News Article

Will Sega CD Support Ever Come To The Virtual Console?

Posted by Damien McFerran

Since the very welcome introduction of TG-16 CD-ROM games to Nintendo’s Virtual Console service we’ve seen a steady flow of requests for the same treatment to be given to Sega’s ill-fated Sega CD add-on (also known as the Mega CD in Europe and Japan).

This much-hyped peripheral was rolled out in the early ‘90s (a few years after Hudson/NEC had released their CD-ROM attachment) and despite early positive signs never really succeeded in delivering on the promises Sega had made. Nevertheless, the format is home to some truly excellent videogames and would undoubtedly make a fine addition to the VC stable.

The key question is: would it be possible? You have to bear in mind that the TG-16 CD-ROM and the Sega CD are two very different beasts; the TG-16 version basically granted CD-ROM audio and additional storage space for things like cut scenes and extra levels. The Sega CD on the other hand contained specialised chips to enable the machine to replicate the ‘Mode 7’ scaling seen in so many SNES titles (such as Pilotwings and Super Mario Kart). Therefore it’s a somewhat trickier proposition to emulate the Mega CD hardware on the Virtual Console, but certainly not impossible – you only have to look at the latest homebrew PC emulators to see that. However, with Nintendo withholding Super FX titles from the VC, it’s quite possible that there may be issues behind the scenes that are affecting the release of more demanding hardware configurations.

Naturally we’re just thinking out loud here and we genuinely hope that the Sega CD will come to the VC in the near future. In the meantime, here’s a quick rundown of some of the titles we’d like to see published on the service.

Silpheed (GameArts)

Billed as Sega’s answer to Nintendo’s Starfox, Silpheed was in fact a very different kind of game. True, it showcased similar 3D visuals, but while the ones seen in Starfox were generated in real time by the innovative Super FX chip, the Sega CD game instead relied on the complex backgrounds being spooled directly from the CD, ‘FMV’ style. The only 3D objects in the game were the ships, which tended to be on the small side. That said, Silpheed is still an excellent vertical blaster with bags of playability.

Lunar: The Silver Star Story (GameArts/Working Designs)

Many RPGs were released on the Mega CD in Japan but the sheer scale of the localization process deterred many publishers from releasing them in the West. Thankfully, Working Designs was brave enough to bring Lunar over (and its sequel, Eternal Blue) and in doing so they made Sega CD owners very happy indeed. This really is a top class release, with an intelligent (not to mention witty) English scripts and some excellent voice acting to boot. The game itself is your standard Final Fantasy-style affair, but the plot is thoroughly engaging and the anime cut scenes and music really do add to the overall effect, as opposed to merely being window-dressing. We imagine that this game will top the list of most wanted Sega CD games, and rightly so.

Final Fight CD (Sega/Capcom)

Given the incomplete nature of the SNES conversion, it’s only fair that VC gamers should be treated to this far more accomplished port. All of the characters and all of the stages are present (so you finally get to play as Guy and witness the excellent factory level – both of these items were omitted from the SNES port due to memory constraints) but arguably the most important inclusion is the two-player mode, which was also removed from the Nintendo version. An excellent ‘arranged’ soundtrack rounds off a stunning interpretation of one of the best scrolling fighters ever produced.

Popful Mail (Working Designs)

Playing a lot like Wonderboy In Monsterworld, this 2D fantasy platformer features RPG elements as well as lush anime sequences and bags of crystal-clear speech. Mercifully granted a US release by Working Designs, it’s another title that regularly tops polls for the most loved Sega CD release. Given the inflated prices of the original these days a VC publication would be very welcome indeed, although the demise of Working Designs may sadly lead to legal wrangles involving who owns the actual licence.

Sonic CD (Sega)

Widely regarded as the best Sonic game ever made, this highly polished platformer was the perfect advert for the CD format. Massive levels with bags of variety, some seriously funky music (the US version had different music to the Japanese/European edition but both soundtracks are worthy of note) and some charming anime cut scenes were all present and correct. The gameplay is tight and enjoyable, with Sonic showcasing his innovative ‘charge dash’, previously seen in Sonic 2. The biggest addition to the gameplay was the ability to travel backwards and forwards through time, thereby changing the look of the level. Also, should the player successfully destroy robot-generating machines in one level, when they reach the future of the next stage there are less enemies – a neat touch. All in all, this is easily one of the finest platform games of its generation and due to the failure of the host hardware is often sadly overlooked.

Snatcher (Konami)

Hideo Kojima may be famous for bringing Metal Gear Solid to the world, but people tend to forget he’s created some other excellent games too. Snatcher is similar to the old text adventures you used to get on the old Western home computers. Based heavily on Blade Runner, the game sees you fighting against the evil Snatchers – robots that kill people and assume their identities. Although the game was successful enough to appear on several different formats – including the PC Engine, Saturn and Playstation – this is the only version to be translated into English and unsurprisingly fetches a pretty penny on eBay these days.

Keio Flying Squadron (JVC)

A delightfully cute shooter in the vein of Konami’s Parodious, this was one of the more irreverent Japanese titles to make the leap over to the West. Visually it’s not really anything the Genesis/Megadrive couldn’t handle on its own, but the fantastic soundtrack and improved spot effects show where the Sega CD hardware has been put to good use. Naturally, there are a few cut scenes and an animated introduction, as well as some pretty zany speech. An utterly charming little game, it received a sequel on the Saturn that introduced platforming sections as well.

Road Avenger (Wolfteam)

Ok, so we’re guilty of bowing to personal preference here but Road Avenger is still one of our all-time favourite Sega CD games. It’s similar to Dragon’s Lair in terms of gameplay; you’re basically playing a cartoon, with your interaction limited to predetermined points. Fail to press the right direction or button at a set time and it’s game over. It’s a little more forgiving than Dragon’s Lair due to the fact that on its default difficulty setting on-screen prompts thankfully tell you what to do. The action is pretty intense and the FMV, while a little grainy, is pretty decent. This was bundled with Mega CD units in the UK and therefore should have a special place in the hearts of those that were brave enough to purchase the system.

There are plenty of other titles worthy of note on the system, so why not list which games you’d like to see in the comments section below?

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User Comments (95)



ETLN said:

I hope they add the Sega/ Mega CD. I'd download sonic cd in a second. The 32X would be another great add on!!



KeeperBvK said:

I bought a Mega CD back when it was still full-price...and the only game I ever played on it was said Road Avenger.
I sure enjoyed it,'s actually really not that good. ^^

But I'd definitely download Snatcher. I've been told by so many people that it's just sooo good, but the original really is too expensive.



link64 said:

If the sega CD ever does come we will Probably have to pay extra for it.



Dark_Jinjo said:

It seems to me that the Sega CD would be difficult to emulate. It was a mess of hardware trying to be the pinnacle of 2D gaming and loads of 3D support thrown in at the last minute to compete with the original Playstation. There were multiple processors on the board similar to what the Playstation 3 has today. Many of the best games for the system were meticulously coded to take advantage of the different processors, and both 2D and 3D elements. From a hardware standpoint I don't know of any other system that would be as difficult to emulate. I have also heard that Sega was in such dissary at the time that many of the original codes for these great games have been completely lost. I just don't see anyone at these companies taking the time to backwards engineer these titles in order to sell them on the VC when not many of them had enough popularity in their own day to make that investment seem worthwhile.From what I have seen of Nintendo's policy for VC so far (minimal effort for maximum profit) I would bet that we won't see Sega CD games for a long time, if we ever see them at all.



Dark_Jinjo said:

I think that the best bet we have for any Sega CD games are those that were published within the first year or so of the console's life-span because those ones were not programmed to take advantage of the multiple processors and would not be as difficult to emulate.



lordbowser said:

I'd love me some Road Avenger. I haven't played it in years but I still got the theme song stuck in my head. Oh yeah and I know I complain about the shmups but Sol Feace has a special place in my heart.



Tides_of_Chaos said:

I hope we do get the Sega CD, although as Dark Jinjo stated, it's probably not going to happen since it's a pretty complicated piece of equipment and Nintendo can't even emulate some of their own stuff such as Mode 7, passwords in games such as Kid Icarus, and rumble in N64 games.



Bass_X0 said:

I hope the 32X also makes it to Virtual Console sometime. The original add-on may have been unpopular but that doesn't mean there aren't some games still worth playing on VC from it if ever did come to VC. They have got to be 800 points -- and make the Sega CD 900 points. The more the merrier, especially # of games per week.



Damo said:

@Dark Jinjo - I'm pretty sure you're talking about the Saturn and not the Sega CD...the Sega CD wasn't a mess of hardware, it didn't have 3D support thrown in at the last minute and it certainly wasn't positioned as a rival to the Playstation...those things are true of the Saturn, not the Sega CD.



ToneDeath said:

Hello there!
Didn't the Sega CD have a version of The Secret of Monkey Island? I had it for the Amiga but I don't know if that machine will ever come to the VC. I really fancy some insult swordfighting.
"I got this scar on my face during a mighty struggle"
"I hope now you've learned to stop picking your nose"



JD1 said:

I have always wanted to play sonic CD. I am one of those sad characters who actualy owns a few mega CD games even though they have never owned the console, just can't help buying games at the right price!



Slionr said:

Hope it comes to VC Woulde love to see games such as Sonic CD, Shining Force CD, Robo Aleste, Dune, Third World War, Snatcher, Final Fight CD, Lunar: The Silver Star Stor, Bari Arm and Sol feace.



Manicfatty said:

@ Dark Jinjo - Um...I think you're a bit confused on this one. What you're (sort of) describing is the Sega SATURN. The Sega CD was an add-on for the Sega Genesis that pre-dated the Playstation (in it's final Sony form ) by about 4 years. It wasn't a 3-d machine at all. There were a couple of games that did some 3-D (Stellar 7 and Silpheed come to mind), but the majority faked it using what was actually sort of mode 7 on steroids, with bi-axial rotation and sprite scaling (take a peak at Soul Star by Core).

No, you're thinking of the Saturn. There shouldn't be anything precluding the release of Sega CD games on the least not anything on the tech side.



Dark_Jinjo said:

Holy crap everyone, I am officially a retard. Damo and Manicfatty you are completely right. I am thinking of the Saturn. Bring on the easily emulated Sega CD!



Tim said:

I don't want to think about adding anymore consoles until we get all the gems from the systems already available.

@dimlylitmonkey, The very first monkey island was ported to the Sega CD.



shynra said:

Snatcher solely justifies keeping the mega cd in my collection.

As for Final Fight CD its a great conversion but i really hate the re-mixed music.. level 1`s beach like chill out remix is really bad imo for example.

Would be nice to see the point and clicks on here too like Monkey Island (and a nes release of maniac mansion would be cool).

Shining Force CD is also great! A port of the 2 out of 3 Game Gear games with cd music, it does not have town sections or world maps just battle onto battle.

The intro song of Road Avenger alone is worth its admission on the list!!!!!



firebrand said:

I don't see it happening. Even if they could get the emulation down, would they have access to enough SEGA CD titles to make it worth the effort? I don't think so. SEGA invested to much money into those awful FMV games back in the day. Who would want to buy those games now?

Other titles like Lunar are probably so bogged down in licensing issues that we'll probably never see them. Working Designs published Lunar and they're out of business. Who owns the right to Lunar now and would they have the right to release the Working Designs' translation of Lunar?

If SEGA CD ever does grace the Virtual Console, I'd like to see Eternal Champions CD and Popful Mail.



Adamant said:

Wow, you actually included Road Avenger on your list? I loved that game as a kid - one of the most inventive Dragon's Lair clones of all time.



JaredJ said:

Always wanted to play final fight cd. but, why would they give us that when they have the snes version on vc already? I know it has all three playable characters as well as two player support, which would be better, but I would think that the nintendo version of any game would be released over the same game on another console.

You can also play the arcade version of final fight (with all three playable characters and two player support) on capcom classics collection on ps2 & xbox. Would also like to see final fight 2 & 3 on vc.



morphballer said:

I wonder how hard (or easy) it would be to clean up the grainy FMV on some of these games...



ChinSpin said:

It be cool to have the Sega cd come to VC but if the 32x came I can finally play Knuckles Chaotix.



Jupiter_Adept said:

I thought Sonic CD was the worst 2D Sonic. However, Lunar sounds fun. Besides, if Wii can handle N64 games, shouldn't it be able to hold these?



blackknight77 said:

Sonic CD is an awesome game I love it! I hope 32x come to the VC.
Virtua Fighter, Virtua Racing, and Star wars were really good.



Angelic_Lapras_King said:

One factor that might mean the MegaCD won't be coming for awhile is the SMS/GG support. That was annonced 1-2 months ago, we ve seen games at quite a slow rate and Europe doesnt even have it yet.

So yeah, they might want to expanded that SMS/GG libary before Sega start thinking of a new console, even if it was just an add on to the MD...



Ark said:

YES! I'd love to play that too. One of the few Sonic titles I haven't experienced.

I don't know much about the system but Sonic CD is great and that Lunar game looks interesting. I'd like to try out some of these. =)



Drizzt said:

This system should definitely come to the VC. Sonic CD is an awesome game.



rman0099 said:

It would be awesome if they were able to release Vay. It was a solid RPG from Working Designs that was released between the two lunar games. It has really been overlooked by a lot of people and has the same anime cutseen sytle that the Lunar series brought.

My only corrention is that on Sega CD it was Lunar: The Siler Star, not silver star story. That was the remake. But lunar still stands today as my favorite RPG of all time.



jacknozwad said:

Everything on this wish list is absolutely worth being on virtual console. I would also like to see Vay on virtual console. Long live Wii VC



whalleywhat said:

The Sega CD Snatcher is also the best Snatcher, IMO, because of its brightly coloured anime gore. I've seen screens from the Playstation version, and they're just nowhere near as good. The game is very short and very simplistic (apart from a few target shooting sequences, it's just choosing options on menus, which the game itself makes fun of.) But it's a short blast of awesome. I'd love to have that game as part of my VC library.



Genroh said:

God I would love to see Snatcher, Earthworm Jim: Special Edition and Eternal Champions 2 on VC. Snatcher especially.



Viral said:

Earthworm Jim had the best level titles...

On a side note, why does Nintendo announce Japan's monthly list of VC games when they don't do the same for North America or Europe? That's kind of



E-dawg said:

I have Sonic CD on Sonic Gems Collection and it's an awesome game, I would also like to try more Sega/Mega CD games in the near future. Only thing that holds me back about this is that the slow rate of Nintendo 64 games coming out, will only become slower...



Shiryu said:

And how about "Dune"!?

Well, sicne we have TGCD that uses song compressions, there really is nothing in the way of Wii getting some MegaCD classics, the only problem is Nintendo themselves...what ARE they wating to give us a proper storage solution!?



Mendez said:

Hopefully we'll get Road Avenger one day... I've heard a lot of people calling it rubbish but I loved it to bits until our Sega CD broke.



jg233 said:

If a computer can emulated Mode 7 with an emulator, why couldn't the wii? I mean, I have Super Mario Kart on my computer right now...



Kelvin said:

Kriss Kross: Make My Video and Night Trap for the win!


I'd love to see Sonic CD, Lunar and Snatcher, and I'll chuck my name in for Monkey Island, as I doubt we'll ever see the superior Amiga version on VC (I doubt we'll see any LucasArts games on VC, actually, but that's another matter). As far as Maniac Mansion goes, I'd rather the C64 version over the NES one, but I digress.



diablos79 said:

I would love to see mega-cd titles on the vc. sonic cd is my favourite game of the series by a country mile and there were loads of other very good titles for the system as well such as road avenger, star wars rebel assault, and cobra command. Ok there were some real duffers too, jaguar XJ220,night trap and ground zero texas to name but a few ((shudder)).



Bass_X0 said:

hey, the VC can handle mode 7. the floors on super street fighter ii used it. the world map on zelda used it. f-zero definitely used it. perhaps castlevania did too.



Roo said:

I'd like to see Sega CD on VC, if only to rock out to the Sonic CD, that rules!



Ergon_Ronay said:

Re: alliechan United States 06 Apr 2008, 18:43 GMT

Panzer Dragoon? I figured more people would be begging for that one!

Sorry matey, that is on the little chance of that. But it would be nice in an ideal world.

Although, now we have the C64 on the VC...please can I have Starglider, I loved that game



BulbasaurusRex said:

Forget the Sega CD. I want the Sega 32X! Besides, I already have access to Sonic CD on my Wii with Sonic Gems Collection for GameCube.



ToneDeath said:

I'm sure Sega will get round to adding some Mega CD games eventually.

As for Saturn games, I don't think they'd object to releasing them on Wii discs, hopefully as budget priced compilations. Could happen if there's enough demand, though it might end as a Japan only limited quantity thing. I would've thought the Wii could handle emulating the Saturn as the GC Sonic Gems collection included Sonic R which I'm sure was a Saturn game. I guess they wouldn't fit on the Wii system memory, but then if they were on CD's originally is there any reason why the files should be bigger than a TurboGrafx CD game?



ICEknight said:

Sonic R in Sonic Gems Collection was just a port of the PC version, just like the Sonic CD version they included (with ugly title screen and US soundtrack, but improved FMV)... So it's not emulation, like the VC does.



Pavetheway said:

If they did put the Sega CD on the VC they would be losing a bit of money. You see, you can buy "Shining Force" but if they came out with the CD that had that game and more on it they would just be hurting them self. I'm not against the idea, I'm just not holding my breath for it.

It's kinda like "Super Mario All-Stars." It's probably never going to happen because that's 4 games in 1. The 4 games that are on there were "Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros: Lost Levels, Super Mario Bros. 2, and Super Mario Bros. 3." They would lose so much money if they ever released this.

500x3=1500 + 600(import)=2100 points


800 points (with better graphics and gameplay!)



arobo21 said:

i have a great idea. How about nintendo focuses on releasing good nintendo games before they go make money off of third parties



Damo said:

NintendoBrad - the Euro version had the Japanese OST too.



GamerWho said:

For certain games they'd have to emulate the RAM back up carts, like Shining Force CD, so I don't see it being that simple. Great system though, well some of the games, and would be a cheap alternative to eBay. But I don't think thinning out the game pool is a good idea, unless we start getting 10 games a week.



BJ1 said:

Sonic CD is the most wanted if Sega CD ever makes it to the VC.



Waxxy said:

@morphballer: "I wonder how hard (or easy) it would be to clean up the grainy FMV on some of these games..."

Downright impossible. Cleaning up grainy images doesn't work like they show in Star Trek, y'know. The only way to get crisper images would be to completely rebuild/reshoot the footage they originally took, whether that's live action or 3D rendered scenery. Also, keep in mind the VC works via emulation, unlike XBL where the games are often recoded for the 360 with graphics and sounds updated in the process. If the original video had to be compressed to work with the Sega CD, then the emulated version of the console would fare no better.



Rapadash6 said:

Damo, please don't say there's a possibility that Super FX games won't come to the Virtual Console, because one of the games I want most is Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. ^^' I'm sure Nintendo thought ahead and intigrated all the enhancement chips into the SNES emulation on Virtual Console, as a lot of popular games used them.

Anyway, as for Sega CD coming to Virtual Console, I couldn't care less whether it comes or not. It'd be nice to get Sonic CD and the Lunar titles but I could do without at the same time. I think Nintendo needs to stop adding consoles to the service and focus more on getting more of the games we want for the systems already available (I'm looking at you SNES).



That_Guy_from_Faxana said:

Snatcher is the one reason I wish I had a Mega CD... I´ve played it some on MSX emulator, and it´s more hard boiled than any other title out there! But since three or less games are released per week, I´d rather see more Neo Geo titles before a Mega CD emulation.



VampireHunter said:

I think before they even think of releasing Sega CD games they would first have to deal with the (Lack of) storage problem. I still have my Original Sega CD and play it from time to time.



glopesci said:

Damo...HOW DARE YOU LEAVE ETERNAL CHAMPIONS: Challenge from the Darkside off that list!! I still play this today. Out of this World Double Feature, anyone? There are indeed some great games out there on Sega CD. I enjoyed the batman game more than more of his other video game outings short of the first one on NES!!
C'mon Damo!! LOL



azariaspice said:

I've never played Sonic CD, but I'd love to! I love Sonic, and I'll eventually get all the games on VC. Sonic was my favorite game series growing up.



William said:

I would love to play Sonic CD- and I am aware that it is avalible on Sonic Gems Collection. Does anybody have that? Is it worth buying? I have heard the other games on that are all awfal. What else is on it?



That_Guy_from_Faxana said:

NintendoBrad-> Gems has Sonic R (Fun, good music)
^^ The music is... good? Eurodisco´s never been my bag, but at least it´s hilarious!

Don´t you know
It´s time to go
To a place
Where you can feel my heart just raaaace

Priceless stuff!



Adamant said:

The Game gear games on Gems Collection can also be found on Sonic Adventure DX, so they're mostly just thrown in as filler. The new games included are Sonic CD, Sonic R, Sonic the Fighters, Vectorman and Vectorman 2.

It's a decent, but not fantastic, collection, and calling it "Gems" is a bit of a stretch.



arobo21 said:

i bet one of the reasons smash bros brawl lags so much (along with the other few titles) is because the nintendo network is filled with crap like this! and sadly ppl are always downloading from this lone network
bad nintendo, bad



CuzinMike said:

I loved the Sega CD. Sol Feace, Silphead, and Robo Aleste were awsum shooters.
I really enjoyed the Full Motion Video games despite their graininess in video quality; Tom Cat Alley, Ground Zero Texs and most importantly NIGHT TRAP!
Lunar 1 and 2 rivaled Final Fantasy in terms of plot and characters.
Finally, Echo the Dolphin 1 and 2's soundtracks made me keep playing the games despite their flaws in gameplay controls; simply an unforgetable soundtrack.



ChocoDK said:

I played a bit of Sonic CD on the Sonic Gems Collection and it was a lot of fun. It would be nice if it did actually come out on the VC if Nintendo did support the Sega CD.



Outrunner said:

If Sonic CD comes to VC I hope it's the one with the Japanese soundtrack. They'd do that in the UK since we got it in the original version wouldn't they?



Zinjak said:

Man, i hope they eventually support the Sega Cd, i didnt have it back when i was smaller as it yet another system ( i had no actual idea it hooked up to the genesis) and i couldnt ask my parents for another one. so i totally missed out on sonic cd back in the day and i really really want to play it. guess i could just go buy gems but other than like fapping around on sonic fighters i dont know if i want the other games that come with it.



mcc1333 said:

I still have my Genesis CDX under the telly next to my Wii, Xbox and Saturn. So I ain't too bothered about Sega CD not being on VC!



Ian_Daemon said:

I wonder what kind of licensing issues they'd run into trying to put most of the Digital Pictures or Working Designs games on the V.C.? Unfortunately, that's all I care about and I have a feeling those titles would never see the light of day...



mjshopgames said:

well since nintendo is noticing the shortage of memory maybe they will find a solution then release Sega CD games on the VC. I hope me theory is correct!



Bensei said:

I hope one day we'll see the Sega Saturn on VC too, I'd really like to play the Saturn version of Mega Man 8, because of Wood and Cut Man.
I only played the PS Version on MM AC for GCN



Mad_Bomber said:

Easily my fondest console gaming memories are from my Sega CD.

List needs to include Dark Wizard, though.
A brilliant game and one of the best turn based strategies I can remember playing. There's a ton of other games that were pretty good as well.

The VC would be a perfect place for many people to finally get their hands on these truely classic games for the first time.

Someone at Nintendo and/or Sega needs to make this happen. C'mon people, its Christmas...



soniczelda_dude said:

I don't think Sega would be dumb enough to release any full-motion Sega CD games on VC. Plus, they'd probably be even more difficult to emulate than, say, Sonic CD; which relies on mainly Genesis-worthy graphics.



AVGNJr1985 said:

Man I want to play The Terminator and Batman Returns on the Sega CD if it comes out on VC.

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