
Weve assembled a list and checked it twice, ordering all our favorite games for Segas beefy handheld. Take a look, and tell us your favorite games in the comments below. Remember, if youre feeling nostalgic, some of these classics are available on the 3DS Virtual Console.
50. Space Harrier
You fly through stages of the Fantasy Zone at a truly breakneck pace, blasting a surreal hodgepodge of enemies. Targets include dragons, mammoths, and aliens, all of which erupt into fireballs as colorful as the Game Gears 8-bits could support. The game also features live audio samples which say Get ready, and assure you, Youre doing great!
49. Master of Darkness
It might be hard to believe in an age of titles like God of War, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, or Dantes Inferno, but there was a time when, if your games system of choice didnt have access to the latest AAA offering, it was considered quite acceptable to just release a bald-faced clone so players wouldnt miss out.
Such was the logic behind Sega and SIMS Vampire: Master of Darkness, which pits psychologist Dr. Social against the Lord of the Vampires, Count Dracula himself, in a gothic horror-platformer whose fundamentals will be immediately familiar to anyone whos heard the name Belmont before.
48. Ecco the Dolphin
The intrepid aquatic mammal undertakes a rescue effort that brings him to the far reaches of Earths oceans, to the remains of Atlantis, and even back in time, until he confronts his alien foes. From the plot to the color palette to the music, it was intriguingly strange and bizarrely new age-y. It really worked as a game. There was something beautiful and exciting about playing as Ecco, snapping up fish and leaping out of the water with a flourish of your tail.
47. Joe Montana Football
Until Electronic Arts expanded its genre-eclipsing Madden line onto handhelds in 1995, Sega and BlueSky Softwares Joe Montana Football was the first and best option for Game Gear owners eager to simulate the thrill of donning pads and smashing full-grown men into oblivion while the crowd roars on.
Lacking a comprehensive NFL license, Montana nonetheless offers 28 pro teams to choose between, all boasting their own players, stats, and playbooks. Montana crops up regularly to offer advice on the best play for the situation, but once the action starts, its all on you.
46. James Pond 2: Robocod
Part of the wave of Amiga platformers that came ported across to Segas machines at the height of the platform boom, James Pond 2: Codename RoboCod offers plenty more groan-worthy puns where the title comes from (licensed to gill!) but backs it up with eight levels worth of well-designed jumping, exploring, and enemy assailants to fin off (apparently publisher U.S. Gold held a wordplay contest and there were no losers).
Robocop fans will be either thrilled or mortified at the steady stream of Alex Murphy references, while platform aficionados will find plenty of secrets to reward exploration.
Once upon a time no one was really sure that home computers would ever work as games machines, and then Psygnosis released Lemmings and all the haters shut up and havent been heard from since. The Game Gears miniature screen proves surprisingly adequate for hosting the games oft-copied story of a horde of marching animals whose continued survival depends upon your ability to issue them with the right commands before they all walk into a spinning propeller or bottomless pit.
The games episodic rhythm works well on the handheld platform, with the added advantage that its a lot harder to offer over-the-shoulder hints on a screen built for one.
44. CJ Elephant Fugitive
Codemasters had an early viral hit with CJs Elephant Antics, which introduced the world to smart-aleck pachyderm Columbus Junior. The initial game, which did the rounds on ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and the like, spawned a flurry of clones and sequels, eventually reaching the Game Gear with this unlikely installment in which CJ has been falsely accused and sentenced to imprisonment in London Zoo--not usually an institution known for its efforts in punitive confinement.
CJ rises to the challenge over six equally implausible levels worth of peanut-spitting and umbrella-parachuting, culminating in his triumphant return to the African savanna--where presumably he is ostracized for his clothes-wearing, umbrella-twirling ways.
The arcade version of Segas After Burner successor featured a daunting 360-degree rotating cabinet to fully approximate the gravitationally induced loss of consciousness of the title, a feature mercifully exempt from home versions; though its worth noting that the Game Gear iteration, being based on such portable hardware, could quite feasibly be played while strapped into a gyroscope if you simply cant imagine G-LOC without the ever-present threat of nausea.
Youll have to make any such arrangements on your own, though; while Segas efforts in bringing the title to handheld players include an admirable downscaling of the coin-ops high-speed dogfights, as well as an all-new points system for upgrading your aircraft.
42. World Class Leaderboard Golf
The relatively low-action nature of golf has meant that computerized versions of the sport have offered relatively comprehensive simulation play since the NES days. A prime example is World Class Leaderboard Golf, the finale in Access Softwares series of 8-bit sims, whose Game Gear iteration offers an impressive range of options and gameplay challenges.
Besides the games three real-life courses--St, Andrews, Doral Country Club, and Cypress Creek--theres also a newly-designed Gauntlet course to test champion players, and three levels of difficulty. The games simulation elements extend to varying play surfaces and weather conditions, and 1-4 players can compete via hot-seat play.