There’s nothing quite like a good RPG game to transport you into a world of swords-and-sorcery, foul creatures and great heroes, and make you feel like you’re part of a great adventure to save the world. That’s all we wanted to do as kids, right? (Some of us still hope to find a portal that takes us into a world where we are axe-wielding warriors tasked with saving the realm, on a pet dinosaur)
Today, we are going to take a look at some of best RPG games on one of the platforms that was most responsible for showcasing the strength of the RPG genre – the Sega Genesis.
Put on your armor and pick up your weapon, and let’s run through some of the best Sega Genesis games.
Shadowrun is one of the best pieces of interactive fiction that has been produced, so it isn’t a surprise that we absolutely highly recommend you check out this game.
Shadowrun begins with a sinister tone – your brother has just been murdered and now you have to travel to a post-apocalyptic cyberpunk version of Seattle to find out just what happens. This game mixes elements of magic, sorcery and The Matrix. Yes, we said The MATRIX – go get this game.
Sword of Vermillion
It might be difficult to imagine a first-person exploration game that also featured top-down battles, large townscapes and a side scrolling boss fight mechanic. It may be even more difficult to imagine that such a game could exist in 1990 – but it does, and Sword of Vermillion is that game.
Like all good RPG games, it is well-written and features an engaging story with a memorable cast of characters and a fully realized world that has plenty of things to keep you engaged at all times.
After creating the smash-hit Gunstar Heroes, developers Treasure decided to focus their attention towards building an RPG and Light Crusaders is what they created.
The premise of the game is simple – you have to get a sword, find a bunch of missing people and then slay the dragon that is guarding the castle. But within this innocuous setup, Light Crusader manages to weave a surprising amount of variety that keeps the gameplay fresh. Did we mention you’ll also fight a tank and an evil blob in addition to the aforementioned dragon?
Landstalker is a deep and rewarding RPG that sets itself apart in the narrative department immediately. You’re not playing to save the world or the princess or fight a dragon – you’re just there to make as much money as possible. Now there’s a hero motivation that we can all relate to.
Landstalker is hours and hours of fun as you plunder through the universe and grab what’s yours by hook or by crook.
1994 was an incredible year for RPGs – Final Fantasy III, Shadowrun, Phantasy Star IV and Beyond Oasis.
In this game, you play as a young man who discovers a magical armlet and unwillingly becomes involved in a battle of good vs evil where the fate of the entire world is at stake. Beyond Oasis made great use of different elements in combat and threw some challenging enemies and bosses your way. It also taught players a crucial lesson – sometimes when you come across an abandoned armlet, you should consider letting it be and just walking away.
Shining in the Darkness
This was the first game in Sega’s ‘Shining’ series that later spawned games such as the turn-based Shining Force and the hack-and-slash Shining Soul.
Shining in the Darkness is a first-person turn-based dungeon crawler that puts you through some of the most challenging environments ever put on the Sega Genesis. It will test your patience. It will test your resolve.
Through the 20-odd hours it lasts, there’s plenty of charm and wonder to complement the high difficulty level.
Phantasy Star IV
Phantasy Star for the Sega Genesis and Final Fantasy III for the SNES both launched in the same year, and it was incredibly difficult for players to choose one because both were absolute classics. If you were anything like us here at the OSGV – you purchased both and then proceeded to spend weeks and months raving and gasping as you explored their rich worlds and satisfying gameplay.
Phantasy Star III was a disappointment, so expectations were high for IV and it absolutely delivered – the battle system (combinations upon combinations!), graphics, storyline and original characters are all so compelling that we still revisit this game from time to time, 25+ years after it was first released. Outside of Phantasy Star III not being my favorite the first two titles in the series aren’t bad selections.
Other Great Sega Genesis Role-Playing Games:
If you are looking for a Legend of Zelda type RPG on the Sega Genesis. Hands down, Crusader of Centy is a must play! Unfortunately, Crusader of Centy is going to cost a pretty penny to buy these days, but it’s really the best Zelda clone without a huge challenge. A few good platformer RPG’s would be Cadash & Exile, I’d probably would choose to play Cadash on the turbografx 16 though, as it’s a better port of the game.
Another popular Role-Playing series to get into would be Ys, as Ys III: Wanderers from Ys would be a good addition to this list. The Ys series was on many of the earlier 90’s consoles, from the Super Nintendo, and Sega Master System. If you have the Sega Master converter for your Sega Genesis, the Wonder Boy series is a solid choice.
Of course, you can never go wrong with some classics. A couple other series that are worth playing would be Gauntlet and Shining Force Series. I’ve never played Gauntlet IV but read was really good as it does include RPG elements into the game. Then the Shining Force series gives you some great dungeon crawling adventures mixed with some turn-based strategy RPG elements which are always fun!
Before I close you can read a good resource from racketboy. Which provides a great list of Sega Genesis RPG’s that are not mentioned here. Hopefully this list is a great reference for you, did I miss anything? Which RPGs from the Sega Genesis era do you think should be on this list? Let us know in the comments and until next time, happy gaming!
Did You Know: In 1990 game, Golden Axe from SEGA was voiced entirely by prisoners on death row.