The Game Gear was Sega’s big bet on the handheld market in the 90s when Nintendo’s Game Boy was the king of the industry. We all know how that very uneven fight ended, but it was pretty epic at the time, and we will always admire a company that dares to challenge Nintendo.

Plus, the Game Gear was a true technological marvel for the time, with a full-color screen that made a mockery of the grayscale Game Boy. Despite that, the Game Gear was not exactly Sega’s first handheld console, as it was really just a miniature Master System, but it still served its purpose.

Although its catalog is not that extensive, it has some great titles that overshadow others that deserve to be recognized. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the

10 Best Hidden Gems For The Sega Game Gear

Coca-Cola Kid (1994)

Developer: Aspect Co.

Let’s start with a game that only its name tells you that it’s a giant advertisement, but it surprised Japanese gamers with excellent gameplay quality and a huge dose of fun.

At the time, the boy Cokey was the mascot of Coca-Cola in Japan, and of course, he had to star in his own game. We are talking about a platforming and action title that emanates Game Gear essence all over the place.

There was even a special pack with a red console with Coca-Cola’s name on it. Unfortunately, apart from the fact that the game didn’t leave Japan for obvious reasons, gamers in the rest of the world didn’t take it seriously because they saw it as a promotion for the soft drink brand.

Well, they made a mistake because Aspect Co. not only has plenty of experience in platformers, but they also ported most of the Sonic games to the Game Gear versions. 

Undoubtedly, Coca-Cola Kid is so challenging that it will leave you wanting to drink a soda… and certainly not Pepsi.

Ax Battler: A Legend of Golden Axe (1992)

Developer: Aspect Co.

The Golden Axe saga is one of the most popular of the classic Sega, but people have forgotten one of its best spin-offs: Ax Battler.

Although far from adapting the famous Beat ’em up formula of the original series, Ax Battler changes things slightly to create an exclusive experience on the Game Gear.

Ax Battler A Legend of Golden Axe for Game Gear

Based on Golden Axe: Warrior from the Master System, this title presents a gameplay divided into 3 layers, going from an exploration section in a top-down view to intense side-scrolling battles.

It is the Golden Axe version of The Legend of Zelda and The Adventure of Link from the NES.

With its small touches of role-playing and side-action combat, Ax Battler stood out as one of the first RPGs for this console. The overhead parts are mostly based on talking to the characters you encounter in towns and castles to collect important information.

On the other hand, the side action battles are based on random encounters in the wildest areas of the map, especially in fortresses. Combat ends when you defeat enemies, find a crucial item to continue the adventure or move on to another area.

It certainly has its differences with Golden Axe, which meant its commercial failure but it is a worthwhile adventure. 

Power Strike II (1993)

Developer: Compile

One of the scarcest genres on the Game Gear are Shoot’em Ups which were very popular in the arcades at the time. Even though there were not many, the ones in the catalog were of great quality, among which Power Strike shines.

Power Strike II

The second game in the series arrived ready to succeed, demonstrating that Compile’s workers had done a job that bordered on perfection and that pushed this console to the maximum.

With Power Strike II you will embark on an exciting adventure and incredible intergalactic war, where you must repel an invasion that threatens the destruction of the solar system.

To complete this mission, you’ll have the best interstellar ship, the Falcon Flyer, with which you’ll go through 6 intense levels, each one with unique graphic environments and enemy ships. 

With four different types of shooting, Power Strike II presents a very solid gameplay despite the massive number of elements on the screen. 

A Game Gear hidden gem that fans of the almost extinct Shoot’em Up genre will appreciate.

Mega Man (1995)

Developer: Freestyle

If it’s already rare to imagine Mega Man on a Sega console, it’s even more surprising to see a blue bomber game on the Game Gear, but that’s how things came about in 1995.

This character visited Sega’s handheld console with an installment simply called Mega Man, but contrary to what the title suggests, it is not a remake of the first game in the series.

Mega Man for Game Gear is an original game that takes elements from and bosses from  Mega Man 2, 4, and 5. With the same animated presentation as the fourth installment, the password system of the NES games, and a challenging difficulty system, this version of Mega Man offers a challenging adventure from start to finish.

It is worth noting that most of the game’s scenarios are exact copies of the original games, saving certain playable differences. In addition, it continues with the clear line of facing multiple enemies through levels until reaching a final boss.

Although it was not very popular at the time, the Mega Man of Game Gear is praised for being a mix of everything that worked in the main saga. 

Whether you’re a fan of the character or a hardcore collector, don’t miss out on this rarity.

Sylvan Tale (1995)

Developer: Sega

Returning to the theme that the Game Gear had few titles of genres popular on other consoles, we have to talk about RPGs that were well received in Japan but very few made it to the rest of the world.

Sylvan Tale

Among those lucky few is Sylvan Tale, an action RPG that offers straightforward fun among enchanted forests and menacing dungeons. A tale of fantasy and magic that will make you forget about real life for a few minutes while you explore a world full of wonders and dangers alike.

In terms of gameplay, it doesn’t require great skill from the player, as it focuses more on providing an enjoyable experience, especially with its top-down exploration section.

Compared to the most famous action RPGs, Sylvan Tale falls short in several aspects, but it is the best representative of the genre on the Game Gear and one of the most similar to The Legend of Zelda.

In short, it is an ideal game for the little ones to get started in retro gaming.

Batman Returns (1992)

Developer: Aspect Co.

Once again, Aspect carries one of the best hidden gems on the Game Gear that is worth playing, and what better than with the adaptation of one of the most popular films of The Dark Knight?

Batman Returns for Game Gear

With a style similar to Shinobi, Batman Returns presents an adventure and a “soul” taken directly from the titles of the famous ninja.

From sound effects, mechanics such as swinging with the hook, graphic style, and other aspects, this game borrows many elements but does not forget that the protagonist is Batman and the gloomy Gotham City.

In this wonderful adventure seasoned with constant action, everything works in a game in which the classic DC villains and its most famous superhero shine (with all due respect to the big blue boy scout).

As one of its most unique features, Batman Returns offers the possibility of taking two routes at the beginning of each level. The first is the simpler and more standard one, while the harder one requires more balancing and combat management.

It’s a pity that this gem has been lost in time due to so many comparisons with Shinobi, because at the end of the day, Batman is also a ninja.

Cool Spot (1994)

Developer: Virgin Games USA

Let’s go with a game that may not have had the best reviews at the time, but I consider it to be tremendously fun and witty.

Cool Spot is a Sega Game Gear hidden gem

Like Cokey, Cool Spot is the mascot of a soda brand, 7-Up, which could not stay behind the competition and launched a videogame of its own.

As the round hero of this adventure, you will have to overcome many platform levels full of enemies and obstacles.

Although the challenge lies not exactly in its features, but in its differences from the Mega Drive version. The game mechanics are the same as those of the main console, but as the Game Gear screen is much more than small, it’s a real hell to jump blindly. 

Beyond the fact that it’s a flaw that makes it an extremely difficult game, the graphics are quite detailed, the music is wonderful and the controls are precise. 

Also, it is quite long for a handheld game, because the developers purposely lengthened its levels with many labyrinthine areas.

A classic adventure platformer with a great sense of humor.

Tarzan: Lord of the Jungle (1994)

Developer: Eurocom

While the term “hidden gem” is associated with underrated games that deserved better reviews and sales upon their release, there are other games on the system that are gold mines. The real hidden gems.

Tarzan Lord of the Jungle is an underrated Game Gear game

Based on the original novel, Tarzan: Lord of the Jungle is a rare game in every way, from its mechanics to how hard it is to find today. 

This time, Tarzan once again becomes the hero of the jungle when evil poachers threaten to ravage his friends’ home. 

And so I quickly get out of the narrative because the game isn’t all that entertaining, although it’s not as bad as the reviews make it out to be. It’s clearly a title that didn’t dare at all to exploit the Game Gear’s capabilities and present a gameplay that is too simple.

But even with all its shortcomings, Lord of the Jungle is enjoyable and has a certain charisma. 

However, what really makes it a hidden gem is its current value, which can reach up to $2000. This is because it was not released in the United States, only in Europe, so the sealed editions have gone up a lot in value. 

Monster Truck Wars (1994)

Developer: Acclaim

The further back in time we go, the more rudimentary and crude racing games were, especially those for handheld consoles. That’s why it’s surprising to find an entertaining one on the Game Gear, whose catalog barely has titles of this style.

Monster Truck Wars

Monster Truck Wars is everything its name says, wild Monster truck racing on closed circuits where oil and metal fly through the air. 

The game features an overhead view and graphics that are quite eye-catching with its radiant color palette. Everything is very well designed, including the sound effects that considering the Game Gear’s sound chip, I would say sound quite real.

The gameplay is where it shines the most not only because of how fun it is, but it requires a lot of practice to master it. The control system is not the best, although I doubt that driving a Monster Truck in real life is easy. 

Of course, Monster Truck Wars has a lot of room for improvement, but as there were hardly any similar proposals on the console, I consider it one of my favorite Game Gear games that dared to dream.

Royal Stone (1995)

Developer: Sega CS5

Crystal Warriors is one of the most underrated RPGs of the time, due to the great popularity of sagas like Shining Warriors and Fire Emblem, but it was able to shine with its own light in 1991, enough to earn a sequel.

Although it never left Japan, Royal Stone is a turn-based strategy gem, with an interesting story that revolves around Eva, a knight who was sentenced and expelled for a crime she didn’t commit.

Royal Stone Hirakareshi Toki is a hidden gem for Sega Game Gear

The rest you already know, meet allies along the way, face many enemies in a fantasy world, and clean your reputation.

Royal Stone not only takes inspiration from the gameplay of Fire Emblem but adopts its mechanic that if a warrior falls in battle, you will lose him forever. Even when you are at the beginning of the story you must be aware of that.

The great features of this game over its competition are its system of nature elements and the battle veil. The latter is the most interesting because you can’t know what kind of units you are facing on the battlefield until you attack them directly or cast an identification spell.

To give more drama to the thing, I always opt for the first option.

The unidentified enemy mechanic alone adds a great deal of difficulty and strategy to an already challenging game. Despite its language differences, I dare to recommend Royal Stone to all audiences to get to know one of the most underrated RPGs of its time.

Are These Game Gear Games The Best Hidden Gems?

Certainly, the Game Gear catalog is not the most varied in terms of genres. There are many platformers and the few proposals that were different never left Japan. For that reason, the Game Gear was a strange experiment for Sega, but it served them to resist another round against Nintendo until the inevitable end of the fight.