Alright, until common sense returns to me (aka, the Memorial Day weekend ends), and you kind readers finally lose patience with me, I'm going to share my picks for Project Phoenix launch titles. These are by no means a complete list, as there are literally hundreds of quality software titles to choose from. Even if we're choosing to release the best of the best, the true classics, we could reach a library of 500 games without breaking a sweat.
For this post, we'll take a look at the Project Phoenix pack-in game, which is always crucially important, as well as the launch titles from Genesis and Sega CD. Let's have a look at our presents:
I. Pack-In Game - Sonic Jam (Saturn)
Sonic Jam is clearly the best choice. It offers the four Sonic the Hedgehog games from the Sega Genesis, plus a wealth of extra gameplay modes, a 3-D polygon area to explore, movies, commercials, and instruction manuals in English and Japanese. This game was not emulated, but instead reprogrammed entirely by Sonic Team in 1997. It was only released on the Saturn, which makes it unique. This is very useful as a sales point, since Sega has released the original Sonic games on multiple digital download formats, as well as numerous "fami-clone" hardware systems.
With Sonic Jam, people will have a wealth of entertainment value right out of the box, at a very affordable price. This will be aimed as the perfect holiday present, and hit all the crucial buttons - families, kids, older gamers, lapsed gamers. To the hardcore gamers, Sonic Jam demonstrates our dedication to Sega's legacy. We're going to be mining the archives for the true classics.
II. Sega Genesis + Sega CD Titles
Yes, we're bringing Technosoft back, and we're starting with the 1989 arcade-strategy game that inspired the Real-Time Strategy game. I think Herzog Zwei will be much more successful the second time around, and do very well. So if you want the Thunder Force games, kids, pick this one up so we can afford the license fees.
One of the Genesis' best shoot-em-ups, and since it's currently available on the Virtual Console, that makes it an easy pick. Gamers will be thrilled to own a physical copy that no longer sells for $200 on Ebay. That alone makes it a deal. It's a fantastic, frenzied arcade game full of action and surprises. Compile worked their hearts out on this one. I think kids will love it.
Capcom and Sega had a wonderful working relationship, and Strider is one of the very best Genesis titles. This game oozes style and atmosphere, filled with memorable moments. The music is also spectacular, one of the best showcases for the Genesis' Yamaha sound chip.
Ghouls N Ghosts
Revenge of Shinobi
I couldn't decide between Ghouls N Ghosts and Revenge of Shinobi, so I'm taking both. We need some fast and challenging arcade games on the Phoenix, and these are two early Genesis masterpieces that belong in every gamer's library. I envision Phoenix as a "Criterion Collection" of classic video games, and these two titles are always near the top of my list. Oh, and who do I have to pay to put Godzilla back into Shinobi? I'll fold on Batman and Spider-Man, but we need Godzilla.
I want Konami on board for Project Phoenix, and I want Castlevania as a launch title. End of story. This is a terrific game, full of moody atmosphere, always challenging, a number of impressive visual effects, and some of best music in the series. This is a critical title that we really need.
Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
Number One on my developer "must" list is EA. Right below that is Disney. One of my key demographics for Phoenix are families, and especially kids (this is why price is so critical). You can see how important Disney games are to the system's success. Castle of Illusion is the first of many games that I want to release on our system, with the other Disney Genesis titles to follow. Now how about porting the 3DS Epic Mickey 2 to the Dreamcast?
Mutant League Football
Mutant League Hockey
John Madden Football 92
And here's our Number One, Electronic Arts. This is so obvious that no comment is necessary. People crave sports video games. The modern game industry is not supplying that need. Let's release the classics and see what happens. I'm also quite interested in releasing the entire EA Sports Genesis library on our system. A new classic Madden and NHL Hockey every 6-8 months? And as an exclusive? Fantastic.
Super Monaco GP
We also need some racing games, another popular genre that has been starved by the industry. Here is the Genesis' best racing title, Super Monaco GP. Chock full of depth and gameplay, precision controls, and some great vintage digitized graphics. I suspect licensing is an issue here, which is why this game has yet to see a digital release. We need to solve that little problem.
Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine
We need more family and puzzle games. Mean Bean Machine (Puyo Puyo 2) is easily the best choice. I'm sticking with the US version because of name recognition, nothing more. In any case, it's a great puzzler that's challenging and easy to play, offers multiplayer, looks terrific. Somebody get to work on more puzzle games! Get me Tetris on the phone!
Ah, how could I forget Ms. Pac-Man? We need family games, we have one of the most beloved and enduring video games ever made. This is the Tengen version, which was a big seller on Genesis. Securing copyrights will be a challenge, but it's just a matter of money. Pay somebody off. We need this game on store shelves. Hmm, I wonder if we can add in the option to play as Pac-Man? That would be perfect.
Obviously, Sonic CD is another essential must-have, and it's a guaranteed hit. One reason why I chose Sonic Jam as the pack-in was to free up space on the sales charts for everybody else, lest customers only choose to buy Sonic the Hedgehog games. For that reason, I'm willing to push back Sonic CD's release date a little, to give more space to everyone else. You know it, you love it.
Final Fight CD
You'll notice that I've omitted Streets of Rage from the launch window. It's only because I want to give more attention to this fantastic brawler, the definitive home version of Final Fight. All the arcade action, including multiplayer, and that fantastic CD audio soundtrack. This title was little seen in its day, but I think it will have a new life on the Phoenix (ack, pun alert). Everybody needs a beat-em-up in their library, so let's begin with Capcom's arcade classic.
Eternal Champions: Challenge From the Dark Side
Here's one for the hardcore gamers and old-school Sega fans - the definitive version of Eternal Champions. This Sega CD version is really a semi-sequel to the Genesis cartridge, with more fighters, new moves, and a wealth of gory finishing moves that would make Mortal Kombat blush. Really, this game was made by psychos, and I'm astounded that Sega has yet to re-release it anywhere. Good for us, because we need exclusives.