The SEGA Five: Ways to experience Sakura Taisen


Sakura Taisen has had an interesting history in the West. Though the first four games that make up the core of the franchise were never localized, the series’ anime and manga adaptions were. As a result, Sakura Taisen was able to establish a cult following in the West, one strong enough to spawn continued interest in the franchise from both fans and corporations years later.

Thanks to the efforts of these companies and fans, there are now several ways for western audiences to get a taste of the franchise. Though they are not all complete and they are not all convenient, these are the five ways you can experience the biggest SEGA franchise to never officially make it West.

This is the Westerner’s guide to Sakura Wars.

(Special Note: the information from this list is derived from Kori Maru’s extensive knowledge of the franchise. He was gracious enough to help us out with the research for this article)

The SEGA Five: Ristar’s Coolest Bosses

Ristar has some of the most spectacular and varied bosses I’ve ever experienced in a sidescrolling platformer. Though they aren’t all hits (such as Scorch’s somewhat irritating Simon Say’s sub boss) the five bosses below will remain some of the most memorable experiences I’ve had on the Genesis (and Game Gear), Ristar’s rogues gallery has some star players that are worth highlighting. I’d like to note that I purposefully left out the final bosses of the games, partially to avoid spoiling people who haven’t beaten these cult classics, and to highlight some more varied experiences from the games.

Some of these bosses never received official names. This article will be referencing the names used in Ristar Star Cluster for this article.

The SEGA Five: Five Game Gear games that need to come to eShop

3DSGG copy

This may not surprise you, but I was a Game Gear kid. While everyone else was bringing their Game Boys to school, I happily chugged away on my full color backlit power house, playing Sonic Triple Trouble, Lion King and Lucky Dime Caper. So when I heard the 3DS was going to have its own handheld centric Virtual Console, I was stoked. Finally, some of my favorite games from childhood would be available to play on a modern screen!
So far, SEGA’s selection of Game Gear titles have been pretty solid, with only a handful of mediocre Sonic games ruining what is an otherwise fine selection. Yet, there are still some spectacular titles missing from the line-up, titles which should be given their due before SEGA calls it quits on the Virtual Console.

The SEGA Five: Opa-Opa’s greatest cameo appearances


Before Sonic came along in 1991, SEGA had its fair share of mascots. Ask a SEGA fan in the 1980’s who SEGA’s current mascot was, and you’d likely receive a variety of answers. Some may point to the Shinobi arcade game star Joe Musashi, while others may point to the Mario-like Master System star Alex Kidd. Opa-Opa of Fantasy Zone was another of these mascots vying for the SEGA throne, and if you ask me he was the most worthy of the crown. While Opa-Opa lacked an expressive face, a drawback that some say was the reason Alex Kidd came out ahead of the sentient spaceship, I say he made up for it with a simple yet memorable design that evoked SEGA’s quirky nature at the time. Opa-Opa is both cute with his bright colors and white wings, and hardcore with his jet propulsion and firepower. He also fits in perfectly with the “blue skies” aesthetic SEGA is well known for thanks to the fact that the skies are where Opa-Opa spends a majority of his time.

Since his debut in 1986, Opa-Opa has made cameo appearances in several SEGA games, a testament to Opa-Opa’s original design. In fact, Opa-Opa’s cameo career began the very year he debuted and his cameo appearances continue through to today. In this week’s Weekly Five we’ll be highlighting some of Opa-Opa’s greatest appearances, from playable to non-playable and from obscure to blatantly obvious. Yes, Shenmue made the list, you can stop holding your breath Ryo Hazuki fans.

The SEGA Five: Shenmue’s craziest moments

segabits shenmue feature pic

It was a day of deathly quiet as Ryo hurried up the path to the Hazuki dojo, well aware that something was amiss. Minutes later, he would witness the murder of his father at the hands of Lan Di, an event that would forever alter the course of his existence.

Shenmue was a series that began dramatically, but quietly. Iwao’s death was one showcased with a degree of style, but the next few hours of the game saw the Hazuki dojo grieving, with Ryo searching through town for the most mundane of clues. It was a deliberately-paced start that may have mislead some into believing that they’d began a subtle and realistic experience; and to an extent, they wouldn’t be wrong. But Shenmue is, at heart, a Kung Fu epic.  And like in almost any of those, it doesn’t take long at all for the adventure to fly off the rails. In a good way.

The SEGA Five: Best SEGA games on the Xbox 360

Today is the launch day for the Xbox One in America, and as people head to stores to pick up the latest console, the Xbox 360 officially becomes a “last gen” machine. Last week George named the five best SEGA titles to grace the Playstation 3, and seeing as how I’m the site’s Xbox guy, I thought I’d do the same for the Xbox 360. As with George’s list, these are my personal picks, so feel free to add any titles in the comments section!

The SEGA Five: Best SEGA games on Playstation 3

Today is the launch day for the Playstation 4 in America, many people are grabbing up the ‘next generation’ consoles and soon Playstation 3 will be a relic like the Playstation 2 before it. So I think its the perfect time to remember SEGA’s best Playstation 3 games. This is my personal list, if you want to share your favorites let us know in the comment section!

The SEGA Five: Cancelled SEGA 32X games that could have been great

Written by My Life with SEGA’s A.J. Rosa

Much has been said about SEGA’s last console add-on. Jaremy Parish of stated in his article ’20 Years Ago, SEGA Gave Us the SEGA CD’ that the 32X “tainted just about everything it touched.” GamesRadar was far more damning with their Top-10 List of Worst Consoles, where the “product of boneheaded short-sightedness” placed ninth. Oh, that wasn’t harsh enough. They went on to call it “an embarrassing footnote in console history, as well as an object lesson in why console makers shouldn’t split their user base with pricey add-ons.”

Obviously, the 32X has left quite an impression. That’s nothing new though. Prior to it’s release, the 32X was met with some enthusiasm; most notably, I feel, in EGM2’s July ’94 issue. In their special feature “32X Brings the Arcade Home!”, they were impressed with its technical specifications and ever widening list of third-party support, such as Activision, Atlus, Capcom, Core Design, Crystal Dynamics, GameTek, Interplay, Konami, Time Warner Interactive, Vic Tokai, Virgin Interactive, Acclaim and Sunsoft….just to name a few. Kenji Hiraoka, former president of Konami of America, is quoted “We have seen the specs on 32X, and are thoroughly impressed by how powerful it is. We can make amazing games on this platform.”

Shame they didn’t, which brings us to…. My personal Top 5 List of Cancelled 32X Titles!

SEGA Five: How to be the best Dreamcast collector that you can be

In celebration of Dreamcast month, the Friday Five is back! In this installment, I thought I’d share some collecting tips for both budding, and seasoned, Dreamcast collectors. Despite the Dreamcast’s short lifespan, the console has a vast library and a number of accessories. In total, there exist around seven hundred and twenty Dreamcast games, both licensed and unlicensed. Accessories range from various controllers, to keyboards, mice, lightguns, twinsticks, arcade sticks, cameras, and more! Suffice to say, collecting for the Dreamcast is a lot of fun.

Let’s kick off the list with one of the most important things a Dreamcast collector needs to remember…

The SEGA Five: Last generation SEGA IPs that I want to see return next generation

Last generation might not have been the best time for SEGA fans, the start of 2006 was pretty rocky with SEGA totally ruining the image of Sonic the Hedgehog and releasing a slew of blunders through out the generation. That doesn’t mean that beneath the piles of garbage there wasn’t some great IPs, right? This list will consist of five last generation SEGA IPs (this means that they debuted, brand new on Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and/or Wii) that I want to return on next generation consoles (be it Wii U, Xbox One or Playstation 4).

The SEGA Five: Reasons Why Sonic Being Nintendo Exclusive is a Good Thing

I think everyone on the internet could name a few reasons why they don’t want their beloved Sonic the Hedgehog franchise to be exclusive to Nintendo platforms. First of all, the Wii U isn’t a power house. It is stated that it has the same capabilities as the Xbox 360/Playstation 3. But it seems that SEGA has inked a deal to have the next three Sonic the Hedgehog games exclusive to Nintendo platforms. So why isn’t this a bad thing?

The Weekly Five: Genesis/Mega Drive classics that deserve the retro engine treatment

Ever since SEGA announced the Sonic CD re-release running on the Retro Engine, I had a long list of retro titles that I wanted to see use the engine. Then after awhile SEGA stopped announcing titles for it, then out of the blue they announce Sonic 1 & 2 re-releases using the engine. As much as I love Sonic, there are plenty of SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive games that I would love to see running on the Retro Engine. Check out the five games I would want to get the Retro Engine treatment and what type of extras I would love to see for them.

SEGA Five: Why you should own a 32X

As November comes to a close, so does our 32X month. Our My Life With SEGA video series has featured the ill-fated add-on in weekly video reviews, and I thought it would be fitting to end 32X month with an extra special SEGA Five. I’ll admit it, I was a 32X hater until not too long ago. When the add-on released in 1994 I didn’t quite understand what it was. The Genesis already took cartridges, and CD’s thanks to an add-on, so why was yet another add-on being introduced? To be fair to myself, I was only 10 years old at the time, and before I completely understood what SEGA was trying to do with the 32X, the add-on was dead. A few years later I began to understand what the 32X was, and thought it was a complete joke.

A giant plastic mushroom that only offered up an additional 36 titles to Americans, and even then a bulk of the games were not worth owning? HA! Much later, the Angry Video Game Nerd tore the 32X to shreds and finished it off with an arrow. Again, I laughed. But soon, I became acquainted with sites like the SEGA Junkyard blogs (see our SEGA Network links in the right column to check those out) and in turn began to appreciate aspects of SEGA that I originally only thought negatively of or outright ignored. In October 2009, I finally gave in and bought a 32X used (with all cords, amazingly) off ebay for $30. It was one of the best SEGA purchases I ever made, and I’ll tell you why.