Alex Kidd in Shinobi World
This is by far my favorite Alex Kidd game. It's based on a cool idea, that I would like to see more often. What if the games Alex Kidd in Miracle World
had a baby? Well, as the title suggests, this game is the answer. It's simply a fun little platformer that doesn't take itself to seriously. You fight mainly the same enemies and bosses as in Shinobi
, just presented in the cute Alex Kidd artstyle. And in an early, sadfully never released version, you even fought Mario (dressed like a samurai and called "Mari-Oh").
Castle of Illusion + Land of Illusion
In a time when some of the best platformers were licensed Disney titles, these two Mickey Mouse games belonged to the very best of them. While Castle of Illusion
is a classic straightforward platforming game, its sequel deepened the gameplay by adding Metroidvania-style elements. You still have seperate levels, but earning new items and abilites you can revist them and discover new areas that were inaccessible before.
Fantasy Zone 2: The Tears of Opa-Opa
Yes, Fantasy Zone 1
is good, but in my opinion, Fantasy Zone 2
is better, at least on the Master System. The reason for this may be that it was specifically designed for the system, although there also was an arcade version and a quite ugly NES port. The main difference to the first game is that each level contains of three sublevels that you can change between anytime, as soon as you discovered the warp gates. It's also a really hard game, naturally, and the colorful LSD-style visuals are great to showcase the graphic abilites of the console.
In this little-known gem you take the role of the ninja Kazamaru, trying to free the land of Ohkami from the tyrannic emperor Gyokuru. And to save a princess, of course. But all these things didn't bother me when I played the hell out of this game as a child, and it shouldn't bother you either. All you need to now is that you see yourself from a top-down or isometric perspective most of the time, trying to get to the end of a level with enemies coming for you from all directions. And yes, that is as hard as it sounds, so be ready for a challenge.
Thankfully you can find power-ups that make you faster and your shurikens able to kill multiple enemies at once. If you press the 1 and 2 button simultaneously you even go invisible for a second and to do this sometimes at the right moment is crucial if you want to stand a chance to survive.
The only downside to this game is that you have to discover five scrolls that are hidden in the levels to get to the final boss. These scrolls are nearly impossible to find if you don't know how (for example hitting some statue several times to make a scroll appear). But apart from that, I love this game.
Yes, us Sega kids had a Ninja Gaiden
too. Not a simple port of one of the NES titles, but a completely new game, developed by Sega itself. It came out in 1992 and was released only in PAL regions, so most of you probably never played it.
Despite being made by a different developer it's in my eyes worthy of the Ninja Gaiden
name in every aspect. It's fast, fluid, has tight controls, great music and, thanks to the color palette of the Master System, it actually looks better than the NES games. Maybe it's a tiny bit easier, but have no fear, that's still hard enough, especially in the higher levels.
And yes, I know the second screen in the video says "Ninjya Gaiden"... It was fixed in later versions.
Putt & Putter
This is a rather obscure, over-the-top minigolf game with pinball elements, where you have to activate switches to lower bridges, hit bumpers to earn points and navigate through warp gates. I love it, mainly because it's great multiplayer fun. There's nothing better than hitting a switch that moves the treadmill that the ball of your opponent is on and watching it drop into the water.
Sonic the Hedgehog 1 + 2
These are simply good old Sonic side-scrolling action. There was a third Sonic game on the Master System too, called Sonic Chaos
, but I remember the first two being way better. While of course not as good as the Genesis titles they are still fun to play and probably better than most of the Sonic games that are coming out today. And god, how I love the music from the Bridge Zone.
Released 1987 and based on an anime series that aired during the same year, Zillion
was kind of a cross between Metroid
and Impossible Mission
. You explore a huge underground labyrinth, tricking you way around traps and security set-ups, shooting bad guys and finding codes to use at computer terminals and gain access to new areas. Later in the game you are able to take control of two more characters and have to use the abilities of all three to succeed. There was also a sequel called Zillion 2: Tri Formation
. I never played that one, but I read that it's very different and not as good as the first one anyway.