I finally got mine (in a trade...your carts are on the way aaron!), with six games plus two I already had. I owned one briefly in the late 80's but sold it after buying only one game (alien Syndrome) for it.
My opinion is on the fence. Certainly the COLOURS leave all other 8 bits behind. But the sound is unremarkable, the music forgettable. The NES had so much better controls (I'm using a GENESIS pad with mine!). Often the games seemed TOO ambitious like Outrun and Afterburner. The 16 bit versions are great, but on the SMS? Not so much. The main problem is FLICKERING-MUCH worse than the NES. Whole portions of the screen can vanish!
The biggest disapointment is FANTASY ZONE. I looked forward to this game so much! it's AWFUL! The graphics look like a pastel carnival, and ships/coins get lost in the overindulged scenery.
I cant even recall the music! And EVERYthing is deadly!
Don't think I don't LOVE the SMS though. ALEX KIDD, all alone- well its like the Odyssey2 was worth it for KC MUNCHKIN? the SMS makes it just on this Super Mario upstart! Its actually more like SMB3 than SMB1, in fact! Of course, the characters are quite forgettable, but the PLAY is cool! Speaking of COOL, the SMS and GENESIS one are the COOLEST LOOKING CONSOLES EVER!
Ok, lets hear what others think, yay, nay, anchors aweigh!
If you want to see what it can do just pick up any of those Brazilian Genesis remakes for the SMS like Ghouls n' Ghosts, Golden Axe, etc.
Oddly enough, an obvious clone of Zelda II also exists under the Golden Axe name -- "Ax Battler: A Legend of Golden Axe". Though that one is on the GameGear, not SMS. And it's not all that great either, IMO.
I think my favorite game was a vertical shoot-em-up called Astro Warrior. Another favorite was Phantasy Star. I felt most of its arcade conversions were pretty good... R-type, Choplifter, Rampage and Shinobi.
Alien, you're right about some games being a bit too ambitious. Space Harrier is so laughably bad, I can't help but like it. It's got a charm about it that makes me think it was programmed by someone who's only prior experience was with handheld electronic games.
Too bad some of the really good games came when it was already too late
i would argue the real reason for the SMS' weak library was not SEGA being over ambitious but rather naive and inexperienced.
whilst Nintendo, Atari etc had been/were usually very successful in porting their arcade games to home consoles, SEGA weren't.
the reason for this is simply the huge gulf between the SMS and SEGA's arcade hardware at the time. popular SEGA games like Space Harrier, Afterburner, Outrun, Hang-On, Super Monaco GP etc etc were always going to have to be butchered and shoe-horned to work on the SMS but SEGA did it anyway.
some of them play okay (Afterburner and Super Monaco for my money are still great though the latter barely resembles the arcade game) but most of these games just ended up pure terrible and never got a decent home port till the Saturn or later.
that being said for platform and shooter action its great Terminator and Alien3 are outstading for an 8bit system, the Asterix games are great, Phantasy Zone (as horrificaly colourfull as it is plays brilliantly) and many MegaDrive games (the golden axe and streets of rage trilogys for example) are ported very well on the system.
Well i live in england and i would say the master system was the best 8 bit console, you probibly would not agree since there are alot of great games that never made it over there micro machines, sonic2, sonic chaos, and mk one and two best of all there was an entire new ninja gaiden game, simply put i dont think the us libary of games is very good since those are pretty much all i play on my master system now
I changed my mind, SEGA MASTER SYSTEM is classier and a better system than the NES.
But the NES won because, of course, it got all the best games!
Still...today I made it to level four on ALEX KIDD. This is a much more diverse and fun MARIO, and actually is educational in the sense it makes kids WORK for MONEY to buy items they want!
And you can FLY and HOVER! This was LONG before Super Mario 3!
There are a lot of stinkers sure, but the best make you wish the SMS had been there first!
I want an ALEX KIDD MEGA COLLECTION for PS2!
Sure the SMS can push more colors, but I think that most games have a very dull, sometimes grayed-out look. The backgrounds are very simple and generic. In contrast, the NES, in the best looking games, it might have less colors, but the colors are used better, also, more detail was squeezed into the backgrounds, and the animation was often more detailed. I guess devs didn't have enough time to get used to the graphics chip...
The sound is awful. Being a big fan of 8-bit sound, I was very disappointed. The music was never very well composed, it feels thrown together in most games.
And the UK only games that micky mentioned are all Game Gear ports. Is this how it works? If a good game is to appear on the Master System, it needs to borrow from another system?
Anyway, go ahead and flame me. I guess not every system is for everybody.