Hello! Welcome to a new series which I will probably give up on long before I reach the end, where I tell you – the uninterested reader – which games for the Sega Mega Drive are best. But not a best of, or a top ten, or by genre, oh no! By letter! What a great idea. Until I get to Q or something. And Alphabest is a portmanteau of alphabet and best, just in case you were wondering. This week:
On the one hand, A is pretty easy to deal with because there are quite a few A games. On the other hand, one of them is Art Alive! and another is Altered Beast. Add those to both Aero the Acrobat games and Ariel the Little Mermaid and it isn’t looking good. Maybe a “least worst” is needed.
Then I realised there are a few gems in there, so the article is saved!
Atomic Runner, Alisia Dragoon and Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle are all potential winners based on my knowledge of them back in the day. I’m sure you’re yelling “Aero Blasters!” at the screen right now[ref]and at least one person, one poor deluded person, is screaming “Awesome Possum” – please seek help.[/ref] but I’m not including that because I’ve never actually played it. My feature, my rules. Don’t make me tap the sign.
Atomic Runner is a fun little shooty platformer not vastly unlike Gunstar Heroes. Your little man, Chelnov (after whom other versions of the game are named) runs through levels with a wide array of different weapons, shooting robot insects, robot samurai, robot spiders, robot rabbits and, er, robots, as well as organic enemies and some big bosses. It’s a little jerky, and compared to most other similar games Chelnov is a tiny little sprite although he’s pretty agile and can jump and backflip pretty much the height of the screen.
Alisia Dragoon is a game about one girl and her dragons. Despite what this might suggest, she manages to keep her clothes on and isn’t invulnerable to fire. She does shoot varieties of lightning bolts though, and her dragon familiars also have assorted powers. The game itself is actually broadly similar to Atomic Runner, being that it is a platform shooter, but it’s more fluid and has larger sprites. Alisia is less gymnastic than Chelnov, however.
Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle is almost a remake of the Master System game Alex Kidd in Miracle World. It has a similar structure, and relies a lot on Scissors Paper Stone for boss battles. The graphics are big and cartoony and it’s fun to play, especially when you buy yourself a pedalcycle in the shop.
And the Alphabest?
Alisia Dragoon. It’s technically superior to the other two games, it’s not as regulated by luck as Alex Kidd and it does a lot of what Atomic Runner does only better. And it has dragons.
Join me again next time for (spoilers!) the letter B! Woo.