Another year, another batch of SEGA games for us to play, critique, argue over, and enjoy. As is tradition here at SEGAbits, our writers have come together and each have selected their favorite SEGA games of 2012. Looking back, 2012 offered up a number of excellent rereleases, sequels to franchises both old and new, crazy and unique mobile and digital titles, and not a single crappy licensed Marvel title in sight. So, from all the games SEGA had to offer, which ones did we like best? Find out after the break!
Ben’s Pick: Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit
Playing Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit was a blast; this gloriously demented 2D platformer is exactly the type of game I’d like to see more of should SEGA continue in their planned digital direction. It can’t have been easy to meld Invader Zim-style humor with self-aware gaming jokes and throw them into an atmosphere straight out of the Genesis era, and Arkedo and SEGA deserve credit for developing something that from the start feels fresh and inventive.
Hell Yeah! was without a doubt my favorite SEGA game of 2012, and one that I think everyone, especially fans of the Genesis era, should check out. The art’s gorgeous, while the dialogue’s hilarious all the way through and the enemies you face off against (not to mention the powers you destroy them with) never cease to entertain. I played through this batshit-crazy XBLA game with a grin on my face, and that alone was worth the price of admission.
Runners-Up: Binary Domain, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, and Rhythm Thief and the Emperor’s Treasure
Shigs’ Pick: Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
It was a pretty close race between this and Binary Domain. Not to mention that Cain is my favorite new game character this year, but while Binary Domain provided me with an incredible single player experience, it’s All-Stars Racing Transformed and it’s many modes that I’ll be going back to again and again.
Sumo really knocked it out of the park in terms of gameplay and design. They took everything they learned from the first game (which was great in it’s own right) and increased the quality ten fold. Races are incredibly fast-paced and intense. The controls between Car, boat and plane are smooth as butter. The items are really creative this time around. Not to mention that the 20 plus tracks in the game are an absolute love letter to the history of SEGA. I mean I just unlocked Ages and if you haven’t raced as that driver, it’s basically a tribute to SEGA rolled up into one vehicle. Without a doubt, it’s not only the best racing game I’ve played all year, but the best kart racing game period and an absolute steal at $40.
Runners-Up: Binary Domain, Rhythm Thief, and Max Anarchy (Anarchy Reigns import)
Kori-Maru’s Pick: The House of the Dead 4
As the owner of The Website of the Dead, here’s my say: After waiting for almost seven years of the original arcade release on the SEGA Lindbergh hardware, SEGA has finally found a way to port The House of the Dead 4 on consoles as a downloadable title. The House of the Dead 4 a awesome arcade game to download on PSN. The game ultilzes the use of Sony’s Playstation Move controller to shoot creature down with the Uzi like you would in the arcades. In fact, it plays exactly like the arcade version which makes it arcade perfect. I also love the AMS agents witty one liners after defeating the boss and testing my skills to get a high grade on each level. The bosses are really intense and very fast paced. Another note I want to add is that AM1 included the SPECIAL version in the port with the return of Agent G and the Magician Type 0 which made a happy lad. Now I don’t have to go on trips to find and play this sucker at Dave & Busters. My question to SEGA is, can we get EX and Golden Gun on PSN soon?
Runners-Up: Fighting Vipers, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, Virtua Fighter 2, and Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown
Barry the Nomad’s Pick: Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
My thoughts pretty much mirror what Shigs said. I was teetering between choosing Binary Domain and the sequel to Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing, and in the end I went with the game that I see myself playing far more often in the future. That isn’t to say that Binary Domain is a bad game simply because I don’t see as much replay value in it. In fact, if I could break the rules I’d choose both games. Binary Domain offers up fantastic boss battles, Sakura Wars-style teammate relationships, break-away enemies that are a joy to shoot up, and a story that greatly appealed to the Snatcher and Terminator fan in me. Oh, and of course there is everybody’s favorite French robot Cain, who steals the show.
But back to Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed: True to SEGA tradition, Transformed isn’t just a sequel to the original 2010 All-Stars Racing. It’s a reinvention of the game. Look at games like Sonic 2, Jet Set Radio Future or Panzer Dragoon Saga. Just as those games added new game-changing elements, so has All-Stars Racing transformed… literally! Playing the game for the first time, I began in the usual starting grid in car form. The race began, and I noticed improved handling and physics. That right there was all SEGA needed to do for a sequel, and that is what a franchise like Mario Kart has been doing for years. But as soon as your car transforms into a boat, and an airplane, and you experience the enhanced weapon system, and see the track change before your eyes, and you see franchise after franchise represented in numerous tracks, and you hear the many remixes of classic SEGA tunes, you know that you’re playing something truly special.
Runners-Up: Binary Domain, Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II, Crush 3D, Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown, SEGA Vintage Collection: Monster World
George’s Pick: Binary Domain
Even though 2012 didn’t give us as many games as we have had in past years, the games that we did get have been solid titles. We got another awesome SEGA mash-up racer, Yakuza fighting zombies, and an array of amazing ports that most of us on staff have been whining to get our hands on since we started the site.
But what game will be my game of the year? I have to give it to Binary Domain. Even though the game flew under the radar for most people, all the people that I know that have beat the title have loved it and I’m one of them.
What can I say, this is what a third person shooter should be all about. The game features some great level design work, characters and big boss battles that I love from Japanese games. It’s the great mix of East meets West that makes this game hard to put down. Don’t believe me? Go out and get a copy, its pretty cheap now-a-days.
My Life With SEGA’s Retro Pick: Zaxxon’s Motherbase 2000
Okay, I have a hard time playing SEGA games on non-SEGA consoles. I realize it’s totally irrational and demonstrates a lack of commitment. Still, I’m the retro guy; I should choose a classic. So my pick for 2012 is….
Zaxxon’s Motherbase 2000 for the SEGA 32X. I still had fond memories of playing the original Zaxxon on my brother’s ColecoVision, as well as Zaxxon 3-D on Sega Master System, so I was anxious to play it when I first purchased the ‘shroom in 1998. It’s easily one of my Top 5 Favorite Shooters. Released 13 years after the arcade original, it maintained the isometric perspective and introduced 3D graphics. What set Motherbase apart from predecessors is the ability to hop onto enemey craft and assimilate their attributes; weapons, strength, etc. This added flavor without tainting Zaxxon’s formula.
Many gamers and critics of the time were disappointed, citing it didn’t take advantage of the hardware and such. Personally, I think it’s a fantastic addition to the series. As with any great sequel, it added onto an otherwise awesome original without taking away the very thing that made it special…. *looks long and hard at Zaxxon Escape*
With 2012 coming to a close, we look towards 2013 and the SEGA games we can expect: Platinum Games’ Anarchy Reigns will finally release early January, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed will hit the 3DS and PC, Gearbox Software brings us Aliens: Colonial Marines, Creative Assembly has Total War: Rome II planned, Double Fine’s The Cave, and another Football Manager is a yearly tradition. Rumored games include: SEGA Heritage rereleases of Skies of Arcadia and Shenmue, a Yakuza 5 western release, more Sonic titles both digital and disc, and more SEGA Alliance titles for mobile devices. Not to mention the surprises SEGA always drops on us. SEGAbits wishes our readers a very happy new year, see you in 2013!
Want to share your favorite, and least favorite, SEGA games of 2012? Check out the dedicated topic in our forums!