Best Sega CD Games of All Time!
When considering your favorite retro game, we would bet you wouldn't be thinking of the Sega CD being top of mind.
You might be catching yourself wondering was the Sega CD good? It absolutely was!
Considering the short lifespan of the console and being at the tail end of the Sega Genesis' long lived 16 bit life, the Sega CD didn't last very long.
There are a ton of options for the best Sega CD games so stick around because we'll be covering only the greatest games.
Did Sega CD improve graphics?
Certainly, compared to the original Sega Genesis system, the visuals in several games were enhanced by the Sega CD.
The 1991 debut of the Sega CD, made it possible to play bigger games with more storage and better audio.
The last Sega CD game was Fahrenheit which is a wonderful point-and-click adventure game that follows a man named Lucas Kane as takes on studying a series of mysterious murders.
A CD-ROM accessory for the Sega Genesis video game console was the Sega CD, also known as the Mega-CD. It was released in Japan in 1991 and North America in 1992. The Sega CD was a commercial failure that was tapped off in 1996. However, it did have a small collection of games that were exclusive to the platform.
Even with such a small library of games to choose from, the Sega CD did have a fantastic options to choose from. With the use of full motion video (FMV) games, the Sega CD was quite the innovative product for the time.
Put aside the 4K TVs with those high refresh rates and massive resolutions. Today we'll be covering the heyday of Sega filled with nostalgia and a time where CRTs were cutting edge technology.
We promise the CD attachment won't skip while showcasing this classic console. In this article, we'll be covering the best Sega CD games of all time. If you enjoyed this article, please check out our other reviews:
Best Commodore 64 Games | Best Wii Games | Best Wii U Games | Best Neo Geo Games
Table of Contents
- Night Trap
- Keio Flying Squadron
- Lunar: Eternal Blue
- Fatal Fury Special
- Mansion of Hidden Souls
- NHL 94
- Earthworm Jim: Special Edition
- The Amazing Spider-Man VS The Kingpin
- Ecco the Dolphin
- Shining Force CD
- Android Assault: The Revenge Of Bari-Arm
- Soul Star
- Double Switch
- Robo Aleste
- Sewer Shark
- Lords of Thunder
- Star Wars: Rebel Assault
- Lunar: The Silver Star
- Popful Mail
- The Secret of Monkey Island
- Road Avenger
- Final Fight CD
- Dark Wizard
- Sonic CD
30. Night Trap
Before the days of Five Nights At Freddy's, which is one of the best scary video games we had Night Trap on the Sega CD.
The premise is extremely simple, you're controlling a CCTV camera trying to not let a home invasion take place that centers around a group of teenage girls who are being targeted by vampires.
Sounds simple enough right? Well, that's where things get interesting. You have a progress meter and have to time the laying of the trap in order to have the vampire fall through a trap door or get captured through a folding bed out the window.
The full motion videos in Night Trap on the Sega CD are downright witty and we often found ourselves laughing at the different ways to lay the traps around the house like falling down the stairs!
29. Keio Flying Squadron
Keio Flying Squadron is a Sega CD game developed and published by Koei in 1994. It is a side-scrolling shooter game where players control a young girl named Rami who must save her kingdom from an evil sorcerer.
The game features colorful graphics. Sure it can be a bit on the kiddy side but we enjoyed playing through Keio Flying Squadron anyways. The challenging gameplay that most shmups offer allow for a great replay value.
With it's unique soundtrack, you'll be blasting away at enemies while flying on the dragon with that CD quality audio. Keio Flying Squadron is considered a cult classic among Sega CD fans and deserves a spot on our list of best Sega CD games.
28. Lunar: Eternal Blue
Lunar: Eternal Blue is a fantastic role-playing video game developed by Game Arts and published by Working Designs for the Sega CD in 1994. It is the ever needed sequel to the 1992 game Lunar: The Silver Star.
The game follows the story of Hiro, a young adventurer who is drawn into a quest to save the world of Lunar from a powerful enemy. Along the way, he meets and befriends a cast of colorful characters, each with their own unique abilities and personalities.
The game is known for its engaging story, colorful sprite art graphics, and well-developed characters. We really enjoyed the grind heavy aspect of the Lunar series and remember that it was well-received by critics and remains a fan favorite to this day.
A well deserved spot on our list of best Sega CD games is Vay which offers the fantasy element to the console that was destined to fail from the beginning.
Vay will remind you of the top down adventure RPGs in the fashion of Phantasy Star on the Sega Genesis but use of the Sega CD hardware greatly expands on the musical aspect.
Vay is also quite long in length, coming in at roughly 10 hours to complete a single playthrough. You'll be glad you picked up this JRPG and surely got your money's worth with this one as it's quite expensive online today.
Flink is a side-scrolling platform game that was released for the Sega CD console in 1994. It was developed and published by Core Design.
In the game, players control Flink, a young boy with magical powers, as he embarks on a quest to save his kidnapped sister from the evil sorcerer, Dark Demon.
Along the way, Flink must use his powers to defeat various enemies and solve puzzles to progress through the levels. We wish that Flink was a little more fast paced which is ultimately why it's not higher on our list of best Sega CD games.
The game features colorful graphics and catchy music, as well as multiple endings depending on the player's choices and actions. It's also the best revision of Flink out there, this is the absolute best way to enjoy this platforming gem.
The Sega CD offered a ton of low resolution FMV and dabbled with voice acting which is one of the main features of Sol-Feace.
Yes, we know it's another shoot em up on our list of the best Sega CD games but Sol-Feace is a great horizontal shooter.
The game follows a pilot named Zera who must save humanity from an alien invasion by traveling to different planets and defeating their leaders.
It features fast-paced gameplay, we're talking lightning fast. With the number of branching paths that add a great amount of replay value. This also brings you a ton of multiple endings to search out for and discover.
24. Fatal Fury Special
Fighting games were a wonderful option on the Sega Genesis 6 button controller. Fatal Fury Special makes excellent use of the Sega CD hardware and delivers a fantastic fighting game in 1993.
It is the sequel to the 1992 game Fatal Fury 2 and features improved graphics and new gameplay mechanics, considering the ability to dodge attacks and counter attack them with an all new special move.
The game also includes new characters and stages, as well as a story mode that follows the protagonists of the series as they compete in the "King of Fighters" tournament.
The game received generally positive reviews based on the fact that it's got improved graphics and gameplay, but ultimately fell short for its limited replay value. Which is a shame considering it's a fighting game and all.
23. Mansion of Hidden Souls
Full motion video games were all the craze on the Sega CD. Survival horror games weren't too popular until the release of Resident Evil on the PSX. Considering we got a FMV survival horror game on the Sega CD, we consider this a huge accomplishment.
Mansion of Hidden Souls is set in a haunted mansion, where you're set out exploring the various rooms and solve puzzles in order to uncover the mansion's dark secrets and survive the night.
Giving you an added touch by offering a branching storyline with multiple endings, and an extremely unique combat system where you have to use your surroundings in order to fight off the ghosts and other supernatural enemies that you'll meet along the way.
This classic game for the Sega CD definitely deserves a spot on our list of the best Sega CD games.
22. NHL 94
NHL 94 gives you all 26 teams from the timeframe at the NHL (sorry Vegas fans). You'll also get all of the players and their real-life stats. We loved the invention of the one timer as well as the way the gameplay feels so smooth as you skate down the ice with the great one, number 99!
We've covered NHL 94 in our list of best SNES sports games and greatly consider it to be the best hockey game of all time!
Being the first hockey game released on the Sega CD, it's no wonder it deserves a spot on our list of best Sega CD games.
21. Earthworm Jim: Special Edition
All we can think of when Earthworm Jim comes to mind is "Groovy" when you get that one up.
Considering you're probably used to the version on the SNES or Mega Drive, you probably didn't realize that Earthworm Jim: Special Edition had to offer improved graphics and audio, as well as additional levels and features that neither option gave you.
In case you haven't played Earthworm Jim before, you'll play as a worm who gains superpowers after a suit of armor falls on him, as he battles the evil alien Psy-Crow and other villains.
We remember how many great reviews Earthworm Jim received when it was first released, given its unique and humorous storyline, challenging gameplay, and colorful graphics. We couldn't wait to give Earthworm Jim: Special Edition a spot on our list of the best Sega CD games of all time.
When you think of games that technically couldn't be possible on the 16 bit hardware of either the SNES or Sega Genesis, Slipheed is surely on the cut. That's where by using the 5 Mhz processor of the Sega CD comes into play. It allows for the 2.5d shooter to breath the light of day.
The wonderfully crafted 11 stages of Slipheed will keep you coming back for more. Learning the patterns is fantastic and you'll surely enjoy this beautifully looking shmup.
Slipheed will surely bring you flashbacks of Star Fox esque vibes the way the ships move around the screen and how the polygonal textures are delivered.
19. The Amazing Spider-Man VS The Kingpin
Next on the list of the best Sega CD games of all time we'll be covering our personal favorite superhero, Spider-Man. The Sega CD variation is actually an improvement over the Sega Genesis version.
Some of the notable differences include some outrageously funny cut scenes, speed increases and quality of life improvements in the controls department. These improvements make you want to play the Sega CD version over the Genesis version.
The Amazing Spider-Man VS The Kingpin gives you an open world approach choosing from the massive levels in New York. Some of the stages are critical for the storyline and others are only there for the powerups.
18. Ecco the Dolphin
The best way to think about Ecco the Dolphin on the Sega CD port is an improved version rather than an entirely new game.
While most developers were figuring out what to do with the Sega CD hardware, some went the FMV route and some went heavy on the audio quality.
Ecco the Dolphin has 6 new levels that offer you a wonderful password system to write down every time you want to take a pause and continue at a later time.
Gameplay wise, you won't get much of a difference than the Sega Genesis game. We loved charging at enemies and exploring the levels in Ecco the Dolphin.
17. Shining Force CD
Shining Force CD is a wonderfully designed tactical role-playing game that was released for the Sega CD in 1993. It is a spin-off of the Shining Force series of games and features similar gameplay, with the player controlling a group of characters in turn-based battles on a grid-like map.
Giving you an amazing storyline that takes place in the world of Rune, where the player must help the Shining Force to defeat the evil Dark Dragon and save the land from destruction.
Shining Force CD received positive reviews upon its release and is considered a classic game for the Sega CD. It's no wonder that we consider it to be one of the best Sega CD games of all time!
16. Android Assault: The Revenge Of Bari-Arm
Shoot 'em ups are a great genre that we wish more developers payed attention to.Android Assault is set in the year 2097, where the player controls a powerful android named Bari-Arm as they fight their way through various levels to defeat the evil alien army known as the Zorv.
The game features fast-paced action and while the controls are simple, tapping the fire button for an almost automatic shot or holding it down for a charge and clear all shot.
With it's challenging gameplay, Android Assault is surely one you won't be able to clear in a single credit on the first try. This shmup was well-received by critics upon its release. It is considered an all time classic game for the Sega CD.
15. Soul Star
We mentioned Star Fox as the de facto polygonal shooter previously but wanted to take the time to mention an underappreciated gem of a game in Soul Star.
The main difference between the two is that you can fly around in some levels of Soul Star versus being on a fixed pane in the on rail shooter of Star Fox. We loved the mix of a fixed pane and open area shooting levels of Soul Star.
It's like the developers saw the success of Star Fox and wanted to build on it in every way possible. It's a shame that Soul Star hasn't received the critical acclaim that the Nintendo title has.
14. Double Switch
In 1993, Double Switch, an interactive movie game, was created for the Sega CD. We certainly love FMV games on the Sega CD as they offer such a unique experience.
The Edward Hotel is the setting of the game, and you have to use security cameras to keep an eye on the various characters and solve puzzles to stop a series of disasters. This surely does sound like Night Trap but better.
To make things better, you're also getting multiple branching paths and live-action cutscenes that let you perfectly experience different storylines based on the decisions that you'll make.
When it was released, Double Switch was well received and no wonder we had to rank it this high on our list of the best Sega CD games of all time!
13. Robo Aleste
Robo Aleste, also known as Dennin Aleste, is one great shmup for the Sega CD. You're set out in the year 2096, and get to control a powerful robot named Aleste making your way throughout the various levels to defeat the evil alien army known as the Guillotine.
It's of the same series as MUSHA, which is only one of the most expensive Sega Genesis games to date. With a game this good, no wonder it commands such a high price online.
With such fast paced action, a wonderful heart pumping storyline and amazing controls, Robo Aleste is a great shoot em up that is worthy of anyone's collection!
12. Sewer Shark
The storylines in some of these full motion video games were fantastic. In a post apocalyptical world, the human race is living underground while sewer jockeys flies through the sewers to clear mutated creatures. While the super rich live off the planet.
There are two main features to Sewer Shark, you'll have to shoot creatures that come on the screen. Some are easier to take out, some take lightning fast reflexes. In order to progress, you'll have to meet a quota of enemies to fight off.
It's a nice surprise to play Sewer Shark. You'd think that the game would be bad but in fact this one is really good! We really enjoyed the witty storyline and great controls.
11. Lords of Thunder
Easily the best shmup on the Sega CD is Lords of Thunder and for good reason. Our first introduction to Lords of Thunder is the Wii virtual console release of the title and the Sega CD version is actually a port of the PC Engine CD version.
The standout here is the amazing soundtrack. The guitar solos alone are a good enough reason to check out Lords of Thunder. This is a real treat for your ears especially if you have a good enough audio system to hear all of the different instruments.
It's fantasy themed horizontal action will keep you coming back for more. It's certainly not a long game by any means as you can probably finish it in under an hour if you're good enough. Lords of Thunder is a great game and is well deserving of a spot on our best Sega CD games of all time list!
10. Star Wars: Rebel Assault
Lucas Arts was quite the game designer in the 90s. With amazing titles such as Day of The Tenticle, Sam and Max and Zak McKracken this really showed us the true power of a great mind in George Lucas.
We absolutely adored blasting through waves of enemy ships. The pre rendered backgrounds along with full motion video enemies on the screen works so perfectly.
This was the first CD-ROM game that LucasArts ever published and makes for a wonderful choice. If you're a fan of the Rogue Squadron games, you'll definetely want to consider checking out Star Wars: Rebel Assault.
9. Lunar: The Silver Star
Coming in at number nine on our list of the best Sega CD games of all time is Lunar: The Silver Star.
Setting you out in the world of Lunar, where you're looking to control a young man named Alex as he embarks on a journey to become a Dragonmaster and going around saving the world from evil. Giving you a wonderful replay value of branching storylines, action packed turn-based combat and some colorful graphics that will knock you right over how good they are.
Lunar: The Silver Star was well-received by critics upon its release and for good reason. You could consider it to be one of the most overlooked role playing games.
In our eyes is the best RPG game on the Sega CD. It's one of those games you have to put on your bucket list and get around to when you can spare the time to dive into the wonderful storyline and epic gameplay.
8. Popful Mail
When you think of action role playing games, not too many would come to mind on the Sega CD. One that you should focus your attention to is Popful Mail.
Setting yourself in the fantasy world of Elvandar, you'll take control of the young bounty hunter named Mail as she fights her way through various levels to defeat the evil wizard Gaw and save the land from destruction.
We absolutely adored the fast paced action here in Popful Mail and this is where it really shines. Don't expect the lightning fast gameplay of Sonic by any means but the pacing is well done.
Popful Mail can definetely bring a challenge. The almost open world aspect brings a level of difficulty in order to find the way in order to progress.
Popful Mail received so many accolades back in the day it's with no surprise that we put it in our number 8 spot of the best Sega CD games.
7. The Secret of Monkey Island
Our second LucasArts release is The Secret Of Monkey Island. This point-and-click adventure game that was released in 1993 is the fourth game in the popular Monkey Island series.
You'll get to control a young man named Guybrush Threepwood as he embarks on a quest to become a pirate and rescue the governor of Mêlée Island from the evil ghost pirate LeChuck. We get Day of The Tenticle vibes from the way you get to control Guybrush and were sucked into this adventure right as the opening into came on the screen.
With a wonderful and witty humorous storyline, some unbelievable challenging puzzles, and beautify drawn out cartoon-style graphics, The Secret of Monkey Island is considered to be an all time classic of the adventure game genre.
Ever wondered what a cyberpunk-themed adventure game on the Sega CD would look like in 1994? Better yet, one that was developed and published by Konami and was directed by Hideo Kojima, who you might know from the Metal Gear games?
That's exactly what you'll be getting in Snatcher. During the gameplay, you'll be controlling a member of the J.U.N.K.E.R. organization named Gillian Seed as he investigates a series of killings by humanoid robots known as Snatchers.
We love games that offer a branching storyline and Snatcher executes that to perfection. The challenging puzzles were a blast to solve. The high-quality graphics and sound really made you feel like you were in a movie.
Snatcher offers a unique storyline that draws you in and gets you hooked. You won't want to put the controller down for anything once you start!
5. Road Avenger
Sega surely did love their cyberpunk style games, first we had Snatcher and now we've got Road Avenger coming in at number 6 on our list of the best Sega CD games.
You're set out controlling a powerful car known as the X-Craft as you'll fight your way through various levels to defeat the evil organization known as the Omicronians to take out everything in sight in the 9 stages of the game.
The setting really gives us some Max Mad vibes here and Road Avengers features fast-paced action and challenging gameplay.
Panic is nothing short of a weird game. A computer virus makes all the machines in the world go crazy. You're set off to solve simple puzzles to restore the world.
The concept is so simple, you have to push buttons and some of them blow up a part of the world where some will bring you to another location.
If you're looking for a quirky video game, make sure to check out Panic!
3. Final Fight CD
The original Final Fight was attempted to be brought to a successful home console port numerous times without much success. Plagued with slowdown and lack of multiplayer options, other console ports just didn't stand up.
This is until the Sega CD version was brought to the table. The Sega CD version gives you a great soundtrack, multiplayer options and has the same gameplay experience that you would expect in the arcade classic.
Set in the mean streets of Metro City, Final Fight is a wonderful beat 'em up where you're able to control one of the three characters. You can set up combos or take down opponents with a throw move at the push of a button.
If you're looking to experience this Capcom classic on a home console, this might be the version you choose.
2. Dark Wizard
If you were wondering what the best strategy RPG on the Sega CD is, look no further than Dark Wizard. The combat takes place on a hexogonal grid where you get to choose between one of four characters.
The soundtrack is absolutely phenominal. We understand that the Sega CD offered CD quality audio and most games had great audio but Dark Wizard is a cut above.
If you're into story driven, slow grind out tactical role playing games you'll thoroughly enjoy Dark Wizard.
1. Sonic CD
Coming in at our number one spot of the best Sega CD games of all time is Sonic CD. This is the obvious choice for a number one option!
On the surface, it'll look like your typical Sonic game but has some really unique concepts. Firstly, you have two different options to dash by either holding up or down and jump to spin or run.
Secondly, you can travel through time! Hit a sign that says past or future and run as fast as you can in that direction to change time. Doing this will change the outcome of the game and will change the ending you'll get.
Every zone is massive and we loved exploring each of the ways to progress. It's well worth playing today on the Sega CD and has even been brought to numerous rereleases.