The Sega Genesis Mini is now out in the wild, and it’s easily one of the best plug-and-play consoles we’ve seen to date. With a whopping 42 games on the system, it can be tough to decide what you want to play first.
Well, we’re here to help with that with a list of the ten best games on the Sega Genesis Mini.
Street Fighter 2: Special Championship Edition
Street Fighter is a series that needs no introductions, as it’s easily the the most prolific fighting series of all time. Street Fighter 2 remains the pinnacle of the franchise, and the Sega Genisis Mini features the robust Championship Edition.
This version added on the four Grand Masters controlled by the CPU in Wold Warrior. This meant that Balrog, Vega, Sagat, and M. Bison were now playable characters. On top of that, the mechanics of the eight main characters were refined to allow for more balanced fights.
Street Fighter 2: Championship Edition was one of the best fighting games on the Genesis, and on the Mini console it makes the perfect option for playing with a friend.
Earthworm Jim was a hugely imaginative platformer on the Sega Genesis, and it was so popular that it even launched a series, with a sequel and animated TV show shortly after.
The game basically combines 2D sidescrollers and run and gun games, letting you use both Jim’s gun and his head to defeat enemies, platform, and more.
Earthworm Jim had a ton of crazy villains that it used, and its tongue-in-cheek humor really worked well with the art style.
The game still looks fantastic even on the Genesis Mini, and the new save state options make it easier than ever to play.
Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
Despite the strange name, Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine actually helped launch a major franchise for Sega, Puyo-Puyo. It’s interesting to go back and see the origins of the franchise, especially when you compare it to the more recent releases, like Puyo-Puyo Tetris.
The game’s story revolves around Dr. Robotnik capturing residents from the city of Beanville, and turning them into his evil robots. It’s a falling block puzzle game, similar to Tetris, where you need to match beans of the same color.
When at leats four beans of the same color are matched, they’ll disappear from the grid. There are a number of options to play with in Mean Bean Machine as well, like a single player scenario mode, a two-player versus mode, and a practice mode.
Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine is still a blast to play to this day, like most Puyo-Puyo games, and it adds some nice variation to the Genesis Mini.
Streets of Rage 2
Streets of Rage 2 is an all-time classic game, and among the best beat em’ up titles ever made. It’s another great option for two players on the Genesis Mini.
Taking place one year after the first Streets of Rage, the sequel introduces two brand new playable characters, Max Thunder and Eddie “Skate” Hunter, the younger brother of the first game’s protagonist.
There were a number of improvements Streets of Rage 2 made for a better gameplay experience. Each character now had their own unique special attack, and the move lists were hugely expanded to allow for more options.
Every enemy in the game now has a health bar, and tweaks were also made to weapons you can pick up. If you haven’t already played Streets of Rage 2, it should be one of the first titles you jump into on the Genesis Mini.
Comix Zone was one of the most dynamic and visually impressive games on the Genesis, and its main idea is still pretty neat. You play as a comic book artist named Sketch Turner, who ends up getting sucked into a world created by the villain of his own comic book, Comix Zone.
The villain, Mortus, literally draws in enemies and obstacles to try and kill Sketch, making this one of the more unique beat em’ ups out there.
The game plays with some fun ideas, like a special attack where Sketch tears of the background of the page he’s on, and turns it into a paper airplane to throw at enemies.
Combat may not be quite as engaging as something like Streets of Rage, but Comix Zone’s unique aesthetic and sense of style is more than enough to warrant a playthrough.
Gunstar Heroes is an explosive run-and-gun game by Treasure, a developer who was in their heyday during the Genesis days. The game has you playing as two intergalactic heroes, the Gunstars, as they fight to stop an evil empire from obtaining four gems of power.
The game plays similarly to the Contra series, making you blast away at hordes of enemy that swarm on-screen. You have a number of different weapons and options to choose from, all of which support the game’s fast and frenetic gameplay.
The biggest difference between Contra and Gunstar Heroes is your character’s mobility, as you can jump and dive around the screen.
Gunstar Heroes still remains one of the most fast-paced games on the Genesis, and easily one of the top games on the mini.
Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millenium
Nintendo may have dominated the JRPG scene in the 16-bit era with titles like Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger, but Sega can still lay claim to one of the best JRPGs of the era, Phantasy Star IV.
Truly one of the shining examples of an epic 16-bit RPG, Phantasy Star IV takes place 1000 years after Phantasy Star II. You play as a young hunter named Chaz, who learns about how the planet of Motavia is reverting to its desert state, and threatening all life that lives on it.
Phantasy Star IV features a fantastic story and cast of characters, with a world that feels truly interesting to explore. The story is highlighted by visually striking manga-like panel illustrations.
On top of that, combat has been enhanced over previous entries with new features like combination techniques. Phantasy Star IV has all the staples of 16-bit JRPGs, and excels in many of them.
Fire Emblem helped create build up the tactical strategy genre when Nintendo released it, and in many ways Shining Force was Sega’s answer to that. Don’t think it’s just a Fire Emblem clone, however, as Shining Force is entirely its own beast.
Shining Force is essentially a traditional JRPG that has you exploring the world, but the twist is that instead of typical turn-based battles you’ll be playing grid-based strategy battles.
You’ll meet and collect a number of unique characters across the game that join your army, and each character has their own class and equipment.
Interestingly, if you lost a battle it isn’t game over. Instead, you’ll be able to recover your allies and retry the battle, and the Force ensures that you still keep all the experience you gained.
Shining Force is one of the best JRPGs on the Sega Genesis Mini, even if the sequel did make quite a few improvements. If you want to see the start of a prolific series, this is how to do it.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Of course Sonic is here, no list of Genesis games, or Sega in general, is complete without the blue blur himself. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is one of the very best games in the long-running franchise, and helped cement Sonic’s spot as a gaming icon.
The colorful graphics and sense of speed hold up well on the Genesis Mini, the game’s competitive mode makes it a viable option for two players.
Sonic 2 had a number of improvements and changes over the first game, not the least of which is the brand new playable character Tails. This was also the game that introduced Sonic’s spin dash move, where he stays stationary and spins up.
In pretty much every way possible, Sonic 2 was bigger and better than the first game, from new zones like the Metropolis Zone to the host of gameplay improvements.
You can’t possibly buy the Sega Genesis Mini and not play Sonic 2.
Beyond Oasis was, unfortunately, a game that kind of got passed by due to being released at the very tail-end of the console’s life. It is, however, one of the best JRPGs on the Genesis, and a great Zelda-like game.
The story focuses on Prince Ali, who finds an ancient gold armlet that once belonged to a wizard that waged war against the evil wielder of a silver armlet.
You travel to the land of Oasis, and have to gain the power to summon four elemental spirits. You play from a top-down perspective and can need to attack, dodge, interact with objects, and talk to NPCs.
Ali’s starting weapon is a quick close-range knife, but across the game you’ll be able to equip new weapons like swords, crossbows, and bombs.
Like Zelda, Beyond Oasis has more of an emphasis on hack-and-slash gameplay and puzzle-solving than your typical JRPG. Stylish graphics, a neat soundtrack, and some surprising twists helps make Beyond Oasis memorable.
It may not be the best RPG on the Sega Genesis Mini, but it’s one of the most unique.