The 25 Greatest Sega Genesis Games of All-Time

By Staff / July 11, 2012
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Dorkly readers, you did it. Your votes have determined the greatest Sega Genesis games of all-time. Over 200,000 votes were tallied (you can check out the results here), and we have below the top 25 (fair warning – we only included the top performing game from each series, so that you wouldn't have to read about Streets of Rage three times). So sit back, relax, grab your Sega Nomad and six AA batteries, and let's look back at what you've decided are the 25 greatest Sega Genesis games of all-time.

25. Phantasy Star IV

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One genre that was noticeably under-served on the Sega Genesis was the RPG. With Final Fantasy (and other Square games) firmly entrenched over on the side of Nintendo, something needed to make up for the deficiency for Sega. Thankfully, the Phantasy Star series came along, and the 4th entry proved to be not only one of the greatest Genesis RPGs of all-time, but one of the greatest RPGs period. The game combined deep storytelling, well-honed game mechanics, and a unique take on combining fantasy and science-fiction to create one of the most memorable RPG experiences ever crafted. They were so confident in their games, they didn't even care how they spelled "fantasy."

24. Shining Force II

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Shining Force II is one of the greatest tactical RPGs ever created, not that that sounds too impressive when you realize how few tactical RPGs there really are out there. One of the reason there are so few is because everyone saw this game come out and figured "who could possibly top this?" But Shining Force II was something more special than just that – it had unparalleled depth in both gameplay and story, and more characters ready to join your party than an episode of Game of Thrones. The only drawback was the game required a huge time investment to fully appreciate it – but at least you weren't technically lying when you told your friends you couldn't hang out because a huge party was taking up all your time.

23. Gunstar Heroes

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There were a lot of great co-op games back in the days of the 16-bit console – but many were similar beat-em-ups that didn't offer much in the way of variety. Gunstar Heroes was something else entirely. Two players could run 'n gun their way through some supremely colorful levels, facing off against some of the most awesomely-rendered bad guys in the history of the Genesis. And what made it so memorable was the sheer madness to everything – there was a near-constant stream of explosions and gunfire going on at all times (and your ability to combine weapons made for some interesting gameplay), yet everything was always clear and comprehensible. It was like a more chaotic, better-looking Contra – which is one of the best game descriptions I think I've ever heard.

22. The Revenge of Shinobi

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Few greater joys exist than throwing shurikens as an endlessly powerful ninja, as The Revenge of Shinobi was proud to remind us all. In addition to the usual trappings of a ninja arsenal, you had the ability to use several ninjutsu techniques, which were essentially magic. Ninjas and magic, this all sounds good, but what else is there to really add in the nerd appeal? Well, you also got to fight a T-Rex in the middle of a New York City dock and say hi to Spider-Man. Eat that, every other game ever.

21. Ghouls 'n Ghosts

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There are tough games, and then there's Ghouls 'n Ghosts – a sometimes impossibly difficult game that has no right to be as fun as it is. Yet with the right mix of memorable music and solid gameplay, it managed just that. You play as the knight Arthur, racing through the standard medieval levels crawling with undead hellspawn, trying desperately to not get hit, lose your armor, and be stuck moving forward in only your boxers. If this doesn't sound too difficult, just ask someone who have played the game about the purple tongues and watch years of repressed rage burst out.

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