The Sega Genesis started a whole new era of video games and started the console wars that are still going on today. With this console, Sega was one of the few video game companies that could compete with Nintendo. Because of how well the Genesis did, games like Sonic the Hedgehog were able to grow into multimillion-dollar franchises.
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It’s interesting to see which games took advantage of Sega’s popularity. Aside from big hits like Sonic, the Genesis had a lot of games that were already popular in arcades or on other consoles. When you look back at these titles after about 30 years, you can get a good idea of how far they were able to rise. As a result, here are the best-selling Sega Genesis games.
Altered Beast – ~1.4+ Million Copies Sold
Altered Beast was one of the first games that let people play a classic beat-em-up game with side-scrolling action at home. In the game, players can get stronger and change into animals so they can fight mythical beasts. The Genesis version of the game wasn’t a perfect copy of the arcade version, but it was close enough that it got a lot of fans’ attention. The name “Altered Beast” was also used for a game in 2005, but it never really lived up to its success in the past.
Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition – ~1.66 Million Copies Sold
Street Fighter II was already very popular, but the Special Champion Edition made it even more so. Champion Edition was the first of many changes to the original game. It let players use boss characters in their fights. Mainstays of the series like M. Bison and Vega were playable for the first time in this game. The original fighters also got new mechanics and new moves. Champion Edition was a turning point for Street Fighter, which was probably helped by the fact that it was ported to the Genesis. It’s one of the best fighting games ever made, not just one of the best Sega Genesis games.
Mortal Kombat II – ~1.78+ Million Copies Sold
Mortal Kombat II was one of the best-selling fighting games ever. Like Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition, this game introduced a lot of characters who would become mainstays in the series. There were also brand-new ways to die, which made the game bloodier than ever and, like its predecessor, caused a lot of controversy. Even so, Mortal Kombat II is still one of the most well-known classic fighting games. The success of the game on the Genesis shows this.
NBA Jam – ~1.93+ Million Copies Sold
NBA Jam was one of the first sports games, so it might be surprising to see it on this list. At first, it came out on both the Genesis and the SNES, and both versions were pretty similar. But the Genesis version became very popular, and Retro Sanctuary put the later Tournament Edition in their list of the top 100 Genesis games of all time. Since 2011, there have been no new games in the NBA Jam series, but there were a lot of them and they got better over time.
Streets of Rage – ~2.6 Million Copies Sold
Streets of Rage, another side-scrolling beat-em-up series, was the best-selling game of its kind on the Genesis. Compared to games like Altered Beast, this one gave players the ability to move around in a 3D-like environment and even let them play together. Streets of Rage went on to become a big series, and it just got a new mainline game to bring it back to life. If Sega had worked harder to make a new game after it stopped making games for the Genesis, Streets of Rage might have become as popular as Street Fighter.
Mortal Kombat – ~3.25 Million Copies Sold
The Sega Genesis was where most people played the first Mortal Kombat. This was partly because the SNES version was changed so that more violent deaths and blood effects were taken out. Some people didn’t like these effects, but for fans of the original arcade version, that just made the game more interesting. If the Mortal Kombat for the Genesis didn’t do well, the violence that has always been a part of the series might have been toned down even more in later games.
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles – ~4 Million Copies Sold
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and its add-on, Sonic & Knuckles, brought in millions of new fans to the Sonic series. It was the first time fans met Knuckles the Hedgehog, a character who would appear in almost every other Sonic game after that. Sonic 3 (& Knuckles) was one of the best classic Sonic games, and maybe one of the best Sega Genesis games ever. It had new levels, more interesting game mechanics, and tighter controls.
Disney’s Aladdin – ~4+ Million Copies Sold
One of the most surprising additions to this list is Disney’s Aladdin, which had a level of success that had never been seen before. It was one of the first licenced games that fans liked because it had great animation and good platforming gameplay. It even had different versions of the music from the original movie! Even though it hasn’t been around as long as some of the other games on this list, Disney’s Aladdin is still one of the most popular Genesis games.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – ~7.55+ Million Copies Sold
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 may have had an even bigger impact on the series than Sonic 3. It was the first game to include Tails, which opened up a lot of ways to play with other people. It was also the first Sonic game to have the Super Sonic power-up and the famous Death Egg Robot fight, which are still used in Sonic games today. On the Genesis, there was only one game that could be more popular than Sonic 2, and that game should be clear by now.
Mortal Kombat 3
In October 1995, the third game in the popular Mortal Kombat series came out for the Genesis. The next year, an improved version called “Ultimate” came out. It did much better at home than in arcades, where many gamers thought the polygon graphics that were popular at the time made MK3 look old. However, 1.02 million Sega owners bought it because it looked and played better than many of the other 2D games the console was known for at the time.