In part one of this series, we looked at four games that fall into the category of being Sega classics, or games strongly associated with Sega that are in need of a revival. Those games were Streets of Rage, Shenmue, ToeJam & Earl and Vectorman. There are many more games that fall into that category though, and in part two of this article series, we'll look at some more games from the Mega Drive era, while also looking at another Dreamcast classic that's not actually made by Sega.
If you want to check out part one, then simply follow this link.
Comix Zone is actually quite a unique game. It's a beat 'em up that's not really like any others due to both its art style, and how players progress through the game. During a horrific storm, Sketch Turner is transported into his own comic and Mortus manages to escape. He intends to destroy Sketch in the comic, which will enable him to become real.
Although the game has its fundamentals as a beat 'em up, players can also pick up items and they have to solve mini-puzzles as they try to make their way through the comic strip. It also means that there isn't necessarily a set path for progression, and players are often given a chance to go one of two ways - although they will always end up at the same place. The combat was pretty basic, but it was the world and style of Comix Zone that made it so great.
Comix Zone is a game that definitely wouldn't work in 3D though. It excels because of the linearity that's imposed by a 2D space, and with the added freedom of 3D, its charm and appeal would most certainly be lost. Having said that, it's one of the games that Sega fans have been craving a sequel to, as Comix Zone was unfortunately a one-game series.
As soon as players put Power Stone in their Dreamcast and booted it up, they knew they were in for a great experience. I mean, how can a game that bellows "Welcome to the Power Stone world" be bad, right? Sure, Power Stone is made by Capcom, but it was most definitely exclusive to Sega platforms, and it was most definitely a new and enjoyable experience for anyone who played it.
Instead of focusing on a 2D, or pseudo 3D plane, Power Stone threw it all out of the window and allowed up to four characters to take part in a ruckus, much like Ehrgeiz had done on the PlayStation. Players could rely on their fighting skills, but objects in the level were fully interactive and there were a ton of weapons. Let's not forget the actual Power Stones either, that once collected, allowed characters to turn into super-enhanced versions of themselves.
Power Stone 2 only improved on the offering, as its levels were much more interactive. However, after Power Stone 2 the series died a death. The only peep we've heard of it since came in the form of a slightly improved port to the PSP, but it wasn't really enough to satisfy the cravings of brawlers around the world. There's absolutely nothing stopping Capcom from making Power Stone 3 as the game was designed to work in a 3D space and given the success they've had with revitalising old franchises recently, there's no real reason why Power Stone 3 can't become a reality.
Eternal Champions is often overlooked as a fighting game on the Mega Drive purely because of Sega's other fighting franchise, Virtua Fighter. However, despite its perhaps unbalanced special move system, Eternal Champions actually had some seriously good potential. Ignoring the really tame spin-offs, the characters featured in Eternal Champions are some of the best, and I remember reading the story written about them in Sonic the Comic "“ it had more than enough depth.
So why did Eternal Champions disappear? It's quite simple really. Sega only wanted one fighting franchise, and Virtua Fighter was the more recognised one. Virtua Fighter has fallen by the wayside recently though, and Eternal Champions could be just the franchise to help put Sega back on the fighting game map. It Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat can pull themselves back from the brink, why can't Eternal Champions step up to the plate and really offer something new for fans of the fighting genre?
Ristar was meant to be the next big thing after Sonic the Hedgehog, but because he was introduced right at the end of the Mega Drive's lifecycle, he never really ever had any time to make an impression. I remember picking the game up and thinking three things: the initial voice that says "play with me" is really creepy, the gameplay is unorthodox but extremely fun and the music continued where Sonic's left off.
Instead of focusing on speed, as many platforming games had done before, Ristar instead focused on how progress is made. Ristar's special ability revolved around his arms, specifically the fact they could extend greatly. Add this to his extremely resilient face, and you have a character that literally head butts enemies until they die. It doesn't really get much more awesome than that.
It would really be nice to see Ristar given another chance. He has a likeable appearance, and had he come out earlier in the Mega Drive's lifecycle, there's absolutely no reason why he couldn't have become a success for Sega. Some things just aren't meant to be though, so it's unlikely Ristar will receive a second wind.