The Sega Genesis and its great library of games got overshadowed during the console war with the SNES. For example, many of the best Sega Genesis RPGs got very little love compared to the top SNES RPGs, and a lot of people prefer the SNES ports of games over Sega ports.
The SNES’s success in the console war (it sold like 20 million more systems, that’s a win) meant that many games on the Sega Genesis never got as much positive attention as they should have. Whether they were not well-known or received a poor rating in light of the existence of competing SNES games at the time, some really good games slipped through the cracks.
That’s why I came up with this list of the 15 most underrated Sega Genesis games. That way, I can shine a light on some really good games and urge you to play them.
As usual, I am just going to vomit a list of underrated video games at you in no particular order, so take a look at these and see what you think.
15. Dungeons & Dragons: Warriors of the Eternal Sun
Back when this game was released in 1992, few console games had adapted a true RPG experience. Dungeons & Dragons: Warriors of the Eternal Sun did its utmost to give you class and party customization, a deep story, and the ability to impact the story as the player.
Of course, it was limited by the technology of its time and the willingness of players to delve into that level of nerdiness.
Unfortunately, this game got next to no recognition when it launched, earning rather abysmal ratings because it did not have the fantastic stories of similar RPGs of the time. I considered this game a serious contender for the most underrated Sega Genesis RPGs.
14. Herzog Zwei
Herzog Zwei is one of the first RTS games to ever launch, coming before the arrival of Dune and Command & Conquer. The game is highly addictive and loads of fun once you actually figure out what the heck is happening on your screen.
It’s not like other RTS games you’ve played; you have a more direct hand in setting up the field of combat through your mech fighter plane. You’ll establish bases to produce soldiers, deploy turrets, and overwhelm your enemies.
Sure, the title might scare people away because it sounds like you’re about to rush the French border, but the game was solid and had absolutely great music. If you want to see where RTS games came from, then check out this title.
13. Comix Zone
The concept for Comix Zone was really neat. Basically, the beat ‘em up game is made in the style of a comic book. You play as a comic book artist that gets sucked into his own work and has to battle against the big bad.
You’ll battle across comic panels, lay into enemies with a customizable move set, and watch in glee as familiar comic exclamations like “POW!” and “AAAAAGH” flash across the screen as you pound the bad guys into the ground.
The game’s puzzles were nothing to write home about, but the campy story combined with the fun combat and beautiful design made this game a whole lot better than the scores it earned at the time of release.
12. Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers
Several versions of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers were released across different systems around the same time, including the SNES version of the game and this Sega Genesis title.
For the people that hated the SNES game, you’ll be thrilled to know that the MMPR game on Sega was a straight-up fighting game. No going around to find your morpher, you just climb in the arena and start whaling on some of our favorite baddies.
The game even had a mode where you could fight against your friends. Green Ranger for life! And you know what? The game was pretty dang good for its time and very entertaining.
11. Beyond Oasis
Something weird happened with Beyond Oasis. If you go back ten years ago, the game was not often talked about. I guess the love of retro gaming and the conversation around underrated or games that didn’t get enough attention brought this one to light.
However, the newer reviews for the game say that it was not worthy of the high contemporary reviews it got. So, we have a game that is either underrated, overrated, or unknown depending on who you ask. Either way, it’s on the list, and it’s staying.
Beyond Oasis puts you in the shoes of Prince Ali, a young man who finds a gold armlet that allows him to summon spirits that will help him drive evil from the land.
You use your trust dagger along with the spirits to fight enemies, solve puzzles, and fight against the man who has the silver armlet. The game isn’t too tough, but it’s fun and has some good sprite work. All in all, it’s a good game, so don’t let it slip beneath the radar.
10. Phantasy Star III Generations of Doom
Phantasy Star II was loved for its story and for improving upon the original formula. Phantasy Star IV is lauded as one of the few RPGs from the Sega Genesis that could hold its own against SNES RPGs. Phantasy Star III was roundly hated, but you shouldn’t dislike the game.
I wrote about why Phantasy Star III is better than you remember, and how it suffered in a whole new kind of development hell.
This game had a wild story if you stuck with it and had a generation-based chapter system that they almost pulled off. Not every part of the game was great, such as the battle screen animations.
Nevertheless, this game swung for the fences and if you take another look at the game without the crap-colored glasses we get from with poor reviews, you might just like it.
I mean how could you not fall in love with the game after the game turns your character’s entire reality upside down?
9. Might and Magic II: Gates to Another World
People looking for an authentic RPG experience that incorporates the rules of Dungeons & Dragons should love this game.
Like many good tales, you start out in a tavern and put together your team of heroes to fight against evil. You can make various classes, roll their stats, and venture forth once you are satisfied.
From there, you can do a whole lot of things. You can go hunting down the path of the main story, level up your party, go off to explore the vast world, or get wasted by enemies by walking down the wrong alley.
The game had lots to do once you scratched the surface and learned to turn down the volume on your TV because the music, while nice in some parts, can be downright grating.
Still, this game was a solid port to the system even if a bunch of professional reviewers didn’t like it.
Another game in the same vein as Beyond Oasis is Landstalker. After my first article on Sega RPGs, I was put on to the game by a few people in the comments section.
The game’s a lot of fun, and it immediately draws you in with its graphics. For an action RPG on the Sega Genesis, they’re pretty good.
Landstalker also adds a fair amount of platforming to the mix, and that’s a bit of a pain point because the game has an isometric point of view. The combat is fun and challenging, and it’s hard not to like the music. All in all, this is a solid game that deserves more appreciation.
7. Aerobiz Supersonic
Few great business simulation games existed when this game was launched back in 1994, so I’m very surprised this game didn’t stand out more.
Basically, you become the CEO of an airline, and it’s your job to see it through one of four periods of history, establish hubs in every region, and get the most passengers to fly on your airline than your three competitors.
The game’s high level of detail is great. It’s your job to establish flight routes, determine the planes you want to use, and set prices for your flights. Every decision is important and will impact your outcomes in the game.
To make things more interesting, you need to deal with random challenges like fuel shortages in the 1970s, war in the 1990s, and even future problems that the game tried to predict back in the early 1990s! This game’s reviews were so-so, but the game is a lot better than that.
6. Decap attack
Decap Attack was a zany and interesting platformer game that had an interesting premise: complete the levels while throwing your own head at your enemies to defeat them.
The story is not as profound as the Sonic titles. It’s silly and meant to be a little macabre rather than being a full-blown scary game on the Sega Genesis. The graphics were average for their time but the gameplay was still solid.
5. Gain Ground
Gain Ground was another interesting game that started as an arcade game and got a great port to Sega Genesis. The story was pretty cool. By 2348, humans had gotten too soft, so a supercomputer simulation of violent times in history was developed to help prepare people for war again.
As luck would have it, the Gain Ground simulation took real people hostage, and you have to take three warriors to battle across five worlds with ten stages in each. They start simple and then get harder as time goes on.
You can choose from three characters, each with certain strengths and weaknesses, to approach the battles. The game was very good and highly entertaining, but the original reviews wrote the game off as being too similar to other games. I think it deserves another look.
While all the Karens of yesteryear were screaming about Mortal Kombat, Weaponlord somehow managed to sneak into our living rooms. Unlike the MK games that limited the use of weapons and had to dial back on the blood effects, Weaponlord gave your characters swords and axes and enough blood splatter to bathe in.
Unlike games in which you can button-mash your way to victory, you really have to put in some time learning how to attack and defend against enemies. I’ll be the first to admit that maybe the game’s animation wasn’t as smooth as other fighters of the time, but the combat system was so much more in-depth.
Plus, you get brutal battles, no constantly retconned stories, and amazing backgrounds to your fights. If you love old fighting games, this is the one for you.
3. Road Rash 3
Have you ever played a racing game and wanted to smash open your opponent’s head to reach the gooey insides? Well, Road Rash III lets you do that. This racing game combined combat and high speeds to test your multitasking skills.
By winning races, you could earn money that would help you buy a better bike and have an easier time outrunning cops, dodging other cars, and recovering your position from crashes.
The game’s graphics were better than the previous entries and the violence was ramped up. Somehow, the game got a bunch of hate for the music which was heavy metal, but only as good as the Sega Genesis could make it.
What else would they play in the 90s while you’re clubbing people off their motorcycles? Grunge? This game was oodles of fun.
If you like platformers with fun gameplay, great graphics, and music that will rock your socks off, then Tinhead is just the right kind of game for you.
The game got a lot of flak for being too hard, but that was a good thing in a world of Sonic II’s and other easy platformers. Some people like to get smashed into pieces by a game instead of walking through it.
I loved how you could stumble upon items to help you traverse the levels with ease, like jetpacks and living creatures you could use as bouncy balls. Your weapon of choice, ball bearings, was pretty neat, too.
The game was a unique gem, but it was poorly received by critics and never got as much attention as other platformers.
1. Evander Holyfield’s Real Deal Boxing
Back when boxing was still the top combat sport in the world and not whatever it is these days, we had a bunch of boxing simulation games. Evander Holyfield’s Real Deal Boxing was one of my favorites.
The fighting aspects of the game were a lot of fun, putting you in a 2D ring and making you fight against opponents for multiple rounds. You had to manage your energy, make sure you weren’t cut open by blows to the head, and effectively attack your enemy to knock them down and out.
The career mode was where this game shined. You would start with a boxer that you customized, train them in various ways to improve specific areas of their abilities, and work your way through the rankings to challenge Holyfield for the belt. You have 40 fights to make a name for yourself before you retire.
The game was loads of fun but it got treated poorly by reviewers. The game was solid, and it ensured you didn’t have to look into the lifeless shark-like eyes of Mike Tyson from Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!
Final Thoughts About the Most Underrated Sega Genesis Games
The Sega Genesis was a great system that made do with the technology of the time. From great RPGs to amazing fighting games, the system was home to amazing titles.
So, what did you think of the list? What underrated Sega Genesis games did I miss? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it until the cows come home. Or whatever is cool with you.