The Best sega Genesis RPGs

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Today, we're going to have a look at some of the best RPGs for the Sega Genesis. If you are a fan of old school role-playing games, you're sure to find this topic interesting, and we'll definitely unearth some good memories.

There's nothing quite like a classic RPG, and many of us have fond memories of spending hours in front of the tv playing Genesis and working our way through 100+ hours of dungeons and monsters. 

 The games listed below are some of the best you simply can't do without if you got the true bones of a gamer. Without saying much more, let's dive right into it and show off our favorite Sega Genesis RPGs.

Light Crusader

Light crusader was created by the legendary developer Treasure, known for such classics as Gunstar Heroes. Treasure games were famous for their hectic, fast-paced gameplay but Light Crusader breaks away from almost every convention usually associated with the developer. The game instead features more traditional, slower RPG elements in one of the earliest dungeon crawlers.

David, the main character, is having a lovely vacation in the tranquil kingdom of Green Row when several citizens mysteriously vanish. Tasked by the king with investigating the issue, David explores and soon comes across a huge dungeon.

Most of the game involves the player hacking his way through enemies and solving basic puzzles, though the isometric viewpoint can make this tricky at times. The excellent magic system uses the standard four elements (fire, air, earth, and water) but allows the player to mix them into more powerful, extravagant spells.


In this game, you play as Nigel, who is a treasure hunter. Early in his adventures, Nigel meets a fairy named Friday who informs him of a unique treasure which is hidden on a far off island. So naturally, you both set off in search of those riches. The dialogue is surprisingly witty and adds an unusual amount of character development to the story.

The game features an isometric (or 45 degree) viewpoint which can be difficult to get used to, especially during the limited platforming sections. However, the combat and exploration are fun, and the bright, cartoonish colors of the environments provide a pleasant backdrop. Also, the character sprites are large, clear, and detailed enough to make the gaming process easy and enjoyable.

Shining in the Darkness

Shining in the Darkness may feature a fairly unremarkable and traditional RPG storyline, but its unusual perspective sets it apart from other examples of the genre.

In this game, your only sister has been abducted, and your father has also disappeared. An evil sorcerer approaches to inform you that he is the kidnapper and dares you to find your family in his labyrinth. Of course, you accept the challenge and immediately begin gearing up for the struggle ahead.

The game uses a simple point-and-click interface to control your character as you defeat enemies and level up. So far, so typical. But the first-person viewpoint of Shining in the Darkness is far from typical. The whole game is played from this perspective, and the colorful, detailed graphics make for an impressive experience.

Shining Force II

Shining Force II is regularly featured in the lists of the best Genesis RPGs, and for good reason.

You play a young man by the name of Bowie. Arriving at school one day, he learns that his teacher has been called to the castle. Bowie then follows right to the castle, only to find that the kingdom has been put under siege by an evil force which came into the world through a sacred gateway. The teacher asks Bowie and his friends to combat the threat, and so begins the adventure.

The game features many traditional RPG elements, such as leveling up, recruiting new allies, and upgrading equipment, but has an unusual level of depth to its gameplay. Combat takes place using a grid-based system in which players must carefully place their units, and requires a great deal of strategic thinking. Even leveling up your characters has more complexity than a lot of modern RPGs, and is a big reason for the game's exceptional replay value.

Sword of Vermillion

This enjoyable game takes place in a fantasy setting known as Vermillion. Evil, by the name of Tsarkon alongside an army known as Cartagena, attacks the town called Excalabria, killing almost everyone that comes their way. King Erik V fears for his infant son, so gives him to a soldier by the name Blade to raise as his own.

In the game, you assume the role of the young son of the king. Now it's your turn to save the world from the evil wizard and his accomplices.

The game features many distinct viewpoints - the standard top-down RPG view while you explore villages, and a first-person perspective when exploring the overworld and dungeons. During regular combat, the player can move freely around the fight area and attack and dodge as they wish. However, during boss fights the view changes yet again to something akin to a side-scrolling platform game.

Excellent graphics and sound, a highly interactive world, and the novelty of the viewpoints make this one of our favorites.


Shadowrun is more of a storytelling game, belonging to the sci/fi or fantasy genre. The game is set in a dystopian future Seattle controlled by mega-corporations who ruthlessly exploit the masses. You play Joshua, a newcomer to the town who is seeking vengeance for the murder of his brother.

To get answers, you need to complete missions in the real world, as well as in the virtual world of the Matrix. The real world features a relatively simple battle system, but the combat of the Matrix is far deeper and enjoyable with a wide variety of programs on offer to combat the virtual enemies.

Shadowrun's graphics and sound design are excellent, and really evoke the desolate reality of the game's world.

Beyond Oasis

In Beyond Oasis, you play as the young prince Ali who must defeat the evil which is threatening to destroy his homeland. This pretty standard RPG plot is brought to life by vibrant, colorful graphics and enjoyably fluid character animations.

Combat is relatively simple at first, with light button taps producing quick but weak attacks. Holding the button down for a second results in a slower but more powerful attack instead. However, once you discover spirit summoning, the combat takes on a lot more variety. These spirits assume the form of the traditional four elements - fire, air, earth, and water - and allow for some fun combat mechanics, as well as helping with simple puzzles.

Phantasy Star II

This was the first sequel to the now long-running Phantasy Star series and improved on its predecessor in a number of ways.

In this science-fiction game, humans live in three colonies stretching across three different planets, with order being maintained by the supercomputer Mother Brain. The story follows Rolf and his friend Nei who leave their hometown in an attempt to discover why Mother Brain is letting populations of threatening monsters grow unchecked.

The gameplay features most standard RPG elements, as you explore the world, fight enemies and level up in the traditional way. But it’s the engaging storyline and surprisingly well-rounded characters of this turn-based RPG that really set Phantasy Star II apart from its contemporaries.

  • Updated September 2, 2020