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All Nintendo Switch Online Sega Genesis / Mega Drive game leaderboards

Best Sega Genesis Mega Drive Games Nintendo Switch Online
Image: Nintendo Life

The Sega Mega Drive / Genesis game library, announced as part of the upcoming ‘Expansion Pack’ for the Nintendo Switch Online subscription service, contains a few selected entries from the 16-bit system library. We may have had the opportunity to play many of these games in many other locations over the past few years, including Switch in some cases, but the easy availability of more classic video games on Switch is always worth celebrating.

But which of the Sega Genesis games arriving on Nintendo Switch Online are the best? Well, we can answer that question with the help of Nintendo Life readers who rated the titles in our game database.

The following list is compiled based on the user ratings (out of 10) assigned to each Mega Drive game available through the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack. It should be mentioned that this ranking is not set in stone and will automatically fluctuate over time depending on the assigned user ratings (and new additions to the NSO playlist).

Do you think any game below deserves to be higher on the list? Simply click on the “star” button and score yourself – your personal rating could improve your position in the overall ranking.

So sit back and enjoy the best Sega Genesis / Mega Drive games coming to Nintendo Switch Online …

Ecco The Dolphin (MD)Ecco The Dolphin (MD)

Editor: SEGA / Developer: Novotrade International

Release date: 11/28/2006 (United States of America) / 8 Dec 2006 (UK / EU)

Ecco the Dolphin as some kind of anomaly when released; a contemplative game about a dolphin who saves its marine world from ecological ruin on a console that is otherwise overcrowded with ‘Tude-filled console war food’. Ecco was a breath of fresh sea air in this regard, and while its graphics and overall idea may have been better than the execution here, we still enjoy looking back at Ecco’s antics and the atmosphere of this game – calming and unsettling alike.

Dr.  Robotniks Mean Bean Machine (MD)Dr.  Robotniks Mean Bean Machine (MD)

Editor: SEGA / Developer: Compile

Release date: 11 Dec 2006 (United States of America) / December 15, 2006 (UK / EU)

Better known as Puyo Puyo, the sticky block falling puzzler got a Sonic-based paint job to attract gamers in the west – especially the incredibly ugly looking Robotnik and his Badnik buddies from the cartoon Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. Regardless of the Sonic window dressing, this is a fine puzzle game and if you’re a fan of Puyo Puyo Tetris and want to see where the Beany Puyos started (on Mega Drive at least) this is a great place for you.

Golden Ax (MD)Golden Ax (MD)

Editor: SEGA / Developer: SEGA

Release date: December 22, 1989 (United States of America) / November 30, 1990 (UK / EU)

High Fantasy Beat ’em up Golden Ax came up relatively early in the life of the Mega Drive and while far from essential, it demonstrated the system’s power and potential in providing high quality System 16 arcade ports for the home. It rides a similar wave of arcade SEGA nostalgia as Altered Beast (which had the same designer), though infinitely more satisfying to battle through Yuria and soundly beat Death to death than as an Adder Beastie through ancient times Wandering Greece and the trio of heroes add a dash of variety that should inspire the Streets of Rage series.

Strider (MD)Strider (MD)

Editor: SEGA / Developer: Capcom

Release date: September 29, 1990 (United States of America) / March 15, 2012 (UK / EU)

Definitely from a golden era of the Capcom arcades, Strider then showed up in this excellent iteration on SEGA’s 16-bit machine. It’s the kind of fun, futuristic sci-fi action platformer that inspires many games in modern times and certainly still holds up well for today’s audiences. Although this console port is not a Perfect Replica of the arcade comes damn close.


Editor: SEGA / Developer: Compile

Release date: 1991 (United States of America) / July 17, 2009 (UK / EU)

Released in an era where you couldn’t swing a Genesis controller around without throwing a shooter off the shelves. MUSHA fought a crowd when it first launched. Nowadays, however, this vertical scroller is more valued for its rocking soundtrack and graphics that really rival the best of the era. don’t sleep on this.

Ristar (MD)Ristar (MD)

Editor: SEGA / Developer: SEGA

Release date: 4 Dec 2006 (United States of America) / December 15, 2006 (UK / EU)

Maybe you will forgive yourself for not knowing much about it Ristar, but you might be intrigued to hear that the concept and ideas for this game were part of the development of the original Sonic the Hedgehog. As the focus of SEGA’s mascot shifted to faster game play, Sonic’s core development team eventually returned to pursue their vision for Ristar, which is certainly awesome and whimsical.

Expect slower platform play and a lot of focus on the ability to take on enemies and the environment alike. It’s unique and worth a look.

Shiny Power (MD)Shiny Power (MD)

Editor: SEGA / Developer: Climax entertainment

Release date: July 23, 2007 (United States of America) / August 3, 2007 (UK / EU)

While not a series that spans decades, Shining Force is worth a look if you like turn-based strategy-RPG goodness. it’s more like a SEGA equivalent of Fire Emblem, but without a 2010s revival. There’s a little exploration and typical RPG, but the meat here is challenging turn-based battles, some of which can take an hour or more to defeat. It’s a bit “out of its time” but a fascinating part of the Mega Drive / Genesis library.


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