The Best Game Gear Games

The Game Gear is an 8-bit handheld game console released by Sega on October 6, 1990.

The playing area is a little
cramped due to the Gear’s tiny
screen, but this remains an excellent
port of the hit arcade game and
has you playing a cute dinosaur
that must trap enemies by blowing
bubbles at them. Like the Master
System it suffers from a little flicker,
but it features all the same levels
and retains the excellent two-player
mode. Unfortunately, it only appeared
in the US, meaning complete copies
of the game are slowly rising in price.

The Game Gear is starved of decent one-on-one fighters, so even a cut-down version of Mortal Kombat II is certainly worth investigating. Probe Entertainment handled the port and it’s very impressive considering the technical limitations of the screen. Eight characters are included, although the likes of Raiden, Jonny Cage and Kung Lao are notable in their absence. Several stages are omitted, too, but it doesn’t affect gameplay, which is tight and responsive. Fatalities made the cut and the five-button system of the arcade is compromised (Start is used for blocking) but this remains an enjoyable (if rather barebones) fighter.

Astonishing is the best way to
sum up M2’s port. Yes it’s received
a massive visual downgrade and
the infamous board game stage is
absent, but this is still an incredible
effort that retains all the brilliance
of Treasure’s Mega Drive debut.
The outstanding boss Seven
Force has been changed quite
substantially and there isn’t a twoplayer
mode, but this remains an
essential run-and-gun for the Game
Gear and an exceptional showcase
for the system.

You’d expect a handheld port of one of the Mega Drive’s most critically acclaimed games to be rather rubbish on the Game Gear. You’d be dead wrong. While there are obviously compromises in squeezing the epic game onto the handheld, this is still impressive stuff. Sprites are small, but perfectly formed and well animated, while the Game Gear’s chip makes a good attempt to copy Yuzo Koshiro’s excellent dance-fuelled soundtrack. The moves suffer a little due to the lack of three buttons, but the action remains fun and frantic. Interestingly, it features different levels and colour schemes to the Master System version and even manages two-player support, too.

Lemmings was ported to seemingly hundreds of systems on its release and the Game Gear was no exception. While it obviously suffers in the control department (the Amiga original used a mouse) there’s very little to complain about otherwise. The levels translate across to the tiny screen very nicely, while the cute little Lemmings are extremely well animated and full of character. It can be awkward selecting different Lemmings at first, but you soon get the hang of it.

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