On April 18th, 2023, Sega added Flicky, Kid Chameleon, Pulseman, and Street Fighter II: Special Championship Edition to Sega Genesis – Nintendo Switch Online. This is the first update to the NSO Sega Genesis collection for 2023. Japan, of course, gets the same four games at the same time.
All four games are immediately accessible to Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack subscribers following a quick patch update to the app. For more info on each game, check in after the break for a synopsis on each game.
Flicky (1991) is the Genesis port of the Sega System 1 arcade game from 1984. In Japan, this game was released as a download exclusive title on the short lived Sega Game Tosokan service, but outside of Japan, the game received an ordinary retail release on a physical cartridge.
This game saw you playing as the titular Flicky, rescuing smaller birds called “Chirps” from the household cats known as “Tigers”, and later, the iguanas known as “Iggies”. You need to lead each Chirp to the exit as they follow you from behind, with a bigger point bonus being added to your overall score based on how many Chirps you can lead safely to the exit at once, with eight total in each stage. The Tigers and Iggies can break up the Chirps if they come in contact with them, and can cost you a life if they catch Flicky himself. Every few stages, you play a bonus round where you have to catch as many Chirps into a net as possible as they’re launched into the air with catapults by Tigers.
Flicky is a good example of an early 80’s arcade game and plays exactly as such. In fact, if the gameplay sounds familiar, that’s because it’s more or less the same gameplay from the later Sonic 3D Blast, where the Flicky from this game would make their debut as part of the Sonic the Hedgehog universe. In Sonic 3D Blast, Sonic had to rescue Flickies under the same stipulations, but in a pseudo-3D environment. Flicky shows a comparatively primitive example of this sort of gameplay, and is worth a try to see an example of a game from Sega’s earliest years as a video game developer, predating some of their biggest hits of the 80’s like OutRun, Alex Kidd in Miracle World, and Phantasy Star.
Kid Chameleon (1992) is an original action platformer by Sega Technical Institute, one of the earliest hit games from the short-lived American development studio, with programming done, in part, by Mark Cerny and art done, in part, by Craig Stitt. The game stars the kid known only as Kid Chameleon, who sets off into a virtual game world that’s the hot new game of the time. The game’s main villain, Heady Metal, had broken free of it’s own scripted AI and is trapping other children playing this game within it’s virtual space. It’s up to Kid Chameleon to take advantage of the many superpowered suits within the game to defeat Heady Metal and rescue the kids imprisoned within this virtual landscape.
While not being a VR game in any sense, the game remains rather topical within a future where VR gaming is fully realized and rather commonplace, where even Sega Amusements is now publishing a VR game for arcade settings. Kid Chameleon is, of course, a fun action platformer that should appear rather similar to Super Mario Bros., in which you obtain powerups from floating blocks that you break from below, leaving powerups that, not only give you extra resilience from enemies, but also grant you extra abilities for defense and traversal, including the “Iron Knight”, which allows you to ram through breakable blocks and climb walls and the “Maniax”, which lets you throw axes at enemies. The game boasts over 100 levels too, so don’t be afraid to put the save state feature on Nintendo Switch Online to use. As one of the first major hit games from Sega’s American branch, Kid Chameleon is worth a look.
Pulseman (1994) is an action platformer published by Sega and developed by Game Freak. Yes, the very same Game Freak that would later go on to develop all the mainline Pokémon games to this day. In fact, Pulseman’s character art was made by Pokémon’s main character and creature artist for many years, and the artist behind the cover art for Sega 3D Classics Collection, Ken Sugimori, and it’s music is composed by Pokémon’s longtime main composer Junichi Masuda, so a lot of designs and music are likely to remind you of the Pokémon series of games and media. The character Pulseman would later go on to be the inspiration for the Pokémon Rotom. That’s only the tip of the iceberg for all the times Pulseman was referenced in Pokémon too. Pulseman is the main hero of this adventure, which released exclusively in Japan. It was occasionally available on the Sega Channel in North America, with it’s only other official western release until now being as part of the Wii Virtual Console in 2009. It now finally reappears on a modern Nintendo platform and, like Mega Man: The Wily Wars, has come full circle as a part of a modern digital games-on-demand service.
In 2015 (Now eight years from this writing, mind you) Doc Yoshiyama fell in love with an AI program of his own creation and birthed a digital offspring from that union, that being none other than Pulseman. His time in cyberspace drove Doc Yoshiyama mad, however, transforming him into the evil Doc Waruyama and prompting him to form the evil cyberterrorist group known as the Galaxy Gang to wreak havoc in the real world. Fortunately, Pulseman, having been the child of a living being and a virtual being, can freely travel between the real world and the digital dimension. Taking advantage of this natural ability, he, with the assistance of his own digital girlfriend Beatrice, sets out to defeat the Galaxy Gang and save the world from their wrath while occasionally battling with Doc Waruyama himself and a mysterious being that shares his likeness and his unique Voltteccer attack.
One of the best action platformers ever released on the Sega Mega-Drive, Pulseman impresses with it’s abstract, labyrinthian level design and it’s ultra clear digitized speech, which is all in English despite originally being a Japan exclusive game. Whether you play it through Nintendo Switch Online or through other means, you’d be doing yourself a major disservice by passing up Pulseman, especially if you’re already a Pokémon fan. Even though it is a platformer and not an RPG, many parts of this game are sure to remind you of Pokémon and you have to see it to believe it.
Finally, Street Fighter II’: Special Champion Edition (1993) is the original Sega home console version of the legendary 1991 arcade fighting game from Capcom. The game is a special amalgamation of the two arcade games Street Fighter II’: Champion Edition and Street Fighter II’: Hyper Fighting. Featuring all the original eight World Warriors and the four boss characters, Special Champion Edition allowed players the choice between the specific balancing changes between Champion Edition and the later Hyper Fighting, for those privy to such rulesets. There were also 11 speed settings, so if you wanted to, you could have the game run at sonic speed for a real challenge. It even included the Genesis exclusive Group Battle mode, which allowed two players to play against each other with a team of up to six characters. This provided Sega fans a rather excellent Street Fighter II home experience, even when compared to equally good ports available on the Super Nintendo at the time. Rest assured, this is one of the better versions of Street Fighter II from the 16-bit console years.
Of course, being a six-button arcade game, this prompted Sega to develop the 6-button Arcade Pad, which is compatible with this game. While Nintendo themselves only offers a modernized version of the original Genesis 3-button gamepad for Sega Genesis – Nintendo Switch Online, you may want to opt for a compatible 6+ button controller to play this game, like the Big6 from Retro-Bit, which has finally begun shipping.
The previous Genesis update to Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack released in December of 2022 and consisted of Golden Axe II, Alien Storm, Columns, and Virtua Fighter 2.
Check the Sega Genesis – Nintendo Switch Online page to download the Genesis app onto your Switch and see the full list of currently available games. For additional info on Nintendo Switch Online and its other benefits, check here.
Let us know in the comments below what you think of this update. Have you played any of these four games before? If so, tell us why Pulseman is your favorite game, because I’m dying to know.Ad: