Features: The Game Gear Games We Need on 3DS Virtual Console
Posted by James Newton
We go digging in the Sega vaults
We already know about the first five Game Gear games for 3DS Virtual Console, but looking further down the line, what titles would we love to see made available on the console's download service? Below are just some of the games we'd love to download after the eShop launches in May.
Shinobi II: The Silent Fury
The first Shinobi is already confirmed for the service, so its successor is a no-brainer. Unusually for a Shinobi game, you don't just play as Joe Musashi: there are five ninja to control, each with their own unique powers, that you must rescue throughout the game. Once they're a part of your group, you can switch between them mid-level to utilise their abilities. Regarded as the best handheld instalment in a classic series, this is a must for 3DS.
Defenders of Oasis
A Game Gear-exclusive RPG, this Arabian-themed title is the closest Western gamers got to a portable Phantasy Star (though two entries in that series were released in Japan.) Drawing from Aladdin, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves and more, it's a good little title that deserves a wider audience.
Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap
Like Alex Kidd, Wonder Boy had his time long ago. No longer considered relevant in today's gaming environment, fans of the adventurer can already get a slice of Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap on Master System through the Wii's Virtual Console, but who could resist taking his finest outing wherever they go?
Already available on Virtual Console in Japan, Pengo is an old arcade title that frequently features in retro round-ups such as this. The titular penguin runs around a top-down maze, kicking ice blocks at enemies to take them out: imagine a Pac-Man that fights back and you're halfway there.
Game Gear's back catalogue is littered with famous titles you never knew made it across to Sega's portable console. A case in point: Mega Man, an original title that blended elements from Mega Man 4 and Mega Man 5 that was only available in North America. Although the console's small screen size made the game even more difficult than usual, it's still a title that fans of the Blue Bomber would want to check out.
Panzer Dragoon Mini
Another title in a big franchise that many gamers never knew about, Panzer Dragoon Mini was a Space Harrier-like take on the game's universe that only ever saw the light of day in Japan. Naturally it can't live up to the series' famous graphical beauty or musical quality, but for an 8-bit portable version of the shooter it's not a terrible effort. The good news is that it's unusually light on dialogue for a Panzer Dragoon game, so there'd be next-to no localisation work needed to bring it across to Europe and North America.
Everyone's favourite Sonic Team platformer that's not Sonic, the Shooting Star's 8-bit outing is surprisingly faithful to its Mega Drive cousin, keeping the game's bright atmosphere, catchy music and long stretchy arms firmly intact. It's one of the finest platformers on Game Gear and highly deserving of a Virtual Console revival.
Baku Baku Animal
Match the food with the animal that eats it: things are really that simple in this puzzle classic that contains more cheeky chomping than you can shake a bamboo stick at. This is still one of Sega's finest puzzlers, with a simple concept that is even more addictive than it sounds.
Shining Force Gaiden Games
There are three Shining Force games on Game Gear, only one of which — Shining Force: Sword of Hajya — saw release outside of Japan. Strangely, Sword of Hajya is the sequel to Shining Force Gaiden, which was only released in Japan on Game Gear, though it does make up the first half of Shining Force CD (confused yet?).
The already-localised Sword of Hajya is likely the only title we could see find its way to 3DS Virtual Console, but it would be rude to leave predecessor Shining Force Gaiden and closer Shining Force Gaiden: Final Conflict from this list.
Talk about obscure: a Game Gear-only sequel to a 32X-only platformer, this is a real hidden gem in the console's catalogue. You play Tempo, an oddly musical grasshopper capable of taking out enemies with finger-clicks, kicks head-stomps, with the ability to hover and even unleash a Moonwalker-style dance that turns all nearby enemies into coins. It's an off-beat title that boasts some great animation, and certainly beats developer SIMS Co.'s other famous Game Gear title, Tails' Skypatrol which — strangely — you won't find on this list.
Of course, these are just some of the Game Gear games we'd love to see on the 3DS's Virtual Console, and you're likely to have your own picks, so why not share them below?