Cult Japanese developers Treasure had a run of hits on Sega's 16-bit system, including ace platform/action games Dynamite Headdy and Alien Soldier. Its best-known and best-loved Mega Drive hit was the legendary Gunstar Heroes; a side-scrolling run-and-gun blaster where a planet-protecting family go up against a gang of alien invaders. This is one of the most frantic, full-on action games ever created, with superbly tuned gameplay and incredible boss battles. Once much sought after by collectors, it's now available to download on the Wii Virtual Console (though you can safely avoid the lacklustre Game Boy Advance update, Gunstar Super Heroes).
The Mega Drive played host to two genre defining RPG series - Phantasy Star II to IV and the Shining saga. The first game in the latter, Shining in the Darkness, was a great Dungeon Master-style 3D RPG, but with Shining Force the series made an abrupt change of direction, making it one of the pioneering Strategy RPGs. While the game featured the sort of exploration and story-driven gameplay found in the Final Fantasy and Phantasy Star series, combat took place using a turn-based grid system, with ranks of allies and enemies squaring up to each other in a tactical style. The series carried on through the Saturn years, and even made appearances on the GBA and PS2. Available to download on the Wii Virtual Console.
Quackshot starring Donald Duck
As with the Master System, the Mega Drive was party to a selection of fine Disney platformers. While Mickey Mouse: Castle of Illusion was probably the most famous (and the best platformer on the system until Sonic arrived on the scene) Quackshot was the best, delivering a cool mix of cartoon platform action with some fantastic adventure elements. As always, the duck's irascible personality made it all the more fun. Sadly, none of the Disney platformers have made the leap to the Wii Virtual Console. Can somebody at Sega talk to Disney and sort it out?
Sega Mega Drive Games