There are some interesting similarities between 3DS and the Game Gear. They both have 5-6 hours of battery life, they both have oversized peripherals that defeated the whole “portable” concept, and now…they both have Game Gear games! Last week, the Game Gear debuted on the 3DS’ Virtual Console service with a strong trio of titles: Sonic Triple Trouble, Shinobi, and the rogue-like Dragon Crystal. The line-up was a good way of introducing a new generation of gamers to what the Game Gear had to offer. The Game Gear has way more to offer then these three though, and hopefully SEGA will send some of the titles I’ve listed below our way in the coming months.
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The predecessor to Sonic Triple Trouble, Sonic Chaos introduced many of the elements that made Sonic Triple Trouble special, like Sonic’s jet boots and playable Tails. Sonic Chaos is also the second best Sonic game on the Game Gear and the best Sonic game not yet on the service. The game’s Master System incarnation is available on the Wii’s Virtual Console, but this fact hasn’t stopped other games from appearing on the 3DS’ Virtual Console.
What happens when you cross Sonic Triple Trouble with Metroid? This game. Tails Adventure is easily the best game Sonic’s sidekick has ever starred in. In this game, you must explore Tails’ island home and find the chaos emeralds. While this may sound like every other Sonic game in existence, Tails Adventure features one, critical difference: it focuses on exploration. Tails Adventure, unlike most Sonic sidescrollers, is fairly slow.
Tails relies on tools to get around and explore the island, weapons such as bombs to fight enemies, and even utilizes the Sea Fox from Triple Trouble to explore underwater areas. Tails Adventure also focuses on backtracking, encouraging players to go back to old areas and find new items they couldn’t reach before. Given this isn’t exactly the most common Game Gear game out there, it would certainly be nice to finally give Sonic fans an easy way to explore this unique title.
Streets of Rage 2
In addition to some original titles, Game Gear also got a lot of Genesis ports of first party SEGA games. Streets of Rage 2 was probably one of the best. This was, in essence, Streets of Rage 2 on the Game Gear , with all the fun beat ‘em up game play you’d expect from the franchise, except wrapped in an 8 bit wrapper. In addition to this, though, the Game Gear version also featured many unique locations, enemies, and bosses, effectively making it a different game.
Vampire: Master of Darkness
This one was a surprise. I read about it very recently while I was researching games for this article, and this one came up. Fun, original, and easy to find? I had to have it! In Vampire, you play a psychologist in late 19th century London who is out to kill Dracula. Along the way you fight the standard horror fair: wolves, zombies, and bats. The game is essentially the original Castlevania on the Game Gear, except with slicker and more atmospheric graphics, a variety of different settings including the above area and a wax museum, and multiple weapons to choose from including a sword, gun, dagger, and bombs. It’s a well made if not all together unique title, and in the absence of the original Castlevania would also be a unique game on the service.
The Genesis version of Ristar is one of my favorite platformers, so don’t take this lightly when I say I don’t rate the Game Gear version much further down the list. Despite sharing a name with its Genesis counterpart, it is anything but a downgraded version of the Genesis original. Ristar on the Game Gear is an almost completely original game. Despite sharing some similar settings with Genesis version, all of the levels have completely original designs. Ristar on the Game Gear even had some exclusive levels and bosses of its own.
The best part about all this? The game played almost exactly like it did on the Genesis. The Ristar’s bouncy physics, grabbing game play, and the crazy poles that let you swing high into the air are all here. This game could have easily been a classic in it’s own right, and it probably would have, had it not been outshined by the marvelous Genesis version. The game is so different, yet captures the magic of the Genesis version so well, it could just have easily been a sequel. The best game on the Game Gear, and one I hope will eventually land on the 3DS eShop.