FIFA 95 (MD)

Long before FIFA became the microtransaction-filled monster that it is today, it was a surprisingly refreshing isometric kickaround that solidified the Mega Drive’s reputation as the best console for sports games. This sequel – the first to have a year included in its title, fact fans – is a big improvement over the original, retaining the gloriously fast gameplay while adding in some welcome extras. FIFA would of course move into the realm of 3D with FIFA 96 on the PlayStation and Saturn (and it’s important to note that a 3D version also appeared on the ill-fated 3DO), but there’s something undeniably comforting about a FIFA which has a fixed, isometric perspective.

Magical Hat no Buttobi Tābo! Daibōken (MD)

Based on a Japanese anime series, this cartoon platformer is a sequel of sorts to the excellent Psycho Fox on the Master System. The lead character is capable of flapping his large trousers while in mid-air so he can glide over large gaps, and his ability to stomp on the top of enemies gives the game a very 'Super Mario' feel. However, you can also punch enemies and hurl an egg-shaped ally at them. Other items allow you to benefit from time-limited powers, such as the ability to turn into a massive gorilla mech which is handy for tackling end-of-level bosses. Because the anime was totally unknown outside of Japan, there was little point in paying for the licence to be used in the west, so Sega took the game and replaced all of the backgrounds and characters, creating Decap Attack. Both versions are worth a look, but the Japanese original has bags of charm and is relatively cheap on the secondary market.

Ghouls 'n Ghosts (MD)

Coded by a young Yuji Naka – who would later have a hand in birthing Sonic the Hedgehog – this conversion of Capcom's seminal arcade title, like Strider, served as a solid indication of how powerful the Mega Drive truly was back in its early years. While there are visual differences between this and the coin-op original, the core gameplay and feel are incredible faithful, and it's fair to surmise that this version is the one that many fans grew up playing. It's a shame that Sega fans didn't get more from this series; the sequel, Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts, was developed by Capcom exclusively for the SNES.

ESWAT: City Under Siege (MD)

Like Shadow Dancer, ESWAT is one of those odd Mega Drive titles which is based on an arcade machine but totally changes the visuals, gameplay and level design to come up with an entirely new game that has very little to do with its namesake. Also like Shadow Dancer, the Mega Drive version of ESWAT is arguably a superior game when compared to its coin-op sibling; the sense of progression is better (you start as a lowly cop and only earn your Robocop-style suit in level 3) while the stage design benefits from the fact that this is clearly aimed at a home console audience, rather than the arcade crowd which is expected to pump plenty of coins in to keep playing. The visuals are dark and moody but come with plenty of detail, while the soundtrack offers some of the best music from the console's early library. If you like Shinobi-style action platformers, then this is a must.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist (MD)

At the close of the '80s, the Turtles were everywhere, including the arcades thanks to Konami's excellent belt-scrolling brawler. Clearly aware that it was on to a good thing, Konami quickly commissioned a sequel (Turtles in Time) which was ported to the SNES not long afterwards. Because Konami was relatively late to the party when it came to supporting Sega's hardware, Mega Drive fans had to wait a little longer for their Turtles game, but it was well worth it. The Hyperstone Heist might feel like a 'greatest hits' which pulls in elements from previously-released Turtles outings, but it's bright, addictive and a blast to play, especially with a second person.

Gynoug (MD)

It's fair to say that Gynoug (Wings of Wor in North America) stood out upon release thanks to its nightmarish visuals rather than its gameplay, but it would be unfair to assume that it's not worth a look. Sure, those visuals are truly incredible – a horrific fusion of flesh and technology in some places – but they're also some of the most impressive on the Mega Drive, which is quite something when you take into account how early this was released. Thankfully, Gynoug backs up its unique presentation with some brilliant shmup action, along with a suitably rousing soundtrack. One of the most interesting examples of the genre you'll find anywhere, and one that is now thankfully available on digital stores, too.

Mega Bomberman (MD)

Based on Hudson's PC Engine title Bomberman '94, Mega Bomberman was ported by Westone (of Wonder Boy fame) and supports the console's multitap accessory so four players can get involved with the destructive action. While both the SNES and PC Engine received multiple versions of Bomberman, this is the only entry on the Mega Drive, so it's an easy recommendation in that regard. The bright visuals are a perfect match for the system, and the game's obvious multiplayer appeal means it's worth digging out for social occasions. Keeping with the Sega theme, the excellent Saturn Bomberman would follow a few years later on the Sega Saturn.

Desert Strike: Return To The Gulf (MD)

Released at a time when the Gulf War was still very fresh in people's memories, Desert Strike garnered plenty of attention for its seemingly controversial setting, but in reality, it's a fantastic isometric blaster which offers a decent challenge and some stunning visuals. While it's a stern test for your reactions, Desert Strike also offers plenty of scope for repeat play thanks to its large levels and hidden secrets. Sequels such as Jungle Strike and Urban Strike build on the concept, but the original is perhaps the 'purest' take on the concept.

Warsong (MD)

Known as Langrisser in Japan, Warsong is a turn-based tactical RPG along the same lines as Fire Emblem and Shining Force, with some key differences. Your generals are the most powerful units on the map, but they have their own troops who can be controlled individually. When these troops succeed in battle, it earns experience for that particular general, and the game's cast of characters have several 'upgrade paths' they can follow which change their appearance, skills and available troop types. Hours of deep and involving gameplay await, along with stellar art from Satoshi Urushihara and brilliant music by Noriyuki Iwadare, Isao Mizoguchi and Hiroshi Fujioka. Several sequels followed – none of which were localised at the time of release – but it's possible to experience the first two Mega Drive entries on modern hardware thanks to a recent remake.

Road Rash (MD)

The Mega Drive isn't exactly swimming in amazing racing games, but Road Rash stands out because it not only offers plenty of high-speed fun but also the ability to clobber your rivals when they get too close. The undulating roads add to the sense of immersion, and while it's often a better strategy to avoid combat and simply finish as well as possible, the temptation to take down your opponents adds a welcome wrinkle to proceedings. The Mega Drive sequel is also worth a look, as is the 3DO version. Strangely, Road Rash is one of those franchises which was massively popular at one point in time but has struggled to remain relevant as the decades have passed by.

When did the Sega Genesis launch?

The Mega Drive was launched in Japan on October 29th, 1988. It would arrive in North America on August 14th, 1989 and in Europe in September 1990.

Can you play Sega Mega Drive games on a Sega Genesis?

No, not without using an adapter or modifying your console. Japanese Mega Drive cartridges are physically different from North American and European ones, and will not fit in the cartridge slot of a Western console. Furthermore, later titles included a region-locking system.

What is the best-selling Sega Genesis game of all time?

The best-selling Sega Genesis title is Sonic the Hedgehog, which was bundled with the console in North America and Europe. As a result, it sold 15 million copies.

What is the longest Sega Genesis game?

Clocking in at 55 hours to complete on average (according to HowLongToBeat), Might and Magic 2 is the longest Sega Genesis game.

How many games were on the Sega Genesis?

There are 1,016 video games on Genesis. Homebrew titles continue to be released even to this day.