Reviews Archive
  Psycho Fox

For those who don't know Psycho Fox is the precursor to the MD game Decap attack (or rather the game which became Decap Attack) and could be considered the spiritual sequel to Kid Kool on the NES, the artwork style is very nicely realised, there's some interesting bosses and the gameplay feels quite unique mainly due to the inertia based controls (you need a run up to jump far) these controls can be tricky to get used to so if you're not very good at games or have little patience then this classic game is probably not for you.

  Powerstrike II

An all out action shmup based around the Aleste series (the original Power Strike on Master System was actually a renamed Aleste whilst this sequel could be considered an offshoot) great graphics and manic action packed gameplay are definately the order of the day here.

  Castle of Illusion
  In case anyone doesn't realise this game is not a port of the Mega Drive version, it's a completely original and home exclusive version for the Master System which is much more puzzle orientated and has a much better difficulty curve than the one for the MD, it's very well designed and a lot of fun, the max energy power-ups were definately a notable idea too as they served to create a simple upgrade system.

Puzzle classic where you have to get a whole load of Lemmings to an exit without too many of them dying, it's on pretty much every system out there (which stands to it's greatness) and the MS version is great.

  Sonic 2

The 2nd Sonic game on Master System was even more graphically impressive than the 1st and ran at a much better speed, this is a brilliant Sonic game though I do feel it lacks some of the accessibility of other games from the series. Some notable elements here were the handglider which was a very cool idea but quite tricky to get used to, and a even better bouncing across the water ability which was loads of fun.

  Dynamite Headdy

This is a Tec Toy ported version of of the Game Gear Dynamite Headdy (which was in itself a downgraded port from the MD version) Tec Toy released it exclusively in Brazil themselves. I don't usually like to put downgraded ports too high up in my lists but Dynamite Headdy is such a commendable port, and retains so much of what made the original great that it needs to be mentioned, full of charm, playability an some of the most impressive Master System graphics in existence.

  Fantasy Zone II

Brilliant sequel to the addictive fast paced cutesy blast-a-phon original, there's not exactly a whole load of new elements (just bomb the bases, collect the money and fight the bosses as before) but the improved graphics and sound make this the version to go for on the MS.

  Master of Darkness

This is a clone of the Castlevania series pure and simple, now I've gotten that out of the way lets get to the game, and what a game! everything that makes Castlevania great is here, the level designs, atmosphere, and boss battles, on top of that there's also some new elements including a more in depth weapon system whereby you can chose between power or distance and well presented Ninja Gaiden style story sections. The atmosphere centred around Victorian London is brilliant and feels equally good though very different to the gothic themes found in Castlevania games. If I were to forget that it's a clone and just compare the games on merits I would rate this higher than the original Castlevania (no medusa heads here wooo!) but definately lower than III.

  Ys: The Vanished Omens

Influential RPG that spawned many successful sequels across other formats, Ys contains all the elements you'd expect from a great Japanese RPG and still holds up pretty well today.

  Ninja Gaiden

This is an exclusive to Master System Ninja Gaiden game designed by Sega, the graphics are amazing, and the sense of speed as you make your way through the level wall jumping and grabbing hold of sections to pull yourself up is brilliant. The whole thing flows extremely well and feels like a very different breed of Ninja Gaiden. The only criticism I would level to it in comparison to it's NES brethren is that the story isn't to the same quality.

  Wonderboy in Monster World

For those not familiar with the Wonder Boy series it started off as a simple platformer (which many may know as the game on NES known as Adventure Island) but slowly evolved into a more RPG inspired experience, by the 3rd game there was an element similar to that found in Metroid added whereby you were thrown into a massive world with only certain areas accessible until you aquired the relevant power-ups. This, the 4th and last Wonder Boy game for the Master System followed on from that gameplay with better graphics and presentation, I feel it's not quite a good as the 3rd mainly due to it's easyness and the short distance of your weapon (I find it's easier to duck and stab) but it is still a phenominal game.


Seminal god sim where you're in charge of raising and nurturing your own people with the aim of defeating your enemy, it's compulsive stuff and the Master System version though simplified somewhat plays excellently.


Brilliant action RPG that alternates between a Zelda birds eye view styling to traditional side on view platforming gameplay, everything fits together perfectly, the story, action, music and graphics. One particular thing of note I feel is the translation, which must serve as one of the better ones from the period, it manages to retain a lot of the Japanese style humour for each of the characters (that old lady really needs to work on her sales pitch) and serves to make the game even more enjoyable and likeable..

  Sonic the Hedgehog
  I always thought that this would've been how Sonic turned out if it had been a more traditional platform game, gone are the loops and open plains of the Mega Drive original to be replaced by a more platform jumping orientated level design, the game works very well on it's own merits and it's a lot of fun but I feel it's missing that unique feel of it's big brother Sonic games which set them apart from their peers.

R-Type is one of the all time classic shooters, it was full of great new ideas ranging from the force pod, the bits (the things that float above your ship that you can crash into enemies) and the unique boss weaknesses, it also had an iconic art design inspired by H.R.Giger. R-Type was translated pretty well to the Master System, apart from the inevitable downgraded graphics and sound and the flickering it still retained the playability, which is the important thing really.

  Alex Kidd in Miracle World

One of the earlier games for the MS Alex Kidd jumped onto the platform to be an alternative to Nintendo's Mario series, not to say it's a clone though, as Alex Kidd takes a very different approach to Mario, there's no hop n' bop gameplay involved as Alex primarily solves his problems with his fists and instead of the immediate use power-ups of Mario you get a much better item management screen allowing you to use them as needed. One of the elements that really does make it stand out for me is all the different usable vehicles ranging from a bike to a flying helicopter these vehicles are always a lot of fun to use and help to add an element of variety.


After much deliberations on whether this or Land of Illusion was the best Master System platform game I ended up at the opinion that Land just slightly wins out, but there's not much in it by any means. Sega have yet again delivered another classic platformer, Asterix is tons of fun and very well designed from start to finish, it conveys the comic books really well and the usage of the different potions in the game help to give it more depth than the average platformer of the era.

  Land of Illusion

After their success with Castle of Illusion Sega came back with something even better! every element was improved music, graphics, and especially the gameplay, whilst Castle had fun platforming and some pretty nice puzzle elements Land goes to town in both areas with much more diverse and interesting level designs coupled with some very clever puzzles, the game is just full to the brim with ideas as apart from the aforementioned elements was a new upgrade element, now as Mickey progressed through the levels you'd pick up new abilities which were a lot of fun to use, especially the shrink and climb powers which also gave the game an element of replayability as you went back to previous levels to see what you'd missed.

  Phantasy Star
  One of the trully genre defining titles of the early console RPG's, Phantasy Star was really ahead of it's time when it was released, everything from the graphics to the detailed storyline and 1st person dungeon sections blew most of it's peers away at the time and the game takes it's rightfull position at number two in the list.
  Wonderboy-The Dragon's Trap

This has to be the greatest Master System game ever made, it's just so perfectly realised, the graphics are great with an endearing design throughout, the platforming elements are all extremely well designed and very diverse, the simplified RPG elelments are ingenious giving you all the normal options for weapon and armour upgrades, turning into the different creatures throughout the game always keeps the game fresh from start to finish as well as serving to make you keep playing if only to see whats round the corner next, the whole game is just full to the max with depth and playability and is a true classic.

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