Sometimes, it’s hard to see why a concept failed. The premise was original, test audiences loved it, the price was right, but it just never clicked with consumers. Other times, it’s painfully obvious what happened.
That was the dilemma Sega faced in the mid-90s. Their 16-bit console had given video game giant Nintendo a run for its money with games like Sonic the Hedgehog and, uh… Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Unlike Nintendo’s console add-ons that failed to materialize, Sega followed through with their ambitions by innovating peripheral attachments.
First, came the Sega CD. This took 16-bit gaming to the next level by adding video clips to games. Unfortunately, the full potential of this attachment was never realized via fun games. So, Sega scrapped the video idea and went back to cartridges with the Sega 32X. The 32X claimed to feature enhanced graphics and sound, but only if you were comparing pixels.
Not feeling like they had tarnished their brand enough, Sega began releasing Sega CD 32X games. If you wanted to play these games, you had to own a Genesis, Sega CD, and 32X. You also needed three extra power strips to make room for the bulky power supplies. Would it really feature the best benefits of both failed peripherals or would it lead to the downfall of the company’s console reign a few years later?
Here are (all) six Sega CD 32X games.
6 – Corpse Killer
The zombies look so real!
It really sounds like a cool premise: an interactive movie in which you shoot zombies. I’m not talking Lethal Enforces with animated gifs of bad guys walking across the screen; Corpse Killer was full motion video. What’s that? You haven’t heard of full motion video? Well, that’s because a few lousy games (like this) in the mid-90s totally destroyed a gimmick that would work perfectly with today’s gaming technology. Great idea, bad game.
5 – Night Trap
The offending scene.
If you didn’t know about Night Trap, you were probably too busy trying to figure out the Mortal Kombat nudity code (hint: it was a recess rumor). The controversy surrounding the game is more memorable than the game itself. Night Trap got thrown in the mix of games that led to ESRB ratings because one scene showed a woman tying her hair in a bun before bed. Seriously. Oh, and she got kidnapped by vampires. To make matters worse for the Sega CD 32X version, it’s rumored the offending scene was removed. I can’t confirm this as the game was so terrible, I never bothered to play much beyond the title screen.
4 – Fahrenheit
The worst 2-for-1 deal of all time.
One thing that really burned players of Sega CD 32X games was that each title was also available as a regular Sega CD game. To Fahrenheit’s credit, they didn’t try to pull a fast one to trick gamers into buying two versions of a mediocre game; both the Sega CD and Sega CD 32X versions came bundled in the same box.
3 – Slam City
It’s a basketball game starring Scottie Pippen as himself in a graffiti covered opening sequence.
2 – Supreme Warrior
Supreme Warrior is actually better than The Last Airbender movie.
This game is kind of like a first person full motion video version of a fighting game mixed with a bad Kung Fu movie. No, it’s more like that moment when you run out of ammo for good weapons in Doom and you have to use your fists to beat the level. No, wait, that’s not it. Surpreme Warrior is like when you’re excited to see an old flavor of Kool-Aid return, only to realize the gas station hasn’t changed their stock in twenty years. Well, something like that, anyway.
1 – Surgical Strike
This launched the career of Joe Flanigan… and recycled sound effects from the Real Ghostbusters.
The Sega CD 32X version was only sold in Brazil. So, if you lived anywhere else at the time, you lucked out. If you lived in Brazil, I feel your pain. Surgical Strike was the first Sega CD game I owned. If you thought Sewer Shark was bad, give Surgical Strike a chance and see if Sewer Shark isn’t your new favorite game of all time. Better yet, just watch the video and see for yourself how disorienting it is. It’s like the Rambo scene from UHF, with sadness instead of humor.
Notably Missing Title – Wirehead
What happens if the remote runs out of batteries?
I think the biggest tragedy of the Sega CD 32X platform is that they never re-released the one good full motion video game that existed on the Sega CD: Wirehead. If any game could have benefited from a 1% resolution increase, it would have been the game about a dorky dad with a remote control in his brain.
Is it even possible that we missed some of your favorite Sega CD 32X games? Tell us about it in the comments below!