Feature: Ten SEGA Mega Drive / Genesis Games We Want on the Wii U Virtual Console

They skipped Wii VC, so now their time has come

Earlier this week we were rather pleased the share the news, based on a couple of sources, that Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse looks set to come to Wii U. It's unclear whether it'll be a straight-up re-release (on the Virtual Console) or a remastered port, but whatever the case it's a SEGA Mega Drive / Genesis game that'll be very welcome on Nintendo's system.

A number of us were pleased because that was one title that didn't make it onto the Wii Virtual Console. While the platform did release a number of classics from SEGA's 16-bit console, some excellent titles never arrived. Perhaps there were licensing issues or just low demand, but a number of terrific titles never arrived, and we'd love to see that remedied on the Wii U Virtual Console.

Below are ten Mega Drive / Genesis titles that we'd like to see on Nintendo's new system. Not all of them were exclusive to SEGA's system, and we're not even saying these are the best 10 that never made it onto Wii, but these represent some of our favourites that we'd like to relive for a variety of reasons. In truth some of these have very long odds of arriving, but we like to dream.

Castlevania Bloodlines

While Super Castlevania IV on Super NES is often regarded as the pinnacle of the famous franchise, this 16-bit exclusive on SEGA's system isn't too bad itself. Sacrificing the terrific eight direction whip of the SNES classic was a pity back then, but this has its own neat control touches to enjoy. It also made full use of its hardware, with some memorable visuals and music.

Road Rash II

The Road Rash games from the 16-bit era are, at the most basic level, bike racing games. One thing makes them so much more, however, and that's combat, with the ability to punch and kick rivals — who do the same to you — to try and knock them off their bike. As you move up the field it becomes a case of last biker standing, and the inclusion of weapons was terrific for young gamers that liked to feel tough in the '90s. Swinging the chain above your head while closing in on first place is as fun now as it ever was.

Speedball 2

A title arrived on various platforms, and is classic fantasy sport at its best. Set in the future, this is a mix of the violence of rugby/NFL and the play style of football/soccer, with awesome team names and no-holds barred action to the fore. We still love trying to get the "ambulance" on the field — which promptly runs over most of the fit players — while the dancing players and the sheer brutality of it all still amuses. A classic.

The New Zealand Story

A Taito game that includes some of the charm and mechanics from beloved titles such as Bubble Bobble, but involves more exploration and puzzle platforming. Released on many platforms, the PC Engine version was actually released on the Japanese Wii Virtual Console, while this Mega Drive edition didn't make it to North America when originally released; something about the charming setting and storyline — alongside memories of the Mega Drive version in Europe — pushed this onto our list.

Thunder Force IV

This is classic sidescrolling shmup fare — called Lightening Force: Quest for the Darkstar in North America — with plenty of power ups and enemies to blast on the screen. We have fond memories of this series but feel this one's the standout, and also brought the innovation of a battle area that can be expanded a small amount at the top and bottom of the screen, shifting away from the genre standard of a rigidly fixed battle area. It's arcade-style blasting at its finest.

Gynoug

A release that's perhaps a little more obscure and less-known — it was called Wings of Wor in North America — this is an alternative take on the side-scrolling shooting genre. Rather than pilot a futuristic space craft, you control an Angel to fight all-manner of mythical and powerful creatures; the setting gave this title some truly unforgettable visual and sound design, while the difficulty is such in later levels that some of its advocates in the Nintendo Life team are yet to legitimately reach the end screen.

Contra Hard Corps

The Contra series is often associated with retro Nintendo systems, for good reason, and this title — known as Probotector in Europe — was the only entry from the series to make it to SEGA's system. It's side-scrolling action that stands up well against the context of the whole series, while the introduction of the slide move and four rather cool playable characters makes it well worthy of a look for fans of the franchise. To be honest, you can never have too much Contra, and this one deserves a place on the Virtual Console alongside its Nintendo-system contemporaries.

Rainbow Islands

Not exclusive to the Mega Drive / Genesis by any stretch of the imagination, this is a retro gem that appeared on a broad variety of platforms. Charming on the eye and at once accessible and tricky, your task is to progress by forming and using rainbows to move up each stage, with planning, timing and speed becoming increasingly important. For Bubble Bobble fans, meanwhile, it's worth noting that this is technically a sequel to the seminal NES classic.

Mega Man: The Wily Wars

While this reportedly had a troubled development cycle, this entry in the classic series was exclusive to SEGA's system, though was only available via the ahead-of-its-time SEGA Channel service in North America — it had a standard cart release in Europe. This is a compilation of the first three NES titles, but with enhanced visuals and an extra "Wily Tower" set of stages exclusive to this version. Not perfect by any means, and unlikely to actually arrive when money can potentially be made (again) via the individual NES efforts on the Wii U platform, we'd love to see this as the only Mega Man title on SEGA's system, and a memorable part of many SEGA-kid childhoods.

Hellfire

Like quite a few of these listed games, and many on SEGA's '90s behemoth, this is an arcade port memorable for bringing a high-quality side-scrolling shooter cabinet experience into the living room. We're already fairly well covered for shooting games, admittedly, but this one has the neat option to switch between four colours and shift your firing range and direction. As a result this can be quite a tactical affair, rather than straight-up action, and would be worth introducing to a new audience.


So, let us know what you think of this list — and which other Wii absentees from SEGA's system you'd like to see on Wii U — in the comments below; you can also vote in our poll to let us know which of our ten is top of your wishlist.

A special thanks to YouTube user ShiryuGL, who's the source of most of the videos above.

Which of these Mega Drive / Genesis games would you most like to see on the Wii U Virtual Console? (290 votes)

Castlevania Bloodlines

30%

Road Rash II

14%

Speedball 2

2%

The New Zealand Story

5%

Thunder Force IV

5%

Gynoug / Wings of Wor

2%

Contra Hard Corps

8%

Rainbow Islands

3%

Mega Man: The Wily Wars

27%

Hellfire

4%

Please login to vote in this poll.