Top 5 SEGA Series That We’d Like to See Return
Ever since the early demise of the Dreamcast, SEGA just hasn’t been that overly-cocky, beloved, big name in gaming that they used to be. The company has had a record of failing to really impress audiences or put out games that seem to rival that of mainstream titles. SEGA’s only series that has a loyal following and gets major buzz today is, of course, Sonic the Hedgehog. And while our little blue blur is great (most of the time); he wasn’t always SEGA’s only big series.
To celebrate the announcement of Sonic Boom – the reboot of the Sonic universe complete with a steroid-addicted Knuckles – we take a look at some other big SEGA franchises that could do with being refreshed.
#5 – Streets of Rage
Starting our list off is the iconic beat-em-up series Streets of Rage; the series that got its humble beginning and end on the Sega Genesis (and by humble we mean bad-ass, punk butt whooping). Players fought the corrupt crime syndicates that ran a cyberpunk city ruled by Mr. X, as a few tough ex-cops just trying to make things right (with their fists). The best way to play was alongside a buddy, all set to the highly-acclaimed, dramatic 16-bit dance music composed by Yuzo Koshiro.
As the short-lived series went on, the sequels got a bit stranger, but tight controls and exciting teamwork elements meant each were a blast to play. While a few reboots and revivals have been attempted, each effort has failed, leaving fans wondering if they’ll ever return to clean up the mean streets of . But with downloadable games on the rise, this is as good a time as any to kick some crime butt back on the Streets of Rage.
#4 – Shenmue
Continuing the countdown is the legendary open world adventure series Shenmue. The first title in the series had a ridiculously large production budget of $70 million (holding the world record for most expensive game production of its time). But the expenses paid off, as Shenmue quickly became one of the staple series to the Dreamcast, even one of the best series of it’s time, getting high ratings around the board. The games were called “interactive cinema”, for their movie quality cutscenes, while flawlessly blending mystery, action, romance, and fighting, in the adventures of 18 year old Ryo Hazuki.
While the series was critically acclaimed, the second installment didn’t sell nearly as well as the first, and as a result Shenmue was discontinued, leaving its 16 chapter epic tale unfinished. So would now be a good time for Sega to bring Shenmue back? Maybe with a little HD polish and a lot of hype, the story of Shenmue could be finished yet.
#3 – ToeJam and Earl
Coming in at number 3 on our list is the odd, yet fondly remembered, ToeJam and Earl. The series featured an alien-rapper duo, who have crashed landed on Earth and are trying to gather the pieces of their spaceship to return home. The renowned series has taken many forms, and whether it be a dungeon crawler, a shooter, or a platformer, the action-adventure aspect has always stayed high. Add in some kickin funky jams to go along with the good times, and you’ve got yourself one fantastic game series.
Sadly the ToeJam and Earl series shrunk in popularity (and quality) as time went on, ultimately leading to its demise after their last adventure on the Xbox. Were Sega to bring Earl and ToeJam back for more funk and fun times, a style of a gameplay that switches from a traditional top-down dungeon style to a 3D platformer could prove itself to be worthwhile leap into modern gaming. Sega’s just got to remember to keep it funky.
#2 – Jet Set Radio
As we’re nearing the end of our list, let’s not forget the Dreamcast’s bright colored blast through the city; Jet Set Radio. The cult classic series, known as Jet Grind Radio in the North American releases, was all about tagging your awesome graffiti and completing missions around Tokyo-to, as a roller-blading gang member, fighting for control of the city. Players personalized their own tags, fought with rival gangs, and even avoided law enforcement, for hours of shredding fun.
The series was developed by Smilebit, and is widely known for starting and popularizing the usage of cel-shaded graphics in videogames. The Jet Set series stayed strong even as it lept onto Gameboy (a feat that few series can accomplish), getting a sequel titled Jet Set Radio Future on the Xbox, and a remake of the original on the GBA. While the original Jet Set continues being ported for handhelds and consoles alike, what Sega needs to do is bring Smilebit back to revive Tokyo-to and all the gnarly blading in HD for more original Jet Set Radio games.
#1 – Panzer Dragoon
Finally, the series that we’d love to see Sega bring back the most is none other than the high-flying, post-apocalyptic, fantasy rail shooter: Panzer Dragoon. The series was created by Sega’s Team Andromeda, and continued by Smilebit, which was founded by former Team Andromeda members. Players took on the role of either a hero or heroine, riding an armored dragon and wielding laser weapons, as they fly through an immersive post-apocalyptic world, fighting an evil empire. Like so many other Sega series, the Panzer Dragoon series was relatively short-lived, getting it’s start on the Sega Saturn (the even shorter-lived 32 bit console), and ending on the Xbox, with Panzer Dragoon Orta. Excluding Panzer Dragoon Saga, the vast role-playing game in the series, the Dragoon games were primarily on-rail shooters. Nearly every title in the series was critically acclaimed, and so were their soundtracks.
So why would Sega not bring this gaming gem back for more dragon riding and laser shooting? With the fantasy genre only getting more popular in media and gaming today, bringing the Panzer Dragoon series back could be a very smart move. HD and online ability are only a few of the things that Sega could bring to the epic series that would only make it more exciting.
Sega’s popularity in the gaming community has been shrinking, but bringing some of their old series back to thrive alongside the blue hedgehog could definitely be a stellar move for Sega to make. Doing so would bring back old fans to rekindle nostalgia, and reintroduce Sega to a younger audience, as a big name in gaming once again.