From other posts you might already know that the Sega Game Gear was the first gaming system I owned (got it as a christmas present). And I also wrote 2 separate posts on games that I had for it (Castle of Illusion and Dragon Crystal). But since I don’t really have some big story for each of the games I played on the system, I’ll put them together in this post.
The genre distribution on the system overall tended more towards action/platform games, which pretty much matched my collection. Columns was my only puzzle game, but I sunk quite a few hours into it, especially early on when I didn’t have many games yet. At the time I quite liked it, though I can definitely see why it was a poor opponent to Tetris on the Game Boy. The music wasn’t as catchy as well, even though it wasn’t BAD, it just couldn’t compare. There WAS another puzzle game that I played by borrowing it from a friend, which was Lemmings. Overall a great game, though given the small screen and controls, this was obviously not the best platform for the game. While I played it for some time, after a certain point I think I just switched from trying to solve the levels to mindlessly experimenting around with stuff, blowing up all Lemmings randomly, stuff like that.
Look at all those Platforms
Moving on to platformers, I already talked about Castle of Illusion in a previous post, but besides that there were a few others. Lucky Dime Caper joined the “good license adaptation” camp and even had some surprisingly tricky levels that kept me playing for some time, even though the game itself isn’t very long. Of course we can’t talk about platformers on Sega systems without mentioning Sonic, another game that I enjoyed quite a bit. Though to be honest I never finished this one, the Scrap Brain Zone or the Sky Base Zone were always as far as I got back then. The lightning with its sound effect and the dark background kind of gave me chills at the time. The sequel I liked far less, never owned it myself either, just borrowed it from a friend a few times. They managed to make the levels confusing and unfun by failing to adapt them to the small screen size. Plus elements like the glider suffered from bad controls, as well as the unfun boss levels that didn’t even give you ANY rings at all. Another not so great game of this genre, though not as bad as Sonic 2, was the first Wonder Boy. At first I enjoyed it, but It became pretty repetitive as it progressed. Last but definitely not least was Land of Illusion which improved on pretty much everything from Castle of Illusion and was an all around great game that I had A LOT of fun with. Graphics, music, controls, levels… if you get a chance to try it out, please do!
Start Game… Action!
Then there were the more action-oriented games, starting with Taz-Mania. This was a very short game overall, but with several, in my opinion not so great design choices to stretch the time needed to get through it. Due to that, I did keep at it for longer than I probably would have done if I had a bigger selection of games available. One of my favorites on the Game Gear was Shinobi, with its different unlockable characters and thus different ways to beat it. Figuring out in what order to beat the levels worked best was quite fun and a nice challenge. Didn’t hurt that the game had good graphics and a rocking soundtrack! Another decent action game was Master of Darkness, sometimes prefixed with “Vampire”. Design-wise this was relatively close to Castlevania, as one might suspect, but instead of the classic whip, there were other weapons to be used and instead of wall chicken, there was wall… wine (bottles with bright red fluid). Now my absolute favorite that I would put into this general group was Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap. I’m definitely going to write more on this game in a future post since this game relatively recently got a great remaster. That should tell you enough on how much of an impression this game (well, the whole Wonder Boy series, really) left on people overall.
Of course there were also straight up shooters on the system, though I only played very few of them. The two that I had were Fantasy Zone Gear and Halley Wars, a stark contrast in terms of tone. Fantasy Zone Gear was a very colorful side-scrolling shooter with the innovation that you could go both to the left and the right whenever you wanted (the levels looped). Halley Wars on the other hand had you fight against a full force attack on Earth, with every enemy that you let through damaging the Earth itself, increasing a percentage counter that carried over from level to level (the more points you scored, the more you counteracted the increase in between levels). Both games had their own advantages and disadvantages, but overall I had my fun with each of them.
And the rest…
My least frequented genre was sports/racing, the only game here being Ayrton Senna’s Super Monaco GP 2. Definitely not my favorite game and I think it served as a good warning sign for me, keeping me far away from more games like this for the years to come.
So besides a few games that I borrowed for a short time (G-Loc, Woody Pop…), this was most of the gaming content that I played over 2-3 years, until the display of my Game Gear just kind of gave up. After one of the play sessions I shut it off and the next day there was no picture, only the back-light. And it was just the display, if I pressed the buttons, the game played as normal, but obviously playing blind like that… well that’s just for crazy people at speedrun marathons, right? Heh… heh… yeah. Until next time, dear reader.