Qwintet, for example. Who are these guys? I thought they were Quintet at first. They were apparently responsible for SRWJ's loathsome sound design.
And Ancient! I don't pay much attention to what those guys are up to these days, but they've got a link to Streets of Rage 2 on their page, at least. That's reassuring. The link is actually to Sega's Japanese Virtual Console page, which is pretty dang remarkable. Every game has its own video, along with detailed information, character artwork and so on. I'm a little blown away at how nice this site is, actually.
Point is, the videos they made for these games are really something compared to the equivalent videos on Nintendo of America's Virtual Console page. Check out the one for Shinobi III! Shit, that is some classy video editing. Sync's up with the music from the intro, and it shows off everything cool about the game in about a minute or two.
Compare that to Nintendo of America's version. I think it speaks for itself. NOA clearly never gave a shit and whoever's handling Sega's Japanese VC page clearly does, but yeah, this is all pretty obvious. I mostly just wanted an excuse to link to Sega's classy virtual console page, maybe inspire somebody to go out there and play some awesome Genesis games. With that in mind, some favorites:
- Alien Soldier's video smartly doubles as a tutorial on how to beat the game's towering, gently pulsating mountain of gross boss monsters. That is to say: make sure you're at full health, and then do that awesome zero dash thing that does like a million damage. You're a pro already! It also has a clip of the game's most important moment. See if you can spot it. I played through this game recently with some friends just to see it, so you're saving some time here (HINT: it might remind you a little of Altered Beast).
- Shadow Dancer is apparently still not available for purchase from the US virtual console. I want to say that it's because of the twin towers on the title screen, but Vigilante has those too, so I'm gonna shrug my shoulders on this one. Shadow Dancer has really chunky, heavy music that goes down like a big bowl of soup, ninjas jumping down from scaffolding on the Statue of Liberty, a dog you can sic on enemies, one-hit deaths, and a bonus stage where you jump off a building because that's what ninjas do and throw shuriken at dudes on the way down. It's the Genesis' Ninja Spirit equivalent, and you should ninja get it.
- This is going to put me in the unfortunate company of the slightly insane Dave Halverson, but I fucking love Dynamite Headdy. Like, a lot. The backgrounds alone, man! Headdy's driving concept is that it takes place in a puppet theatre, which means that everything's a prop, and the whole place is barely holding together under the workmanship of a very hardworking and tired group of (entirely unseen) human beings. You're never explicitly told any of this by the game, but the game pulls off its aesthetic vision with such confidence that you can't not figure it out. The game slingshots from one idea to the next with Treasure's usual ebullience, enough to almost make you not care about what a giant punch in the face the final boss is.
- I've written about Toe Jam & Earl before, but it bears repeating.
- Musha Aleste (known in the west as M.U.S.H.A.) sums up Compile's design ethos in one game. 8-minute long stages. Power-ups that render you as a god. Enemies barely capable of firing at you. On default settings, Musha Aleste has a breezy quality to it that folks weened on modern arcade shooting games might find quaint or hilarious. That's just the way console shooting games were back then! Hudson Soft was king of the pack, and shooting things without fear of reprisal under the stern guidance of Master Takahashi's violently vibrating index finger was the de facto design standard. And of course: the noisy FM metal soundtrack and steampunk-meets-sengoku era setting. Can't forget those.