At long last, The Top 100 SEGA Games list is here! Those who follow the site know that this ginormous list has been a long time coming. Back in October 2015 we began gathering top 25 lists from the SEGAbits community and the SEGA fan community as a whole for what was at the time intended to be compiled into a list of top 50 SEGA games. The reason for a list was a reaction to a certain big name gaming site that released a top 100 video games list without a single SEGA title. How IGNorant.
Seeing as a ranked top 25 list is a lot to ask, we gave fans all of 2016 to submit lists that followed strict guidelines. Games had to satisfy two of the following: be published by SEGA, be developed by SEGA, IP owned by SEGA. Also games had to be released between 1960 and October 19th, 2015. Once the lists were collected, we had over fifty lists of top 25 games. That’s over 1,250 entries covering nearly 300 games! Now, after six months of compiling, counting, sorting and writing up descriptions we are finally very happy to present to you The Top 100 SEGA Games!
Special thanks to the SEGAbits writing team for pitching in to tally votes and write descriptions when I felt that the task was impossible. And of course, special thanks to SEGA for making the games we love.
1: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (1992)
As one of the most acclaimed SEGA sequels and a follow-up to one of the company’s most important games, it is easy to see why Sonic the Hedgehog 2 took the top spot. Not only did the game improve on just about everything found in the original, but it became the template for what many fans would deem the perfect 2D Sonic experience.
Are you up 2 it?
2: Shenmue (1999)
Yu Suzuki’s magnum opus (that is until Shenmue II), Shenmue is many things to many people. Yes, it is a tale of revenge, but it is also a life simulator, a fighting game, a mini-game collection, a love story, an action/adventure, and so much more. It is no surprise that this game made the number two spot.
3: Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles (1994)
Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles are great games on their own, but when combined they create one of the greatest platformers of all time. Multiple characters, multiple paths and a variety of special stages and gimmicks make for an incredibly fun and fulfilling Sonic experience.
4: Phantasy Star Online (2000)
While the notion of a massively multiplayer online game was not new in 2000, for console gamers PSO was revolutionary. Taking the beloved Phantasy Star world and presenting it in 3D with a community of thousands was unlike anything SEGA has ever produced, both up until then and since. PSO would see ports to the GameCube, Xbox and PC featuring new content.
5: Shenmue II (2001)
While the first Shenmue is higher on the list, Shenmue II is undoubtedly the more polished experience. Small gameplay tweaks, a faster paced story and much larger environments make the sequel a nice balance to the smaller and slower original game. While the game does end on a cliffhanger, thankfully Shenmue III is finally in development and is set to release in the near future (or has just released, if you are reading this in 2027).
6: Skies of Arcadia (2000)
While so many of its peers trafficked in endless angst and emo characters, Skies of Arcadia offered a more optimistic and light-hearted adventure for RPG fans. Take to the skies in ships, exploring the world looking for treasure and new crew members, and even participate in strategic ship on ship battles!
7: Streets of Rage 2 (1992)
SEGA’s console exclusive arcade style beat ‘em up series Streets of Rage was at its peak in this sequel to the popular original. Just about every aspect of the first game was improved, with a more diverse selection of character types and deeper fighting mechanics. Also, that first stage music is so damn good.
8: Jet Set Radio (2000)
If the Genesis had Sonic, and the Saturn had NiGHTS, the Dreamcast could surely claim Jet Set Radio as its must-play hardware showcase platformer. The game oozed style and combined genres to create a never-before-seen action/adventure/platforming/in-line skating/graffiti experience. Jet Set Radio was ported to modern hardware in 2012, earning the game a whole new generation of fans.
9: NiGHTS Into Dreams (1995)
Sonic Team took a gamble when they put a pause on their popular blue hedgehog to focus on an arcade style action game starring a purple jester, and while some Saturn fans argue the system would have benefitted from a Sonic game, most SEGA fans agree that they don’t want to live in a world without NiGHTS Into Dreams.
10: Valkyria Chronicles (2008)
Developed by a team largely comprised of former Sakura Taisen developers, this strategy RPG combines elements of Sakura Taisen, Nightshade and Skies of Arcadia to create a fun, challenging and beautiful game featuring watercolor visuals made possible by the CANVAS graphics engine. Valkyria Chronicles has since seen a resurgence thanks to a PC and PS4 remaster as well as the spin-off Valkyria Revolution.
11: Panzer Dragoon Orta (2002)
For many SEGA fans, Orta was the reason to make the jump from the Dreamcast to the Xbox. Developed by Smilebit, Orta returns to the rail shooting gameplay seen in the first two Panzer Dragoon games but brings everything into the modern era with beautiful graphics. As a bonus, the original Panzer Dragoon was included as were side-story quests and art galleries.
12: Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)
The game that started it all and gave SEGA a much needed boost at a time when the company was a bit directionless. While later Sonic games would improve the formula, the original still is a graphical powerhouse and solid platformer. Later versions added the spin dash, though purists prefer the added challenge of running, ducking and rolling.
13: Sonic the Hedgehog CD (1993)
SEGA CD/Mega CD, PC
Some like to think of Sonic CD as a parallel universe version of Sonic 2. While Sonic Team were hard at work on the Sonic sequel in America, Naoto Ohshima created this take on the formula introducing a time travel element and the infamous Metal Sonic and adorable Amy Rose. The game has since been remastered by Taxman and Stealth for PC, home consoles and mobile devices.
14: Panzer Dragoon Saga (1998)
Released at the end of the Saturn’s lifespan, this third entry in the Panzer Dragoon series expanded the rail shooter to a full fledged RPG. Saturn tech junkies should enjoy the fact that Saga made use of several advanced lighting techniques for its time.
15: Sonic Generations (2011)
Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Sonic’s 20th anniversary game combined 2D and 3D gameplay to effectively create the ultimate Sonic game. Featuring characters and locations from the past 20 years, Sonic Generations is a love letter to fans that has yet to be matched.
16: Jet Set Radio Future (2002)
JSRF is everything the original Jet Set Radio isn’t. Don’t like time limits and small stages? Here’s an open world with unlimited time to explore! Thought that QTE style graffiti system was tedious? Now it is one button! Still, they retained Naganuma’s awesome music, because you really can’t mess with that.
17: Bayonetta (2009)
Xbox 360, PS3
Platinum Games perfected the third-person action game genre with their third title created under a publishing deal with SEGA. While SEGA own the rights, the concept was pure Platinum. Fun fact: SEGA of Japan top brass didn’t like Bayonetta’s glasses so Hideki Kamiya gave every character glasses. Bayonetta would later be remastered for Wii U, bundled with the sequel, and later standalone on PC.
18: OutRun 2 (2003)
Lightning rarely strikes twice, and OutRun 2 is one of those rare cases where it did. Developed by AM2 and produced by Yu Suzuki, the arcade classic was brought into the 3D era with new music, modes and gameplay innovations.
19: Sonic Adventure (1998)
Sonic’s true breakout 3D game (sorry Jam and Blast) became the Dreamcast title that truly showcased all the console was capable of. With six characters, multiple gameplay styles, mini-games and those adorable a-life chao there was something there for every type of fan. Looking back, it’s easy to see why some fans clamor for a return to the Adventure style. Nintendo fanboys got their first taste with Sonic Adventure: Director’s Cut for the GameCube.
20: Sonic Adventure 2 (2001)
Despite being a sequel, Sonic Adventure 2 did a lot of things differently when compared to the previous game. A lack of adventure fields and alternating character’s stages led to a more streamlined action heavy game, though some players missed the exploration aspect. Thankfully chao were back. Oh, and I think I see Big! Fans of the battle mode got a bit more to play with in the GameCube port Sonic Adventure 2: Battle.
21: Sonic and All Stars Racing Transformed (2012)
Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, PC
The sequel that nobody saw coming, Transformed improved on Sumo Digital’s original mascot racer in nearly every aspect. Courses were more varied, fan favorite characters returned, and racing was more balanced. Did we mention you could transform from a car to a plane to a boat!?
22: Rez (2001)
Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s rail shooter successfully brought synesthesia into the video game world, melding music, visuals and pulsing vibrations. To explain Rez does it a disservice. If you have the means, play this game today! Rez HD, a remaster, released in 2008 to the Xbox 360, and in 2016 Rez Infinite released to PS4 and PS VR adding VR support and a new free-roaming level dubbed Area X.
23: Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master (1993)
The slickest and most refined Shinobi game on the Mega Drive is one of the best 16-bit action games ever created. Joe Musashi has never controlled so perfectly and this game features everything an early 1990s action game fan craved – including surfing ninjas!
24: Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium (1993)
The final game in the 2D Phantasy Star RPG series is debatably the best. With a story taking place 1,000 years after the second game, players investigate an outbreak of biomonsters and take on a cult leader named Zio.
25: Crazy Taxi (1999)
Unlike other arcade games featuring cars, Crazy Taxi allowed players to freely roam about. While such a concept is no longer a novelty today, back in 1999 it was incredible to be able to drive just about anywhere in a 3D environment. When the game became available at home on the Dreamcast, arcade fans were able to explore the maps and gameplay even more intensely via additional modes and mini games.
The latest, and let’s hope not last, entry in the long-running Virtua Fighter franchise saw the addition of new fighters and new features including the Clash System in which players can cancel out attacks with a throw. Best feature of all? Online play!
27: Panzer Dragoon Zwei (1996)
The sequel to Panzer Dragoon is actually a prequel! Taking place before the events of Panzer Dragoon, we get a look into how the game’s dragon Lagi evolves over the course of the game. Unlike the first Panzer Dragoon, Panzer Dragoon Zwei features multiple paths, and an evolution system that depends on how well the player performs in a level.
28: Gunstar Heroes (1993)
The first game developed by Treasure, this game pushed the limits of what the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive could do with intense run and gun action, utilizing a unique combination system to create different weapon types. It’s especially great with co-op! M2, of 3D Classics Collection fame, ported the game to Game Gear and later handled a 3DS port of the Genesis original in 2015.
29: Daytona USA (1993)
Arcade, Saturn, PC
Seen as one of SEGA’s most iconic 3D racers and directed by industry all-star Toshihiro Nagoshi, Daytona USA made an impact on a generation of gamers with its simple mechanics, bright visuals and catchy music. There is a reason you still see cabinets in arcades to this day.
30: OutRun (1986)
Arcade, Mega Drive/Genesis
OutRun is quintessential SEGA arcade goodness. Less of a racing game and more of a driving experience, this Yu Suzuki classic allowed players to experience a variety of scenic environments while sat next to a blonde babe and listening to some truly memorable music.
31: Shining Force 2 (1993)
As is the case with most SEGA sequels, Shining Force II outshined its predecessor with a tactical RPG that was both larger and longer. Shining Force II is notable for being one of the most successful Mega Drive games in Japan. The UK Sonic the Comic featured Shining Force II stories, including one in which Max from the first game made an appearance.
32: Golden Axe (1989)
Arcade, Mega Drive/Genesis
This classic hack and slash was a must play both in arcades and at home, and starred some of the most uniquely named characters in the history of gaming. Nothing can beat a name like Ax Battler. Oh wait, kicking little elves for treasures beats anything.
33: Chu Chu Rocket (1999)
Sonic Team’s classic cat and mouse puzzler combined elements of Lemmings and Bomberman to create a game that is fun both solo in puzzle mode and with friends in versus mode. Regardless of the version you play, Dreamcast Game Boy Advance or iOS, you’re in for a challenging good time.
34: Sonic Colors (2010)
Seen as a turning point for the Sonic franchise, Sonic Colors took the best of what modern Sonic gameplay offered and added a drop of 2D gameplay to create one of the most beloved modern Sonic games in recent memory. The game is notable for being the debut of current Sonic voice actor Roger Craig Smith.
35: Virtua Fighter 4 (2001)
The fourth installment of SEGA’s popular arcade fighting franchise, AM2 delivered more to the series with customization in which the player could customize their favorite fighter with items earned in-game. The game gained popularity in Japan by opening the market for internet functionality in arcades called VF.Net. AM2 later updated the game with two more characters and enhanced graphics.
36: Vanquish (2010)
Xbox 360, PS3
Developed by Platinum Games, this underrated third-person shooter redefined the cover-based shooter genre by encouraging constant movement and implementing a slow motion slide move to easily go in and out of cover. Like most Platinum titles, the boss battles are where the game really shines. The game is set to be released to PC in 2017.
37: Monster World IV (1994)
Monster World IV was the last Wonder Boy/Monster World game released for the SEGA Genesis, and was Japanese exclusive. In this game you play as the girl Asha and her little blue friend Pepelogoo. Along with the elements of RPGs, Metroidvania, and platformer standard for the series at this point, you could use Pepelogoo to aide Asha with reaching areas otherwise inaccessible or protecting Asha. Monster World IV was finally localized for westerners in 2012 for Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360.
38: Ristar (1995)
Notably the first game by Sonic Team not to feature the blue blur himself, this game puts you in the role of a character named Ristar as he travels across different planets to stop Kaiser Greed’s reign. While Ristar himself is not blazing fast like his blue hedgehog cousin, he instead packs the ability to grab objects with his long arms and can either spin around, fling himself, or bash enemies with his face. It also sports top notch music and graphics. The game saw a port on the Game Gear.
39: Fighters Megamix (1996)
Before Super Smash Bros., SEGA brought together characters from their Virtua Fighter and Fighting Vipers series for a crossover fighter that combined elements of both series and gave fans a peek at what to expect in future Virtua Fighter games. Things got even crazier with unlockables including characters from Virtua Cop, Rent a Hero and the Hornet car from Daytona USA.
40: Samba de Amigo (1999), Samba de Amigo Version 2000 (2000)
Perhaps the most expensive Dreamcast game ever released, thanks to the must have maracas, Samba de Amigo truly brought the arcade experience home. Featuring butt shaking music and bright (I mean BRIGHT) colors, this game is a great alternative to a Red Bull. The game also saw a revision, titled Version 2000, which shares this slot.
41: Shining Force III (1997)
The third entry in the popular Shining Force series was divided into three scenarios, the first of which was released worldwide while the second and third were sadly only released in Japan. Despite this, western fans loved the first third of Shining Force 3 that it made our list! Imagine how high it would be had all three scenarios released to the west…
42: Space Harrier (1985)
Move in a sky, shooting a shot, dreaming a moon, and you get living again! This arcade hit just won’t quit, having been ported to many different platforms over the years. You can play a Space Harrier game on every Sega console in some fashion and even a couple of Nintendo platforms! Home console owners can enjoy the game on everything from the 32X and Saturn, which saw near perfect ports, to the Dreamcast and PS4 by way of Shenmue and Yakuza.
43: Phantasy Star II (1989)
Phantasy Star made its debut on the Genesis/Mega Drive with the second game in the series, taking place 1,000 years after the first game. Players control Rolf and Nei in their attempt to take down Dark Falz. Those who completed the game surely remember it best for a heartbreaking death scene involving a hero character. *sniff*
44: Streets of Rage (1991)
Three renegade cops take to the streets and rage against thugs using only their bare knuckles in this classic SEGA beat em up. The game is notable for its branching ending in which players either turn on their friend and join Mr. X or bring the syndicate boss to justice.
45: Sega Rally Championship (1995)
AM5’s rally racing game is kind of like Daytona USA’s dirty cousin. The game features a variety of surfaces, from mud to gravel and asphalt, causing the car’s handling to change depending on the surface. Add in tracks filled with radical slopes and curves and you’ve got what critics hailed as a “down-and-dirty” racing experience.
46: Virtua Fighter 2 (1994)
AM2’s groundbreaking fighting game lead by Yu Suzuki returns for a sequel on the Model 2 arcade system board with better improvements by introducing the use of texture mapped 3D characters, motion capture technology, and ran 60 fps. It also features two new characters and new moves for previous fighters.
47: Alien: Isolation (2014)
Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, PC
In space, no one can hear you scream. But with your microphone enabled, the alien can hear you breathing when you hide in a locker! An intense survival horror game that unfortunately doesn’t hold up nearly as well in its second half. Still, that first half is brilliant and it’s a shame we haven’t seen a sequel pursued to improve upon one of Creative Assembly’s most ambitious games.
48: OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast (2006)
Xbox, PS2, PSP, PC
A ferrari, a loving companion by your side and driving through the country, what more can you ask for? Oh right you can ask to drift ridiculously through sharp turns and minigames galore to impress your girl. Outrun 2006 enjoyed a new engine with updated graphics, new content such as online multiplayer but also a faithful port of Outrun 2 SP making this one of SEGA’s finest driving games. Now drift to impress the ladies.
49: Yakuza 4 (2010)
Naturally the fourth game should have four times the action, well Yakuza 4 didn’t disappoint by allowing players the first time to tread in someone else’s shoes other than Kazuma Kiryu. Four stories interconnected, four seperate fighting styles and four distinctive heroes, it’s Yakuza but four times the charm.
50: The Revenge of Shinobi (1989)
If there was ever a time you had the itch to fight against Spiderman, Godzilla, Jackie Chan and Batman well look no further! Amongst various copyright infringement, Revenge of Shinobi features precision platforming as one of it’s key points, with fiendishly designed levels, this was one hard game to crack but it was designed with such care that you always wanted to try one more time, no matter how hard it got.
51: Phantasy Star (1987)
3D dungeons, a solid story, and a female lead all helped Phantasy Star stand out on the Master System. The game is not only worth playing, but was a technical marvel upon its release. While simple by comparison to future games, those who got into the Phantasy Star franchise with the 3D games are sure to enjoy the original.
52: Shining Force (1992)
The second entry in Sega’s long running Shining series but the one that would define what players would come to know the series for, Shining Force, was the first to introduce the SRPG gameplay that transitioned the series from a dungeon crawler. With a great battle system and excellent character designs, it’s no wonder this is held to be such a classic, oh and to top that off even the music was fantastic!
53: Alex Kidd in Miracle World (1986)
Come on, Alex Kidd! This is the definitive Alex Kidd platformer and one of the Master System’s best known games in the genre. Combining platforming with rock, paper, scissors mini-games and vehicle power-ups make for an incredibly unique experience. From here, it was arguably all downhill for SEGA’s 8-bit mascot.
54: Space Channel 5 Part 2 (2002)
While the original Space Channel 5 is a classic, it had its problems. Namely, the game was too unforgiving when it came to the timed button presses and the in-game graphics over full motion video had a tendency to not sync up. Thankfully, part 2 remedies these issues and turns the volume up to 11 with even funkier music and new gameplay elements. It’s just a shame the game did not see release to the Dreamcast in the west, but thankfully there was a rerelease to modern hardware in 2011.
55: Guardian Heroes (1996)
Treasure was an established developer, pumping out many hardcore hits by the time Guardian Heroes came around. This beat `em up incorporated RPG elements and branching paths to provide one of the most unique experiences available in the genre at the time. When you tired of exploring the main game, you could partake in massive versus battles with up to 6 of your friends. Despite being a very rare game to find on the Saturn, Xbox 360 owners were surprised to see a port in 2011.
56: Phantasy Star Online 2 (2012)
PC, PS4, PSVita
Despite never releasing to the west, PSO2 lands in roughly the middle of our list, no doubt thanks to the votes of fans who got fed up with waiting for SEGA and took matters into their own hands. Unfortunately, the game is likely to never release worldwide due to what we suspect was a contractual deal with another asian country.
57: Binary Domain (2012)
Xbox 360, PS3
When the initial trailer for Binary Domain was shown at the Video Game Awards, there was a worry that SEGA was trying to make a generic shooter to appeal to the west but by the time of release Binary Domain was anything but that. Featuring an innovative system where destroying parts of machines off with change how they fight you and making the gameplay so much more satisfying, Binary Domain was more imaginative than most of it’s like competitors in the market. Although lukewarm critical reception on release, Binary Domain is another in the long line of overlooked gems SEGA have produced and another cult classic.
Leave it to SEGA’s Amusement Vision to create the best game in a Nintendo franchise. This futuristic racer saw release on the GameCube (GX) and the arcade (AX) with the ability to use your console memory card on both games. Despite being owned and published by Nintendo, the game development was pure SEGA Amusement Vision, so it had to make the list.
59: Super Monkey Ball (2001)
Originally an arcade game and then expanded to become Super Monkey Ball on the GameCube, this game takes the concept of Marble Madness and goes bananas. Play as one of four characters with their own stats, as you roll through many courses that tests your abilities to reach the goal. A simplistic premise, but deceptively hard.
60: Vectorman (1995)
Developed by BlueSky Software, this run and gun platformer wowed players with beautiful pre-rendered 3D models and the ability to transform the protagonist Vectorman into a variety of modes including a drill, a bomb and an aquatic form. Despite being made in response to Nintendo’s Donkey Kong Country, aside from the pre-rendered sprites the comparisons end there.
61: Puyo Pop Fever (2003)
Arcade, PC, Dreamcast, PS2, GameCube, Xbox, Xbox 360, Game Boy Advance, PSP, DS
The game that re-introduced the Puyo Puyo series, this game reinvents the franchise utilizing new gameplay elements, a new art style, and a new setting and cast. Though bare by the standards of the series nowadays, many elements would be carried over and refined for future titles. It’s also notably the last first party title for the Dreamcast.
62: Wonder Boy In Monster World (1991)
Known as Wonder Boy V: Monster World III in Japan, this fifth game in the series is a side-scrolling action RPG starring the hero Shion, not Wonder Boy as the game’s title would lead you to believe, who is on a quest to defeat BioMeka. Interestingly, the UK Sonic the Comic featured a Wonderboy in Monster World 8-part comic. This game was the last title to be released in english until Monster World IV, released in 1994, finally saw a western release in 2012.
63: Yakuza 2 (2006)
Arguably the best Yakuza game when it comes to story, Yakuza 2 sees the return of Kazuma Kiryu. The game features an improved fighting engine and, thankfully, retains the Japanese voices for the western release. Sorry, Mark Hamill.
64 (TIE): Burning Rangers (1998)
Sonic Team’s other Saturn experiment, Burning Rangers put players in control of futuristic firefighters. While the Saturn was not known for its 3D graphics, the game is a showcase for what the console could be capable of and featured some impressive lighting and fire effects. A fun Easter egg involves the cameos of Sonic Team staff as trapped civilians, including Yuji Naka and Naoto Ohshima.
64 (TIE): Shining Force CD (1994)
SEGA CD/Mega CD
This entry in the Shining Force series, the Game Gear Shining Force Gaiden I & II are remade for home consoles. While gameplay remained the same, the game saw an obvious graphical boost and a CD quality soundtrack. Players were treated to a four part epic starring Nick, the new leader of the Guardiana Shining Force. In Japan the game released with a special collector’s pin.
65: Panzer Dragoon (1995)
A rail shooter that instead of flying in a spaceship, you fly on a blue dragon in a post-apocalyptic world swarming with monsters. Pushing the capabilities of what the SEGA Saturn can do, this game offers scenic flights and a top notch soundtrack.
66: Comix Zone (1995)
Mega Drive/Genesis, PC
Developed by SEGA Technical Institute, Comix Zone presents an action platformer in a unique comic book setting in which the player takes hero Sketch Turner through panels and pages. The game released with a bonus CD soundtrack which contained vocal tracks of the game’s music.
67: Cyber Troopers Virtual-On (1996)
Utilizing the unique Twin Sticks controls, Cyber Troopers Virtual-On put players in control of giant robots called virtuaroids
in player versus player matches. While fun with a standard controller, the Twin Sticks are a must for that true experience. The franchise has since seen releases on the Dreamcast, PS2 and Xbox 360 with a new installment recently announced.
68: Dragon Force (1996)
In this real-time strategy game, players control one of eight rulers who each have their own plans for the game’s world. Players control armies, award their generals and expand their army. In North America, four different disc variants exist and there are three different Dragon Force-themed stickers for a Saturn Backup Memory cartridge.
69: Hang-On (1985), Super Hang-On (1987)
Arcade, Mega Drive/Genesis
The classic motorcycle racing game from Yu Suzuki can be enjoyed in a variety of ways on a number of platforms, but nothing beats that original deluxe arcade cabinet. Sitting on a stationary bike, players would tilt from side to side to control the in-game motorcycle.
70: Crazy Taxi 2 (2001)
Who knew that giving cars the ability to jump would completely change the way you played an already established game. Between the Crazy Hop and multiple passengers, Crazy Taxi 2 offered up a recognizable experience that was just different enough to warrant a sequel. To this day, Crazy Taxi 2 remains a Dreamcast exclusive, however its maps were included as part of the PlayStation Portable game Crazy Taxi: Fare Wars several years later.
71: Yakuza 5 (2012)
Yakuza 5 is one of the best crime dramas ever told in video game form. It’s also the most refined entry in the series on the PS3. Anyone who takes a chance on this 80+ hour epic will likely find their life greatly enriched after spending so much time with these great characters and the story that brings them together.
72: After Burner, After Burner II (1987)
Arcade, Mega Drive/Genesis
One of SEGA’s most successful arcade games, After Burner takes the most simple video game scenario of flying an aircraft and infuses heart pumping music and eye popping visuals. A revision to the game released just months later as After Burner II adding throttle controls and three new stages. For the sake of this list we combined both After Burner and its revision.
73: Dynamite Headdy (1994)
Treasure’s offbeat platformer stars Headdy who is out to defeat an evil puppet king. Using his head, Headdy can pull off attacks and with power-ups can change the ways in which his head can attack. The game uses a distinct graphical style to give the impression that all the events take place on a theatre stage, with many of the backgrounds designed to look like cheap cardboard sets.
While Final Fantasy XIII turned some players off for featuring boring hallways and lame characters, Resonance of Fate gave you a deeper battle system and fun characters. While settle for raisins when you can have full, ripe grapes?
75: The House of the Dead (1996)
Arcade, Saturn, PC
Call it cheesy now, but back in 1996 The House of the Dead revitalized the light gun genre with scary settings, heightened violence and memorable characters. While playable on the Saturn, the game truly shines when playing the arcade original. If you spot this in the wind, give it a spin!
76: ToeJam & Earl (1991)
This unique game features a surreal isometric world that is meant to be Earth as seen through the eyes of two funky aliens. Islands, elevators, presents, space ship parts, wizards and Santa Claus are just some of the bizzare elements that make up this off-the-wall game.
77: Ecco the Dolphin: Tides of Time (1994)
Mega Drive/Genesis, SEGA CD
In this sequel to Ecco the Dolphin the stakes are even higher as Ecco must save the entire world from the evil Vortex. SEGA CD owners enjoyed CD quality music and FMV scenes, but regardless of platform you’re in for a memorable and moving experience.
78: Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap (1989)
Master System, Game Gear
Action/RPGs were starting to develop into a strong genre in the late 1980s and The Dragon’s Trap stands among the best of them. Wonder Boy is cursed and must seek out the only item that can cure him. Along the way, he’ll gain the ability to change into multiple forms each with their own special abilities. This game is so well-regarded it’s getting not only a remake in 2017, but a spiritual successor in Monster Boy that follows in its footsteps very closely!
79: The House of the Dead 2 (1998)
Arcade, Dreamcast, PC
There’s a reason why this sequel can still be found in arcades today. It refined everything about the first game to a point where it excelled far beyond your standard zombie shooter. Featuring cool stages, great boss fights, hilariously bad dialogue, and a good time; The House of the Dead 2 should be in every Dreamcast and Wii owner’s library!
80: Fantasy Zone (1986)
Arcade, Master System, Game Gear
A quirky space shooter game that unlike others of it’s kind, does not feature auto-scrolling. Instead as the ship Opa-Opa, you’re tasked with destroying bases while shooting down enemies and upgrading your arsenal. Don’t let the cute and colorful look fool you, this game will punish you!
81 (TIE): Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)
Master System, Game Gear
Don’t discount the 8-bit version of the original Sonic the Hedgehog as a downgraded port! Despite the same name, the game is completely different. It could be argued that the 8-bit version has better platforming and some fans even prefer this version to the original Genesis release.
81 (TIE): Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd (2014)
This sequel to Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F features new and returning songs and the same rhythm gameplay fans have come to expect from the series with a few new additions, like sliding touchscreen notes and double scratch notes.
82: Quackshot: Starring Donald Duck (1991)
Riding high on Duck Tales’ popularity as well as Disney’s great relationship with SEGA, Quackshot is a criminally overlooked action platformer starring Donald Duck. Some cameos from the Duckburg citizens are scattered throughout, but this is definitely Donald’s time to shine on the Sega Genesis. Grab your plunger gun and go on a globe-trotting adventure hunting down riches with this foul-tempered fowl hero!
83: Sonic 3D Blast: Flickies’ Island (1996)
Mega Drive/Genesis, Saturn, PC
Despite not playing like a true Sonic game, Sonic 3D Blast took the arcade classic Flicky into the third dimension. When played in the Flicky mindset, the game is a fun and challenging isometric take on the Flicky formula, with a dash of Sonic platforming for good measure.
84: Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing (2010)
Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PC
Quit asking why Sonic is in a car and play this excellent mascot racer. Sumo Digital went all out in the fan service department, resurrecting characters who haven’t seen a game appearance since the 80s. Big the Cat on a tiny bike will never get old.
85: ToeJam and Earl in Panic on Funkotron (1993)
Ditching the top down treasure hunting gameplay of the original, this sequel is a full on 2D platformer starring ToeJam & Earl on their home planet Funkotron. While some fans (and the developers) prefer the original’s gameplay style, the sequel was still just as colorful and funky as the first.
86: Sonic & Tails / Sonic The Hedgehog Chaos (1993)
Master System, Game Gear
Known as Sonic & Tails in Japan, this 8-bit exclusive title introduced the spin dash and super peel-out to the platform. Other innovations include items like the pogo spring and rocket shoes. Released to both Master System and Game Gear, Sonic & Tails spawned a two part series that is still beloved to this day.
87: Deep Fear (1998)
Combining elements of movies The Thing with Leviathan, Deep Fear incorporates mankind’s fear of what lies beneath as well as beyond the stars into a solid survival horror game. While Resident Evil sported fairly stiff tank controls, Deep Fear allowed you to aim while moving and brought other innovations to the formula. It also has the honor of being the final European release on the Sega Saturn.
88: Sonic Jam (1997)
How can you go wrong with combining Sonic’s four major previous releases into one compilation while padding out the package with some commercials from around the world & other treats? Sonic Jam was, for many fans, their first glimpse at how SEGA marketed Sonic in Japan.
89: Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker (1990)
While not the best game in the gameplay department, Moonwalker perfectly encapsulated what made the King of Pop such a phenomenon. Hearing the Genesis output such classics as Billy Jean and Smooth Criminal while blasting away evil gangsters with dance moves and a monkey is something that has never been matched.
90: World of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck (1992)
Directed by Emiko Yamamoto, of Castle of Illusion fame, this in-house followup to Mickey’s first Illusion adventure added Donald Duck to the mix and introduced a fun magician element which allowed players to cast spells and transform enemies into harmless objects.
91: Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine (1993)
Mega Drive/Genesis, Master System, Game Gear
While western gamers are now well acquainted with Puyo Puyo, back in 1993 most Genesis owners were introduced to the puzzle franchise by way of Sonic the Hedgehog. Bizarrely based on the syndicated weekly Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon, Mean Bean retained the addictive gameplay and catchy music that made Puyo Puyo the success it now is.
92: Columns (1990)
Arcade, Mega Drive/Genesis, Master System, Game Gear
SEGA’s answer to Tetris didn’t see the fame that Puyo Puyo did, but it did offer an alternative to the Soviet Union block stacker on a large variety of platforms. Call it blasphemy, but some consider Columns over Tetris. Must be the Greek flavor that pushes it over the top.
93 (TIE): Sonic R (1997)
Developed by Traveller’s Tales, this Sonic racing game forgoed the cars and pitted Sonic characters against each other on foot – the way Naka intended! Despite control and camera issues, the game offered up catchy music and bright and colorful graphics.
93 (TIE): Streets of Rage 3 (1994)
While not as celebrated as the first two, there is still plenty of fun to be had in the third Streets of Rage. Yuzo Koshiro’s soundtrack is especially interesting he introduced the “Automated Composing System” which created randomized music sequences.
94: Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F (2012)
Hatsune Miku’s fifth game in the Project Diva series saw release on home and handheld platforms, with an uppercase F and an italic f differentiating the two versions. While the core gameplay remains the same, F/f adds a star symbol which represents a “scratch” move in which players rub the screen or flick the analog stick.
95 (TIE): After Burner Climax (2006)
Arcade, Xbox 360, PS3
It is rare for SEGA to return to an arcade classic, but when they do man do they knock it out of the park. In the case of After Burner Climax, everything players loved about the original After Burner is turned up to 11 with eye-popping visuals, pumping remixed music, and the Matrix-like Climax Mode which slows down time. The game was later ported to mobile phones.
When game designer Yoot Saito unleashed this bizarre title to the SEGA Dreamcast, most people just chuckled at the name. But those who played it found a surprisingly deep and addictive game. While the voice recognition wasn’t perfect, for the time it was revolutionary. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to feed my seaman.
96: MadWorld (2009)
This over the top hack and slash from Platinum Games was not the type of software would would expect on Nintendo’s family friendly Wii, and that’s why we loved it. Presented in black, white and red the game combined a post apocalyptic setting with reality television to create a truly unique game. Platinum attempted to revive the series with 2012’s Anarchy Reigns, but SEGA didn’t seem to care enough about their investment to market it.
97: Sonic Spinball (1993)
After experiencing Sonic 2’s Casino Night Zone, gamers were left wondering what a full-on Sonic pinball game would be like. They didn’t have to wait long, as SEGA answered that question with Sonic Spinball. The game doesn’t perfectly recreate Sonic 2’s physics, but it does offer up great graphics, catchy music and addicting pinball gameplay. The game was later ported to Game Gear and Master System.
98: Wonder Boy In Monster Land (1987)
Arcade, Master System
Westone Bit’s second Wonder Boy game changed the genre to action RPG, playing similarly to other home console RPGs of the time. What made Wonder Boy unique was that it attempted to fuse arcade and home console RPG elements, and the game itself released to arcades and soon after to the SEGA Master System. In 2008, game designer Hideki Kamiya (Director of Bayonetta) listed Wonder Boy in Monster Land among his favorite games, citing it as one of the games that influenced his work.
99: Sonic Heroes (2003)
GameCube, Xbox, PS2
Some fans may scoff at the fact that Sonic Heroes made the list, but consider these points: the game was the first and only Sonic game to feature a dozen playable characters, the first multi-platform Sonic game and the best-selling 3D Sonic game to date. Also, Big the Cat made his triumphant return to gaming.
100: Fantasy Zone 2 (1987)
Fantasy Zone was originally a game released exclusively for the Master System, but later got remade as a hypothetical arcade version called Fantasy Zone II W. The game plays like the first Fantasy Zone, but introduces the concept of warps. In the Master System version you warped between areas, while in the arcade version you can optionally warp between the Light World and Dark World, the latter being more difficult but also more rewarding. The game was later remade for System 16 hardware by M2 in 2008, and this version was later released to the Nintendo 3DS by way of the 3D Classics Collection.
Top 100 games by platform
The Genesis/Mega Drive, Arcade, Saturn and Dreamcast made up nearly half of the list, with the Genesis/Mega Drive being the clear favorite era of games. Interestingly, despite the Dreamcast’s popularity, the console was just barely beaten out by the Saturn. Arcade ranked second, and the large percentage makes sense given that for the sake of this list we did not differentiate arcade boards or eras, considering arcade as a platform of its own. It’s pretty amazing that PS3 managed to beat out PC when for the sake of this list PC, like arcade, is a broad platform.
Top 100 games by release year
SEGA’s first party era as a hardware maker and game developer lasted 17 years, 8 months and 16 days, and the third party era will match this duration on December 16, 2018. While SEGA’s output has lessened since the discontinuation of the Dreamcast, it says something of their quality since going third party when the list is nearly 40% post-2001 era games. SEGA hardware not represented on the list include the SG-1000, 32X and Pico, though it could be argued that Space Harrier on 32X could count. 1993 is clearly the most popular year for favorite games, and it makes sense given both the quality of SEGA’s output at that time and the amount of hardware that was being supported simultaneously. There almost appears to be a rise and fall in the 90s, with 1993 being the peak. A decline in favorites occurs between 2001 and 2003, with a drought between 2004 and 2005. Despite Sonic’s performance that year, 2006 saw several favorites across multiple platforms. 2010 and 2012 are clearly SEGA’s most popular years in the third party era. It will be interesting to see how 2002 through 2015 will be viewed in another ten years, as often nostalgia can give a boost to favorite video games. 2017, not represented on this list, is already looking like SEGA’s best year for games since 2012.
Top 10 games by release year
As far as the top 10 games, nearly every era (aside from modern consoles) and nearly every major SEGA home console (aside from the Master System) sees representation, though there is a clear favorite. The Dreamcast sees five games cracking the top 10, while the Genesis sees three games and the Saturn sees one. Shenmue II gives the Xbox representation on the top 10, with the only other third party era game being 2008’s Valkyria Chronicles for the PS3 at number 10. This is pretty big news for fans of the series, as it is the only SEGA developed franchise born out of the third party era to even make the top 25, though the Platinum Games developed Bayonetta did place 17th and several sequels and franchise crossovers from the third party era did make the top 25. It would be interesting to see how the Yakuza series is seen in another few years, given the resurgence that took place this past year.
There are lots of numbers to pour over, including several games that did not make the top 100. Expect more franchise exclusive lists in the coming weeks as well as additional analysis. In the meantime, discuss the list in the comments below, on our forums or the SEGAbits Discord chat!