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Down and Dirty Reviews: Sega Master -- A - E
WARNING!, WARNING!, HORRIBLE GAME ALERT!  The Master system failed for a reason, that's for sure. You'll see a lot of bad scores in sound because of the overall poor audio of the system in general plus you'll play some pretty standard, if not, bland games with not a lot of originality. But then there is Phantasy Star down there and don't forget about the other action and RPG's like Alex Kidd, Wonderboy, Y's or Miracle Warriors. All reviews are by StarSoldier unless noted.

*Card and 3D Super Scope games will only work on the Sega Master System base console.

The overall score is out of 100.

The graphics, sounds, and game play are out of 10.

Score / Name
38 ACTION FIGHTER (Sega, 1986)
Going by the name only, Action Fighter sounds like a really cool game, doesn't it? This overhead racing game here is just a really poor Spy Hunter clone for the Sega Master System and that means only one hit will kill you and it's highly frustrating just carefully just playing the game trying not to touch anything. If you are good enough you can turn your motorcycle into a car and after that you can even make it fly (which looks stupid by the way) so the game becomes a slightly better forced scrolling shoot em up. Although the shooting stages are not too bad, there is very little innovation here but at least the game lives up to it's name because it definitely fought off any action or fun I would have here.
For 1 player only
graphics: 2
sound: 2
gameplay: 1
Find this game on eBay here!

67 AERIAL ASSAULT (Sega, 1990)
Aerial Assault may look like your typical shooter and that's pretty much what it is but to be fair the game is still not too bad. In the game you are highly experience fighter pilot on a mission to destroy the terrorist orignazation called N.A.C. I don't care either but it's sure a good excuse to blast stuff in the air. Fortunately, the game is loaded with a bunch of cool weapons (like the three point spread gun and explosive shots) to the lame (like 8 way and the slow 5 point spread gun) weapons so you have a lot to pick from here. The only real problem with the game is that the levels can really drag on and like a Arnold Schwarenegger movie there is really nothing here in Aerial Assault to help make it unique.
*Rare SMS game
For 1 player only
graphics: 7
sound: 6
gameplay: 7
Find this game on eBay here!

The Total Recall Dud of the Month!
31 AFTERBURNER (Sega, 1988)

What could have been an incredible action title about controlling a deadly fighter jet turned into a truly weak 4 meg 3D shooter that really looks weak compared to the awesome Arcade original. This game only comes with only three lives yet you must survive all 22 huge levels that really don't defer much from one another but are still quite difficult. After Burner is really poorly done despite the then huge mega chip inside it.
For 1 player only
graphics: 4
sound: 2
gameplay: 2
Find this game on eBay here!

The StarSoldier Game of the Month!
85 ALEX KIDD In Miracle World (Sega, 1987)

Miracle World is a tough and very interesting action game that's a great answer to Super Mario Bros. on the Master System. In the game you help the young Alex Kidd defeat the evil Danken Master to save his kingdom but won't be easy to say the least since this is such a big adventure. Easily one of the hardest games for the system but the game's great list of power ups and secrets help to even things out. It takes some getting use to but still Miracle World is a must for Master system owners.
*Two versions available, one in a cart and an altered version built in the SMS II.
For 1 player only
graphics: 7
sound: 8
gameplay: 8
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40 ALEX KIDD In High-Tech World (Sega, 1989)
Although I'm a Alex Kidd fan, this instalment is insanely tough and hard to play with a lot of trial and error game play and sluggish controls. In this adventure you control Alex Kidd has he searches for a map to a new arcade in your area. Sadly, you can die instantly from the dumbest things too like a broken ladder or your mom saying your quest is stupid and she had enough! Honestly, I didn't make that up. To be fair though she'll right and the game does suck. This game is hardly as good as Miracle World and this game is even not really a High Tech world too for some reason.
*Uncommon SMS game
For 1 player only
graphics: 6
sound: 4
gameplay: 3
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72 ALEX KIDD In Shinobi World (Sega, 1991)

Prince Alex Kidd now becomes a ninja in order to save his girl from a evil nemesis from the past. The final Alex Kidd game for the SMS is this unique idea of combining two worlds together to make the Alex Kidd series more action oriented. The game is fun to play and the graphics are not too bad either but overall it isn't very challenging and Miracle World was still the better crafted title.
*Rare SMS game
For 1 player only
graphics: 6
sound: 6
gameplay: 7

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54 ALEX KIDD The Lost Stars (Sega, 1989)

Sega tried to move their kind of popular Alex Kidd character to the Arcade scene and they created Lost Stars in the process. Now Sega scarped the smart and challenging game play from Miracle World for more Wonder Boy style so your health drains automatically and things are much more linear. Although the graphics are colourful and the game even has some digital voices, The Lost Stars is not very original or very fun to play for that matter.
For 1 player only
graphics: 6
sound: 7
gameplay: 6

Find this game on eBay here!


32 ALF (Sega, 1988)
It's hard to believe but this corny alien puppet show use to be popular once and the fact it was only on the Sega Master System made the system look more unique compared to the rival NES. Too bad it looks absolutely awful with graphics so bad, Alf actually flickers every time he switches directions. The game play isn't much better and boring search everywhere game play that reminds me of the awful ET for the Atari 2600. Alf the game is so horrible it makes the TV show look like Oscar winning material.
*Rare SMS game
For 1 player only
graphics: 2
sound: 1
gameplay: 3

Find this game on eBay here!


52 ALIEN SYNDROME (Sega, 1988)
Just like the arcade game of the same name Alien Syndrome throws you into a battle here with killer invading aliens. This overhead action game has some rather average looks and sounds but the game also gives you lots weapons and action to help keep the pace going somewhat. Unfortunately, you're going to need these power ups because your main gun just sucks and your enemies can be fairly difficult at times. Alien Syndrome isn't the most intense game around since it looks kind of choppy but it is good for a few plays especially with two players.
For 1 or 2 players
graphics: 5
sound: 6
gameplay: 7
Find this game on eBay here!

47 ALTERED BEAST (Sega, 1989)
The two person arcade game is now only one player here and to jump you have to press both button at the same time which is very awkward in a action game to say the least. In this Altered Beast game you play as a goofy but muscular Greek warrior in pink tights with the power to turn into 3 different beasts (werewolf, dragon, and weretiger). Sure, it sounds fun but the controls don't feel very responsive and another thing wrong here was that the entire third level was missing in the Master version here. "You're better off with the Sega Genesis game and even that game was a piece of crap!"
For 1 player only
graphics: 6
sound: 6
gameplay: 5
Find this game on eBay here!


45 AMERICAN FOOTBALL (Sega, 1990)
*Canadian and European release
Even though this game is called American Football here, it wasn't even released in the United States (at least not under the same name anyway). Sadly, I can see why! 8-bit systems just can not handle all those players on screen at once and American Football is fine example of this but at least the field itself looks OK and there are a lot of different plays as well. Still this is better then the Great Football as well but hey, what isn't? I guess that Sega could not score that NFL license either even though this game has many similarities in logos and designs here.
For 1 or 2 players
graphics: 1
sound: 3
gameplay: 5
Find this game on eBay here!

59 ASTRO WARRIOR (Sega, 1987)
Astro Warrior is a very short here with only three different levels but it's still a fun 1 meg shooter that will challenge anyone. In the game the more you destroy the more items appear like speed boosts, side options, and laser guns for your star ship but you're going to need all the help you can get since it doesn't take long for the screen to get loaded with enemies like asteroids, triangles, and other weird stuff. This game would have been something cool if there were more power ups and levels but Astro Warrior remands only slightly above average.
For 1 player only
graphics: 5
sound: 6
gameplay: 7
Find this game on eBay here!

44 AZTEC ADVENTURE (Sega, 1988)

Here is Sega's answer to Nintendo's Legend of Zelda and does it ever suck! The game starts off great because it has an unique Mexican feel to it and the graphics are fairly colourful but the problem is that this overhead adventure game just moves so slowly. Your enemies here are no push overs and it doesn't take long to get overwhelmed. You can get help from some allies but they are usually too busy doing their own thing to even help you. Adventure Adventure had promise but it's too frustating to play.
For 1 player only
graphics: 6
sound: 5
gameplay: 6

Find this game on eBay here!

65 BLACK BELT (Sega, 1988)
Has anyone ever seen that Anime series called Fist of the Northstar before? Well, if you have then maybe you'll notice how much this action game looks like that insane cartoon, eh? For example your main martial arts hero as a little head and overly big body plus when you beat up most enemies they just explode on impact. Sure it sounds cool and its actually pretty fun too but that doesn't mean Black Belt is perfect though. Like a lot of Master System games out there your girl has just been kidnapped (Alex Kidd in Shinobi World and Dynamite Dux are just a few examples that come to mind where the story is recycled) and you have to rescue her I guess. In the game you punch and kick your way through a horde of the same old generic bad guys before you can go one on one with the game's much harder bosses. It's very repetitive but Black Belt still has a lot action, good graphics, and challenging game play here.
For 1 or 2 players
graphics: 7
sound: 7
gameplay: 6

Find this game on eBay here!

04 BLADE EAGLE 3D (Sega, 1988)
*SegaScope 3D game
Blade Eagle 3D had a good concept where you have a 2D vertical shooter with multiple planes so you blast enemies on the ground and in the air just like Vertical Force on the Virtual Boy. Unfortunately it's really difficult to tell which plane your on and did this substandard game really have to be in 3D in the first place? This game looks terrible and the effects are just ugly. This is easily the worst SegaScope 3D game I ever played, in fact, it might be the worst Sega Master System game as well.
For 1 player only
graphics: 3
sound: 4
gameplay: 2

Find this game on eBay here!

65 BOMBER RAID (Sega/Activision, 1989)

This game actually surprised me! In this vertical scrolling shoot em up you power up your fighter plane with either stronger shots or smaller bi-planes for help as you go into battle against hundreds of enemies aircrafts, tanks, and even giant battleships. Bomber Raid is a good little shooter with some bland graphics and weak sounds but at least the action was still there.
For 1 player only
graphics: 5
sound: 4
gameplay: 7

Find this game on eBay here!

55 CALIFORNIA GAMES (Sega/Epyx, 1989)
The unique but fairly common button masher comes to the old Sega Master System too where you get compete in several events like skating, surfing, and even hackie sack here. All the games come with a stiff learning curve so don't expect to pick up and play this off the bat. Although there is some annoying controls here, the graphics are not too bad and all the different events here help increase the replay value.
For 1 or 2 players
graphics: 6
sound: 5
gameplay: 5

Find this game on eBay here!

46 CAPTAIN SILVER (Sega/Data East, 1990)
Here's another average arcade-like title here on the Master System but this game is about a young pirate fighting his way through some overly long and boring levels. In the game you have to fight everything from birds, cannibals, and even court jesters that attacks you with musical notes here (I wish I was kidding). Although some of these enemies don't sound so tough, you better be careful because it only takes one hit to kill you. To make matters worse there is no save or password feature either so you better have a few hours (or minutes since the game is so short) free if you want to see everything here. Of course who would want to do that? The graphics here are colourful but the animation is weak and the goofy music is forgettable. Captain Silver was once a arcade game as well but nobody I know seems to remember it (I never heard of it either). I guess there is a good reason because for a game about pirates this just sucks.
*The European version includes new enemies and levels not in the NTSC one.
For 1 or 2 players
graphics: 4
sound: 3
gameplay: 5
Find this game on eBay here!

81 CASTLE OF ILLUSION (Sega, 1990)
This game is almost like the acclaimed Genesis version but without all the 16-bit detail of course. Still for a Master System title the game is very colourful and there is even a lot detail here anyway too. Look at the tree in the photo there for example; now that is good art! Sure the game is a little on the cute side here but it's still one of the better action/adventure games on the Master System and it easy enough to learn for players of any age.
*Rare SMS game
For 1 player only
graphics: 7
sound: 6
gameplay: 6

Find this game on eBay here!

26 CHOPLIFTER (Sega, 1987)
I never liked Choplifter, never have, never will. In the game you pilot a helicopter on a mission to rescue hostages from the enemy and destroy what gets in the way. The problem with this game is that the action in Choplifter is very demanding to play because you have to worry about firing your shots from different angles, and the speed of your chopper can work against you as well making it all a chore to play.
For 1 or 2 players
graphics: 4
sound: 4
gameplay: 2

Find this game on eBay here!


62 CLOUD MASTER (Sega, 1989)

I bet nobody bought this one when it came out? OK, it looks freakin' weird but the game can still be pretty fun. In this unique horizontal shooter you play as a powerful man that can fly and shoot energy from his finger. The game has some really colourful stages and you can upgrade your hero so he can fire in multiple directions. You're going to need them too because the enemies come from everywhere and you will get your butt handled unless you study the levels carefully. You are no small target either since your standing on a carpet here and did a bowl of soup just kill me? This is no easy game and pray that you don't die because you all power ups on the next life so get ready to bend over, pull down your pants, and start crying. Yeah, Cloud Master is hard but not impossible plus I love the art style and range of attacks.
*Uncommon SMS game
For 1 player only
graphics: 8
sound: 6
gameplay: 8

Find this game on eBay here!

76 COLUMNS (Sega, 1990)

Here is yet another puzzle game were you must guide falling jewel pieces and arrange them by colour to make them disappear and score points. Just imagine a mixture of Tetris and Puyo Puyo and that's what Columns and a million other puzzle games are all about. Although I didn't like the Genesis version too much, this version has both timed and endless modes for 1 or 2 player battles so there is a lot you can do here. The graphics are not too compelling (the outer space background is so boring) and the music sucks too but if you are looking for a good puzzle for the Master System then be sure to get this one in your collection.
*Uncommon SMS game
For 1 or 2 players
graphics: 6
sound: 5
gameplay: 7

Find this game on eBay here!

58 CYBORG HUNTER (Activision, 1989)
This is a good but kind of slow action game where your robotic hero has to search for missing equipment in dangerous corridors for parts to help you unlock more levels. Cyborg Hunter is a solid game with some solid graphics and sounds but there could have been more power ups to make the game more intense.
*Uncommon SMS game

For 1 player only
graphics: 5
sound: 6
gameplay: 6

Find this game on eBay here!

45 DEAD ANGLE (Sega/Seibu Kaihatsu, 1989)

In this odd first person shooting game here it's your mission to hunt down mob members and it's won't be easy since these guys like to shoot at you in large groups.
This Dick Tracy wanna be has some original ideas like being able to move your cursor and character (marked in see through yellow outline) at the same time but aiming is very sensitive and it can lead to a lot of your deaths. The game has some impressive graphics when they are still anyway but the choppy animation here is just unforgivable. Dead Angle is just too hard thanks to all the some sloppy programming.
For 1 player only
graphics: 5
sound: 7
gameplay: 6
Find this game on eBay here!

The Total Recall Dud of the Month!
25 DICK TRACY (Sega, 1990)

This game was based on none other then the famous Warren Beaty movie from the 1990's and like most licensed video games this totally blows. The game play is the same as the Sega Genesis version where you have both enemies in the fore and background to deal with and it sounds like an innovative idea at least. Sadly just trying to switch between two different weapons on the fly all the time is very annoying because background enemies can only be killed by a machine gun while you can only kill the others with a just a mere hand gun. I don't get why he can't just use the machine gun for everyone, is he really that stupid? This edition has even worse controls as well because you only have two buttons to work with here instead of the three on the Genesis version.
The game had potential but the highly demanding game play and lousy graphics ruins any fun you would have here.
*Uncommon SMS game

For 1 player only
graphics: 5
sound: 5
gameplay: 5
Find this game on eBay here!

The Total Recall Dud of the Month!
43 DOUBLE DRAGON (Sega/Technos Japan, 1988)
What could have been a great translation of a popular arcade beat em up ended up being a bitter disappointment. In the game you play as either Jimmy or Billy Lee on a mission to save their friend Maria from a vicious street gang. The story is the same but the new two button control system is horrible (just try doing a elbow strike in this mess) and the blurry graphics are very bland in this version as well. If you are a fan of the arcade game like me you'll notice there is a bunch of material taken out like the pitfalls of stage 2 and the ladders are gone too. Although this game supports two player co-op play unlike the NES version, it really doesn't make the game any better since no one will want to play with you. This game includes all four levels too but stage four is the only level where your unlimited continues are useless and that's when you need it most. You're better with the many other Double Dragon's out there.
For 1 or 2 players
graphics: 5
sound: 4
gameplay: 4

Find this game on eBay here!


42 DOUBLE HAWK (Sega, 1990)

*Canadian and European game
Here is a game that I recently found in a discount bin but I never heard of this title ever before so I had to play it. Sadly, Double Hawk is nothing more then a awkward third person shooter set in a generic Rambo-like story line. The game is slow and hard to play, the cookie cutter story just flat out sucks, and I'm pretty sure you played a boring shooter game like this a million times before as well.
For 1 or 2 players
graphics: 4
sound: 4
gameplay: 3
Find this game on eBay here!

The Total Recall Dud of the Month!

19 DYNAMITE DUX (Sega, 1989)

*Canadian and European game
If you are dying to play another fighting game and you just have a Sega Master System then I guess you can punish yourself and play Dynamite Dux for a bit. You'll only need a few minutes (or even seconds) to realize this is a substandard game with boring presentation and a very wimpy main character with a stupid short range punch. Thankfully you can grab weapons for a limited time but I just have one thing to say to the programmers of this trash: Dux you!
For 1 player only
graphics: 3
sound: 2
gameplay: 4

Find this game on eBay here!

17 E-SWAT (Sega, 1990)

The arcade game was fun, the Genesis version was good too, so what the heck happened here? In this 2D action game you still control a cop who shoots first and doesn't even bother with the questions. If you see something you kill it! That sounds great but all the criminals here just repeat themselves too much and all the constant shooting gets very boring in a hurry. You can get robotic upgrades later in the game but the game play doesn't change hardly at all and I doubt players will have the patience to make it that far. The controls are unresponsive, the graphics are bland and the game is just not good in any way.
*Uncommon SMS game
For 1 player only
graphics: 2
sound: 2
gameplay: 2

Find this game on eBay here!


52 ENDURO RACER (Sega, 1988)

Sega's dirt racing game from the arcades is now done as a overhead racer with a 3/4 view instead of 3D. In Enduro Racer you try to move your motorbike through several boring looking dirt roads in the fastest time possible. The game play has nothing new you haven't seen before here but it still be a fun racing game if you learn the tracks well enough so you to keep your manage level upgrades. I say this because you lose a upgrade if take too much damage which can lead to a lot of frustrating moments. Although its playable, experts will still prefer Nintendo's Excitebike instead of this.
For 1 or 2 players
graphics: 2
sound: 2
gameplay: 4

Find this game on eBay here!


Sega Master System reviews F - M > >