Friday 12 October 2012

Retro 101's Favourite Master System Games

It would take months to do full reviews of all our favourite games and we know that many of you out there are desperate to build up collections. With this in mind we are starting a new set of features. In these features we will offer a brief rundown of the games we still like to load up and play on various systems.

We are starting with Sega's 8-bit wonder that is the Master System. This is a good place to start for any retro enthusiast as its games are among the easier and cheaper to find. We have tried to pick out the titles, regardless of prestige or history, which we consider to be the most fun. Because of this certain classic titles (most notably Phantasy Star), are missing and other guilty pleasures are included.

alexkidd.jpgAlex Kidd in Miracle World
Sega's failed mascot stars in this enjoyable adventure. Miracle World is pre-loaded onto a number of Master Systems and while it may be tough, it’s also fun, colourful and inventive. Well worth a look for platform fans and a really solid effort that has aged well and still holds it’s charm.

 Alex Kidd in Shinobi World
alexkiddshin.jpgThis tongue-in-cheek take on Sega's classic arcade game is really worth seeking out. Some excellent level and character design help to keep the game enjoyable and acts to hide a steep difficulty level. persevere and you will find a rewarding little platformer that’s worth the effort.


Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
Though not as graphically impressive as its Mega Drive counterpart we still enjoy loading up Mickey's adventure on the Master System. The game contains a real charm and sense of fun and, even if you don’t like Mickey, is highly recommended.

Fantasy Zone
Fantasy Zone is an incredibly cute shooter with a soundtrack that drills through your skull. Don't let the look of the game put you off though as this one of the best shoot'em ups on the system. You can also customise your ship with all manner of bizarre items and power ups that can be bought from shops.

Fantasy Zone II
This is more of the same but with bigger and better graphics and even more options to customise and power up your ship. Fantasy Zone II also poses a bit more of a challenge than the first game. Yet more items are available to upgrade your ship and the enemies and bosses are even stranger.

Ghostbusters is available on many different systems but the Master System version comes with a number of new features and levels. It can feel a little lose and basic but the fun is never in danger being spoilt. If you are a fan of Ghostbusters on the other systems you won’t be disappointed.

Golden Axe Warrior
This adventure game borrows more than a little from the Legend of Zelda series. It sees your warrior wandering the land looking for dungeons and items in a top down perspective. It can be a touch frustrating but this improves as you get used to it. Zelda clone or not it’s still and excellent adventure.

Ghouls'N Ghosts
This version of the incredibly hard Capcom platformer is excellent. Controls are responsive and slick and the difficulty is a little easier which makes it much more enjoyable. This is one of the best 8-bit conversions and the easier difficulty makes it more fun than some of the 16-bit versions as well.

You can find Lemmings on just about every system known to man but this version is one of the better 8-bit interpretations. As always, your quest is to guide the hapless lemmings to the exit in each level. It starts easy but get ready to pull your hair out by the time you reach the later levels.

Master of Darkness
This title, clearly inspired by the Castlevania series, is actually well worth a look. You have a decent range of weapons to use and the levels and enemies you face are varied and presented excellently. The sound and effects are also of a high standard and create a suitably creepy atmosphere.

Ninja Gaiden
Ninja Gaiden is an incredibly tough and impressively slick game that puts you in control of a high flying Ninja. It certainly isn't for the feint of heart but the speed and ease with which you character leaps and attacks always has you coming back for more. If you like a challenge you won’t be disappointed.

The Ninja
The Ninja is a nice little oddity of a game. A shooter at heart it is a sort of ancient Japan based version of Commando. It is incredible tough but has a real charm to it and is worth a look for fans of the genre. Each level is different from the last and it all adds up to a charming little blaster that remains unique.

Psycho Fox
It may have slightly dodgy controls but Psycho Fox is one of the more original platformers. A precursor in style to Decap Attack it also features the ability to pick things up and throw them at the enemy. It can be frustrating but improves once you get the hang of things. It’s cheap as chips as well.

This is an excellent conversion of the Shinobi arcade game. The controls are tight and action moves along at a decent pace. It's not perfect but unlike the Master System versions of Space harrier and After Burner this is a joy to play and should keep you constantly coming back for one more go.

Sonic the Hedgehog
The first adventure on the 8-bit system for SegaĆ¢€™s little hedgehog is an excellent platformer with his trademark speed in full effect. Though Sonic starred in three Master System games, for us, this outing is still the best of the bunch and can stand up against the 16-bit games as well.

Ultima IV
Ultima is a classic RPG series and this version on the Master System is an excellent example of it on a console. From a top down perspective players are free to explore the land as they wish as they search out treasure and monsters. The graphics are small but do a decent job.

Wonder Boy in Monster Land
The second game in the Wonder Boy series is a wonderful mix of platforming and adventure. You can upgrade magic, armour and even your boots. Once powered up you need to defeat boss monsters to get the key to the exit of each level. A little simple but still worth seeking out.

Wonder Boy III: The Dragons Trap
This is on a much bigger scale than Wonder Boy II and has our hero transform into a number of different magical animals. It plays out slightly differantly to other games in the seres but many people view this as the best Wonder Boy game and it’s essential find for any Master System fan.

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