The 16-bit capable Sega Genesis was one of the most successful and coolest fourth-generation consoles. It was first released in 1988 and would eventually become the biggest rival of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It did so well and had such a desirable public image that at the time it was considered cooler than the Nintendo consoles. Yes, the cool kids had Sega Genesis' and the rest of us had Super Nintendo Entertainment Systems or Famicoms. At this time, Nintendo had already captured the market with their legendary Nintendo Entertainment System and the Sega Genesis had to claw its way into the market. Released just before the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, the Sega Genesis proved to be quite a worthy rival in the end. It outsold the Super Nintendo Entertainment System for some years, but eventually fell close behind it for a worthy second place in overall sales.
Even if you didn't own the Sega Genesis personally, you almost certainly had exposure to it since one of your friends probably did own it. If they did, you undoubtedly went to visit them with some ulterior motives. Not just to say hello, but to play on the amazing new console they had. They had an amazing library of games too since there were so many awesome Sega Genesis titles, or at least that’s what we thought at the time. At the time, the games available for the Sega Genesis blew everyone away and titles like "best game ever" and the like were handed out pretty easily. Thinking back now with some perspective, not to say those games were necessarily bad, but many of them were actually a bit overrated considering the hype involved. Let's take a look at 20 of those overrated Sega Genesis games.
20 NBA Jam
Released by Midway in 1993, the highly popular basketball game would end up creating a new sub-genre and even influence sports culture in the process. A first for sports games, the game featured a quicker, more intense and in a sense overdramatic version of basketball. Many famous basketball sayings used today like "Boomshakalaka!," although not originating from the game, were popularized by the game. Most fans and critics got caught up in the hype of the game, but some critics were at least more discerning. Even though the game was ground breaking at the time, in retrospect the game is a lot like the sub-genre it started: overly hyped-up.
19 Ms. Pac-Man
Pac-Man is one of the most famous and well known video games of all time. Released in 1980, it would become one of the most popular and highest earning games, and still is one of the most recognizable gaming icons. The game was originally overlooked, but later surprised everyone with its success. Given its success you could argue that even the original Pac-Man was overrated, but let's give it the benefit of the doubt, especially since it had an underrated start. However, we won't be so kind to Ms. Pac-Man, sorry ladies. It was released in 1981 and is basically a slightly improved version of Pac-Man. The games are just too similar to justify the game's high ratings. The Sega Genesis version at least attempted to be more different than the original game, but it was still way too similar. Only one Pac-Man game should be included in most famous games lists and that game should be the original Pac-Man.
18 Disney's Aladdin
Based on the Disney movie, Disney's Aladdin was released in 1993. The game is a platformer with the player controlling Aladdin. Aladdin has to traverse levels based on the original story and has to jump over obstacles, climb and also fight enemies. He can attack enemies by throwing apples at them, which amazingly kills them, or with his sword. The game has a humorous tone and wasn't awful, but is seriously overrated with terms like "best" and "all time" being used way too loosely for our liking. Was it really the best Sega Genesis game of that year? We doubt it. Was it really one of the best Sega Genesis games of all time? We doubt it. Was it a perfect game deserving 5 out of 5 stars? You could have guessed it, we doubt it once again.
17 Mortal Kombat 3
Mortal Kombat 3, released in 1995, is arguably one of the best fighting games ever made for Sega Genesis. It is only narrowly bettered by its arch-rival the legendary Street Fighter II. The third release is without a doubt a great fighting game, but does it improve that much on Mortal Kombat II to justify the hype, awards, sales and high rankings? Probably not. The game introduced new weak characters and even more violence and gore, as if Mortal Kombat II wasn't violent enough. It also added really silly finishing moves called Animalities, which allowed the winning player to finish their opponent off by turning into an animal, insect or even dinosaur and feasting on the loser's dead corpse. Pretty crazy stuff, but not all that surprising coming from the Mortal Kombat series, which is known for using senseless violence to boost sales.
16 Jurassic Park
Directed by Steven Spielberg, Jurassic Park (the movie) was released in 1993 and soon after the game of the same name followed. We have probably all watched the brilliantly directed movie and it comes as no surprise that it was critically acclaimed, winning an amazing number of awards. The game itself was also very well received with generally good reviews or at least initially. Given a few years to get some perspective and revisiting the game, the sentiment changed quite a bit, even up to the point where some critics wished that the game had been buried in New Mexico along with E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
15 Castlevania: Bloodlines
Castlevania: Bloodlines is a platform game released in 1994 by Konami. The player takes control of a vampire slayer in the midst of the First World War time period, given the task of stopping the resurrection of Dracula, the most well-known vampire of them all. The player must travel through various levels set in famous European cities, facing all kind of evil creatures from the underworld and various enemy bosses. The game had some interesting features like being able to choose different characters and this also influenced some portions of the game. The game was an instant sensation and some critics rated Castlevania: Bloodlines as one of the best Sega Genesis games of all time, of course it might just be that they overrated the game altogether.
14 Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
While some of the other Mighty Morphin Power Rangers games for other consoles are action games, the Sega Genesis version is strictly a fighting game. The game is based on the television series and was released on 1994. The game has two different modes, one to fight against CPU controlled monsters along the storyline and one to fight against other players. What's nice about the game is the ability to choose any of the Rangers and that fights are also in two parts, first as the Rangers themselves and then as huge robots following the television series. Apart from being based on the television series, it isn’t a great fighting game and those who have been spoilt with Mortal Kombat 3 or Super Street Fighter II will be disappointed.
13 3 Ninjas Kick Back
Based on the movie, 3 Ninjas Kick Back is a platform game released in 1994. The game allows the player to choose from Rocky, Colt or even Tum-Tum, the three brothers who feature in the movie. Each brother has a different weapon and there is also a two-player cooperative mode which is nice. The brothers must continue the search for a missing dagger which was stolen by Koga and along the way face obstacles, enemies and bosses. This is pretty standard stuff for a platform game, but 3 Ninjas Kick Back is unfortunately not very well executed with nothing special apart from the link to the movie. Though it received some solid reviews, it really wasn't up to par with other platformers from this time period.
12 Sonic The Hedgehog Spinball
We have already looked at how Sega tried to drag out their success with the Sonic the Hedgehog series for way too long on the Sega Genesis. With Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball, although it was another game in which Sonic featured, it was at least a new and interesting idea. The game was originally released in 1993 by Sega and was generally well received. In the game, Sonic acts as a pinball (or spinball) in a huge pinball world if you will. The idea is quite original, but without the connection to Sonic the Hedgehog, if you were looking at it from a purely pinball perspective, it is a pretty mediocre attempt at a pinball game.
11 Street Fighter II′: Champion Edition
First off, to be clear, Street Fighter II′: Champion Edition is not a bad game, not at all. In fact, it is excellent. It is by far one of the best fighting games and games in general that were made for the Sega Genesis. It was released in 1992 and improves on the previous versions with major refinements and additional characters. The game was such a success that it ended up earning more than $2 billion, with some critics even giving it a perfect score. However, some went way too far, saying that it is the best beat-'em-up game of all time and that is the best game ever. Comparing it to Mortal Kombat puts the hype into perspective, as it is an awesome game, but there are other games out there that are just as impressive.
10 The Adventures Of Batman & Robin
The Sega Genesis version of The Adventures of Batman & Robin is a side-scrolling platform game and at times shooter game based on the animated series, which in turn was based on the comic book from DC Comics. The player controls Batman who must clear several levels, each with its own villain from the series. Looking at the game from a platform or shooter perspective yields the same conclusion: it is a mediocre attempt at a platform game and the same goes for it as a shooter. The graphics of the game were decent and although at first the music is quite suitable for the game, it can be annoying since it is repetitive.
9 Columns Series
You know that a game is overrated when critics claim it is better than Tetris and so it is with the Columns series. These kind of claims should not to be taken lightly, as we don't know of any game better than Tetris, well at least not in puzzle game genre that is. The game requires three of the same type of blocks to be matched up before they are cleared. The original game was released for the Sega Genesis in 1990 and very well received as mentioned earlier, even being included in the list of top Sega Genesis games of all time. However, when put up against Tetris, this game really doesn't stand out in the same way.
8 The Revenge Of Shinobi
The Revenge of Shinobi is a platform game released by Sega in 1989. The player controls a Ninja named Joe who seeks revenge on an evil criminal organization called Neo Zeed. Neo Zeed have killed Joe's master and kidnapped his bride. It's up to Joe to save his bride and avenge his master's death. The game is an average platformer, even though it is listed as one of the top Sega Genesis games of all time, as some critics even gave the game a perfect score. While the game isn't too bad, it is definitely not perfect; just your usual jumping, attacking and special moves.
Enter Strider, where in the year 2048 an evil dictator rules the world, with the capital being a future Soviet socialist version of Kazakhstan. It is our hero Strider Hiryu's mission to assassinate the dictator and free the world from the tyranny. Strider probably features the most impressive acrobatic moves you will find in any Sega Genesis game and, as such, the game is very enjoyable and just feels right, like a proper ninja game should. As expected, gamers and critics alike went nuts over the game and it is even named as the best Sega Genesis game ever made. Whether or not Strider definitively is the best of the best is debatable, but it's not definitely not a guarantee and, with that, is somewhat overrated.
6 Golden Axe Series
The original Golden Axe was released in 1989 by Sega and two more versions were released for the Sega Genesis. As the name suggests, the game is a hack and slash with the player being able to choose between a barbarian, a dwarf or an amazon. The enemy is an evil giant aptly named Death Adder, who has not only kidnapped the royal family, but also murdered a mutual friend of the three warriors, giving you enough motivation for hacking and slashing your way through the levels. The game series started off well with a lot of hype and great reviews, but by the third game, Sega decided not even to attempt to release the game in North America, which was a wise decision on their part.
5 Ayrton Senna's Super Monaco GP II
Ayrton Senna's Super Monaco GP II is the follow up of the original racing game Super Monaco GP and was released in 1992 by Sega. The original game was critically acclaimed and received amazing ratings, as this version was said to be even better than the first. Said to have lifelike physics, the game was generally well received and it even featured high up in the list of top Sega Genesis games. In retrospect, the game isn't all that better or different from the original game, apart from the Ayrton Senna tribute. It is mostly a game that die-hard racing fans will enjoy with the game featuring a number of Ayrton Senna pictures, quotes and animations.
4 Sonic The Hedgehog 3
Sonic the Hedgehog is an awesome platform game that is almost synonymous with the Sega Genesis. The game was released by Sega themselves and was an answer to their rival's famous Super Mario Bros. series. The character and game was creative and unique, even though it was specifically developed as a rival to the Super Mario Bros. series. The gameplay is faster and much more enjoyable than Super Mario Bros. and with its amazing graphics it was exactly the success that Sega had needed. However, as with the Super Mario Bros series, Sega also tried to drag out their success with Sonic the Hedgehog for too long. By Sonic the Hedgehog 3, the series had been dragged out for too long and there wasn't enough of a difference to justify three strikingly similar games for one specific console.
3 The Addams Family
When you hear the title The Addams Family, you probably automatically hear a certain song start playing in your head and so it is with the game too. Released in 1992, the platform game is based on the movie and allows the player to control Gomez Addams, the father of the family. The game received extremely mixed reviews with some critics, believe it or not, giving the game upwards of 90 percent and some critics rating it terribly and even implying that it would be more entertaining to watch a tree grow. We think that watching a tree grow would probably less exciting than this game, but this game is just another case of a mediocre game with a famous title.
2 Earthworm Jim
Earthworm Jim is one of those games you will never be able to forget due to the uniqueness of the game. The first version was released in 1994 by Shiny Entertainment and was a huge success. The unique storyline, flowing graphics and fun feel of the game all worked together beautifully to make an awesome run and gun platform game. It was like a breath of fresh air to the platform genre. Some even declared Earthworm Jim to be the game of the year and, while it might have been warranted at the time, when reviewing the game without the element of surprise, it becomes clear that it wasn't the best game of 1994, but rather the most unique one.
1 Streets Of Rage 3
Streets of Rage is a beat 'em up game that can best be described as a mix between Golden Axe and Street Fighter. It has the street fighting action element from Street Fighter and the multiple-enemies from any side element of Golden Axe. The first game of the series was released in 1991 and cleaning up the streets never felt better, so two more versions followed with Streets of Rage 3 being the last one. The game is definitely an excellent one, but by the third release, similar to other titles on this list, it was still extremely similar to the first game and didn’t justify the trio of releases.