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Video Game Uber Fun Fun List: Sega CD & Sega 32X

Author: Philippe
Posted: 03 Jan 2006

Okie doke. Well, here we have an oddity. The Sega CD and the 32X were not really consoles -- these were peripherals for the Sega Genesis. I debated on whether or not to write them into the Uber Fun Fun List. I was of two minds. One, they didn't deserve an article because they weren't stand-alone systems. Two, they did deserve an article because they released some kick-ass games for said systems. Also, I feel that it would be doing the world a disservice if I didn't at least mention them. It was a quandary. After much internal struggle (by "struggle" I mean "drinking"), I decided to combine the two rather short articles into one acceptable to me. Each system gets a nod, a brief history, and a top five list. Sound fair to everyone?

Good. Let's get started, then.

As has been mentioned, the Sega CD was a peripheral for the Sega Genesis. It played both audio CDs and special game discs released by Sega. Announced in 1992 and released shortly thereafter, the Sega CD went on to do absolutely nothing. It was expensive and it took a shocking amount of time to actually load games. While the device sold well in Europe and Japan, it simply failed to reach out to American gamers. There were also a few people looking at the 32X and wondering exactly how many damn things the Genesis was going to have done to it. We'll get to the 32X in a moment, though.

A lot of the games were simply rehashes of Genesis titles and few developers had interesting in making new titles. Alas, poor Sega CD, alas. In any case, here's my top five for the thing.

5. Sonic CD (Sega, 1993). This was the only Sonic game released for the system and it was a great one. Not a lot different from the norm, but it had a lot more levels and content and looked so goddamned shimmery that it still makes my heart melt when I see it. Luckily for me, I see it a lot because they recently released a rehash of it and a few other games -- Sonic Mega Collection Plus, or something. Good stuff.

4. Road Avenger (Wolfteam, 1992). Goodness gracious, this game looked amazing. It looked as if you were driving through a weird eighties cartoon is what it looked like. The game was very intuitive as far as handling went, but it was a bit too easy to get past four on the Uber Fun Fun List. Easy, but lots of fun.

3. The Secret of Monkey Island (JVC/Lucas Arts, 1992). ARRRRRRRR! Avast! Oh, yes. So ye wants to be a pirate, do ye? Well, my friend, first ye must pass some tests. You are Guybrush Threepwood, a bright-faced and beaming young man who wants nothing else than to drink grog with his contemporaries. It won't be easy, though. Circus acrobats, zombies, men in beaver costumes, and the Sword Master all stand in your way. This game rocked my world, an ol' skool graphic/text adventure, and it remains one of the funniest games I've ever played.

2. Lunar (Working Designs). This was the very first of an RPG series that, in my opinion, has always outshined even the Final Fantasy series. Gameplay, cut scenes, stories, and, most importantly, characters were all outstanding and badass. The series made its way to the Saturn and had a recent release on the DS. It sucks that nobody had the Sega CD or the Saturn because they're missing out on one of the best damned games ever to be released. The graphics were just about ordinary, though, so it doesn't make the top of the list. They were good. Sort of reminiscent of Chrono Trigger (but with much better anime style cut scenes). Good, but not great. Still, the game has a bit of a cult following and deservedly so.

1. Sewer Shark (Digital Pictures, 1992). In Sewer Shark, you were a pilot in the far-off year of...I think 2003 or something. In this distant future, humans had started to move underground. Unfortunately, there were plenty of other things down there as well and it was your job to kill them so's the humans could live in peace. The graphics were a mix of actual video and animated sprites and were done to perfection. Race along and kill some gators. Ridiculously fun and worthy of the number one spot.

Normally, now, I'd say something to end the article; however, we are only at the midpoint, people! Get ready.

So now that we've completed that little bit of business, let's talk some turkey about the 32X (1994). You actually sort of have to hand it to Sega. They tended to come up with quite a few good ideas. They always did it before it was wise, is the thing. The NES, for example, was originally going to be a 16-bit machine. However, the cost to consumers would have been too great, so Nintendo made an 8-bit machine. People bought plenty of them. Sega wanted to have upgrades. They wanted CDs to hold games and, even with the Dreamcast, wanted to get in on the online gaming action before there was online gaming for consoles. All of it just cost too much damned money. Or was marketed wrong, or not marketed at all, or Sega didn't have a damned clue as to what they wanted.

In this instance, Sega wanted people to upgrade systems rather than buy new systems outright -- like those wacky people and their crazy computers. The 32X actually started to sell pretty well, but designing games for the thing was hard and expensive and on its launch date there was almost nothing available to play. Then there was the Sega CD to contend with. Did you buy both? Did the Sega CD not have 32-bit graphics? Maybe just buy the CD...but...some of the 32X games are only on CD. And what's this I hear about a new system coming out soon? The Saturn? What the fuck?

Like I said, the 32X sold fairly well at first but was marred by a lot of returns. The library consisted of only 39 games and Sega quickly gave up on trying to sell the thing.

I can't say that I was really upset to see it go. Hell, I barely registered that it had arrived. In any case, they deserve a little something, so the 32X will get its very own top five list to match the SCD up there. Onward and upward, Sega! To the top five list!

5. Knuckles Chaotix (Sega). More or less, this was a Sonic game. There were a few minor differences to set it apart from the pack, however. One was that you didn't have Tails hanging around you whining, and two was that, to really get up to speed, you had to use your chaotic rubber band ring of doom. To explain, in the game you were connected to another NPC. You would essentially use the ring to boost him ahead of you so that you could boost even further ahead of him at a much quicker pace. Wash, rinse, repeat. It's tricky to describe, but it was fun.

4. Star Wars Arcade (Lucas Arts, 1994). This was a ridiculously accurate port of the Star Wars arcade game found in...well, the arcades. Remember that game? You'd sit in a chair and you could pick up to three worlds...and, well, you blew up the Death Star. So alright...Star Wars game designers haven't had an original thought in...I guess ever. Still, the game was badass and the 32X version had an additional 8 levels of shoot 'em up fun.

3. Night Trap (Digital Pictures, 1994). This was a neat game that used real video mixed with pixels. Some hot chicks go to a house and all get murdered. So, to investigate the disappearance, they send some MORE hot chicks to the house. "What's there?" you ask. "Vampires!" says I. The plot was a little thin, but damn, it looked exquisite and it was some monster fun I tells you what.

2. After Burner (Sega). This was an amped-up and kickass version of the Genesis game we all knew and loved. Basic sim flight and fighting game. Strap yourself into the cockpit of an F14 and save the world from some bad guys....heheheh...cockpit.

1. Blackthorne (Interplay, 1995). And here we are at the top. This game falls into what was one of my favorite genres for a while -- the odd platform style that we saw in the original Prince of Persia, Flashback, and Oddworld. Your kingdom has been taken over by monsters and you have to get rid of their sorry asses. Luckily, they give you a shotgun. This game rocked like no other game for the 32X. It gets the number one spot and remains one of the few reasons to actually track down all the crazy shit you would need to play the game.

So that pretty much finishes the Genesis. Hope you enjoyed this little foray into the unknown and, if ever you do buy a Genesis and a 32X and a CD, then call me over because I'd love to play these games and then flirt with your sister.

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