The Best Sega Genesis Fighting Games

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For decades, fighting games have gained popularity in the gaming scene across the globe. In the late 80s and early 90s, Sega Genesis became one of the most classic home consoles of its generation. Commonly known as Mega Drive in markets beyond North America, Sega Genesis commissioned an era of high-quality games that leveraged it against any other existing console. From inception, Sega Genesis was identified with unparalleled quality in graphics, gaming titles, resolution, and animation. This 16-bit gaming console has released gaming titles that have not been rivaled by any other gaming console within its time.

Although other advanced consoles have succeeded the Genesis, it remains one of the most valued pieces of gaming hardware. This is likely because it not only revolutionized the gaming scene but also shaped many childhood memories. From people using emulators to revisit old classics, or hooking up their original hardware to an HDTV, there's still a lot of fun to be had with the Genesis. 

In this article, we revisit some of our favorite fighting games and beat 'em ups from the 90s Genesis era.

TMNT: The Hyperstone Heist

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT): The Hyperstone Heist made its first debut in 1992 as the first TMNT game from Sega Genesis. The Hyperstone Heist is comprised of five stages, starting with the 'New York City' level to the 'Final Shell Shock' level.

The plot of the game revolves around the Turtles going after a character named Shredder, who claims to have the power to control mankind through a powerful object known as a Hyperstone. It all begins with the reporter April O'Neil and her audience witnessing the massive destruction of Manhattan Island by Shredder, who then takes over the airwaves and announces his control over the world.

The controls of the game are similar to those of Turtles in Time; side-scrolling and beat 'em up. The highly aggressive antagonism of Shredder and the high-speed gameplay are some of the reasons why the Hyperstone Heist is valued.

Double Dragon

Double Dragon was first released in Japan in 1987. Other versions of the game were progressively released years after, with Sega receiving official licensing to the game in 1992. The popularity of Double Dragon was the reason behind the production of films and animated series with this Sega Genesis' game theme.

The plot of the game is simple - martial artist brothers Jimmy and Billy Lee must fight their way into the territory of the Black Warriors gang to save Marian, Billy's girlfriend.

The incredible graphics and the sound of Double Dragon are probably the main reasons why people find this game so impressive. Although the introduction of co-op play, allowing friends to play the game together, was another important factor.

The controls of the game are easy to execute too. Players can move around in all directions in the pseudo-3D perspective as they progress through the level. Attacking the enemies is done through traditional 'beat 'em up' gameplay, with players able to kick, punch, and jump.

Alien Storm

Alien Storm was first released by Sega in 1990 as a beat 'em up arcade video game. The game is about Alien Busters, a team of Special Forces, that make efforts to stop a race of aliens from invading planet Earth. Up to two players can choose between the three Alien Busters as they embark on their mission.

The game has different missions to be completed in a variety of stages where the Alien Busters blow up the invading aliens from the streets. Each stage and mission has different objectives to achieve, with the objectives becoming more challenging as players progress.

Gameplay takes the form of a typical side-scrolling beat 'em up with melee attacks, but each character has a unique projectile weapon and special super-powerful attack to use too.


Released in 1993, The Punisher has gained popularity as one of the greatest video games in the beat 'em up genre. It features Frank Castle of the Marvel Comic and Nick Fury, an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. The two are on a journey to capture The Kingpin and destroy his organization. The Kingpin is the crime lord responsible for the death of Frank Castle's family.

The game applies the typical side-scrolling formula to move the characters in pursuit of the enemies. Both characters have essentially the same move set, consisting of kicks, punches, throws, and special attacks. However, the introduction of combos and useful melee and projectile weapons adds some tasty variety.

The game has impressive graphics and a pleasing comic book style that help it stand out from the crowd.

Mortal Kombat 3

Mortal Kombat 3, popularly known as MK3, is a fighting game and third edition of the Mortal Kombat series. Released in 1995, MK3 engages in a unique storyline where different fighters undertake an aggressive brawl with Shao Kahn. Shao khan is the antagonist in the game who has invaded the earth realm after resurrecting his bride, Sindel.

MK3 comprises of a cast of various fighters from which players can choose, including series veterans like Liu Kang and Sub-Zero. The series trademark blood and gore also return, with a new selection of fatalities for players to perform.

The gameplay takes place on a 2D plane, as the player attempts to defeat his rival using a series of kicks, punches, and special moves - such as an ice shower or fireball.

Streets of Rage 3

Streets of Rage 3 was developed for Sega Genesis in 1994. This side-scrolling beat 'em up video game was established as the third and, as at today, the last of the Streets of Rage series.

The plot revolves around the protagonists trying to defeat the crime lord Mr X and his devious plan to rule the city using an army of robots.

Streets of Rage 3 has additional features that distinguish it from the other two releases in the series. These features include faster gameplay, enhanced difficulty, increased length of each level, and a more complex plot with multiple possible endings. Various traps incorporated in every stage of the original Streets of Rage were reinstated in this third edition.

Team attacks also make a welcome return, allowing players to perform powerful attacks with the aid of their allies.

Street Fighter II: Champion Edition

Street Fighter II Champion Edition was released in 1992 by Capcom as the first updated version of the Street Fighter II sequel. The game has Grand Masters incorporated as playable characters - in the original Street Fighter, these Grand Masters were computer-controlled only. In Street Fighter II, however, the Grand Masters can be controlled by the players in the multiplayer mode.

The game retains the iconic style of its predecessor, while further refining the gameplay and character move sets to give a more balanced experience. Players can choose from twelve characters to compete against the computer or their friends in multiplayer.

The improved controls, graphics, soundtrack, and more competitive play in the Champion Edition have contributed to the game being rated as one of the best fighting games ever made.

Virtua Fighter 2

Virtua Fighter 2 was created and released by Sega in 1994. The game has no defined plot, sequence, or ending. However, it is based on the imagery of a fighting tournament where global fighters gather to compete for glory and fame. The competition is planned and organized by a syndicate that intends to use the fighters to gather information which will enhance their fighting cyborg.

The gameplay consists of a 1-on-1 fight in a 2D arena. Players can defeat their opponents by depleting their health bar through regular attacks, or can instead knock them off the fighting platform to win.

Virtua Fighter 2 was a landmark title, featuring amazing graphics, a deep move set for every character and gameplay that required a great deal of skill.

  • Updated September 3, 2020