SEGA Sequels: My top 5 SEGA Sequels

Maybe it’s because I view video games each as “experiences” as opposed to just looking at them as “games,” but I’m definitely judgemental of sequels when they’re announced.

Let me try to put this into perspective. If I’m enjoying a game, I dig everything about journeying from its intro all the way to the final save screen after the end credits. Gameplay is definitely an important aspect of what makes me consider a great game *great* but it’s not the only aspect. For me the sense of discovery that a new experience brings is another major reason I love playing video games, and it’s the reason I often don’t care about sequels. I just find it a rarity that a sequel that’s not at least five years away from the original (or on new hardware) has the capability to replicate that same sense of discovery for me.

Then there are times when I’m surprised.

There have been many SEGA sequels over the years that have been able to break through the barriers that usually prevent me from enjoying sequels as much as the originals. I’m looking at my top 5 in this week’s SEGA Sequel Saturdays, Episode 7.

In no order, here they are:

Yakuza 2

This is actually an iffy one to put up here because in so many ways, this is an example of the type of sequel I hate. Re-slapping together the engine from the first game to throw a gameplay experience together without (much of) anything new…not good. What saves Yakuza 2, though, and makes it such a successful sequel, is the brilliant storyline; a definite evolution over the 1st game’s great, but imperfect, narrative.

From the start Yakuza 2 tells an involving tale that grabbed me and never let go. The atmospheric, intense, and perfectly directed scenes were enhanced by the writers’ embrace of artsy film noir elements that disappointingly didn’t continue for part 3.

Throughout Yakuza 2’s story I knew I was watching something incredible. The stabbing scene on the waterfront, which occurs in the midst of a torrential downpour as a soulful Japanese singer takes hold of the soundtrack, is so shocking and violent and yet at the same time, serene and beautiful, almost dream-like. That was when I knew I was witnessing true art. (Sorry Roger Ebert.)

Toejam and Earl: Panic on Funkatron

Probably this will be a controversial entry, but I actually loved this game. Back in the day my friends and I would play it constantly, not even knowing that it was a sequel. Eventually I did get to try the first game (which the developers and many fans consider to be superior) and I couldn’t get into it.

Panic on Funkatron just had such a great atmosphere; I thought the planet was inviting and funny, all the aliens you came in contact with were likable, and damnit, sidescrollers are a lot of fun to play in co-op. I personally thought all these changes were for the better. People look at this as a sequel that was too different from the original, which is something I’d agree with, though for me, having played the original, this was not a negative.

Sonic Adventure 2

Say what you will about SonicTeam, but they at the very least are willing to switch it up for their blue hedgehog. Sonic Adventure 2 was a different game from the first one in pretty much every category. To this day I can’t say for sure whether I prefer Sonic’s 2nd Adventure or his first, but that’s not really the point. The point is, SonicTeam had an incredibly well-liked and successful Sonic Adventure title, and even with that knowledge, they designed a sequel with a different structure, with a different type of soundtrack, with no hub worlds, and even came up with an idea that was (at the time) pretty daring: Play as the good guys or the bad guys.

Where Sonic Adventure 2 gets the real credit goes to its unlockables, and especially to its improved Chao gardens, which, alone, justified the sequel.

Like the best sequels, people will argue back and forth about whether it or its predecessor was better. Either way, we’re looking at two different games that were great in different ways.

Shenmue II

I’ve talked about Shenmue II so much on here, but that’s because it’s a textbook example of a sequel done well. Without breaking from the foundation established by the original, Shenmue II introduced a host of new features such as jobs and gambling, while at the same time fixing up the question-and-answer system to allow you to choose what to ask people. These updates may not look like much on paper but they benefit the game so much that it’s almost hard to go back to Shenmue 1 knowing that it won’t have these fundamental improvements.

Not to mention Shenmue II’s much larger world, edgier action, and (in my opinion) a far superior soundtrack…which is saying a lot. The epic story continued, and hopefully will continue again someday soon.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Good old Sonic 2. Faster levels, fewer acts but more stages (a great idea that was stupidly ignored from the regression known as Sonic 4….more on that sequel next week) the addition of Tails, *sort of* co-op play, better bosses, better music, multiplayer, and a great ending. Yup, sounds like a sequel done perfectly. It created not a rehash of the first game but an entirely new experience that felt fresh all over again.

Of course, this list was based only on sequels that I’ve played, and I’ve missed plenty of them, especially from back in the day. I’m sure all of you have completely different lists, so feel free to post them below.

And thanks for reading. Next week SEGA Sequel Saturdays will take a look at 5 SEGA Sequels that disappointed, so tune back in then. For now drop some comments and let us know what you think!

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24 responses to “SEGA Sequels: My top 5 SEGA Sequels

  1. Panzer Dragoon Zwei, Phantasy Star 2, Revenge of Shinobi, House of the Dead 2. Those would be mine. (4)

  2. DCGX says:

    Hmm. Mine would be:

    – Shenmue II

    – Sonic 2

    – Jet Set Radio Future

    – Space Channel 5 Part 2

    – Streets of Rage 2

  3. nuckles87 says:

    I guess Mine would be…

    Panzer Dragoon Orta

    Sonic 3 & Knuckles

    Sonic Adventure 2

    Yakuza 2

    Shenmue 2

    Really, I don't really love SEGA for their sequels. Haven't even finished Yakuza 2, but it was still way better then the original XD.

    Keep in mind when your talking about Sonic 4's "regression", that it's an episodic game, and only the first episode is out. You haven't seen the full game yet.

  4. cube_b3 says:

    Wonderful article read it all but will comment slowly on it.

    First you don't need new hardware at all for a sequel. A hardware blossoms (can't find a better word unfortunately) with the experience developers collect on it. Compare PS2's early games such as Resident Evil: Code Veronica to Resident Evil 4.

    I do agree that sequels demand a healthy gap, the whole yearly thing is cow milking bull shit. But skip a year or 2 is fine by me.

  5. -nSega54- says:

    2 years is doable. Galaxy 2 is a great example of that working out well.

    But you look at a lot of 2 year games like Gears of War's sequels and the Halo's and it's like….they're *good* but they all feel like the same damn game. Bioshock 2 feels IDENTICAL to the 1st one, it's even hard to tell them apart if you see them side-by-side unless you know what to look for.

    The reason I mentioned a hardware jump is because new hardware can often make stale, unchanged gameplay (Yakuza 3) feel a bit more fresh.

  6. cube_b3 says:

    I was really disappointed that Y2 made your list. I really don't like that game it makes me like the 1st one less because by the time we got the 1st game the 2nd game was already out. I was disappointed Sega West didn't incorporate the fast load times for Y1.

    To each his own I guess but Y2 was such a disappointment that I lost interest in Yakuza altogether but Aki-At and Sharky have convinced me to give Yakuza 3 a try so i'll play it in the summer holidays I guess.

  7. crackdude says:

    Sonic Adventure 2

    Jet Set Radio Future

    House of the Dead 2

    Outrun 2 (sue me but I think its amazing to have the same feel as a 15/20 year old game)

    Space Channel 5 part 2

    I would also add Shenmue 2 and make it a top6 lol

    I liked this article. I bet next week there will be some soni4 bashing. But sonic4 was a nice game..dont be too hard 😉

    How does one get to write these nice articles?

  8. Sharky says:

    I cannot possible name just 5… So I'll name around 10…

    -Shenmue 2

    -Panzer Dragoon Orta/Saga (can't choose)

    -Jet Set Radio Future

    -Phantasy Star Online Ver2.

    -Shining Force 2/3 (can't choose)

    -Yakuza 2

    -Shinobi 3: RotNM

    -Phantasy Star 4

    -O.TO.GI 2

    Special Mention

    -OutRun 2

    -Streets of Rage 2

  9. I thought by sequel he meant only #2 games. I would have chosen Orta or Saga, but I kept the same rule as the article.

  10. SOUP says:

    Space Channel 5: Part 2

  11. crackdude says:

    How is PSOver2 a sequel?

    That makes Burnout Paradise Complete Box a sequel to Burnout Paradise

  12. PSO ver. 2 did have new stages and continued the story, if I remember correctly, so it technically is a sequel. Unless Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II is a more apt sequel.

  13. -nSega54- says:

    "I thought by sequel he meant only #2 games. "

    Nah it can be any sequel. The article only having "2" games was just a coincidence.

    Pretty much, it's rare for me to even like a "2" sequel, but even rarer to like a "3" sequel. While I loved Sonic the Hedghog 2, Sonic 3 disappointed me by being too short and not feeling complete. (Of course, combining it with Sonic and Knuckles told a different story, though of course that means you had to pay, what, $100 for the full game? Ugh.)

    Cube: I'm not sure how you couldn't find Yakuza 2's story to be captivating, but to each his own. I'd just wait for Yakuza 4, looks so much better than part 3. Yakuza 3 was good but…….eh. If you couldn't get through Yakuza 2 I'm not sure why Yakuza 3 would change your mind.

  14. cube_b3 says:

    The man who supposedly knows everything doesn't know that he has a Korean spy working right under him :S.

    The 1st Yakuza game was pretty weak as well, but it had a supplementary live action prequel and honestly that movie really raised my expectations of Yakuza through the roof, but it also motivated me to enjoy the game even though the plot was getting insanely convoluted and stupid.

    Let's not get into it, the important thing is you perceived Yakuza 2 as a evolutionary sequel, and it is your list :).

    Unless you lied just to put a recent SEGA title on the list :P.

  15. -nSega54- says:

    lol Yakuza 2 to me was an evolutionary sequel in the PLOT department. Gameplay-wise, no, but like I said in my opening paragrah, sometimes it's about more than just gameplay.

    As far as the Korean spy thing, just keep in mind that these people are all human, and sometimes humans make mistakes. It's that simple.

    Edit: By the way, thanks for all the comments, guys. We at SEGAbits appreciate all of them.

  16. cube_b3 says:

    That's why we make most of them :P.

  17. Cube! That's funny that you fund fault with a character flaw in Yakuza 2 and find it unrealistic, but then don't mention how Kazuma kills a tiger by punching it in the face in mid-leap. 🙂

  18. CrazyTails says:

    I remember my brothers sitting next to me while beating t he hell outta those 2 tigers. Ah, that tigerpunch was priceless. We all literally almost shat ourselves.

  19. CrazyTails says:

    Anyway, great article nSEGA. I agreed with everything, even the toejam and earl part lol. I love the second game far more than the first. Your opinion gets crazytail's seal of APROVALL!!!!! BOOOOM!!!!!!

  20. -nSega54- says:

    hahaha thanks a lot! I appreciate it.

  21. cube_b3 says:

    Surprisingly I don't remember punching tiger.

    But yeah, the narrative is confusing it doesn't know if it is a serious narrative with in the confines of reality or an over the top not taking it self to seriously kind.

  22. -nSega54- says:

    Yeah there's a big fight with Kazuma facing down 2 tigers, lol. I forgot about that too.

  23. cube_b3 says:

    I still don't remember it.

    Meaningful fully realised heart felt stories are more memorable than crappy tiger fights for stupid thrills.

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