What are the Best Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console Games?: Game Gear

A comprehensive breakdown of classic games on 3DS, both good, great, and awful. Now complete for all systems: Game Boy, Game Boy Color, NES, Game Gear, Super NES, and 3D Classics! [Updated: May 13]

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Game Gear

The Game Gear married the best parts of the Atari Lynx (a powerful processor, a backlit color screen) with the best parts of the Game Boy (higher screen resolution, a better price, familiar game franchises). It was, in its day, the premium portable gaming experience. Though not every Game Gear release holds up today, its brief tenure on 3DS before SEGA gave up due to low sales saw quite a few greats make their way to Virtual Console, all presented with loving affection by retro gods M2.

Page 1: Intro & NES
Page 2: Game Boy
Page 3: Game Boy Color
Page 4: Game Gear
Page 5: 3D Classics
Page 6: Super NES

The Essentials

SEGA, 1990
SEGA brought Tetris to Japan in the arcades before it became a home console phenomenon, so it makes sense that they'd have created the first great Tetris clone. Columns' match-three gameplay makes this basically the mother of all iOS games.

Shining Force: The Sword of Hajya
Camelot/SEGA, 1990
A legitimate version of Shining Force, this ambitious strategy RPG may not offer the same depth and visual quality as its console siblings, but it's still worth your time.

SEGA, 1991
This great-looking adaptation of the popular arcade and Genesis series put everything on Game Boy to shame in terms of visuals... and it played pretty well, too.

Sonic the Hedgehog
Ancient/SEGA, 1991
While ostensibly a port of the Genesis game, Sonic on Game Gear actually adapted the Master System version, which was its own distinct — and excellent — thing. Definitely worth playing, even now.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Aspect/SEGA, 1992
Another total overhaul of a much larger game and all the better for its willingness to pursue originality, Sonic 2 is really every bit as good as you could ever hope for a portable 8-bit take on the blast processed megahits to be.

Tails Adventure
Aspect/SEGA, 1995
A huge departure for the Sonic series, this Game Gear exclusive ditches the speed in favor of exploration. This is the closest Sonic game ever came to feeling like a Nintendo franchise, and while it's different, it works quite well. Recommended.

Worth Playing

Crystal Warriors
SEGA, 1991
SEGA's Game Gear had two great strategy games; this is the lesser-known of the two, since it doesn't have the name "Shining Force" attached. Don't think poorly of it for its lack of franchising, though; there's a solid game here.

Defenders of Oasis
SEGA, 1992
Even though the title and Arabian Nights theme of this RPG would suggest it's related to Legend of Oasis, it's not! But that doesn't mean you should scorn it; it's a great little portable adventure.

Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine
Compile/SEGA, 1993
Hey, so this is Puyo Pop, except with a Sonic the Hedgehog theme. Totally worth playing, provided you enjoy both of those series. (Ironically, Nintendo's own reskinning of the game, Kirby's Avalanche, isn't available on 3DS Virtual Console.)

Dragon Crystal
SEGA, 1990
Dragon Crystal has the distinction of being the first-ever portable roguelike game. As such, it's pretty simplistic, but it's a decent enough adaptation of the genre and a good introductory piece for anyone interested in learning more.

Sonic Drift 2
SEGA, 1995
While it doesn't look as good as Super Mario Kart, this Sonic-themed racer plays well and remains loads of fun despite its age and fundamentally low-spec tech.

Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble
Aspect/SEGA, 1994
An entirely original Game Gear creation as opposed to a radically overhauled Genesis conversion Triple Trouble doesn't have the same oomph as Sonic and Sonic 2 for Game Gear. It's decent, but it's missable.

Vampire: Master of Darkness
Sims/SEGA, 1993 A giant, shameless ripoff of Castlevania, and it doesn't even bother to pretend otherwise. While compromised next to its Master System counterpart, and somewhat moot on a system featuring three true 8-bit Castlevania games, Vampire plays well enough that it's still a worthwhile purchase.

Save Your Cash

G-LOC: Air Battle
SEGA, 1991
Basically a portable flight sim, a la Top Gun for NES. Kind of neat in its own way, but ultimately it hasn't aged well and lacks even the graphical punch of Lynx's equivalent, Blue Lightning.

Sonic Blast
Aspect/SEGA, 1996
Despite sharing a name with Sonic 3D Blast, about all this game carries over from that console title is Sonic's 3D-rendered look. It's a clumsy, awkward, and not particularly fun traditional Sonic 2D platformer with protracted first-person bonus stages.

Sonic Labyrinth
Minato Giken/SEGA, 1995
One of several isometric Sonic games released through the years, this early attempt to bring the franchise into the third dimension feels pokey, clumsy, and decidedly un-Sonic-like.

Page 1: Intro & NES
Page 2: Game Boy
Page 3: Game Boy Color
Page 4: Game Gear
Page 5: 3D Classics
Page 6: Super NES

Jump to:Page 1Page 2Page 3Page 4Page 5Page 6

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