SEGA Mega Drive emulation on RISC OS

Mega Drive Game Recommendations

Here we pick out some of the best games available for the Mega Drive, the Mega-CD and the 32X, and explain what makes them special.

Note: work in progress!

AH3 Thunderstrike


Alien Soldier


Comix Zone

Dark Wizard

Earthworm Jim (Series)

Earthworm Jim

Earthworm Jim 2

Earthworm Jim: Special Edition

Final Fight CD

Flashback: The Quest for Identity

Gunstar Heroes

Knuckles Chaotix


Lunar (Series)

The pinnacle of 16-bit RPGs.

Lunar: The Silver Star

Lunar: Eternal Blue

Micro Machines (Series)

Micro Machines is a series involving miniature vehicles racing around on every-day surfaces like desk tops and billiard tables. The series started with the excellent Micro Machines on the NES as a top-down 2D racer, reaching a soaring and triumphant peak on the Mega Drive with Micro Machines 2, before deteriorating on later consoles with soulless and flawed 3D offerings.

There are two versions of Micro Machines 2 for the Mega Drive; Micro Machines 2: Turbo Tournament, and the slightly extended Micro Machines Turbo Tournament '96. The enhancements that made the latter were the addition of a track editor, and various new and updated tracks. In terms of gameplay and graphics, both games are identical.

Micro Machines Turbo Tournament '96

Micro Machines is undeniably at its best as a multi-player game. With its J-Cart cartridge, it allows an extra two controllers be be plugged into the cartridge, in addition to those plugged into the Mega Drive's own controller ports. This, coupled with Micro Machines ability to allow two players to share a controller, lets up to 8 players to play the game simultaneously!

Micro Machines features an innovative approach to multi-player racing. As you drive around the track, the view also scrolls around the track, which is far larger than the screen. The view tries to accommodate all of the cars on-screen, but sticks with the leaders. If a player drops out the back of the view, they lose a point and the race is restarted from that part of the track. This works very well and there are also options for team games. Team mode is more than a mere gimmick, and genuinely adds another dimension to the game.

Players can either opt for outright speed, or resort to tricks and subterfuge to gain an edge. You can punt other vehicles off the course or into track-side obstacles. The game has an endearing style to it and genuinely rewards skill. Our favourite track features water hazard in the form of a sink, right across the path of the track. Three sponges move continuously across the sink, creating a pathway over the obstacle. Endless fun ensues while players vie for position on the sponges, punt each other into the sink, or blast across all three sponges during a fleeting moment of alignment.

The variety of different vehicles, with different handling characteristics, the different environments with various moving parts obstacles and jumps all combine to create a single player mode with a surprising amount of depth. There is much fun to be had contesting the tournaments. The game also has an almost bewildering array of different gameplay modes. A rewarding time attack mode allows you to race on your favourite courses against ghosts of your previous best runs, as you endeavour to shave precious tenths off your best time.

Mega Turrican


Phantasy Star (Series)

Phantasy Star II

Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom

Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium

Popful Mail

Red Zone


Road Avenger

Road Rash (Series)

Road Rash

Road Rash II

Road Rash III

Robo Aleste

Shining (Series)

Shining in the Darkness

Shining Force

Shining Force II

Shining Force CD


Sonic the Hedgehog (Series)

The Sonic the Hedgehog series is notable for establishing one of gaming's most recognisable mascots, and also for producing some of the most distinctive and polished platform games of the 16-bit era.

The best game of the series is variously named as being Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic CD or Sonic 3 and Knuckles. For Sonic 3 and Knuckles, see Sonic and Knuckles below.

Sonic the Hedgehog

Sonic the Hedgehog was a genre redefining game. Its gameplay was markedly different from sedate and precise platforming found in Nintendo's Mario series and its plethora of clones. Sonic was fast, stylish and vibrant. The game had huge well-designed levels comprising of rolling, undulating terrain, loop-de-loops, multiple paths, breakable walls and more. Its graphics were astonishing for the time: it was one of the first games to show off what 16-bit console hardware was really capable of. The music and sound effects were also excellent.

The game still plays very well. Even with exceedingly simple controls, the gameplay manages to be rich, varied and addictive. It may take a moment for gamers more familiar with the later Sonic instalments to get used to the lack of Sonic's Spin Dash move, which was introduced in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was exactly what a sequel should be; superior in every way. The graphics were even better, as was the music. There are more levels, better special stages and level design is flawless. Sonic gained a new Spin Dash move, which provides instant high speed from a standing start. This added a lot to the game, as did the addition of a new character. Tails can fly for short durations, lending him to more explorative gameplay.

The game has aged well; it's as much fun now as it ever was. Replay value is excellent. Collecting all seven chaos emeralds is certainly made worthwhile, allowing a transformation to Super Sonic. The new character and multiplayer options also add a lot to the overall package. In our opinion this game is tied with Sonic 3 and Knuckles for the accolade of 'best Sonic game'.

Sonic CD

Sonic CD commands the greatest breadth of sentiment of any 16-bit Sonic title. It excites such raptures of delight amongst its fans as can be matched only by the passionate derision of its critics. Sonic CD was developed in parallel with Sonic the Hedgehog 2, after the release of Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic CD re-uses many of the sprites from the first game and it takes the series in a different direction to Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

The game starts with a hand drawn, anime style opening movie. The game also features CD audio music. The Japanese and European soundtracks are the same, while the American release had a new soundtrack composed. The question of which is better is another source of disagreement amongst fans. UK Resistance suggest that the Japanese / European one is better, purely for the vocoder voice of Dr Robotnik saying "Sonic, dead or alive, is M-M-M-MINE!", in the Metallic Madness theme.

The most notable difference from the Mega Drive titles is the time travel feature, with past, present, bad future and good future versions of all the levels. These are navigated by speed posts baring the legends "past" or "future". The game also features a new move; Super Peel Out. Super Peel Out is initiated from a standing position like a Spin Dash. Super Peel Out is faster than Spin Dash, but unlike with Spin Dash, Sonic does not roll into a ball, making him vulnerable to contact with enemies.

Sonic CD plays well; its time travel system adds more depth and purpose to the game. Its level design, while solid, lacks the genius exhibited by the Mega Drive games. Its graphics are bright and vibrant but, it is surpassed in this department by Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and the later Sonic games.

Sonic the Hedgehog 3

Sonic 3 built again on Sonic 2. It's graphics were even more lavish and the audio was, again, excellent. This time different types of shield were added. For example, the fire shield gives Sonic a fire attack move, while the bubble shield allows Sonic to bounce on land and breathe underwater. Sonic 3 also added save support, making it unnecessary to restart the game from scratch every session.

Although Sonic 3 isn't as long as its predecessor, it still plays exceptionally well. The game's acts all flow together adding a great sense of continuity though the game. That said, we recommend Sonic 3 and Knuckles over Sonic 3. It's longer and better all round. Sonic 3 was rushed out to meet a deadline, and the game was later improved with the release of Sonic and Knuckles and its "lock-on" cartridge.

Sonic and Knuckles

Another solid title in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. This time Knuckles the Echidna was a playable character alongside Sonic. Knuckles could glide and climb walls, making him play differently to Sonic. The game's graphics were as great, as we'd come to expect from the series. The music was not quite up the the standard of the earlier titles. Sonic and Knuckles had good gameplay, although it introduced a few elements that slowed the action down a bit.

Sonic and Knuckles has aged well, but it is particularly notable for its "lock-on" feature. The game cartridge had a cartridge port build into its top, allowing another game to connect to Sonic and Knuckles. When Sonic 2 was inserted into a Sonic and Knuckles cartridge, Knuckles became playable in Sonic 2. Locking Sonic 3 onto Sonic and Knuckles produced Sonic 3 and Knuckles, which breathed new life into Sonic 3.

Streets of Rage (Series)

Streets of Rage

Streets of Rage II

Streets of Rage III

Thunder Force (Series)

Thunder Force II

Thunder Force III

Thunder Force IV

Toejam & Earl (Series)


ToeJam & Earl

ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron

Vectorman (Series)


Vectorman 2

Virtua Fighter