One thing I love about thrift stores is when you find a sparkling gem of video game history, just waiting to be discovered. Sometimes, the store does not know that the game is valuable, or they have no way of testing it, so they sell it for cheap. Either way, I managed to get a copy of the Genesis 6-Pak for $2. Not bad, eh?
- Streets of Rage
- Golden Axe
- Revenge of Shinobi
- Super Hang-On
- Sonic the Hedgehog
To properly rate the entire 6-Pak, I played each game to (or near) completion. Here we go!
Streets of Rage is a ‘hip cops kicking bad guy butt’ brawler a la Double Dragon. You run around the city beating up baddies, using a variety of weapons that can be found on the street, such as knives, glass bottles, and pipes. This is probably the only K-A rated game (equivalent to today’s E) you’ll ever play that lets you hit hookers with baseball bats. Not even joking. Plus, you have a special move where you call in a police car and they launch a bazooka and kill everyone in screen. Why can’t I just be the guy in the car the whole time? Anyways, at the end of most stages you fight a boss, which can be a pair of gymnastics ninjas, a really angry luchador, or a fat guy with heartburn so bad he can breathe fire. Again, I’m being totally serious. My favorite part was the end, where you fight the end boss, who, ironically, looks like a boss, like at work. And you fight him in his office. And he sits in his chair and calls his minions forth. Then he pulls out a gun and kills you. Awesome.
Golden Axe is like Streets of Rage, only set several hundred years in the past. Instead of being an 80s rebel cop, you’re a shirtless swordsman (or woman, or dwarf). And instead of thugs and hookers, you fight skeletons and trollops. The game does change it up a little by letting you ride dragons to burn the crap out of people. Oh, and you can beat up elves to get magic potion, which more or less produces the police bazooka mentioned previously. It’s actually kind of surprising how much Golden Axe and Streets of Rage have in common. In fact, both games feature the same energy-replenishing meat roast so prominently displayed in video games. The biggest difference is that Golden Axe is slightly shorter, but slightly more difficult.
Revenge of Shinobi is a pretty big let-down. It’s a side-scrolling ninja adventure game where you beat up other ninjas (of course, we all know that none of these are true ninjas, since we can see them). It appears to use photographed images for the characters, so they look real-ish, but the game is so hard, that none of the semi-nifty graphics can make up for it. Think Ninja Gaiden, with the same difficulty, better graphics, and way less fun. Also, Spider-Man makes a cameo. (In versions before the 6-Pak compilation, Batman and Godzilla were there, too). What the crap?
Columns is another one of those ‘line-up-three-gems-to-make-them-disappear’ type of game. Sets of three gems fall from the top of the screen, and you can change the order they fall in to try and remove as many gems as possible. The game does count diagonal lines, which is somewhat uncommon in games like this, so that’s nice. Plus, there’s a beginner mode that lets you get used to the game by showing you where all your potential scoring opportunities are for the the first few minutes. Not a bad game, really. It’s pretty outdated now, but in its day it was pretty popular.
Super Hang-On is a pseudo-3D racing game on motorcycles. Like many racing games of the time, the object was to get to the checkpoint to add to your timer. If your timer ran out, you lost. To be honest, the game is basically Rad Racer, only surprisingly, with worse graphics (considering the NES was 8-bit and the Genesis was 16-bit). The most intriguing part was the difficulties. The easiest one has 6 stages (which really just means checkpoints), so the harder the difficulty, the longer the race. The Genesis version is a port of the arcade version, which may explain its semi-suckitude.
Thankfully, I played Sonic the Hedgehog last, which helped wash the stink out of my thumbs from some of the other games. It’s still impressive to see how fast and how good Sonic games are, especially when compared to other games of the era. It’s no wonder the blue blur is as popular as he is. It’s no doubt that Sega owes much of its success in the 80s and 90s to Sonic. Clearly the highlight of the 6-Pak (even though it’s been played a million times), Sonic the Hedgehog gives you a taste of the exciting rivalry that was Mario vs. Sonic.
For those if you with short attention spans, let me summarize what these games are:
- Double Dragon
- Double Dragon (medieval edition)
- Ninja Gay-den
- Rad Racer (suck edition)
- Fast, awesome, cool game
All in all, it’s a good collection. As noted, not all of the games are superb, but the fact that you can get 6 good games for the price of… whatever it cost new, helps make up for some of the games’ shortcomings.
- Six games on a single Genesis cart!
- A piece of history!
- Some of the games are kinda lame
- Sonic makes the other games look bad
- Only one Sonic game…