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Your essential Master System games


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I adore Phantasy Star, and I have the fondest memories of awe and wonder working through it (with graph paper for the dungeons). It doesn't get on my list only because I wouldn't play it today - I did actually attempt a nostalgia-baiting playthrough several years ago (battery still worked in the OG cart somehow (??)) but quit when I reached the Ice World and realised how much grinding I had to do to comfortably keep up with the monsters (well, the spell-casting dragons to be precise).

Speaking of which I agree that Spell Caster deserves a special mention. It was another immensely involving and original game. I also feel that like Phantasy Star it was another groundbreaking title to receive a disappointing and neutered sequel on the Megadrive. Completing this game felt like even more of an achievement despite it being an action / RPG-lite hybrid. The specific kind of ancient mysticism, magic and brutal murder throughout this game felt so powerful, beguiling and 'adult'. I loved the dynamism of the tension - built up during the 'story' sections (particularly if you were stuck for a while) - being released so magnificently during the side scrolling action / fighting levels. The score, so dark and moody was a big part of this and brilliantly conveyed the weight of the story. This was another true one off Master System classic. Good shout.

And Ghost House was my favourite Sega Card game as well. Happily spent hours on this charming, slept on little gem.

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This is your god


Julian Rignal inventor of both games and the 90s says it's shit.

He also gave Battle Outrun a great review. Now, that's a piece of shit.

And that's a review from back in the day, when you really wanted to get the exact same arcade experience at home. Didn't matter if it was shit, like Thunderblade.

That's why I like Enduro Racer. It didn't even attempt to replicate the arcade game, which you can play on MAME and to be frank isn't that great when you don't have the sit down bike...

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I'll never let go of my Master System. It was a surprise birthday present with Sonic and Asterix and I didn't stop playing it for about 5 years. My favourites:


Land of Illusion

Sonic the Hedgehog

Micro Machines

Then maybe Lucky Dime Caper, although I always hated it because it always crashed at the same point towards the end of the game on the ice level. I kept taking it back to the shop (some old indie in Nottingham) and every copy they gave me did the same thing so I eventually swapped it for something else. I don't think I ever finished it but it was great...

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ive tried to base this on the fact that you can easily play the superior Megadrive versions of a lot of SMS games, like Sonic and such.

So I've picked a few games that you could say tthat the SMS had the best version, or it was unique to the system.

Enduro Racer -- great game and shows what you can do when you take a16-bit arcade game and distill it onto a less powerful system. Think of it as an isometric Excite Bike meets Paperboy. Great stuff!

Ghostbusters - yeah, the C64 version is a classic, but this is definitely the best version out there. It took the original gameplay and refined it even further, even the driving sequences are challenging. Oh, the music's crap though.

world Class leaderboard - managed to get rid of the boring loading and long screen draw of the other 8-bit versions. A great version of golf that's truly pick up and play.

Super Monaco GP - this is like Pitstop II and Pole Position combined into a great F1 racer. If only real life F1 could be as fun as this.

Ultima IV - there are other more famous RPGs (cough Phantasy Star cough) but the super fast cartridge based loading, great music and graphics (for an Ultima game) make this the best 8-bit Ultimate game by far.

Videos are much better than words...

Enduro Racer


World Class Leaderboard

Super Monaco GP

Ultima iV

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My faves:


Ace proto-metroid where you're free not to acquire extra techniques before heading for the main boss, thus screwing yourself royally. Working out the best route over the map is half the fun, and look at the detail... your little samurai is drawn differently from each side, isn't that great!

Wonderboy III

Ace photo-metroid where... oh, what SMD said.

Power Strike

Mayhem. Glorious mayhem.


I remember getting incredibly good at this. God knows how -- go on, give it a try. Cripes!

Space Harrier

I love this conversion. I love the pace of it, the ridiculous chunky graphics and its rendition of the classic theme. Played it to absolute death.

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Is that ghostbusters game actually fun to play? Looks a bit of a chore.

I only have the CPC version as a frame of reference, but I'd personally say it's as dull as that video makes it look. :P For the most part it's essentially a Ghostbusters simulator. Buy equipment, drive to a location, catch ghosts, earn money, buy more equipment, repeat until "Zuul" opens and then the gameplay changes. I believe the Master System version is regarded as one of the better conversions, but that isn't saying much. Watch AVGN's review to see how bad the NES one was. Admittedly it seemed to keep me entertained enough as a child, but I wouldn't play it now.

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