On June 27th, 2023, Sega added Crusader of Centy, Ghouls n’ Ghosts, Landstalker, and The Revenge of Shinobi to Sega Genesis – Nintendo Switch Online. 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.
Crusader of Centy (1995) (Known in Europe as Soleil and in Japan as Shin Souseiki Ragnacenty) is an action RPG originally published in North America by Atlus and in Japan and Europe by Sega and developed by Gau Entertainment, who were acquired by Nextech during development. Some of you may recall that in 2021, Sega owned the rights to some of Nextech’s games made for Genesis and Saturn, including Crusader of Centy, and they had to renew their copyrights. Some of you may also recall that Crusader of Centy was recently part of the Sega Genesis Mini 2.
Crusader of Centy centers around the young protagonist
COVID-19 Corona. He, like all boys in his village of Soleil when they turn 14, must take up the sword and train to battle monsters. There happens to be a war with monsters at the time Corona turns 14, and during his training he loses his ability to speak to other humans, but gains the ability to speak with animals. He must then travel the land in an adventure similar to that of the Legend of Zelda series. Throughout his adventure, he’ll gain the aid of some special pets as well as learn animal abilities to progress further and further. If Zelda, or other similar games on Genesis like Beyond Oasis, are your kind of game, then take Crusader of Centy for a spin. Playing it on Nintendo Switch or Sega Genesis Mini 2 sure beats paying hundreds of dollars for an original cartridge of the game anytime.
Ghouls n’ Ghosts (1989) is a well known Capcom arcade classic and the sequel to Ghosts n’ Goblins. The Genesis/Mega-Drive port is an early success story for the console, ported by Sega and famously coded by
jailbird Sonic the Hedgehog co-creator Yuji Naka. In this game, the evil demon lord Loki has stolen the souls of everyone in the land, including knightly protagonist Arthur’s beloved Princess Prin-Prin. Arthur sets off on his long and hard (And I do mean hard) journey to defeat Loki and rescue her.
Like Ghosts n’ Goblins before it, Ghouls n’ Ghosts is infamous for its legendarily laborious difficulty. Don’t feel too ashamed if you’re stuck on level 1 for the longest time. Instead, think of it as a rite of passage for retro gamers. It would behoove you to hone your reflexes and to find the best weapons for the job when enemies drop them. Be sure to make good use of the special charged attack given to you by the golden armor whenever you find it too. It will take every trick up your sleeve to survive the relentless onslaught of enemies and traps in your way, especially when you have to do it all over again once you get to the final level one time.
If you like Ghouls n’ Ghosts, be sure to try the SNES version, Super Ghouls n’ Ghosts, which is also available on Nintendo Switch Online and has several changes to set it apart from the Genesis/Mega-Drive port and the original arcade game. You can also try Gargoyle’s Quest, the Game Boy adventure spin-off staring well known Ghosts n’ Goblins enemy Firebrand and its second sequel Demon’s Crest on Super Nintendo, both of which are also available on Nintendo Switch Online and do not require the Expansion Pack to play.
Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole (1993) is an isometric adventure game, similar to The Legend of Zelda and Crusader of Centy. It was developed by Climax Entertainment, who also created Shining in the Darkness and Shining Force. Landstalker focused on Nigel, a treasure hunter who crossed paths with a fairy named Friday, who was being chased by evil thieves that were after her knowledge of King Nole’s legendary treasure. His girl Friday talks Nigel into traveling to the far off island of Mercator to find the treasure, believing it to be a peaceful area where the locals live free of conflict, but he finds monsters terrorizing the pacifistic locals. Hopefully this treasure is worth the hassle of fending the monsters off.
Being an isometric game, control may take some getting used to. You’ll have to press diagonally on the D-pad in order to turn Nigel 45°, but from there, you can press any primary direction to move him forwards and backwards. When you need to turn quickly, you may have to get used to pressing diagonals all the time. Once you have that down, you’ll be set for a fun adventure with charming characters, brilliant puzzles, and cinematic action.
Finally, The Revenge of Shinobi (1989) is another of the earliest highlights of the Sega Genesis. The game stars Joe Musashi, the hero of Sega’s original hit arcade game and its Master System port, Shinobi. The evil Zeed organization from that game has returned as Neo Zeed, murdered Joe’s sensei, and absconded with his fiancée Naoko. Joe sets off on his globetrotting adventure to rescue Naoko and take Neo Zeed down with his trusty Hassou Shuriken attack and his 4 special ninja magic arts: Art of Thunder, for protecting Joe from four hits, Art of the Fire Dragon, his magic attack from the arcade game that wipes out all enemies on screen, Art of Floating, which allows him to jump much higher, and Art of Pulverizing, which causes even greater screenwide damage than Art of the Fire Dragon at the cost of one life, best for when you’re at death’s door during a boss fight. Along the way, you’ll be treated to the musical stylings of retro gaming composer legend Yuzo Koshiro, who is best known for the Streets of Rage trilogy’s soundtrack, and is also hard at work on a brand new Genesis/Mega-Drive shooter today.
The Revenge of Shinobi was also infamous for its haphazard use of famous characters like John Rambo, Godzilla, Batman, and Spider-Man as some of its bosses, as well as martial arts actor Sonny Chiba’s likeness for Joe on the title screen. All of these likenesses were gradually replaced with subsequent revisions of the game throughout the Genesis/Mega-Drive’s life. The Nintendo Switch Online version of The Revenge of Shinobi is based on the revision made for the 2009 Wii Virtual Console release, which has also been used in every other re-release since then. Besides that, the game is exactly the same as it was 34 years ago.
The previous Genesis update to Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack released two months ago in April of 2023 and consisted of Flicky, Pulseman, Kid Chameleon, and Street Fighter II’: Special Champion Edition.
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.
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