The 32x might be an add-on with only under 40 games released for the short lived unit, but it wasn’t hard for most of the staff here to pick their favorite game. Even though the library was small there was quite a few good original titles and faithful arcade ports that make all us SEGA fans mouth’s drool. Some games really showed off what the 32x was capable of, others focused more on delivering great game over graphics. Check out the games we chose after the break and you can tell us in the comments what your favorite 32x game is. The 32X has some awesome games on it and truth is I don’t really have any one favorite. One of the best is probably After Burner Complete, which I reviewed earlier this year for After Burner Week. I’ve really been enjoying Knuckles Chaotix this month, so much so that I wrote a Weekly Five about why every Sonic fan should play it. For this roundtable I’d like to take the opportunity to talk about a hidden gem in the 32X’s library, Shadow Squadron.
Known as Stellar Assault in the rest of the world, Shadow Squadron is a no-frills, meat and potatoes space sim, more in the vein of an arcade games then sims like Wing Commander and X-Wing. There is no in-game storyline to speak of and the missions are not complicated. You fly from jump point to jump point, destroying all of the fighters, capital ships, and other enemy vessels in each area before moving on.
It controls nicely, the 3D graphics are some of the smoothest on the system, and its missions are very entertaining. Few space sims actually expect you to take on a fleet of capital ships and their fighter contingents single handedly and win, but that is exactly what Shadow Squadron expects from you. If you own a 32X, I cannot recommend this game enough! I have never owned a 32X add-on for the SEGA Genesis during my youth and my only knowledge of the 32X was that I knew that one of my family members owned one. I did however played a couple of 32X titles on via emulator. My favorite 32X game would have to be Virtua Fighter as it has more features and less flickery than the Saturn version. Second to Sonic the Hedgehog, Virtua Fighter is one of my favorite SEGA franchises of all time.
Virtua Fighter has special features exclusively for the 32X unlike the original SEGA Saturn port. The port featured a watch mode which gives you the option of watching CPUs fighting each other, character color change, ranking mode and a tournament mode where you can invite friends for an all out brawl with a tournament styled bracket. As for graphics and animation, while the polygon quality is reduced on the 32X it still runs perfectly and smoothly as the arcade version. Same goes for the music as well giving the tunes more of a enhanced 16-bit Genesis sound quality to it. Hearing Sarah Bryant’s stage and the Ending theme in 16-bit format is such a masterpiece.
The controls are mixed for me as the control format is simple with three buttons to use yet tricky to perform special moves with certain characters such as Akira’s famous Tetsuzanko attack due to the D-pad layout but it doesn’t stop me from playing as the other fighters with easier moves.
I would say at least to check this game out on the 32X and give it a shot. It’s a faithful port of the original arcade game and one of the best games on the 32X! This is a tough one. Really, how do I choose? Should I go with either one of its stellar arcade ports, like Virtua Fighter, Virtua Racing Deluxe, After Burner or Star Wars Arcade? Honestly, I could. The Virtua Fighter port outshines the abysmal Saturn port in both presentation and added features. The same can be said of Virtua Racing Deluxe. After Burner‘s practically flawless. Star Wars Arcade may pale in comparison to the arcade original, though it retains the tight, addictive and challenging gameplay. It even offers up an exclusive extended playthrough….
These titles alone make the 32X worth owning.
No, I won’t go with an arcade port. That’s far too easy. More popular choices, I find, tend to be Kolibri or Tempo. I haven’t played either, so those must be excluded. Knuckles’ Chaotix is another favorite for many, but it’s not a title I revisit on the regular. It is fascinating and somewhat unique. Still, Chaotix doesn’t tug at my short curlies, demanding my attention.
One game does come to mind though, and that’s Zaxxon’s Motherbase 2000. My first choice was Shadow Squadron, but I’d much rather go with an exclusive, seeing as how Shadow Squadron did find its way to Saturn (Stellar Assault). Zaxxon’s Motherbase 2000 is a fantastic sequel, I feel. Not only does it maintain the isometric view that the original popularized, it added an engaging dynamic with having our protagonist jump aboard enemy craft, having players assimilate their attributes. I find that a damn sight less frustrating than trying to hit gas cans.
Mind you, that doesn’t make the game any easier to beat. The villains are both formidable and plentiful. Also, with the absence of traditional power-ups, it forces players to master the jumping feature while adding some strategy to the mix. Stages are lengthy, littered with various obstacles, and intimidating bosses. You even get some jammin’ tunes that will leave you humming long after you turn the power off.
Motherbase 2000 may not be the most technically impressive title on 32X. If you want something that’s going to show off some 3D muscle, stick with Shadow Squadron, Virtua Fighter or – if you’re really fuckin’ rich – DarXide. However, if you’re a fan of the franchise and are in dire need of something that will leave your thumbs a bloody mess, look no further. This is truly an underrated classic. Every 32X owner should experience this title.
God, now I wanna’ play it. This for me is one of those relaxing shooters with great soothing musical tracks and fantastic 2D visuals. I like to pop this sucker on when I just want to shoot stuff, most people have their guilty pleasures like Call of Duty, but for me its Kolibri. The game lets you kill your flying enemies and collect power ups that change the way you shoot. Unsurprising the game was developed by Novotrade, the guys that created Ecco the Dolphin.
If you ever wanted to play a shooting game where your a hummingbird killing machine that fights for flowery turf, then you can’t pass this game up. This is one of those games that is only available on the 32x, it never got a port or was part of any collection. It is 100% exclusive. Definitely a game every 32x owner needs in their library. While the many arcade perfect ports on the SEGA 32X are some of the best games for the add-on, I’d have to name Knuckles Chaotix as my favorite 32X title. While After Burner, Space Harrier, Virtua Fighter, and Virtua Racing can be found on other SEGA hardware, Chaotix is one of the few true 32X exclusives. What more, it’s one of the rarer games of the Sonic series and is a real showcase of the 32X’s power. Like Sonic CD, Chaotix requires players to learn a new way of playing a 2D Sonic game. However, unlike Sonic CD, I find Chaotix to be much less of a chore. That isn’t to say I dislike Sonic CD, but I much prefer mastering the rubber band gameplay style to hopping between timelines and hunting down generators.
Chaotix‘s music and graphics are top notch, with beautiful neon colors and impressive 3D special stages. Boss fights kick off with cutscenes featuring shots showing the stage from various angles, almost like a comic book. Perhaps my favorite aspect to Chaotix is the variety of characters. Don’t listen to the “Sonic’s shitty friends” detractors. In the ’90s, kids loved being introduced to new characters in the 2D titles, because new characters meant new abilities! While Knuckles can glide and climb, characters like Espio can walk on walls and Charmy can fly about stages. Each character brings a new gameplay experience, which keeps the game fresh as you play through.