With Curse in the bag, 1989 comes to an end. Truly a mixed year for Sega on the console front.
Terrible arcade ports (Altered Beast, Golden Axe, Vigilante), needless 3D conversions (OutRun 3-D), and the worst Alex Kidd game in existence (Alex Kidd: High-Tech World) rounded out the Master System’s 1989. Outside of Wonder Boy III and maybe Cloud Master, there was little reason to engage with Sega’s beleaguered 8-bit system unless you were desperate.
The SG-1000 and the Master System may have had shaky launch lineups, but Sega was determined not to make the same mistake with the Mega Drive. In the console’s first full year, we saw: a sequel to Phantasy Star, top-notch sports titles (Super League, World Cup Soccer, Ozaki Naomichi), excellent console exclusives (Revenge of Shinobi, Mystic Defender, Herzog Zwei) and most importantly, arcade ports that resembled the arcades (Ghouls ‘N Ghosts, Super Hang-On).
This little buddy made its debut in 1990.
With 1989 in the rear view, 1990 begins, as usual, with the Master System. While I strive for chronological order with my reviews, this is very difficult to do for later Master System titles. As I’ve stated before, the US and Europe did a terrible job in the 80s and 90s of keeping accurate month/day/year records for game releases on any system. And since any Master System titles I review from here on out will be US, European, or Brazilian releases only, I will be reviewing the titles in alphabetical order, due to lack of proper dating. Also, any Master System games that have a Mega Drive/Genesis counterpart (there are several in 1990) will be reviewed together.
1990 Master System games I’m looking forward to: Alex Kidd in Shinobi World, Castle of Illusion
This ad wasn’t doing Sega any favors.
After I’ve finished with the Master System, I’ll bounce over to Mega Drive. The amount of games released for the MD in ’90 was considerably greater than ’89; about 74 games in total, if I’ve counted correctly. Europe would also see the MD launch there at the end of ’90, though I’m not sure if there were region-specific games released during the year. All in good time, I’m sure.
It will be a lot easier to proceed chronologically through the Mega Drive, thanks to the abundance of specific Japanese release dates. Any US-only Genesis releases with less concrete release dates will be reviewed at the end of 1990.
Mega Drive/Genesis games I’m looking forward to: Sorcerian, Phantasy Star III, Thunder Force III, Ghostbusters, Columns, Batman, Super Monaco GP, Rainbow Islands Extra, Castle of Illusion, Elemental Master, Darius II, M.U.S.H.A., Wonder Boy III: Monster’s Lair, Gaiares.
Columns on the go? And in color?! How do I sign?
The Game Gear would also make its Japanese debut in October 1990, though it would only see a handful of games before the end of the year. Expect a hardware write-up, along with Game Gear and Mega Drive game reviews interweaving seamlessly.
Game Gear games I’m looking forward to: Dragon Crystal, Shanghai II.
Dial-up gaming in 1990!
In addition to the game reviews, I’ll also be touching on the Master System II and the Sega Mega Modem in separate articles.
If there’s anything Sega console-related that released in 1990 that you think I should be covering, give me a heads-up in the comments below. Otherwise, 1990 begins with Alex Kidd in Shinobi World on Tuesday (Ultima IV is a lengthy RPG, so that will come later). Forward ho!