If you have a favorite sequel not posted by us, share it in the comments section.
In its predecessor, Joe Musashi went up against Spiderman, Batman, the Hulk, the Terminator, Rambo, Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and even Godzilla! It’s hard to be able to top that level of action but yet, somehow, SEGA managed to do so and then some in the critically acclaimed Shinobi 3: Return of the Ninja Master and did Joe Musashi return with a bang.
The second sequel in the Shinobi series (Spinoffs and ports withstanding) sees Joe return to fend off the return of the evil organization Zeed, led now by the mysterious Shadow Master. Adding to his arsenal in Shinobi 3, Joe now has the ability to wall jump, an air dash kick and a running slash. All to help the player dash though the stages as fast as possible and laying waste to all who stands in Joe Musashi’s way.
[Jet powered surfboards, the only way to get around these days.]
Thanks to the new move set given to Joe, Shinobi 3: Return of the Ninja feels far more fluid to the previous titles and allows for far more interesting platforming as you make you’re way through convey belts over pits of acid, scaling across a battle ship and jumping from boulder to boulder as Joe looks to escape plummeting to his doom. But Shinobi 3 is chucked full of interesting stages, from riding a horse to using a jet powered surfboard. Not only do the stages employ some great platforming but they look stunning for a game on the Mega Drive, one of the best.
[Godzilla was away, but Mecha Godzilla came in to fill the void left by the King of Monsters.]
But no action game is complete without the baddies to beat, Shinobi 3 may not have the star line up of bosses like Revenge of Shinobi, but Joe takes on everything from a brain powered mech, giant killer mutants and some ordinary villains in the form of ninjas and riflemen. All come together to make a large amount of foes to cut down and make sure the game never feels too stale.
Accompanied by another superb soundtrack and some particularly fantastic boss fights, Shinobi 3: Return of the Ninja Master is the pinnacle of 2D action games for me and in my humble opinion, one of the best games ever made.
Barry The Nomad’s Pick
Jet Set Radio Future is not only my favorite SEGA sequel, but it is also one of my favorite SEGA games. What I love so much about JSRF is that unlike other video game sequels, it isn’t so much a sequel as it is a reimagining. Rather than simply taking the same game and adding more characters, multiplayer and a few new moves, (as any normal video game sequel does) JSRF also reinvented the look and gameplay of the original. It even rebooted the storyline, allowing the GG’s numbers to grow all over again. The sequel scrapped time limits, completely changed the scoring system, changed from an overworld map to a free roaming world, altered the graffiti system and completely changed how bosses were encountered and fought.
While some bemoaned the numerous changes, I liked how very different the two games were. If I wanted a short timed arcade-style game, I’d play Jet Set Radio. If I had time to burn and just wanted to skate about massive cities with no stress of beating the clock, I’d play JSRF. Rather than making the first game obsolete, JSRF gave fans a new way to play as skating graffiti artists. Other notable reasons for JSRF being an excellent sequel are the expanded remixed soundtrack and the XBOX powered graphics (Sky Dinosaurian Square was, and still is, amazing to see). Now if only SEGA gave us a third JSR.
Sequels are always a dangerous game. Any time a developer makes a sequel, they run the risk of disappointing the fanbase, of producing a game that lacks the same magic, of making something that takes the series in a direction that fans didn’t want it to go.
Shenmue II had several things going against it, including the fact that I’m sure Am2 was working around the clock in the later months of development to get it out before the Dreamcast’s inevitable cancellation.
Despite this, Shenmue II delivered in a huge way, being what I feel was that rare “perfect sequel.” It went and addressed almost all of the problems people had with the original game, while still preserving the same gameplay that Shenmue fans loved. You still had the “detective” gameplay, with Ryo wandering through bustling cities and hunting down clues to help him catch the ever-elusive Lan Di. You still had the main character approaching total strangers and asking them questions, and you still had the long cutscenes about the virtues of kung-fu.
But where Shenmue II improved on the original was that this was all streamlined. Every person you talked to would help you out immediately, some even offering to walk you to your destination. You could now choose from a list of several questions to ask any person, and you could now skip ahead, removing the original game’s requirement that you wait around for a certain time for an event to occur.
This steamlining meant that Shenmue II moved along at a much faster pace than its predecessor. You spent less time wandering around looking for the right person to talk to and more time enjoying the grittier storyline and the much larger, incredibly interactive worlds they’ve put you in. Shenmue II may not have been as detail-oriented as its predecessor, but it made up for this with vastly bigger environments to explore, an even better soundtrack, the ability to gamble, sell your capsule toys, and work a part-time job, maps you could purchase and mark important locations on, plus much better QTE action sequences and a couple of satisfyingly challenging fights.
Shenmue II was a bigger, busier game than Shenmue, but Shenmue’s spirit was not lost in the shuffle. Am2 took the complaints some had about the first game and fixed them without messing with what made Shenmue such a controversially fantastic game. This was still a Shenmue game. If they ever make a Shenmue III, I hope it continues to be a Shenmue game, even with the changes and improvements they’d undoubtedly make to it.
People of course will always have their favorite memories, and some still prefer the first Shenmue for its own unique “feeling” that it offered. After years of what I thought was “my favorite Shenmue game” constantly switching between the two, my opinion began to lean in favor of Shenmue II as time went on. Looking at the games today, it’s pretty clear, at least to me, that Shenmue II was not only the worthy sequel that we all always knew it was, but a game that is actually, amazingly, even better than Shenmue. Which makes it, well, as of this writing, still my favorite game of all time. Really can’t ask for much more than that in a sequel.
I have a lot of home work so forgive me for making it short, but this is the best Sonic game, I have ever played.
Sonic Adventure brought the classic 2D Hedgehog into 3D, you’d think they would make a few games under the same formula but no, all of the game mechanics were retooled even the engine was developed entirely from scratch. In my opinion 3D Sonic was perfected in this game, in Sonic Adventure we had to charge the spin dash to do a light speed dash, in SA2 it could be performed by tapping the X button behind a trail of rings and Sonic zips threw them at light speed.
To top it off for the first time in the Sonic series we got to see Dr. Ivo “Eggman” Robotnik’s side of the adventure, say what you want about it but I for one loved the 3rd Person Shooting dynamics they accomplished with Eggman/Tails, sure E-102 was faster in the previous game but I for one had no problem with the whole Mech-Transformer style machines they decided to throw Tails and Robotnik in. Basically the single player mode can be played between two parallel storylines, the “Hero” story mode and the “Dark” story mode; the player has the option of advancing in either one at any time. The “Hero” story premieres Sonic, Knuckles, Tails, while the “Dark” story premieres Shadow, Rouge, and Dr. Eggman. Respectively, each hero character plays similarly to its prospective dark character.
People used to complaint of excessive characters in Sonic games (now he only has solo adventures S&TSR, Sonic Unleashed, S&THBK, SONIC COLORS) but characters are important, and they just need to be written in properly, in SA2 all character are balanced with each a contra-positive Character (Sonic/Shadow, Knuckles/Rogue, Robotnik/Tails). Interpersonal relationships between the cast is also well executed despite the fact that Sonic and Shadow are polar opposites – the history between Sonic & Knuckles is still intact and they are still going at it, although working out their differences by the end of the adventure. Every single character NPCs included are integral to the games plot, and fan of X character will not be disappointed with this adventure.
Clearly I am very passionate about Sonic Adventure 2 I could go on and on, talking about the well paced story that had me so immersed that I didn’t notice several plot holes (until they were pointed out), or the game play tweaks each character received which made the game so much better than the original but I’ll end this article with, a brief write up on the San Francisco inspired levels featured in the game (I wrote this for Wikipedia years ago).
“The newly established Sonic Team USA was so influenced by their new San Francisco location, that the level designers of the game, Takashi Iizuka and Eitaro Toyoda, designed some of the levels, such as the City Escape, Mission Street, Radical Highway, Route 101, and Route 280 levels as references to major San Francisco locations. The City Escape level resembles the steep, downhill roads of the city. The Route 101 and Route 280 levels were named after actual highways within the surrounding bay area. The Mission Street level in the game was actually named and inspired after a famous street in the city, while the Radical Highway level resembles the famous Golden Gate Bridge.”
Sonic Adventure 2 is my favorite game in the Blue Hedgehog series.
This might be an odd choice, but I consider Streets of Rage 2 to be the best side scrolling beat’em up game of the 16-bit era. This game had it all and was a million times better than the original. SEGA really went all out on this title and it shows. The game is regarded as a masterpiece by fans and has fan sites online demanding a fourth entry to the series.
SEGA’s main rival when it came to Streets of Rage wasn’t really Double Dragon, which basically wasn’t a strong franchise at the time, it was Final Fight. If you have ever played Final Fight, you will know that the character selection, art choices and basic look are very similar. The first game in the series really didn’t shake Final Fight, but when SEGA unleashed Streets of Rage 2, the war was won and SEGA came out with a superior game.
The game introduced 2 new characters to the arsenal, Skate and Max Thunder. Both characters changed up the gameplay and offered unique gameplay to contrast returning characters, Axel and Blaze. Not only that, to make each character more unique, they all got their own expanded move list and special attacks. In the last game, the special move was the same for all the characters.
The game also featured more varied enemies, from bikers to Ninjas to kickboxers to robots. The game had eight stages that where very different from each other, you had highway levels, swamps and even got to fight inside a bar, like a badass.
If that wasn’t enough the game also featured an amazing soundtrack by Yuzo Koshiro. If you haven’t played this game, it is worth it for the music alone.