With the official Sega Mega Drive Mini consoles quite hard to come by, the Nintendo Switch remains one of the best places to play 16-bit classics.
The Switch Online + Expansion Pack subscription has added four new Mega Drive / Genesis games to the proposition including some fondly remembered titles from around 30 years ago. Golden Axe II, Alien Storm, Columns and Virtua Fighter 2 are the latest additions, each of which can be played today.
If you recall, Columns was Sega’s answer to Tetris and somewhat of a precursor to the mobile Candy Crush in some ways with its colourful jewels. My memory of it derives from its presence within the “Mega Games 1” 3-in-1 pack alongside Super Hang-On and World Cup Italia ’90.
Golden Axe II (which joins the original game on Switch Online) is the classic side scrolling beat ’em up. This time you’ll “join heroes Ax, Tyris and Gilius and embark on a sword-and-sorcery adventure into a strange world inhabited by revamped wizards, lizardmen and minotaurs to end Dark Guld’s reign of terror.”
It’s joined by Alien Storm from the same studio. It’s a port of the arcade game, where you’ll need to neutralise the alien threat with a trio of heroes. The final addition this time around is Virtua Fighter 2, the 2D version of the fighting game.
The quartet of games joins more than 30 Mega Drive / Genesis games, including bona fide classics like Streets of Rage 2, Sonic 2, Ecco The Dolphin, Gunstar Heroes, Castlevania: Bloodlines, Shining Force and Contra: Hard Corps. Altered Beast, Sonic Pinball, Toe Jam and Earl and Earthworm Jim are in there too.
Switch Online + Expansion Pack also includes exclusive DLC from Mario Kart 8 and Animal Crossing, as well as a suite of N64 games. With all of this new content it’s starting to look like better value than it did upon launch.