The SNES fans’ guide to Genesis RPGs

There are few universal truths in this world: every action has an equal and opposite reaction, JJ Heywood is going to down vote this video, and the Super Nintendo RPG library is superior to that of the Sega Genesis. But is it really? I would argue that for every RPG you cherish on the Super Nintendo there exists an equivalent counterpart on the Sega Genesis. Ok I know you’re skeptical, but indulge me as I play RPG match maker. Besides, who knows, maybe you’ll even discover the new love of your life (don’t worry I won’t tell your old Ninty fling that you were slutting around with Sega).

Lufia 2 vs LandStalker The puzzles are key in this comparison. Lufia 2 is a semi-rogue-ish turnbased RPG whereas your party spelunks a series of dungeons which feature increasingly more difficult block and switch puzzles. So it stands to reason that fans might also appreciate Landstalker, an isometric action RPG whose puzzles mostly rely on platform jumping and perspective trickery. The method of puzzle presentation may differ but the end result is the same: two gorgeous RPGs with a lot of humor that tax the player’s logic skills.

Secret of Mana vs Beyond Oasis Here are two stylized action RPGs that are remembered for their addictive combat systems and striking visual presence. Beyond Oasis keeps players engaged throughout the adventure with a robust selection of combo moves, while Secret of Mana does the same with an arsenal of attack altering weapon types. It’s hard to imagine anyone not falling in love with Beyond Oasis, but Secret of Mana fans doubly so.

Breath of Fire 2 vs Shining Force 2 What does a turn-based traditional JRPG have in common with a tactical one? In this case it’s vibrant graphics and an extraordinary world populated with fantastic creatures not found in other games. You might think it’s a bit of a stretch but I disagree, the reason both of these series rank among my favorites of the genre is the similarity in world building between the two.

I just want to run around saving the planet with my team of elder dragons and beefy armadillo people dammit. Arcana vs Shining in the Darkness Ok neither of these games are super popular but the similarity was too strong to ignore. Both titles offer a character-driven first person dungeon delving experience in a colorful and cartoony universe. So if dungeon masochism is your kink (and you can’t resist the adorable) I would strongly recommend that you check out either. Or both. Ultima: The False Prophet vs D&D Warriors of the Eternal Sun These two games aren’t just similar, Warriors of the Eternal Sun is a blatant Ultima copy – Westwood studios claims otherwise but they’ve also been sued by Origin in the past so I don’t blame them for denying everything in spite of the evidence against them.

Eternal Sun’s gameplay may not be as complex as Ultima’s, and the world is a lot smaller but if you love one it’s a pretty safe assumption that the other is just the kind of thing you’d enjoy. Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem vs Warsong When I was making this list I had planned to match Warsong up with Ogre Battle, but the problem with that is Ogre Battle is this really odd-ball strategy RTS thing that doesn’t play like any other SRPGs. Heck, it doesn’t even play like other Tactics series titles.

So I’m going to cheat a bit, just for the sake of making a better pairing. If you like Warsong then you’re going to love Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem – a remake of the original Famicom Fire Emblem. Both games are hardcore strategy RPGs (and hardcore means permadeath bitches!)

with an eerily similar aesthetic. Shadowrun vs Shadowrun Ok so this is a bit of a copout, obviously someone who enjoyed either Shadowrun would want to check out another adventure in the same gritty dystopian universe. But consider this my warning: these games are not alike. Shadowrun SNES is more point and click adventure than RPG. Yes there’s some combat sequences, but success hinges on finding the correct clues in the correct order and taking them to the next story point. Shadowrun Genesis on the other hand is a nonlinear open world adventure where you leisurely solve a bigger mystery while going on self-initiated quest runs.

Both are fun, both are worth playing (Genesis is better). Final Fantasy 4 vs Phantasy Star 2 Final Fantasy 4 and Phantasy Star 2 are like the not-quite-as-good versions of their amazing big brothers. These are two excellent turn-based RPGs in their own right, and sci-fans will appreciate their futuristic techy vibe. Also spoiler alert: weirdly enough both games have a real downer moment when a playable character permanently bites it.

Super Mario RPG vs Wonder Boy in Monster World vs Popful Mail Hey if you love a platformer turned RPG maybe you’d like an RPG platformer? Ok… this one is a stretch. I mean Wonder Boy in Monster World is a good game but probably not Super Mario RPG good.

Actually scratch that, Wonder Boy’s not even Popful Mail good. Mail is another cartoony side scrolling hack and slash but it’s her ridiculous humor that a Super Mario RPG fan just has to love. And thanks to the Sega CD’s expanded storage capability all that campy dialog is voiced – you’re welcome. Final Fantasy 6 vs Phantasy Star 4 It stands to reason that if you’re looking for a memorable turn-based RPG with flashy cinematics (well as flashy as can be achieved with 16bit pixel art anyway) and an endearing roster of characters than you need look no further than either Final Fantasy 6 or Phantasy Star 4.

Unfortunately only one of these titles features a demented killer clown – but perhaps having one is enough. Chrono Trigger vs Lunar Ok so I had to stretch the definition of a Genesis RPG just a bit to find a worthy comparison to Chrono Trigger, an RPG that’s not just the best on the Sness, but remains one of the best ever made. I am confident that I have found a worthy match in Lunar for the Sega CD. Both games prioritized storytelling and character development, and shared minor similarities such as visible over world enemies, dreamy bad guys with flowing white hair, and the redemption of a playable character.

Ok I’m done and before you ask: No. I didn’t find a Sega date for Earthbound, but you know what? A good equivalent just doesn’t exist.

I admit defeat, nothing matches Earthbound’s unique brand of nostalgic sci-fi zaniness. But you know what? You won’t find its equal on any other console either. So kudos to Nintendo for crafting a truly one of a kind experience.