Sega CD – Shining Force CD

Shining Force CD I is a combat / tactical RPG developed by Sega for the Sega CD and launched in Japan in 1994. It is in fact an episode of the Shining series, repeating the episodes Shining Force Gaiden and Shining Force Gaiden II.

For those who have played the previous versions on Game Gear, the gameplay is the same. The player progresses through a series of tactical combat separated by cutscenes. The game is separated into four scenarios, four books where the player controls a different character, each with its history.

Interestingly, the English translation of this title is far better than that of its predecessors (Shining Force I and II). However, there are some errors. The characters Hanzou and Musashi, who have appeared in Shining Force I, are badly translated and change names in the second book.

Sega CD – Vay

Vay is a fantastic/science fiction RPG developed by SIMS in Japan for the Sega CD. Working Desings handled the marketing in North American.

Over a milenium ago, in a far away part of the galaxy, a great and terrible war rages. During this conflict, a huge machine leaves the battlefield. As its guidance system is damaged and the pilot is dead, the machine continues to drift in space. After a time, it crashes on a planet named Vay. It took the combined forces of the five strongest magicians of the planet to stop the machine. Its power was sealed in five magical orbs, which were carried away to secret places. The machine itself was also hidden. As the years advanced, the more the legend of the machine faded.

In the kingdom of Lorath, Prince Sandor is about to marry Lady Elin. The most important dignitaries from the four kingdoms will attend the mariage to ensure that the Kingdom of Lorath is secure for another generation. In the middle of the ceremony, the castle is attacked by a robot army. During the siege, the fortress is reduced to ashes and Elin is kidnapped. Sandor then vows to save his sweet darling from her abductors.

Vay has a very classic game mechanics for the RPGs. The player gains experience and gold by killing monsters encountered randomly. He can also buy new equipment and learn new skills. The game also has a rudimentary artificial intelligence system that gives the enemy the ability to attack you automatically.

Sega CD – Lunar

Lunar: The Silver Star is a role playing game launched in 1992 on Sega CD. The game is developed and published by Game Arts. Initially released in Japan on June 16, 1992, strong demand from criticis ensured that the game was translated into English and launched the following year. Designed as a new style of RPG, Lunar: The Silver Star makes full use of the CD-ROM format by featuring high quality audio, full motion video, and a narrative that immerses the player in a fantasy story set in a magical world.

Lunar: The Silver Star was the number one in sales on Japan market. The title sold almost as many copies as the console itself and is still today the second biggest seller of all time on Sega CD.

The player is Alex, a young boy from a small town who dreams of one day becoming a hero like his idol, Dragonmaster Dyne. When a small child’s adventure turns to the discovery of a dragon, Alex and his friends must travel across the world to gather the necessary powers to become a Dragonmaster.

The gameplay of this title is a classic RPG mechanics, a top-down view featuring two-dimensional characters. The player must explore towns, fields and other harsh environments to complete the objectives, in order to move the plot forward.

SEGA CD

The development of the Sega CD was top secret. Game programmers were unaware of the support for which they were developing until the Tokyo Game Show 1991, where the announcement of the Sega CD made a great noise. It was the first console CD player intended for the general population. Unlike the PC-Engine (TurboGrafx-16), which already supported the medium, the Sega CD was much more accessible for the non-hardcore fans.

The machine is launched in the land of the rising sun on December 1st, 1991, for a price of 49,000 yen (about $ 200). 100,000 units were sold the first year. The high price of the Sega CD slowed down the sales in Japan and in North America.

It was difficult to create CD games for a console that, basically, was not powerful enough for this kind of support. The result was often very poor: very low quality videos with only a few colors and games with failed gamplay.

Genesis – Sonic The Hedgehog

While Mario is already since 1980 a symbol of Nintendo, Sega has Alex Kidd as the only mascot until 1991, but it is widely downgraded by Mario. Faced with Nintendo and its famous plumber, Sega decides to create an endearing character who could become the new mascot of the firm. A competition is organized internally and many characters are suggested. There is among others Sonic, a wolf, a bulldog, a rabbit and a man with a mustache (which later becomes Dr. “Eggman” Robotnik, the villain of most games in the series). The announcement of the game is made and Sonic is on the poster of the rock band who composed the musical themes of the game, Dreams Come True. The game is launched in the US on June 23, 1991, and landed in the same month in Europe and on July 26th in Japan, in a slightly reworked version. Although similar, Sonic the Hedgehog stands out from Mario games by offering a different gameplay based on speed.

In the first installment of the series, Dr. Robotnik, a crazy scientitst, captures innoncent animals to make out of them evil robots. Sonic encounter on its route many Dr. Robotnik’s robots that he can destroy, delivering at the same time the animals. Sonic’s attack, the Super Sonic Spin Attack, consists of Sonic curling itself into a ball while running to charge his enemies. Sonic may also collect rings that à he finds on his way. Collecting 100 rings gives him an extra life. When hit by an enemy or a trap, he loses all his rings and they disperse, leaving only a few seconds to recover them. If he is touched when he doesn’t have any more rings, he loses a life and starts again at the last checkpoint.

Sega Genesis – Phantasy Star 2

Phantasy Star 2 is a Sega RPG released in 1989 on the Sega Genesis. This is, you guessed it, the second episode of the series of Phantasy Star. Somewhere in the Andromeda galaxy is the solar system Algol. Its main star, Algo, has three planets in orbit around it. The first is Palm, the seat of government, where the upper classes of the population are located. The second is Mota, formerly desert and hostile because of the presence of giant antlions. It is transformed into a tropical paradise with artificial irrigation means. Since then, life on this planet has become enjoyable. Dezo is the most distant one, the planet of ice, little is known about it.

A thousand years have passed since Alis freed Algol Lassic’s domination. Under the direction of a giant computer named Mother Brain, Algol has become prosperous. You play Rolf, who leaves his home in Paseo, capital of Mota, to join Central Tower where Mota’s government head assigns you a new mission.

The game offers the player the posssibility to lead a team of up to four characters. The battles are turn based; the player starts by giving instructions to his characters and then observes the unwinding of the round. He then gives instructions for the next round, and it all starts over again. The orders range from the use of magic, to the normal or special attack, through the use of object or defense (using a shield). The game is very difficult and the player is forced to make leveling (to stop at a place in the game and improve the characteristics of his characters).

Sega Genesis

In the late 1980s, the reputation of SEGA is mainly based on the enthousiasm for its arcade games. Hayao Nakayama, then SEGA’s CEO, takes the decision to develop a 16-bit console on the base of System 16’s arcade. The console receives the code name MK-1601 and is launched with the name of SEGA Drive worldwide, except in North America, where it is launched with the name Sega Genesis, since the other name was already patented.

At the launch of the Genesis in 1989, Nintendo has with its NES nearly 92% of the Japanese market and about 95% of the North American market. Taking off guard Nintendo on the 16-bit market, SEGA successfully introduces the Genesis in the US and Europe, sweeping the Turbografx-16. The SEGA Genesis even managed to be the market leader in North American for 1992 and 1993.

In 1992 a revamped version of the Megadrive (SEGA Genesis), the Megadrive II is launched. Later in 1997, the firm Majesco Sales obtains the rights to re-market the Megadrive II in North America. The following year, the company manufactures a new version, the Genesis 3 and sells it for $50. During those ten years, 39.70 million Megadrive and Genesis units were sold.

Nintendo – Gameboy

Here a portable video game console created in 1989, the Game Boy. It was very well received due to the monochrome screen, which of course was rendering an average image quality, therefore reducing the initial price. This small, autonomous and portable console has a wide variety of games. The Game Boy was one of the best selling console and this, with the release of two legendary games: Tetris, which was sold with the console in 1989 and pokemon in 1996.  The Game Boy had a hundred million copies sold, which gives it the second place right behind Playstation 2.

since the release date in 1989, the Game Boy evolved in many versions : The Game Boy Pocket, Game Boy Light, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Advance SP, Game Boy Micro and Nintendo DS which is still in constant evolution. This portable console is actually a fusion between a console and a remote controller from Nintendo. Numbers of children and even adults played it at any time of the day, while they could now bring it at school or during break time at work.. You had the choice between more than 450 games. From the shoot’em up,  platformers or even puzzle games to brawling and sport games. The original Game Boy would always bring complete satisfaction. The Game Boy is powered by 4 AA batteries, for an intense gameplay going up to 15 hours. It has 4-channel FM stereo sound with a headphone plug , by the height of the mighty 8-bits,
it’s packed with all kind of awesome.

Sega Master System – Phantasy Star

We are at the 342nd century of the sidereal era on three planets of the Algol solar system. On the planet Palma, under the democratic rule of King Lassic, people were happy and lived in tranquillity and peace. Palma scientists had developed, some 200 years ago, space travel which led to the colonization of the otherer two planets of the solar system, Motavia and Dezoris.

Unfortunately, the situation did not last. Gradually things started to change. A new religion appeared and a rumour was running that it came from another galaxy. The priests, about whom nothing was known and nobody had ever seen, promised immortality to all those who would join them. The king, who was beginning to get old, entertained the idea of eternal life. So, he was the first one to be converted to this religion. Then Lassic completely changed. One day, the priests offered him a mystical armor, from the day he put it on, he started ruling as an evil and corrupt tyrant.

The game is amazing, especially when compared with other titles of the Master System. It offers a first person view in the dungeons and a display approaching 3D games that come out much later. It may be noted that the game is one of the first cartridges to include an internal memory for saving the player’s progress.

What jumps out right away is the fact that the game is pretty, very pretty for the ability of the time. The city is large (Caminet, capital of Palma), composed of three parts connected by gateways, themselves guarded by guards. Furthermore, approaching a resident, entering a building or even when using the main menu we are shown a pseudo first-person view which offers a new perspective of the city. All of this with shimmering colors and a design that does not lack taste. For sure, the graphics perfectly contribute to the ambience and honor the Master System capabilities. But it does not stop there, throughout the game you will encounter a wide variety of environments: from the plains of Palma, the Dezoris’ snowy steppe passing through Motavia’s rocky desert, we get the feeling that we are truly travelling, a surprising feat for an over 20 years old game!

Sega Master System – Action Fighter

Action Fighter is a vehicular combat game developed and published by Sega in 1986. First launched in Arcade, the game was later adapted for the Amiga, the Amstrad CPC, the Commodore 64, thr DOS, the Master System and finally for the ZX Spectrum.

You play a secret agent who receives a letter from the President to perform a top-secret mission. In short; Your mission, pilot a bike that will turn into a car and then into a plane ( by recovering the other letters ) can eliminate many enemies. Each level scrolled vertically and has some races where the player must navigate an area as soon as possible and a ” shoot them up ” part. The game’s mechanics are modeled on the classic Spy Hunter came from Midway in 1983.