Sonic and friends: the 25 best Sega Mega Drive games ever

15) X-Men (1993)

One of the earliest comic book game successes, X-Men on the Mega Drive allowed two players to take control of various X-Men on a mutant-powered, beat-em-up adventure.

Much of the game's aesthetics were carried over to future Marvel-based fighting games like X-Men: Children of the Atom, which evolved into the highly successful Marvel vs Capcom franchise. It was also incredibly difficult thanks to some shoddy game design, which upped the satisfaction factor when you did complete it.

14) ToeJam & Earl II: Panic on Funk-o-Tron (1994)

The two titular aliens' second outing was lightyears ahead of the original in terms of looks, soundtrack, and a level of funkadelic brilliance that just can’t be beat.

Turns out you should check your cargo hold for stowaways when hightailing it off Earth. That’s how TJ &E’s home planet got overrun with the worst kind of people: tourists (shudder).

OK, so the procedurally generated levels were ditched in favour of more traditional side-scrolling, but we can forgive all that thanks to the bizarre mix of bonus stages - and for catching humans in jam jars, Ghostbusters-style.

13) Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker (1990)

A classic movie tie-in, this game was one of several (including arcade games) made in conjunction with the Michael Jackson movie of the same name.

Although the gameplay itself was nothing special, the incorporation of Michael Jackson’s dance moves into the player’s attack animations made for hours of fun, driven by the instantly recognisable melody of Smooth Criminal.

Say what you will about the late King of Pop, but at the peak of his career, he made the Mega Drive all that much cooler.

12) Golden Axe (1990)

Golden Axe was the predecessor of all arcade hack-and-slash games. Disappointingly, there was a dearth of actual golden axes in the game, but let’s not split hairs.

This side-scroller placed two players in a Dungeons & Dragons-style fantasy landscape, working together to chop monsters into confetti. Medieval weapons and loin cloths never looked more awe-inspiring and realistic. Back then, that is.

11) Ecco the Dolphin (1992)

Imagine pitching Ecco the dolphin to the Sega board today. You sit down opposite the all-powerful men in charge of budgets, take a sip of triple-filtered volcanic glacial water and deliver your well-rehearsed opening line.

"It's a game about a dolphin who mysteriously loses his pod and on his journey to save them, meets the oldest living sea creature, travels back through time, visits the ancient city of Atlantis, gets rescued by a Pteranodon, defeats an alien vortex queen (on her spaceship) and rescues his pod."

Silence. "With the greatest of respect," says the budgets guy, "We'll pass, it just sounds too weird."

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