Sega Genesis Classics

Sega Genesis Classics Review

Now with Blast Processing

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a PlayStation 4 on

Sega Genesis Classics is also available for Xbox One and Switch

ESRB Teen rating

The 16-bit era is arguably the best one for video games. With so many timeless classics and hidden gems, very few modern games can live up to such a fruitful time so let's travel back to the '90s and see what Genesis does that Nintendon't.

Sega Genesis Classics screenshot 1
Who said you could bring guns to a fist fight?

Settle into the game room

When you first boot up Sega Genesis Classics, you'll be placed in a living room complete with a TV, Sega Genesis, shelves full of games, and other points of interest. Here, you can select different items in order to adjust various settings and, of course, play games! I found this interactive menu to be kind of strange and unnecessary but cool nonetheless. One thing that impressed me is just how many options there are. You can favourite games which arranges the shelves accordingly, map your controller inputs, and adjust graphical settings such as pixel scaling, scanlines, how the image is projected (you can even emulate a CRT TV), implement different borders, and toggle various options. It's comprehensive stuff so once you get all that set up; it's time to play some games!

Sega Genesis Classics screenshot 2
I make robots sad with my mad Puyo Pop skills

The classics

I won't discuss each game in-depth because we'll be here all day but I'll definitely discuss the stand-out titles. For starters, there are plenty of standard classics that you'd expect to be included such as four Sonic games (although Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles are unfortunately absent) and three trilogies: Streets of Rage, Golden Axe, and all three Genesis Shinobi games. I'm also happy to see classics such as Columns and its underrated sequel, the divisive Altered Beast, the awesome Ristar, both Vectorman titles, Comix Zone, a couple of Wonder Boy games (including the fun shoot 'em up spin-off), and both ToeJam & Earl games. Each game is emulated very well (although Sonic Spinball is as laggy as it's always been) and it's a blast to replay these timeless classics.

List of games included in Sega Genesis Classics

  • Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
  • Alien Soldier *
  • Alien Storm
  • Altered Beast
  • Beyond Oasis *
  • Bio-Hazard Battle
  • Bonanza Bros.
  • Columns
  • Columns III
  • Comix Zone
  • Crack Down
  • Decap Attack
  • Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine
  • Dynamite Headdy *
  • ESWAT: City under Siege
  • Fatal Labyrinth
  • Flicky
  • Gain Ground
  • Galaxy Force II
  • Golden Axe
  • Golden Axe II
  • Golden Axe III
  • Gunstar Heroes
  • Kid Chameleon
  • Landstalker *
  • Light Crusader
  • Phantasy Star II
  • Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom
  • Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
  • Ristar *
  • Shadow Dancer
  • Shining in the Darkness
  • Shining Force
  • Shining Force II
  • Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  • Sonic 3D Blast
  • Sonic Spinball
  • Space Harrier II
  • Streets of Rage
  • Streets of Rage 2 *
  • Streets of Rage 3 *
  • Super Thunder Blade
  • Sword of Vermilion
  • The Revenge of Shinobi
  • ToeJam & Earl
  • ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron
  • Vectorman
  • Vectorman 2
  • Virtua Fighter 2
  • Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair
  • Wonder Boy in Monster World

* different regions can be selected

The treasures

It's amazing how many titles are included here that I didn't expect. For starters, there are four incredible games by celebrated developer Treasure: Gunstar Heroes, Dynamite Headdy, Alien Soldier (which was never released on cartridge in North America back in the day), and Light Crusader which is a somewhat obscure action RPG. Speaking of RPGs, there are a ton here including all three Genesis Phantasy Star and Shining games, the super-fun Mystery Dungeon style game Fatal Labyrinth, and Yu Suzuki's action RPG / dungeon crawler Sword of Vermilion. One game that's featured in a lot of Sega collections that doesn't get enough love is Flicky. It's such an addictive arcade-style game. Also, Bio-Hazard Battle is a fantastic must-play action-packed shoot 'em up. There's something here for everyone.

Sega Genesis Classics screenshot 3
Maybe I should have actually learned how to fly this thing...

The extras

The most impressive extra is that you can play these games online. There are leaderboards for 20 of the games, too, which is kind of random. So, if you enjoy competing online then there are definitely some worthwhile available options. For those who want to test their retro gaming skills solo, there's a list of 20 game-specific challenges to master. A lot of them are extremely difficult so good luck trying to beat them! Finally, the trophies / achievements range from grindy to game-specific tasks and they can be quite rewarding to unlock. Oh, and you can select the region for seven of the included games so you can see how they changed between regions.

How well do you know your Genesis games?

If you'd like to test your knowledge about Sega's 16-bit era, head over to our 10 question Sega Genesis games trivia quiz.

Missed opportunities

Previous Genesis compilations included a handful of non-Genesis games that were rewarding to unlock and play. Unfortunately, no such content is included here. I would have loved to see some Game Gear, Master System, or arcade games and the fact that there aren't any is disappointing. Finally, I find the lack of any museum-style content to be a huge oversight. Sonic Mega Collection Plus (which came out more than a decade ago) had oodles of fun museum-style bonus content including manuals, videos, cheats, and comic books. The fact that Sega Genesis Classics doesn't have any is frankly silly. Don't developers realise that fans want to see this sort of stuff?

Sega Genesis Classics screenshot 4
You bet it's cool!

If you love the 16-bit era as much as I do then purchasing Sega Genesis Classics should be mandatory. With loads of must-have games and hidden gems, you're bound to spend hours upon hours reliving one of the best eras in gaming history.

  • + Contains a whopping 53 Genesis games with tons of variety
  • + You can play the games online
  • + Fun challenges and comprehensive options
  • - Lacks museum-style content
  • - No non-Genesis bonus games
8.4 out of 10
Gameplay video for Sega Genesis Classics 7:36
Sega Genesis games Trivia

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