Alphabest: Mega Drive – F

F is for Farquhar

Fire Shark

FIFA begins with F, and as a result most of the F games are FIFA. Blimey, there were a lot of FIFAs. I’m pretty sure the final commercially released Mega Drive game was FIFA ’98 too. FIFA. FIFA FIFA FIFA.


FIFA is crap.

Another common F is F1, as in, F1 Circus and F1 Grand Prix, the tenuous Fastest 1, and, er, F1. Formula 1 games back then were OK, but they’ve mostly not aged well. “F1”, based on Vroom! on the Amiga was one of the best, although Ayrton Senna’s Super Monaco GP 2 perhaps pips it. Regardless, none of the F1 games are going into the shortlist.

Also not making the top table are Fatal Fury (rubbish, sorry), Fatal Fury 2 (better, but still no), Flink (no) and Frank Thomas (whooooo) Big Hurt Baseball.

That narrows things down to:

FlickyFlicky is an early Sega arcade game, predating the Mega Drive and as a result the Mega Drive version is pretty much arcade perfect. The idea is to collect up little birds and take them to the exit, avoiding cats. There’s not a lot to it, but it’s surprisingly good fun. And hard.

FlashbackFlashback is a fantastically animated sci-fi platform adventure game with an incredible feel and setting. It has a great story, varied locations, and I can’t overstate enough how excellent the graphics are. If your man Conrad moved any more fluidly, he’d be a damn waterfall.

fireshark1Fire Shark, a parallel world 1942-style vertical shooter is fast and frantic with some lovely power-ups (including the best of all – the spread shot) and cute tiny little soldiers that run around the airfields you land at after missions.

And the Alphabest?

FIFA of course! Hahahahano. Never FIFA. No, the real actual Alphabest is Flashback. Back then, games with a deep story (especially those which were platformers) were few and far between, and not only did Flashback manage to have that, but it was beautiful and clever and polished too. And at one point Conrad has to get a job and actually go to work.

Next time, the letter G!

3 thoughts on “Alphabest: Mega Drive – F”

  1. I’m an F1 fan, and there have been very, very few good F1 games. Geoff Crammond wrote most of them (without an official merchandising licence, too). The trouble used to be that they weren’t remotely realistic, and now they’re far too realistic. Crammond hit the sweet spot when the hardware was good enough to give you a decent impression of driving a car, but not enough to simulate the real physics of an actual, 200mph, 0-100 and back again in five seconds, F1 car. You need the reflexes of a hummingbird to drive one of those things, and for us mere humans that’s actually a lot less fun than caning a virtual Mini Cooper at its absolute limits round Maple Valley.

    I don’t think I’ve ever played a FIFA game. Funny old world, isn’t it? For 90% of the population (approximately-ish, more or less, give or take, roughly, ballpark figure) it’s their only experience of videogames.

    Good call with Flashback. That’s class.

    1. Yes, the Crammond racing games were great. I just don’t think the Mega Drive was really suited to that sort of game.

      Once you got over the novelty of FIFA being isometric, it was easy to see its flaws. And SWOS was better anyway.

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