The Genesis had a bunch of awesome beat ’em up games, but there are two series that are particularly well known – one of them being Golden Axe. Being able to use the Switch joycons to play two player beat ’em ups seems like a no-brainer, making it a perfect system to replay this medieval classic.
Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (Sega Master System)
Let’s shine the spotlight on the lesser-appreciated Master System version of Sonic 2. This 8-bit version is pretty much a completely separate game to its Genesis counterpart, with completely unique levels. It never released in the U.S. back in the day, so hopefully this gets released on the Switch so that more people get to give it a try, and see that it is a really cool game in its own right.
Here’s another Master System hidden gem: Asterix. It’s a great side-scrolling action game with good level design, a nice amount of variety, and is fairly lengthy for an 8-bit action game.
Streets of Rage 2
You could argue that Streets of Rage 2 is the best beat ’em up on the Genesis. It’s got tight bare knuckle combat, silky smooth controls, and a soundtrack that should honestly place Yuzo Koshiro into some sort of hall of fame. Hell, if this game came to Switch, I’d just leave my system hooked up to my car stereo for eternity.
Vectorman is one of Sega’s great short-lived franchises that is ripe for a comeback. Not only is Vectorman a great game, but I’m hoping that this Sega Ages version would sell well enough that Sega consider revisiting the franchise for a sequel. He wasn’t even in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed; if that doesn’t say “missed potential” then I don’t know what does!
One of the best, and often overlooked, platformers on the Master System. It has never been released on anything but the Master System, which is a crying shame. More people need to give this classic a shot.
The Revenge of Shinobi
The Revenge of Shinobi is the best game in one of the best ninja series to ever grace the video game world. Bonus points if they port over the version that had the Spiderman boss who transformed into Batman (no, I’m not making that up).
Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
Puyo Puyo Tetris is a great two player puzzle game for the Switch, but sometimes you want to just chill with some good old classic Puyo Puyo, so why not put the Westernized version, Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, on the Switch?
We’ve seen some excellent remakes of Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap on modern systems, but it’d be great to really go back to the series’ roots with the original. Interestingly, this game spun off into both the Wonder boy series and the Adventure Island series (which it resembles much more than Wonder Boy).
Take control of the mummy Chuck D. Head, created by Frank N. Stein, and sent to defeat Max D. Cap. What would be really cool is if Sega included the option to play the game’s cutesy Japanese version, Magical Hat no Buttobi Tabo! Daibōken, which is the exact same game, only 100% less nightmarish, and more whimsical.
OutRun is a great pick-up-and-play arcade racer that would work incredibly well with the Switch’s form factor.
Super Fantasy Zone
Before Sonic was Sega’s mascot, and even before Alex Kidd, there was Opa-Opa. The original Fantasy Zone gets re-released all the time, but not the Super iteration, for some reason. This one also skipped the Genesis in the U.S. back in the day, for unknown reasons. It’s time to make it right, Sega.
The SNES had Contra III: The Alien Wars, but the Genesis hit right back with Gunstar Heroes. It’s still one of the best 16-bit run ‘n guns to this day, and with the Switch joycons, you would be able to play anytime, anywhere.
Shining Force 2
Before the days of Final Fantasy Tactics, Ogre Battle, Advance Wars, etc., there was the Shining series, of which Shining Force 2 is considered one of the best. Despite its age, Shining Force 2 still plays very similarly to tactics RPGs released today, and with the current popularity of the Fire Emblem series, it seems like a no-brainer to put this one on Switch.
Rent a Hero
Rent a Hero is a very unique RPG for the time, and even today. Instead of using turn-based battles, initiating combat switches the game into a 2D fighting game. If you haven’t heard of this game, it’s because it never released outside of Japan. An English translation of the Xbox version was completely finished, but sadly never released. We’ve waited long enough, Sega, it’s time to finally give us Rent a Hero.
Dynamite Headdy is an awesome Genesis side-scrollering platformer. It’s similar to the original Rayman, minus the grueling difficulty! I’m sure there’s a pretty sizeable crossover with Switch owners and platforming fans, so Dynamite Headdy would be an excellent fit.
Golden Axe 2
What do you do when you and a friend finish the first Golden Axe on Switch? Jump right into the second one of course! This game overhauled the magic system, allowing you to use chunks of the meter at a time for smaller magical attacks, similarly to how Castle Crashers does it. This is probably the best game in the series (a title that may have gone to the third game if they hadn’t have removed the dwarf character, for some reason).
Ecco The Dolphin
If you haven’t played Ecco The Dolphin, you’re missing out on a fun and, quite frankly, bizarre game. How is a game about cute dolphins “bizarre” you ask? Aliens and time travel. This game can get really difficult towards the end, so a save feature in a Switch port could go a long way. Including the audio from the Sega CD version would also be a nice touch.
Sonic 3 & Knuckles
Sonic Mania gave us a taste of the good life: an excellent 16-bit classic Sonic game, ready to be played snuggled up on the couch, or in an airplane miles over the ocean. Just do the same thing with Sonic 3 & Knuckles (which is, without a doubt, one of the best Sonic games of all time), and people will throw their money at you, Sega.
Space Harrier II
Another of Sega’s excellent arcade hits. Similarly to OutRun, Space Harrier’s pick-up-and-play nature just makes sense on the Switch. I imagine sitting on a bus, firing up my Switch, hearing the announcer shout “get ready” in all of his bit crushed glory, and then being swarmed by passengers who have all been infected with the nostalgia bug.