Given the success of the Sonic CD rerelease, both critically and in sales, I think it’s about time SEGA gave Retro Engine creator Christian Whitehead his own studio tasked with rereleasing more classic SEGA games from the Genesis/Mega Drive era. While the Retro Engine can cover more than just SEGA CD titles, I think the SEGA CD library is long overdue for some ports. While the SEGA CD console gets a fair share of shit from the gaming community, there is no denying that the add-on had a number of awesome games. In this week’s Weekly Five we’ll highlight five great SEGA CD games that deserve a rerelease utilizing the Retro Engine. I’ve tried to keep the list tied to games that SEGA could conceivably rerelease, so there is no Snatcher due to that title being owned by Konami.
Eternal Champions 2
Developed by Sega Interactive Development Division (SIDD?), Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side was a sequel to the Genesis fighter Eternal Champions. Many wrote it off as SEGA simply trying to replicate the success of Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat, and it was pretty evident that that was SEGA’s plan. However, that does not mean the original and it’s sequel are unworthy games. The first title has seen a rerelease on Nintendo’s Virtual Console, however the sequel has yet to see a rerelease. SEGA needs to fix that pronto, and what better way than with an enhanced rerelease utilizing the Retro Engine? The game features excellent CD-quality sound,
a diverse lineup of characters (a voodoo priest, a Washington senator and a chicken all in one game!) and a number of finishing moves. A game this wild deserves a wider audience.
Shining Force CD
The more rare and expensive the game, the more deserving of a rerelease. Consider a game like Shining Force CD. It’s a pretty pricey game, ranging from $60 to $200. The series has a sizable fanbase, with new games bearing the “Shining” title still being released. Given the high price of the original, the fanbase that is there and services like XBLA and PSN allowing for digital titles to be released, a Shining Force CD rerelease needs to happen. The game itself is a remake of the two Game Gear Shining Force titles, presented as in-game books. The game also features two “books” exclusive to the game, offering up four full stories taking place within the Shining Force world. This sort of game makes for the perfect entry point for newcomers to the franchise, as they can easily play a more bite sized game via the books and feel accomplished, despite only playing a quarter of the game. Since the series is so addicting, players are sure to then complete the other three books and then dive into the first two titles. Really, it’s a win-win for SEGA and the fans. SEGA makes more money and Shining Force gains a larger audience, which in turn directs newcomers to past and future titles of the franchise.
Despite not being a SEGA published title, I have hope that SEGA could make some sort of deal with the rights holder of the game. Surely they could use the money. Popful Mail is a fun, quirky action RPG with great cutscenes and well voice acted characters. The sprites may not be as detailed as those seen in other RPGs, but the personalities of the characters really gives the game a lot of depth. You play a plucky young bounty hunter named Popful Mail out to claim the bounty on a wizard named Muttonhead. Yeah, that’s his name. As you progress through the game, you gain the ability to play as two other characters. The game is much more like a platformer than a typical RPG, allowing those who are more versed in Sonic and Mario to enjoy the game. Oh, and Sonic makes a tiny visual cameo, so all SEGA needs to do is rerelease this and claim it features Sonic. I’m sure they’ll make millions!
Ecco the Dolphin
The Master System has Alex Kidd, the Genesis had Sonic and the SEGA CD had Ecco the Dolphin. Ecco was and is the star of the add-on in my opinion. Sure, Sonic CD is great, but Ecco had two titles both of which were much improved over their Genesis counterparts thanks in large part to the music. Ah, the music of Ecco. There is nothing more relaxing than booting up the SEGA CD late at night, turning up the volume and just cruising the sea with Ecco. I think this game would benefit from an increased screen size, like Sonic CD, as the player would be able to see much more of the sea around them. Of course, if SEGA is to rerelease the first game, they’d have to rerelease…
Ecco: The Tides of Time
Just as good, if not better than the first, Ecco: The Tides of Time featured even prettier graphics and some of the best music heard on the SEGA CD. Composer Spencer Nilsen, of Sonic CD fame in America, gives the gave a very moody early 90’s sound that perfectly suits the underwater time travel story. As the story of Tides of Time picks up where the first game ended, I think it would be great of SEGA to rerelease both games together. Have the game boot up with a special screen in which the player can choose either game or an option to play both games back to back. Until SEGA gets around to giving these gems a proper rerelease, enjoy the music:Ad: