Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Retro: Five Random Sega CD Games

I thought I'd play five random games every once in a while, to go back and try out new titles I've never played before. It's always fun finding hidden gems. But with all the crap out there, maybe this wasn't a great idea. Maybe from now on I'll just try to find five games that I like. Playing too many FMV games will make me depressed.

The Sega CD has a terrible rep, but if you can sift past the garbage, there is a small but excellent library. A handful of great shooters, RPGs and PC adventure game ports.


Sol-Feace was one of the pack-in games for the first wave of Sega CDs. This game was also released on the Genesis in cartridge format under the name Sol-Deace, with the Sega CD version featuring improved audio and a couple of animated cutscenes. This was originally made for the Japanese Sharp X68000 PC before being ported to Sega’s console (strangely enough, Japan didn’t get the cartridge version of Sol-Feace, only the CD version).

The highlight of this game is the soundtrack, composed by the legendary Motoi Sakuraba. It showcased the potential of CD audio compared to the synthesized FM of the Genesis. Sadly, the sound effects are pretty obnoxious and it can be difficult to enjoy the music while playing (the Japanese version removes these sound effects).

It’s a pretty run-of-the-mill shooter. You can adjust the angle of your shots by moving forward/backward to expand/contract your wings. Some of the enemy designs are pretty cool, and they don’t get recycled throughout the stages.

A very difficult game for those that don’t mind using continues. Because there are no continues. You lose all your lives, you start back from the beginning. It’s not a big deal, as it is a fairly short game. The next to last level gets insane, with a crazy battleship boss that seems to have a dozen different attack patterns. The final boss is a joke on par with an overlord from Gradius.

Music from the first level. Nothing gets me more pumped up to
launch into outer space and blow away some aliens.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

Oh boy, my first FMV review. This is the type of garbage that the Sega CD is infamous for. This one is just a very long, very grainy episode of the American Power Rangers with a Simon Says game thrown in. It doesn’t look nearly as bad as other FMV games, though.

As the movie plays, an indicator will pop up during action scenes. Press the corresponding button to keep going. If you press the wrong button, a little bit of life is taken away. Exhilarating. The Sega CD is full of crap like this. Just buy the damn VHS. I don’t even think this has Bulk and Skull in it! RIP OFF!
This is an outrage!

Cadillacs and Dinosaurs: The Second Cataclysm

This is NOT a port of the awesome arcade beat-em-up. This is a lame shooting/driving game where you get penalized for blasting those cute, cuddly carnivores. All you can do is shoot rocks and twigs while avoiding dinos and countless instant death traps. The thing is, the Cadillac is very slow to maneuver, only has one weapon type, and instant death traps pop up way too fast. It is extremely difficult and will require memorization.

The prerendered backgrounds look very nice. But they get recycled endlessly in every single level. In the late game, it switches to a first-person minecart rail shooter (and then those visuals get recycled).

Wait a second, the arcade game never did get ported to consoles, did it?
Gameplay video. A branching path pops up, but the dino doesn’t appear until the player is right at the fork. He has a fraction of a second to decide which way to go. With how slow the car moves, you might as well flip a coin. The thing is, it is very difficult to memorize this game, because the scenery all looks the same. The player will come back to the same branch later on in the video and make the same mistake.

After Burner III

After Burner with a cockpit view? Yuck. It takes away a lot of the excitement of seeing your plane narrowly maneuvering around waves of missiles. You can switch to the outside view, but the jet is HUGE, obscuring enemy aircraft and projectiles. It’s still After Burner, but everything just feels off. Contrary to what some people say, you can still do barrel rolls.

But man. Oh man. After Burner music in CD QUALITY!

Never played an After Burner game?
Try out the 32X version.

After Burner Climax for current
generation consoles looks sick.

Cobra Command

Renovation-published games came in ugly yellow cardbord boxes,
as opposed to the blue plastic cases.

This has to be one of the ugliest FMV games on the system. It feels more like a slideshow than a movie, and the colors are nasty. The sparse music is drowned out by beeping and gunfire. Instead of Simon Says, this plays like a rail shooter. The crosshairs are used both to shoot enemies and move up/down/left/right by touching the edge of the screen, just like Sewer Shark.

The annoying thing with these FMV rail shooters is that you can’t kill things until the game lets you. So an enemy copter might be right in your face, but you can’t shoot it down until the targeting reticule pops up. This gets really annoying when enemies are on screen but the game wants you to turn left or right. The first instinct is to kill the enemy, but if you move your crosshairs away from the edge of the screen, you will crash and die.

This is the iPhone version, which looks much better.


  1. WOW, dinosaur and Cadillacs make such a great combination in a classic video game!

  2. sega doesnt really make good games in my opinion

  3. Thanks for commenting on my last post! Your input will help me with my next one.

  4. I looooove old Sega games, but yeah, you picked some rough titles. I spent a large portion of my childhood systematically beating the shit out of every Genesis game I could get my hands on. I only recently was introduced to the Sega CD and 32x. There really are some excellent titles for both, but like you said, you gotta search for 'em. Tempest 2000 was one of the best 32x titles I saw, and there was one AWESOME Sega CD game I played for awhile, but I can't recall for the life of me the name of was a shmup, though.

  5. ill stick with my badass ps2 thanks!

  6. ps3 all the way, no fanboy jsut being real!€

  7. wow, i can remember some of them. good times.

  8. I never played sega 3d but these games look interesting and the Sol-Feace music is cool :D

  9. OH YES retro games this makes me want to go get my nes out now

  10. I may have to get the iphone remake