The Sega Genesis is considered to be the first true 16-bit home console and real competitor with Nintendo’s Entertainment System. Released in late 1989 in North America, the Genesis was a powerhouse system, even though it had some decent launch titles, it really did not see major success until a certain blue hedgehog came along in the summer of 1991. This timing and strong sales made Sega a household name and by 1992, even after the release of Super NES, for the first time since 1985 Nintendo was ousted as the top game console market holder. Sega differenced itself as doing “What Nintendon’t” and focused on games marketed more to adults throughout its span. As most of us know though, by the mid 90’s Sony had entered the market, the N64 was released and rest is history.

Now nearly 20 years after the final Genesis game rolled off the line (Frogger 3D if you were curious), Sega is still here and making great games, just not systems anymore. Thankfully someone at Sega thought it was a good idea to gather up a bunch of what is arguably their best games and put them out for current generation consoles. Sega Genesis Classics contains a huge 53 games library of retro goodness. Everything from platformers to RPGs to whatever the hell you consider ToeJam & Earl to be. I got to spend some time running, spinning, jumping, and kicking my way through these games of my early teens on my PS4 finally and I can honestly say, you kids don’t know what you are missing.

Now don’t get me wrong, with 53 games in Sega Genesis Classics, there are bound to be some stinkers, but for the life of me I cannot fathom why Virtua Fighter 2 and Super Thunder Blade made the cut but all the Ecco the Dolphin games and Sonic & Knuckles are nowhere to be seen. Really?! I understand the lack of games from the big publishers that are still around today, as there are no classic Konami or Capcom games included. The Genesis had the best Disney licensed ports in my opinion and they are missing too. Otherwise I couldn’t really think of a game they missed. Yes there are some subpar games you will probably pass over or play for about 10 minutes before shutting them down, but overall this is a fantastic way to have add a huge amount of classic games to your current gen console.

One of my favorite parts of Sega Genesis Classics is the interface when you boot it up. It is basically a radical, if not cheesy, re-creation of a Sega fanatics room circa 1990 something. You have an old CRT TV and the original Genesis system digitally represented, where games can be selected from the menu to the right, created with the spines of original hard case boxes these games came in, another thing I loved about Sega at the time. Once you select a game, you then insert it in your Genesis and it boots up, all exactly like the original cartridges. There are a ton of extras as well, you can tweek the display with all kinds of visual options, border selections, and challenges for those who still remember these games like it was yesterday and want to push themselves. A mirror mode will reverse the game for a new experience, if you are tired of walking to the right in Golden Axe and just really want to go left instead. Online multiplayer for many games will let you play with those friends around the world, and of course local co-op when it was there originally.

The best part of this collection in my honest opinion though, is something many emulator fans have enjoyed for years, a quick save! You can easily save your game ANYWHERE so games that were super challenging due to an antiquated save system, are now much more enjoyable. Another great addition is the use of fast forward and rewind. Screw up that jump and die, just press the L2 trigger and try again. While some purists may gauf at this feature, personally I do not have the time nor the patience to keep starting the same level over and over. Fast forwarding through some of the long text based intros or while farming in an RPG is a welcome addition.

Here is a full list of the games included in the Sega Genesis Classics:

  • Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
  • Alien Soldier
  • Alien Storm
  • Altered Beast
  • Beyond Oasis
  • Bio-Hazard Battle
  • Bonanza Bros.
  • Columns
  • Columns III: Revenge of Columns
  • Comix Zone
  • Crack Down
  • Decap Attack
  • Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
  • Dynamite Headdy
  • ESWAT: City Under Siege
  • Fatal Labyrinth
  • Flicky
  • Gain Ground
  • Galaxy Force II
  • Golden Axe
  • Golden Axe II
  • Golden Axe III
  • Gunstar Heroes
  • Kid Chameleon
  • Landstalker
  • Light Crusader
  • Phantasy Star II
  • Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom
  • Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
  • Ristar
  • Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi
  • Shining Force
  • Shining Force II
  • Shining in the Darkness
  • Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
  • Sonic 3D Blast
  • Sonic Spinball
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  • Space Harrier II
  • Streets of Rage
  • Streets of Rage 2
  • Streets of Rage 3
  • Super Thunder Blade
  • Sword of Vermilion
  • The Revenge of Shinobi
  • ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron
  • ToeJam & Earl
  • Vectorman
  • Vectorman 2
  • Virtua Fighter 2
  • Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair
  • Wonder Boy in Monster World

There are hours upon hours of gameplay included in Sega Genesis Classics for every type of gamer. The Phantasy Star games alone should keep an RPG fan busy for a while.  There are more platformers than one could ever need. Who needs Tetris when you have Columns? While I did not play any online co-op, I did spent an entire afternoon playing Golden Axe, Streets of Rage, and more with my 14 year old son. We had a blast laughing at the cliched dialog and pressing the attack buttons till our fingers hurt. Altered Beast did not age well, but if you don’t laugh at “Wise from gwave!” then you are dead inside. Even if you didn’t grow up on these games, younger players should still check out Sega Genesis Classics. Without these classics paving the way, the current generation of epic games would never have happened. You really cannot find a better deal for the price and the hours of enjoyment. Sega still does what Nintendon’t, they gave us all these games in one easy purchase. Now go get your 16-bit on!

Sega Genesis Classics is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. This review is based on a PS4 copy provided for that purpose.

Sega Genesis Classics








Entertainment Value



  • HUGE collection of 53 games
  • Awesome features like rewind & save state
  • Online co-op


  • Missing Ecco the Dolphin games
  • No Sonic & Knuckles