Category Archives: Mega Drive

The most interesting, unusual or otherwise noteworthy games from Sega’s classic 16-bit console.

The Killing Game Show: The Only Way is Up

This post is one chapter of a MegaFeature!
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A couple of years after his first commercial video game Combat Crazy had failed to set the sales charts alight — despite being an enjoyable side-scrolling platform shooter — Bizarre Creations founder Martyn Chudley was back with another game, this time for 16-bit platforms.

The new title was known as The Killing Game Show, and was published on 16-bit home computers by a company called Psygnosis, which had been establishing a very solid reputation for itself since its inception in 1986. Not only was Psygnosis a spiritual successor to the legendary 8-bit developer-publisher Imagine Software, but it had also demonstrated right from the start that it was a company dedicated to high-quality, well-produced games that oozed class and style — on both the computer screen and on players’ shelves, too.

The Killing Game Show, developed by Chudley and a team working under the name Raising Hell Software, was an ideal fit for Psygnosis’ portfolio, featuring impressive visuals and solid but challenging gameplay to back them up. So let’s take a closer look.

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Xeno Crisis: 16-Bit Mayhem

One of the most delightful things about the modern video game scene is the fact that a lot of developers are willing to go back to classic hardware and make new games.

In doing so, they can create games that feel authentic thanks to their working within the limitations of the original host platform, but which perhaps incorporate some more modern design sensibilities that the gaming community as a whole has figured out over the years.

Xeno Crisis is an unapologetically old-school arcade-style shooter, designed specifically for the Mega Drive and ported to a variety of platforms. That original Mega Drive version is also available as part of a double-game cartridge (alongside the excellent but very different Tanglewoodfor the Evercade retro gaming system, and it’s that version specifically that we’re looking at today.

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Old Towers: Up and Down and Side to Side

As we’ve seen a few times already, the Mega Cat Studios Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming platform contains some great examples of new games written for classic platforms.

A favourite of many players is Old Towers, another game from the Russian collective RetroSouls, who specialise in high-quality short-form games for old-school systems ranging from the ZX Spectrum to the Sega Mega Drive. Old Towers has appeared on a couple of different formats, but the one found on the Evercade cart is the original Mega Drive version.

Grab your popcorn and get ready for some brain-bending puzzle action, then — it’s time to climb the Old Towers.

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Earthworm Jim 2: See What Sticks

With the positive reception the first Earthworm Jim had on its original release, a sequel was inevitable. But how do you follow something as chaotic and irreverent as Earthworm Jim?

The obvious answer, of course, is to make it even more chaotic and irreverent, so that’s exactly what Jim’s original creators Doug TenNapel, Dave Perry and Shiny Entertainment did with the follow-up. The result is very much a game that feels like it’s throwing absolutely everything at the wall in order to see what sticks… for better or worse.

You certainly can’t accuse it of just being a rehash of the original, though. So let’s take a closer look, thanks to the Interplay Collection 2 cartridge on the Evercade retro gaming system.

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Tanglewood: Outfoxed at Every Turn

Following the initial batch of ten cartridges for the Evercade retro gaming platform, one of the releases that people were most excited for was cartridge number 11: a double pack featuring arena shooter Xeno Crisis and platformer Tanglewood.

We’ll get to Xeno Crisis in due course, but I wanted to make a point of looking at Tanglewood first. Because while Tanglewood was, like Xeno Crisis, a successful Kickstarter project that ended up being released on both Mega Drive and modern platforms, it’s Xeno Crisis that has had the lion’s share of attention to date. And you know how much I love an underdog. Or an underfox, in this case.

Fortunately, Tanglewood is a lovely game in its own right, so I’m glad I decided to give it a look first. Let’s explore together!

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Midnight Resistance: Under Lock and Key

Throughout the 8- and 16-bit home computer and console eras, we saw numerous developers “paying homage” to one another’s work — and often developing their own interesting twists on the formula in the process.

One cannot look at Data East’s 1989 release Midnight Resistance and not think of Konami’s Contra from two years prior, for example, but in practice the two games play quite differently, developing their own distinct identities in the process.

These days, Contra is by far the better known game, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t explore Midnight Resistance for yourself. And, as luck would have it, Midnight Resistance can be found in its Mega Drive incarnation on the Data East Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system — so let’s take a closer look!

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The Immortal: How To Kill Your Wizard

If you are a glutton for punishment, or just feel that modern video games are a touch on the easy and/or fair side for you, it’s high time you checked out Will Harvey’s classic 1990 title, The Immortal.

As it happens, at the time of writing it’s just become easily accessible in not one, but two different places: you can now play the NES version as part of a Nintendo Switch Online subscription, and the Mega Drive version appears as part of the Piko Interactive Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system.

It’s the latter version we’ll be focusing on today, but expect similar amounts of death in both. Roll up your sleeves, and let’s get mortal.

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Switchblade: Living on a Knife Edge

The 8- and 16-bit home computer eras played host to some fantastic games — but when we’re talking about gaming history, most people tend to focus on the home consoles of the era.

This means that a lot of interesting games tend to fall by the wayside and run the risk of being forgotten. One inventive way to address this, then, is to take one of those beloved 8- or 16-bit home computer games and produce a modern port for a classic console system. Problem solved! Kinda.

Well, either way, that’s what happened with Switchblade, a game that began life as an Atari ST game in 1989, and which ended up ported to Sega Mega Drive a full thirty years later. And now you can enjoy the latter version as part of the Piko Interactive Collection 1 cartridge for the Evercade retro gaming system!

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Streets of Rage 3: The Most Notorious Localisation

Ah, Streets of Rage 3. Probably the most notorious entry in the franchise due to how heavily it was altered between its original Japanese release as Bare Knuckle III and its Western incarnation.

Thankfully, modern compilations such as the Sega Mega Drive Classics collection make it very easy to access the Japanese version — though it’s worth taking a look at the Western release too for an extreme example of what unnecessary localisation due to external pressure looks like.

Let’s hit the streets once again!

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Streets of Rage 2: Everyone’s Favourite

Speak to pretty much anyone familiar with the Streets of Rage series, and chances are their favourite installment is probably the second.

While the first game may have set the template for the series to follow by being a beat ’em up designed for the home rather than the arcade, the second is where it well and truly hit its stride. Streets of Rage 2 demonstrates what the humble Mega Drive is truly capable of in the hands of real masters of their craft.

And it’s a game that is still relevant, enormously playable and impressive to look at, even to this day. So let’s take a closer look.

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