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Sega's Welcome Back to the Next Level

Sega's Welcome Back to the Next Level

Kris Randazzo
6 minute read

The Sega Scream Returns!

I can’t begin to tell you how long I’ve wanted Sega to be more than it is. Next to Nintendo, they have the largest well of IP to dive into at any time, and somehow they’ve done an even worse job than the Big N in terms of maintaining their various properties. I did a three-part Franchise Report on the company and their games and I gotta say, they didn’t fare super well. Some of their brands are doing better than it seems thanks to the mobile market, but in terms of making good on their console fans, Sega has been leaving a lot to be desired for quite some time now. 

That all seems to be changing now. A few months back, Sega made mention that they were taking a serious look at their list of IP in an effort to revitalize stagnant brands. I personally took that with about a billion grains of salt because, well, Sega’s track record of late has been exactly what it is. Just look at Sonic. Sure, there are plenty of Sonic games, but the quality ratio isn’t exactly great. Even when the Sonic games are good, they rarely reach the heights of the Genesis era classics, which is a bummer. Because if Sega wanted to put the time and effort into a new Sonic game that, say, Nintendo does with their Mario games, they could be incredible. But that's neither here nor there. 

At this year’s Game Trailers, err, Awards show, Sega announced that they officially had several new games from dormant properties in development, effectively making good on their promise from several months back. Here’s what we know. 

Jet Set Radio

Originally launching on the Dreamcast, Jet Set Radio (AKA Jet Grind Radio, for some reason) introduced the world at large to cel shaded graphics. JSR on Dreamcast was a revelation, and while it wasn’t quite enough to stave off the impending juggernaut that was the PlayStation 2, it did some great numbers on Dreamcast, and most people who played it were indeed fond of it. So much so that it even got a follow up on Xbox a few years later. Jet Set Radio and its sequel are extremely well-liked games, and this new iteration looks pretty interesting. The only characters shown in the trailer are Beat and that crazy DJ fella who yells “JET SET RADIOOOOOOOOO” whose name I can’t remember. Everything’s still pretty well cel shaded, but the characters appear to be a bit more detailed than in previous installments. It’s hard to say anything more than that, but it’s really quite nice to see. 

Streets of Rage

Next game in the trailer was Streets of Rage. Of all the games on this list, Streets of Rage is by far the one least in need of revitalization. It may have started life out as the premiere Genesis beat 'em up to compete with the likes of Final Fight on Super NES, but it’s already made its comeback in the form of the exquisite Streets of Rage 4, which is hardly old, and it’s done wonders for the brand. It’s honestly one of the best beat em ups ever made. But the new iteration doesn’t appear to have LizardCube’s involvement. In fact, it looks nothing at all like the gorgeously hand drawn previous entry. This game is properly 3D, which honestly scares the heck out of me. I may be wrong, but I can't shake the feeling that brawlers going 3D hasn’t exactly worked out super well in the past. I know Final Fight: Streetwise wasn't exactly well-liked. Streets of Rage 4 is going to be a heck of an act to follow. Let’s hope whoever is behind this game is up to the challenge. 


Next up is a stunning new Shinobi game. Shinobi is one of Sega’s oldest names, and one that still demands a degree of respect whenever a new entry comes into existence. Remember that PS2 game with the super cool scarf? Awesome. 

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75 Ohm Mini Coax Gold Plated AV Cable for Sega Genesis Model 2 - Retro Frog


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Anyway, If I don’t miss my guess, this one’s from our friends at LizardCube who previously worked their gorgeously animated magic on Wonder Boy and Streets of Rage. Very little was shown, but this game is a 2D, breathtakingly well-animated spectacle. Shinobi’s no stranger to radical reinventions, some of which have been rather successful (again, that PS2 game was so cool!), so I’ve got my fingers crossed this one is no exception. If it plays half as good as it looks, we’re all in for a treat. 

Golden Axe

Talk about a Sega franchise with a troubled history. This one started life in the arcades, and had a really great Genesis port, but things have been all over the map since then. The last time anyone tried to revitalize this venerable brand we wound up with the abysmal Beast Rider for PS3 and Xbox 360. 

Much like Streets of Rage, Golden Axe is a beat 'em up, a genre that hasn’t traditionally fated all that well in 3D. However, I’d be lying if I said this doesn’t look super cool. There’s very little to go on, but the look is really quite impressive. Of all the games shown in the trailer, this one looked the most modern. I really hope this one pans out because Golden Axe is a great concept taht has yet to properly live up to its potential. 

Crazy Taxi

Are The Offspring still a band? Well, they’d better be because to me, Crazy Taxi isn’t Crazy Taxi without their specific brand of soundtrack. 

Starting life out as an arcade game, Crazy Taxi found huge success on Dreamcast, spawning 2 sequels, one on Dreamcast and a second one on Xbox after the DC died. Crazy Taxi is such an interesting concept, but it’s also not an easy thing to make fun for long periods of time. I’m hopeful that they’ve cracked the code though, because it’s such a fun game in short bursts. 

And more

These announcements were the ones shown, but Sega assures us that there’s more on the way, which is very exciting. A new Space Harrier that isn’t Air Twister? Maybe a little bit of Hang-On or Fantasy Zone? An all new Alex Kidd? I’m all for it. What did you think of Sega’s announcement, and what do you hope to see from them in the future? 

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