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Thread: Sega Genesis: The Superior Versions

  1. Mega Drive Sega Genesis: The Superior Versions

    I don't really need to say much of what's contained in this post for the TNL crowd, but I always enjoy putting a piece together and seeing what people think or starting a discussion. This is by no means a complete comparison list, just what I could be arsed to research and also draw from my own experiences. Also if you disagree with any of this, you're wrong and I invite you to say what you have to say so you can be told you're wrong.

    Oftentimes, the difference between the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo put Sega at a disadvantage. Multi-platform releases tended to favor the technically superior and easier to work with SNES. There were those few times, however, when a developer would really tap into the latent capabilities of the Genesis and pull out something the SNES simply did not, or could not, do with their version of a comparable game. I'm also going to go into short detail on some games that serve as an example of pulling the most out of the Genesis or making use of its few advantages. Challenge? No Treasure or Sonic.

    I found that one thing in common with many of these titles is how great the music is. When used correctly I always believed the SNES couldn't lay a finger on the Genesis in terms of sound.

    - Adventures of Batman and Robin

    Of all the games you could mistake for a Treasure game of the Genesis era, this would probably be the strongest case. It was developed by Clockwork Tortoise, a studio that made only this and the Sega CD version of this game before disbanding. It's got some of the most impressive graphics and sound work for the system, and all without any slowdown. There's only 4 levels and only 4 Batman Villains represented, but the game is loaded with minibosses, long level segments, and enough challenge to make you cry into your soggy bed pillow. Here's a few videos to most strongly represent the title:

    Of all the titles in this post I probably enjoy this one the most, and is easily the most overlooked on all the "Top 10" lists out there. The SNES version was a completely different game made by a completely different developer, and was a mediocre platformer/brawler.

    - Contra Hard Corps

    Many people think back to the halcyon days of Contra and think of Contra III. Fuck that. Contra Hard Corps had so much more than Contra III could ever hope to scrape together. Branching paths, different endings, bizarre and somewhat horrifying enemy/boss/creature design, great music, and a distinct challenge that rewarded careful thinking, a little memorization, and positioning/smart use of the slide. Oh, and multiple characters with distinct weaponry and advantages. There's no doubt that this is still the best Contra that exists. If by some quirk of fate you haven't played this yet, this video shows it off pretty well. Just ignore the guy's voice.

    - Castlevania Bloodlines

    Yes, it's better than Castlevania IV, and I'll tell you why. Two playable characters, with distinct styles, but also with limitations that made the sub-weapons actually useful. The controls were tighter and less sluggish, and felt more like the NES Castlevanias where your hitbox was smaller and dodging shit was actually possible. A more arcade-like feel to the game play and design that favored fast-paced combat. It was balls to the wall difficult. It was distinctly more bloody, bypassing Nintendo's then draconian censorship. And finally, yes, the music was rad.

    - Rocket Knight Adventures

    This shouldn't be too surprising. The series originated on the Genesis, and only when the sequel was released did the SNES get a Spinoff called Sparkster. Designed by Nobuya Nakazato of Contra fame (Including Hard Corps) it was a high-octane action platformer, but with a lighter tone than the decidedly more bizarre Contra Hard Corps. IMO, this game is better than both its sequel on the Genesis and Sparkster on the SNES.

    - X-Men 2: Clone Wars

    X-Men 2 for the Genesis was actually a lot of fun, and better than the comparable X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse on the SNES. Whereas the SNES game was a side-scrolling beat 'em up developed by Capcom, the Genesis iteration was an action platformer, much like its predecessor. I have to hearken back to the reason that I prefer Castlevania Bloodlines: The controls are just tighter and I feel like playing skillfully is not only more possible in X-Men 2, but more rewarding. While today, both games could be considered only above average, even mediocre perhaps, I still believe X-Men 2 is more fun, with more set pieces and variety, and a better balance of difficulty and skillful play.

    - Disney's Aladdin

    One of the most truly distinct differences is between the two versions of Aladdin for the Genesis and SNES. This comparison video shows pretty much everything you need to see to make a decision:

    The sprites are bigger, with better animation, and quicker, more fluid game play. Even with its nearly NES quality music, the sound still shits on the SNES version, coming closer to the movie tunes. Also, no sword on the SNES! Nintendo's censorship strikes again.


    - Ranger X

    Mega Hyper Mecha Action Go! Shoot lots of shit, have a friendly motorcycle or flying robot swordfish that you merge with, change weapons, blow shit away, huge-ass bosses, 3D stage intros, and bitchin' music. There. That's it. Fuck you.

    - Shinobi III

    There's literally no reason for you to not have played this if you owned a Genesis. You're a ninja, flipping out and making widows with absolutely no remorse. An often overlooked flagship IP for Sega.

    - Vectorman

    The closest comparison on the SNES would be Donkey Kong Country. Touting these two games as the pinnacle of graphics for either system, Vectorman appeals to me to this day for its fast paced action and pleasing style. It's prettier to look at today than DKC, in my opinion.

    - Streets of Rage

    The three Streets of Rage games averaged out to be better than the comparable Final Fight series on the SNES. I didn't do a comparison piece because honestly, they're different games in the same genre. If I had to pick a game from the genre though, Streets of Rage 2 or 3 would win every time.

    To conclude, these days, when I go back to older games from my youth, there's a distinct separation of games that I had referred to as "classic" and games that, for lack of a better word, feel more like games and less like memories or experiences that demand nostalgia or reminiscence. Many people remember games like Contra III and Castlevania 4 because it's tied to some kind of childhood mysticism, but if you come to these games with an eye strictly for gameplay and aesthetic design, you might be surprised to learn that some of the more overlooked iterations of classic games are actually superior, and always were! Based not only on these comparisons, it's apparent that the design philosophy for many of these Sega games was focused on twitchy action, and if pulled off right, provided no greater sense of accomplishment and satisfaction for the player.
    Last edited by George; 01 Aug 2012 at 11:57 AM.

  2. #2
    Thunder Force III-IV, Gaiares, and MUSHA need mentioning.

    edit: And the Shining games and Phantasy Stars...

    Kudos for telling the truth about Castlevania and Contra though.
    Last edited by Yoshi; 01 Aug 2012 at 12:20 PM.

  3. My girlfriend got me this for my birthday last week. Arcade vs Mega Drive instead of SNES vs Genesis. This release is more of a remake than a port, with completely redone visuals, stages given totally new settings, and enemies that are way more aggressive. It seems better than the original in every way.

    If you haven't played either version, it's a goofy forced-scrolling platformer where you have the option of running at the scroll rate, running faster, or standing still. You can jump neutral and bounce off of enemies, or you can jump while holding a direction and do a flip, letting you shoot 8 ways in the air. And strangest of all, there's a button to flip which direction you're facing.

    It's a weird one, for sure, but a lot of fun. Mega Drive version is way tougher than the Arcade, I haven't even been able to get halfway through it yet. Arcade left, MD right:

  4. #4
    I was disappointed when I first got Castlevania Bloodlines, I mean, it's not as colorful, and you lost all the whip tricks from Castlevania 4!

    I went back and played it again many years later, and you are absolutely right. It's probably my favorite entry behind Rondo of Blood.

  5. And yeah, Bloodlines is better than CV4, and Hard Corps seems better than Contra 3.

    and not as colorful? no way dude, Bloodlines is pretty vibrant in comparison

  6. #6
    Yeah, I'm not sure where the color comment is coming from. It's not as detailed, but it also doesn't run like a dog.

    I want badly to get the Mega Drive version of both of those, but they're retardedly expensive. I'm talking 5X the Genesis price.

  7. #7
    I didn't appreciate Bloodline's art style back then, and playing the game in composite on a shitty TV back then didn't help.

    I now use Bloodlines as a showcase for how awesome the Genesis looks in component. Night and day difference.

  8. Quote Originally Posted by trialsword
    ...easier to work with SNES.
    Huh? This goes against everything I've ever read. The 68000 was in everything. Developers were quite familiar with it.

  9. I'm not sure I ever paid attention to the Adventures of Batman & Robin games, but that Harley fight with the crane is AMAZING.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Some Stupid Japanese Name View Post
    Huh? This goes against everything I've ever read. The 68000 was in everything. Developers were quite familiar with it.

    He's thinking of the Saturn probably?
    Quote Originally Posted by Razor Ramon View Post
    I don't even the rage I mean )#@($@IU_+FJ$(U#()IRFK)_#
    Quote Originally Posted by Some Stupid Japanese Name View Post
    I'm sure whatever Yeller wrote is fascinating!

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