For Michibiku’s fifth anniversary, we’re sharing our favorite pieces from our five years of existence. This was originally posted on 8/1/18.
Jenni: With the Game Gear Micro giving people miniature means of playing titles and Analogue Pocket about to offer an adapter that will let you use those cartridges again, it’s probably a good idea to look at Game Gear games… actually worth playing.
Let’s be honest with ourselves. The Game Gear is a fun system, but it is not the absolute best handheld out there. It was known for games that appeared on both it and the Sega Master System. The system has not held up well to the test of time. I have gone through five of them, with only two right now that “work.” Note the quotation marks, as one has no sound and the other must be held at a certain angle to view the screen. But, that does not mean the system’s library is a lost cause. There are some games people should still play.
We are going to go through some of the better Game Gear titles right now! Now, there are some rules to this conglomeration. These are all games that hold up to the test of time. If you can find them, they will actually be enjoyable and entertaining. This means you will not see games like Panzer Dragoon Mini here, but you will see a game like Crystal Warriors. All of these games are not made entirely obsolete by subsequent releases. Which is why Shining Force: The Sword of Hajya gets to stick around.
Early handhelds, like the Game Gear, do a good job of handling turn-based strategy games. They could be challenging and offer different strategic options, while making do with the computational and graphical limitations of the system. Crystal Warriors has quite a bit in common with games like Fire Emblem. You have a party of nine units that take the field and attempt to conquer a castle or defeat enemies. There is an elemental hierarchy, where water is strong against fire, fire is strong against wind and wind is strong against water. It even had multiplayer!
Crystal Warriors was released on the Game Gear in every region. In addition, you can grab it from the eShop for your 3DS!
Defenders of Oasis
Here is a funny thing about the Game Gear—it did not receive many turn-based RPGs. You would think it would be a perfect fit, but Defenders of Oasis was one of the few. This one is notable because it is not only still fun to play, but it was inspired by Arab culture and Mesopotamian mythology. A wizard named Ahriman is threatening Shanadar, and it is up to a prince and his allies to save the day.
Defenders of Oasis was released in every region and you can find it on the Nintendo 3DS eShop as a Virtual Console title!
Sometimes, you need a puzzle game on your handheld. Popils might be it. Popil the wizard has kidnapped a princess, and players have to help a boy reach her. You have to find your way through 100 levels. If you complete each one perfectly, you can unlock a secret ending and level. The game also had a map editor that let you make up to 30 extra saved stages.
Unfortunately, there is no way to digitally acquire Popils, but the game was originally released in every region.
Shining Force: The Sword of Hajya
Sega (Sonic! Software Planning)
The strategic Shining Force games were some of the best Sega titles in its earliest days, and Shining Force: The Sword of Hajya is no exception. It featured many of the same turn-based, tactical elements, complete with the ability to promote units. While it is the sequel to Shining Force Gaiden, it works well as a standalone game where players must help a prince and his friends defend a kingdom.
There are a lot of ways to play Shining Force: The Sword of Hajya! It originally appeared on the Game Gear in North America and Europe. Which was great, since you could play it on the go. Then, it appeared in Shining Force CD on the Sega CD in every region, where it looked better and was with other games in its storyline. Right now, you can find it on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console in every region.
When we think of Sonic games, action games may come to mind. Tails Adventure is unique, in that Tales is the main character and it has lots of adventure elements. Tails has to go through 12 areas, using different items to find his way through and solve different puzzles. He also has a Remote Robot, a device that can be used to solve puzzles and reach places Tails can not.
Tails Adventure showed up everywhere, which makes it rather easy to find. It also is part of the 3DS eShop library, as it is part of the Virtual Console.
Lots of beat’em ups appeared on Sega platforms back in the old days. X-Men was one of the few entries that was both a Game Gear exclusive and worth playing. When the game begins, you have Cyclops and Wolverine as playable characters. You need to go through five stages, where a Brood Queen, Callisto, Omega Red, Sauron and Sebastian Shaw have characters like Iceman, Nightcrawler, Psylocke, Rogue and Storm captured. Once you save someone, they become playable. After you get the entire team back together, it is time to take on Magneto.
X-Men only appeared on the Game Gear in North America. It eventually spawned two sequels, X-Men: Gamesmaster’s Legacy and X-Men: Mojo World. They have a similar structure, only with different X-Men members being playable and villains appearing.