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Sega Mega Drive vs Super Nintendo: 16 Bit WarGames


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To pull the on-going debate into one thread, I've thought of an idea that could either go really well or totally bomb. War Games.

Pick your team of 5 for one of the two consoles and present why you think they should be on that team. Give the highs and lows of that game, memories, facts, the whole lot. If you were going head to head with the other side, who would be your 5 choices?

This doesn't have to be most critically acclaimed or popular, this is your team that you think you can make a strong case for. If you think Sonic was trash and preferred Plok then so be it, if Mortal Kombat II wasn't your jam because you were up to your neck in Clay Fighter 2: Judgement Clay then that's sorta fine too.

I present (in no order) my list. I'm representing Sega Mega Drive.

1. Sonic The Hedgehog 2


I have so many fond memories of this game, and Sonic in general on the Mega Drive. My parents were the ones who got me into games when I was a kid, they got me a NES one Christmas (I have a photo I'll upload when I get the chance) and I was one of those NES Kids you see memes of online, jaw on the floor on Christmas day holding a massive NES box. 
I remember though the day my Mum came home with the Sega Mega Drive she had gotten off my Aunt who didn't want it any more. It had Mega Games 1 with Columns, Super Hang On, and World Cup Italia '90, some PGA Golf Game and Sonic 2.

I'd come home from school and my Mum will have pulled the sofa right up to the TV in the living room, curtains drawn, lights off. She'd be playing Sonic. The thing is though she'd play it like Mario because the speed didn't appeal to her. She'd slowly take her time searching the nooks and crannies of every stage finding all the "extra men" and secrets. 
A few years ago now I played it with her on the Wii Virtual Console and even though I've spent years between my childhood and now playing it, she still knew all these hidden parts of levels I'd never seen before. We made it to the last boss but got game over, but man that feeling I got sat with my Mum playing Sonic 2 again. 

I remember one birthday my best mate coming over and I can see it in my mind clear as day, we got up to Sky Chase Zone and my Mum shouted us down to go to McDonalds for tea. We paused it, went for food and I even remember walking back and getting home to finish the game with him. We figured out a place you can stand where on the last boss Robotnik always faces away from you so you can attack him from behind, and we still use that tactic to this day.

I loved Mario on my NES, and All Stars & World on my SNES, but Sonic 2 was better. It was faster, the music was better, it was cooler. It was everything a 90s kid like me wanted from a game and I have so many fond memories and nostalgia for it, and the fact I still love playing it to this day, it's an easy pick for my team.

2. World of Illusion: Starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck


I'll still argue to this day that Disney games peaked on the Mega Drive. Aladdin, Lion King, Quackshot, Castle of Illusion and this game are up there with the best games Disney have made ever, and some of the best platform games of that era period. 
World of Illusion gets my pick though for one reason above all others: Co-op.

The co-op in this game was perfect. You had two characters that were considered main characters, unlike Sonic and Tails where nobody wanted to be Tails. They each had their own quirks like Donald not being able to squeeze his massive arse through gaps without Mickey pulling him, and the levels required you to work together to make it through.
Each level represented (sometimes loosely) a Disney franchise like Alice in Wonderland or The Little Mermaid so the colours and the presentation of each stage was just beautiful.

For an era jammed with garbage platformers, this one stands up there with the big boys as far as I'm concerned.

3. Toejam and Earl


One of the more unique games of the 16 bit era and one that I loved as a kid. It was just so stupid and the source of many laughs at the bizarre enemies, and opening gifts without knowing what they'd be and having rocket boots blast you 6 stages back.
I remember finding the secret island with the hula girls and telling all my mates who wouldn't believe me, and then not being able to get the items in the random boxes to get there again. I looked a twat.

The two sequels were crap, but this one was just a slap to the face of 90s slang and bonkers style. That funk soundtrack still holds up too. There was nothing on the SNES even came close to replicating this, a true unique game in an era of clones.

4. Eternal Champions


Back when fighting games had no serious story or narrative other than "here's some guys that are mad at each other", Eternal Champions rammed a bunch of backstory into the game for every single character, for the reason they were fighting in the first place and even though the game itself was a bang average Mortal Kombat knockoff, for me there hasn't been a better story in a fighting game since, including the story-heavy recent MK and Injustice games. 
Basically the Eternal Champion has chosen people from across all the past and future who died before they were meant to; a police detective who was tricked into detonating a bomb in a children's hospital, a scientist who was killed before curing his vampirism, an acrobat who's lines were sabotaged. The winner of the tournament gets to return to the moment before they died and change their fate. 
This gives you a roster of so many varied characters from across time. Cavemen, Cyborgs, Vampires, Bounty Hunters, Alchemists, the lot; and they all have reason to be there other than "oh cool a Cyborg". I remember sitting reading the manual like a story book.
The gore was off the charts, the music was insanely good, and it had in my opinion the best opening of any game on the Megadrive, where every time you turned it on a random fighter would attack the SEGA logo. 

I'd love to see a modern take on it. 

4. Revenge of Shinobi


I never had Shinobi 3 as a kid which admittedly handled a lot better than this, but christ this was a badass game. Shinobi was rock hard but the grind was worth it to see more and more of the nuts enemies and levels it threw at you. I remember as a kid watching my Dad play it on a small telly in the dining room and getting as far as fighting Batman and Spiderman in a Junk Yard. 
I was never that good, and only got as far as the 2nd level most the time but I enjoyed it all the same. I still haven't completed it to this day but can get a lot further.

It's not the best game on the Mega Drive, it's not even the best Shinobi game, but it's my favourite so I've chose it. And those are my 5.

Sonic The Hedgehog 2
Toejam and Earl
World of Illusion
Eternal Champions
Revenge of Shinobi

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1) Kid Chameleon is the best game to have ever exisisted. It happens to have been a Megadrive game.

2) Road Rash 2 / Skitchin

3) Alien Storm

4) Streets of Rage 2/Golden Axe 2

5) Earthworm Jim 

To be fair that top 5 changes daily. I will say I love SNES, it has a lot of good games but my top 5-10 SNES games will always realistically be the same 5-10 in different order.

The MD on the other hand had a larger variety of really decent to excellent games in my opinion and I find a different game can sneak in to my top 10 on a regular basis.

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Super Mario World- to this day, still the greatest Mario game ever. Much better than the 'rush through everything like fuck' Sonic games. Hence why Mario games still fly off shelves and Sonic constantly tries to reinvent and fails. So many levels, so many hidden levels too


Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Greatest Zelda game ever (suck it, @FelatioLips, with your cel shaded wankfests), so good that Cody Rhodes replays it every year. Loads of dungeons, loads of weapons. Best 16bit era game by a mile.


Super Mario Kart. Greatest racing game franchise of all-time began here. And whilst the original has been bettered by its successors, this is still a great game to play. Don't choose Donkey Kong or Bowser though, because they're slow fat fucks.


Final Fight. So much better than Streets of Beige. Fight me.


Street Fighter II. Either the original, Turbo or Super editions. The beat em up that defined a generation and emptied our pockets on holiday in '92 & '93. Mega Drive finally released their own version and it was shit. Like the 2000s DX compared to SNES Street Fighter's 1990s DX. NO comparison.


Mega Drive was still very good, Sonic 2 is awesome and I loved the Micro Machines games. But the likes of Golden Axe and Altered Beast are massively overrated and unplayable today.

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In fairness, @FelatioLips, you've chosen a couple of cracking MegaDrive games there. Revenge of Shinobi and World of Illusion are both brilliant games.

But I'm going with the SNES and with these:-

1) Super Mario World


Not only a great SNES game but surely a contender as the greatest game of all time. This is why the SNES had the advantage for me. The Megadrive had lots of really good games but the SNES had the advantage by having truly great games. The depth of secrets in this, the lack of unfair levels and parts plus making you want to play it all over again as soon as you finish are just some of the many reasons why I didn't move from my bedroom for about a month when I first got it.

2) Super Mario Kart


Talking of two player games earlier, this is the most played two player experience I ever had. The range of two player battle tracks may have been limited but the range of characters and tactics made them endlessly replayable. Plus the one player modes become really challenging while the time trial races were replayed by me constantly trying to shave 0.01 second off my Koopa Beach 2 time.

3) Donkey Kong Country


I could easily have had all three of the original DKC games here, they're all as excellent as each other, but the initial amazement at how playable and immediately challenging this was never left me. The snippets of humour and the variation in level themes were fantastic too. A couple of levels were unreasonably hard (FUCK YOU MINE CART MADNESS) but in general it was fairly mounted and the secret areas and features numerous and varied.

4) Super Smash TV


I worried about how well this would be converted to SNES but the brilliantly clever controls coupled with the ability to change difficulty levels and how many lives you had were so important to a ridiculously hard but also just ridiculously enjoyable shoot 'em up. It never frustrated me even despite how difficult it was because I knew it was more to do with how shit I was at games rather than the game itself.

5) Legend of the Mystical Ninja


Unquestionably one of the strangest games I've ever played, it's a weird cross between platform game, action adventure and RPG with strange references to other games and brilliant homages. You never feel like you've done and found everything in this game, it's one of the most playable and immersive games I've ever played.

Bubbling under:-

Yoshi's Island - brilliant platform game that has never quite got the credit it deserved for just how good it was and how much it changed up the Mario formula.

Donkey Kong Country 2 & 3 - see above, both almost as good as the originals. Maybe they could have differentiated themselves more but in a way they showed how much more you could do with the formula.

Super Mario All-Stars - it would have been cheating to include this, wouldn't it?

International Superstar Soccer Deluxe - the only football game (not management) that I've ever fully become addicted to. Even when Rivaldo does score an overhead kick in the last second to beat you 5-4 in the World Cup Final, not that I'm still bitter or anything....

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@Devon Malcolm I bloody love Donkey Kong Country and agree that all 3 of them are as good as each other, even though some try to argue 3 is weak, they're dead wrong.

Coincidentally today during the Smash Bros Nintendo Direct they announced King K Rool as a playable character and I was proper buzzing.


Edited by FelatioLips
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As mentioned in the other thread, I worked in a games department in the early 90s.  I'd completed Sonic 2 the day it came out before my lunch break so that's why I can never consider it a contender for greatest game.

I always thought Sport games were better on the Mega Drive and RPGs better on the SNES.  Both were great consoles but the SNES edges it for me, probably down to the Mario and Zelda games.

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41 minutes ago, Devon Malcolm said:

  5) Legend of the Mystical Ninja


Unquestionably one of the strangest games I've ever played, it's a weird cross between platform game, action adventure and RPG with strange references to other games and brilliant homages. You never feel like you've done and found everything in this game, it's one of the most playable and immersive games I've ever played.

I avoided mentioning in order to stay true to the MD, but this game right here is the strongest argument about the SNES being the better console I’ve read today. It’s in my top 20 of all time, the N64 Mystical Ninja staring Goemon version is also in my top 20 and I’ve still never had a chance to have a proper play on #2 yet.

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Devastated, I was really looking forward to writing some stuff about my favourite Super NES games but Dev and 'Step have written almost every word I'd want to, in fact PunkStep put forward 4 out of my 5. I definitely played more of Mario World, Mario Kart, Link to the Past, SSF2T, Sim City, NBA Jam, Turtles IV, MK2 and Mario All Stars more than all my PSX, PS2 and N64 games combined. The Mega Drive had AMAZING depth for how many random games I played (and occasionally still get shown by mates) where they're fantastic pick up and play mindless colourful fun.... but my favourite games were SNES games, so that's what I asked Mumsy for.

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Wow, I totally forgot about  Donkey Kong Country. The little skits and the overall animations in that were great for the time. The colours were like nothing I'd seen before in a game. 

Between that, the marathon sessions on Street Fighter 2: Turbo, and creating badly drawn dicks and fannies on Mario Paint, I think I'm changing my stance to SNES. 

Edited by Silky Kisser
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1. Streets Of Rage 2


Remember getting this as a youngster and falling in love with it, so much better then the 1st and 3rd entries, it’s in a world of its own compared, love the soundtrack and I still play it on a regular basis, I can get up to the final level without using a continue.

2. Sonic The Hedgehog 2


I’m not having Super Mario being better EVER

3. World Of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse And Donald Duck.


I can still hear Donald shout Alakazam to summon a magic carpet

4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist


Side Scrolling beat em ups were my favourite genre as a kid and this was so much fun, I remember beating the arcade version with friends on a school trip.

5. Dynamite Headdy


Very weird platformer that I fell in love with instantly.

Edited by TildeGuy~!
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2 minutes ago, Keith Houchen said:

Another reason why SNES was better?  Secret Of Mana.  Fuck me that was an oft overlooked belter of a game.

I really wanted to love it but could never get into it. Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI are far superior on the SNES.

That's one thing SNES hammered Mega Drive at, RPGs.

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Cracking lineup @FelatioLips.

Streets of Rage 2 is pretty damn perfect. I always pick wrestler characters in games so Max was right up my street. His atomic drop was a thing of beauty. The difficulty levels were perfectly scaled, two players was just a joy. The sound effects are some of the best around, satisfyingly sickening crunch noises. So many afternoons frittered away spanking Galcias. 


The Immortal is an overlooked classic. A gentle RPG with guts galore and fun puzzles and a brilliant story. I got majorly obsessed with this game, and wrote my own paper guide for it. 


Desert Strike was an instant classic and holds up really well today (apart from the disturbing Saddam Hussein plot). Superb variety of missions and just excellent feeling of potency the best video games give you. 


It arrived too late to become super famous but Story of Thor was Zelda for the Mega Drive. Impressive visuals and a gripping story had me glued to my machine for a week solid whilst I beat it one Easter holiday. 


I loved sidescroller Growl so much. Really fun combat, fighting with animals, lobbing grenades and some of the campest dialogue you'll ever hear. "Get lost you wisp!" 


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6 minutes ago, FelatioLips said:

That's one thing SNES hammered Mega Drive at, RPGs

Landstalker, Shining Force, Phantasy Star, Sword of Vermillion... It held it's own. 

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1 hour ago, Onyx2 said:

Landstalker, Shining Force, Phantasy Star, Sword of Vermillion... It held it's own. 

Beyond Oasis... 


Oh, and while I’m on (not RPG) but we can’t forgot the joy of MD exclusive Moonwalker.

Edited by Kaz Hayashi
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