Nintendo Switch - Sega Genesis Classics

I freely admit that I was a Genesis kid growing up. No, we weren’t as cool as those SNES brats, but we did get to play some great exclusive games, like Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Streets of Rage. So when I heard that Nintendo Switch Online’s Expansion Pack was adding some Genesis games to its paid subscription plan, I was interested in seeing just how generous Nintendo would be with this 16-bit lineup.

And here’s the initial offering, straight off Nintendo’s website:

Nintendo Switch Genesis Expansion
  • Castlevania: Bloodlines
  • Contra: Hard Corps
  • Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
  • Ecco the Dolphin
  • Golden Axe
  • Gunstar Heroes
  • M.U.S.H.A.
  • Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
  • Ristar
  • Shining Force
  • Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  • Streets of Rage 2
  • Strider

Okay, so on the surface, that’s arguably a better lineup that what Nintendo is offering N64 fans. You’ve got Sonic the Hedgehog 2, which is a beacon of greatness among the Genesis lineup, and one of the greatest 2D platformers of all time (though not quite as good as Sonic CD). You’ve got Ecco the Dolphin. You’ve got Golden Axe, which is an essential for a collection like this. You’ve even got Streets of Rage 2, which is easily the best of the Genesis SoR games.

However, there’s a caveat: The Switch’s library of N64 titles is actually really meager, while those of us who are true blue Genesis fans already own the Sega Genesis Classics collection. Sega Genesis Classics, for the uninitiated, costs about $30 digitally and includes more than 50 classic games, many of which are repeated in the above collection. Hmm.

If you want the full lineup of the Sega Genesis Classics collection, here it is:

  • Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
  • Alien Soldier
  • Alien Storm
  • Altered Beast
  • Beyond Oasis
  • Bio-Hazard Battle
  • Bonanza Bros.
  • Columns
  • Columns III: Revenge of Columns
  • Comix Zone
  • Crack Down
  • Decap Attack
  • Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
  • Dynamite Headdy
  • ESWAT: City Under Siege
  • Fatal Labyrinth
  • Flicky
  • Gain Ground
  • Galaxy Force II
  • Golden Axe
  • Golden Axe II
  • Golden Axe III
  • Gunstar Heroes
  • Kid Chameleon
  • Landstalker
  • Light Crusader
  • Phantasy Star II
  • Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom
  • Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
  • Ristar
  • Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi
  • Shining Force
  • Shining Force II
  • Shining in the Darkness
  • Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
  • Sonic 3D Blast
  • Sonic Spinball
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  • Space Harrier II
  • Streets of Rage
  • Streets of Rage 2
  • Streets of Rage 3
  • Super Thunder Blade
  • Sword of Vermilion
  • The Revenge of Shinobi
  • ToeJam & Earl
  • ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron
  • Vectorman
  • Vectorman 2
  • Virtua Fighter 2

But wait a minute. This collection doesn’t include Ecco the Dolphin, and the Nintendo Switch Online collection does. What’s up with that? Ecco the Dolphin is a staple of the Genesis lineup, and one of its more weirdly captivating games. (It’s somehow absent on the PS4 version of the collection as well, despite its inclusion on the Genesis Mini and the PS3 version of the collection).

You’ve also got Castlevania: Bloodlines and Contra: Hard Corps, which weren’t first-party Sega titles like most of the others in the collection. These were published by Konami, so they don’t usually appear in collections like this, though they do appear in the Castlevania and Contra collections, which are already available on Nintendo Switch. I’d argue that these are hardly the cream of the crop of their respective franchises, so you’re much better off buying the individual collections and experiencing the formative years of both franchises in their entirety rather than just the less-than-stellar Genesis offerings.

Contra: Hard Corps

You’re also missing some of the standout games of the Genesis library, like ToeJam & Earl, Vectorman, and Comix Zone, which have been essential inclusions on collections like this since the beginning of time (or since whenever Sega started compiling them at least).

So I don’t know. I really don’t know.

I mean, if Nintendo hopes this will be enough to entice hardcore Genesis fans, well, I’m not sure it is. Sure, this might be the first time we’ve been able to get Ecco the Dolphin on Switch (someone please correct me if I’m wrong about this; I would love to be wrong about this), but hardly anything else on offer is going to turn any heads. Well, it’s not going to turn any heads of those of us who already habitually buy Genesis games whenever they show up on other consoles, because we own most of these games on Switch already.

And, I hate to be that guy, but… (cough cough) emulators exist.

So yeah, as a Genesis nerd, I feel like this offering is kind of a letdown. Will I shovel out for it? Probably. Will I be happy about it? Probably not. Will Nintendo keep adding to it down the road? I can only hope so. For now, though, it just doesn’t seem like it’s worth the extra money.

I would love to play Ecco the Dolphin again, though.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x