Back in the 16-bit era, Sega was well known as Nintendo’s main competitor in the console wars, and had enough great games to warrant a list of the 10 Best Sega Franchises. But we have come a long way since the days of hearing that scratchy SEGAAAAH! splash screen on the Genesis. Now, Sega is more well known as a game developer rather than a console manufacturer, lending their talents to all the popular consoles on the market. These are the 10 Best Sega Franchises that the company has to boast about, both from the days of retro pixels to current day console greatness.
Super Monkey Ball is known for just about everything but its main game mode. Every Super Monkey Ball release has tons of side games from first person shooters, to motion based mini-games, to rhythm games, flight sims, and even stealth games. The simple “roll the ball into the hole” single player mode just doesn’t compare. Being a game franchise more well known for its extras is reason enough to get on our list of 10 Best Sega Franchises.
Virtua Fighter was one of the first fighting games to go full 3D with polygonal graphics. The result? Well, the first Virtua Fighter was an incredibly slow and clunky mess of a game with a million balance issues, but today, Virtua Fighter 5 is considered one of the most well balanced and fun 3D fighters on the market, and it only has 3 buttons!
Bayonetta isn’t a classic but she sure is classy. This latex clad librarian chick was the star of one of the best action games of last generation. Now her sequel on the Wii U is one of the few killer apps that console has to offer. Who would have thought, a Sega property as a Nintendo console exclusive? How far we have come.
Have you seen any sailors? I’m looking for some sailors around here? Do you know where I can find sailors? I’m looking for the man who killed my father… If you’ve played Shenmue before, you will recognize statements like this. Shenmue was one half cinematic experience, one half mini-game bonanza, all wrapped up in a plot that took itself super seriously. The series ended before it’s time and many Shenmue fans are still hoping to see a Kickstarted continuation of the franchise.
You know that Xbox One exclusive, Crimson Dragon? People are going nuts about it because it’s the spiritual sequel to Panzer Dragoon, one of the most awesome flight sims to ever be released. Why is it so awesome? One word. Dragons! Sure the game had interesting RPG like mechanics, fluid controls, and awesome graphics for its time, but come on! You were riding on the back of a Dragon. The Panzer series deserves to be on our list of the 10 Best Sega Franchises.
While much of the extreme sports crowd was playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, a few truly extreme individuals were playing Jet Set Radio. Here, your skating had a purpose. You weren’t just shredding cause it was cool. You were sticking it to the man. You were making your mark with graffiti and showing that your creative soul can’t be held down by the corporate machine. You were marking your territory to claim the streets of Tokyo for your gang and your gang only. The game came out in the early 2000s and perfectly encapsulates that late '90s-early '00s extreme spirit.
Valkyria Chronicles is a recent Sega franchise which combines third person shooting with turn based wargaming. Each unit had a limited movement radius, and if they managed to run into an enemy’s line of site, that enemy would get to attack them. It’s like old school DnD miniatures with impressive anime graphics, a touching story very loosely based on actual history, and phenomenal voice acting.
While people may not be playing Phantasy Star now, during the Dreamcast era it was all the rage. Phantasy Star Online was one of the first ever online RPGs on consoles. People were still using dial-up modems to play PSO, that’s how old it was when it first caught on. Without Phantasy Star Online we may not have the comprehensive online suites that we so often take for granted today.
Do you enjoy Fire Emblem? If so, then you’ll love Shining Force. When the FE series wasn’t being brought to America in the days of the early NES and SNES, Shining Force was a powerful American release for the Genesis. This was where all the turn-based strategy junkies got their fix of swords, sorcery, and giant chickens. Current day Shining Force games tend to be action ones, which are somewhat mediocre, but the classic strategy games are so loved they easily take slot #2 on our list.
And finally, we end this list with the Blue Blur himself, Sonic the Hedgehog. It’s probably useless to describe why Sonic deserves to be on this list. He put up a fight against Mario back in the 16-bit days. He continues to make game after game even though he encounters horrid flops like Sonic Unleashed’s were-hog. He shows up in crossover games, TV shows, and internet memes. He’s the fastest thing alive and he’ll always be #1 on our list of the 10 Best Sega Franchises.