The Best PC Engine CD Games

Known as the TurboGrafx-CD outside of Japan, the PC Engine-CD was an upgraded add-on for the TurboGrafx released in 1989 that allowed for games on a disc format. Only a couple years later the Super CD-ROM2 was released, offering some nice hardware upgrades to an already outstanding console. During this era of gaming, releasing CD add-ons for consoles seemed to be a risky, but common move for game development companies. While the Famicom Disk System saw success in Japan, it never made it to the US, with the SNES disk add-on never releasing and the N64DD flopping hard. Despite these struggles from the gaming giant Nintendo, the TurboGrafx-CD actually saw some success, with a plethora of amazing games being released for the console. 

Dracula X: Rondo of Blood

Despite being one of the best entries into the Castlevania series, many people have probably never experienced Dracula X: Rondo of Blood. This title is the predecessor to Symphony of the Night, featuring many of the gameplay elements that made Symphony of the Night such an iconic game along with classic Castlevania mainstays before the series drifted into RPG territory.

Players assume the role of Richter Belmont as he travels to Castle Dracula to save his kidnapped love from Dracula’s minions. Classic gameplay mixed with great music and visuals makes this title easily one of the best on the PC Engine CD.

Snatcher

From acclaimed developer Hideo Kojima comes a cyberpunk mystery that will engross players in its insane world and fantastic storytelling. In somewhat typical fashion, Konami did not allow Kojima to finish the game on its original release for the MSX2 and the PC-8801, leading to the director’s cut for the PC Engine CD. Metal Gear Solid V would later get the same Konami treatment.

This version of Snatcher features three acts, concluding this amazing story that takes a lot of inspiration from Blade Runner. There are humanoid robots on the loose, killing humans and wearing their skin, and it is up to Gillian Seed to track them down and terminate them once and for all. Metal Gear fans will also notice some similarities, with Kojima saying that this title influenced his later works. This title is probably one of the best story-driven games ever made, and a must-play for PC Engine CD owners.

Ys Book I & II

An awesome remake of the original two Ys games, Ys Book I & II was the world outside Japan’s first introduction to this remarkable series of RPGs. The player assumes the role of Adol Christin, a swordsman on a quest for lost knowledge so he can vanquish the forces of evil that are sweeping over Esteria.

Unlike many RPGs of the time, this game takes place in real-time, allowing the player to clear dungeons quickly and take out enemies easily. Ys Book I & II also features voice acting, animated cutscenes, and a full-length soundtrack, making full use of the CD’s increased space. Ys Book I & II is definitely one of the best RPG collections ever released, making great use of the PC Engine CD’s processing power.

Prince of Persia

The game that started it all, Prince of Persia is a terrific, cinematic platformer featuring some of the best platforming and animations of the era. The PC Engine CD kicks things up a notch, remaking the graphics while still retaining the amazing animations that set this game apart from others at the time. Featuring 12 levels, the player must navigate around traps and guards within 60 minutes in order to save the princess from the evil Jaffar.

Prince of Persia features branching paths, allowing the player to regain health and fight new enemies throughout each dungeon. The player must also overcome a mirror version of themselves to complete their quest and save the princess. Prince of Persia is an iconic title from a bygone era, making it highly recommended for retro gamers.

Fatal Fury Special

The most faithful port of this arcade classic, Fatal Fury Special for the PC Engine CD offers amazing, high-skill arcade action with fun and wacky characters. Fatal Fury Special is an upgraded version of Fatal Fury II, featuring the same changes that Fatal Fury 2 added to the franchise, along with some new additions. Players can now chain attacks together with the Special, also giving the player some invincibility.

There are a total of fifteen playable characters in this title across all different modes. Players can also face off against a friend for some awesome arcade fighting action. Fatal Fury Special is one of the best 16-bit fighting games ever released, giving players plenty of content and beat-em-up fun for hours on end.

Might and Magic III

One of the best American RPGs of the era, Might and Magic III is a superb first-person dungeon crawler with plenty of wacky enemies and exciting areas to explore. While still retaining the turn-based combat of previous entries, this title features synthesized voices, updated visuals, and bigger environments to explore.

The player controls a party of six characters as they attempt to earn the title of Ultimate Adventurers and defeat the forces of evil. This title received glowing reviews for its improvements upon the earlier entries, with the PC Engine CD’s port being one of the best.

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  • October 7, 2020
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