This month, for the first time ever, The Retrogaming Chart Show is covering the SEGA Master System.
I’ve never really covered the SEGA Master System on Pug Hoof Gaming before, and that’s something I would most certainly like to rectify. I never owned one as a child, but I knew a lot of people that did – And that’s because the SEGA Master System was massively popular in Europe. For one reason or another, Nintendo never really resonated here like they did elsewhere in the world, and that ensured that the Master System would remain well-supported with new games, well after the games dried up in North America and Japan.
This month’s chart is taken from the July 1993 issue of Mean Machines SEGA, an offshoot from the multi-format magazine Mean Machines before it split into two different magazines – This SEGA-focused publication, and Nintendo Magazine System. There’s a lot to love about the SEGA Master System, so let’s see if that is reflected in this month’s chart.
At number 10 is the game based on the 1992 animated Tom & Jerry movie, and at first glance, it does appear to be a standard platformer, but actually, it plays a little differently. In this case, you’re Tom and you have to chase after Jerry by avoiding various environmental hazards in an autoscrolling environment. The execution is a little off, but the idea is certainly an enjoyable one.
Next up is a game that ended up on practically every viable system at the time. Lemmings, of course, came to the SEGA Master System, bringing all of the charming, puzzling fun that you would come to expect from those lovable yet suicidal rodents. Nothing has been lost in the translation to the system, and it’s a damn good port, in at number 9.
Another license, and this time it’s the turn of everyone’s favourite American family. No, I’m not talking about the Huxtables, it’s The Simpsons in Bart Vs The Space Mutants at number 8. The original NES game was legendary in its ridiculous difficulty, and that’s been made even worst when you port it to a system with fewer buttons. Admittedly, this port does look better than the NES version, but it was never a fun game, to begin with, and it’s worse now.
It’s time for this month’s obligatory football game, and it’s the turn of Super Kick-Off, the game that pretty much every console gets if they haven’t got FIFA yet. It is not a good game, with players that control awfully to the point that it’s barely playable at times. But, it still sold well enough to reach number 7.
Number 6 brings us something a little better, Prince of Persia – Another one of those games that ended up on every console available. It’s not to my personal taste, but this game is absolutely legendary for its beautifully animated visuals and puzzle-based platforming.
The Tasmanian Devil comes to the SEGA Master System at number 5, in the game based on the cartoon series Taz-Mania. It’s standard platforming fare and you’ve likely played better. Still, the visuals are nice, clear and colourful, like a game based on a cartoon should be.
Sonic returns to SEGA’s 8-bit system in Sonic The Hedgehog 2, here at number 4. Tails has been kidnapped by Dr Robotnik and our blue-hued hero has to save him. Once again this is an entirely different game to the Mega Drive version, and it’s a good original platformer for the SEGA Master System.
Outselling Sonic 2 and getting to number 3 in the charts is the port of Taito’s Rainbow Islands, the sequel to the classic Bubble Bobble. This vertically scrolling platformer boasts bright and cheery graphics and some cracking platforming gameplay that is unique compared to other platformers of the time.
Number 2’s entry, Master of Darkness certainly does look like Castlevania. It even plays like Castlevania, that is to say, it is really good. Set in Olde London Town, in this game you must play as the hilariously named Ferdinand Social and must battle the forces of evil, as was the way things were done at the time. You know, instead of voting them into positions of power. Anyway, Master of Darkness is really good.
This week’s Number 1 entry is Land of Illusion, the Disney-tastic sequel to Mickey’s Castle of Illusion. All in all, it’s much like Castle of Illusion, so it’s another decent Disney platformer for the SEGA Master System – It’s certainly justified its lofty placement this month.