Kickin’ It Old School – A Selection of (Mostly Bargain Bin) Genesis Games

During the holiday season, I had the opportunity to meet Santa at my local mall. I went right up to him, sat on his lap and punched him in his cherry-red nose for not bringing me a Sega Genesis when I was a kid (I’m not allowed to see Santa at the mall anymore). I mean, why couldn’t he bring me a Genesis? I was a good boy, got good grades and all that. Sure, I got a check minus in penmanship, but who the hell cares about penmanship? Sega had Sonic! And blast processing! I had no idea what that was, I just wanted it!

sega_genesis2_12.jpgThat was from the intro to my Beyond Oasis column. After 15 years of being disappointed, I finally took matters out of that fat bastard, Santa’s hands and into my own. I finally purchased a Sega Genesis.

Since there are no stores anywhere near me that sell classic games, I frequent Goodwill and other type stores for games no one wants and likely won’t sell online. I’ve found some gems now and again, but nothing like this. Right there, in the front display case, was a Genesis, controller and AC adapter, for $15. I just had to have it. The girl at the cash register looked at me like I had an arm growing out of my head as I asked for it. Bitch.

It also came with two games and the receiver for the Menacer light gun, but not the gun itself, which was…odd. It was kind of dirty and dusty and smelled like an old couch, but it works, and that’s all I care about. Let’s get to some games!

Championship Bowling (1993)

Well that’s…that’s just lame. Um…it’s bowling. Not much else to say about it than that. You can play a normal game, a spares game or “Bonus”, where you get extra points for knocking down certain pins. The controls are easy enough; pick where you want to throw the ball, how much spin you want, and how much power you want behind the throw, then watch it go. The music is horrible and grating on my poor little ears, but the graphics are alright. I like how the character grinds his teeth as he’s watching his ball roll down the lane; it looks like his jaw is trying to leap off his face. That’s really all there is to say about it. It’s almost, kinda, sorta, a little bit fun, not fun enough. Next!

Madden NFL Football “Ëœ94 (1993)

This doesn’t look so bad. Nothing like a game of football! Actually…this game is shot. Doesn’t work. I want my $2 back.

Well, shit. This column is not going according to plan. To Amazon.com!

Ghostbusters (1990)

We’re the best…we’re the beautiful…we’re the only…Ghostbusters. And thank God that NES catastrophe wasn’t the only Ghostbusters game. This one’s story was different than the movie, but was pretty damn good in and of itself. Basically, you play as one of three of the Ghostbusters, Ray, Peter or Egon, and shoot your way through six levels of ghosts. Winston’s absence is never explained, so I’m gonna say he was…busy babysitting Oscar. Yea, that sounds good.

ghostbusters_gen_screenshot2.jpgI always play as Peter Venkman, not only because he’s the most well-rounded character of the bunch but because Bill Murray is better than you AND your mother and nothing you can say will ever convince me otherwise. As mentioned, there are six levels in the game; a small house, an apartment, a bigger house, a high-rise, a bizarrely placed castle and “The Deep Hole”, which I can take in many, MANY different directions, but I’ll refrain from commenting on that particular bit because the fact that this Ghostbusters game is actually good wins so many points with me that I can’t say a bad word about it.

You can shoot in all eight directions, jump, swim and generally platform your way around each stage, shooting ghosts and whatever other objects happen to be possessed. Each stage has a number of ghosts that act as mid-bosses, which you shoot, then when you defeat them you can catch a ghost for bonus points. Basically the story is that the Ghostbusters are investigating ghost related activity in the city, pretty much open up the gates of Hell, and have to defeat the last boss, a giant demon…thing. I would have preferred Gozer or Vigo, but whatever, it was alright. You do get to fight the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man though, so I guess that helps. Beat the game, and you are rewarded with 10 million points, and the people of the city rejoice.

For 1990, the graphics in the game were pretty good. Some of the bosses are huge, and finely detailed. The music wasn’t so great, but at least it wasn’t the same terrible midi Ghostbusters theme over…and over…and over. Actually, the theme in this one is pretty much the only good track for the game. I found the controls to be a bit unresponsive, but that is probably more due to the fact that the game and my controller were both incredibly old.

All in all, I had some fun with this one, but not as much as the other game I got from Amazon…

Sonic and Knuckles (1994)

sonic_and_knuckles_gen_screenshot2.jpgOh hell yeah! Despite never actually owning the original game before, this became my favorite Sonic game after playing it on various Sega collections. The story of this one is that Dr. Robotnik (NOT “Eggman”, that name blows) wants to steal the Master Emerald to power his Death Egg. He enlists the Emerald’s guard, Knuckles, to keep Sonic from thwarting this plan, but Knuckles eventually wises up and helps Sonic defeat Robotnik.

At first, the game didn’t work at all, so I thought I got ripped off, again, until I looked at the cartridge and cleaned it. The insane amount of dust and dirt caked all over the thing was what was preventing me from playing it. One swipe with the old q-tip and rubbing alcohol strategy along the connectors turned the q-tip completely black. It was pretty gross. After cleaning it about 50 times, and holding the cartridge forwards as it loads, I was finally able to play it.

The game has two modes; you play as Sonic in one and as Knuckles in the other. As Sonic, the gameplay is the usual Sonic fare, as you run at mach 10 to the end of the stage, defeating robots to free the cute little animals within. Knuckles plays the same way, only slower and he can climb up walls. It’s fun and fast-paced, but I’m sure you already knew that.

The real cool thing about the game was the cartridge itself. It has a slot on top for you to connect another Sonic game, allowing you to play that game as Knuckles. I just wish I had more Sonic games. Connecting any other Genesis game to the top slot and pressing the A, B, and C buttons at the same time allows you to play a bonus game from Sonic and Knuckles, in which you have to collect a bunch of blue spheres on a 3-D-ish playing field. So hey, at least I can use Championship Bowling for that.

The music and graphics were both great in the game, although the sound has suffered a little due to the aforementioned dirt and dust all over it. It’s a classic in every sense of the word, and my personal favorite of the series

So hopefully, my Genesis collection will continue to grow, and I’ll be able to find games I can actually play instead of just using them to play the Blue Sphere game. I also hope that an actual video game store near me starts selling older games, which would be a huge help. If only I had $59,000

Next Time: Hmmm…Super Bases Loaded? Sure, why not.

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