The Sega CD may have been a short-lived console, but it left a lasting impression on the gaming industry and on those of us lucky enough to have gotten our hands on one.

Released in 1991, the console gave Sega customers improved graphics, CD-quality soundtracks, and, most impressively, full-motion video in their games. On paper, the cd add-on should have blown Nintendo SNES out of the water. But that is not exactly what happened.

While the Sega CD underperformed in the home console market and did not sell as many units as the company had hoped, it still managed to produce some truly incredible games.

In today’s post, I’m going to highlight a list of the best Sega CD games out there. From classic RPGs to groundbreaking FMV games, this list will have something for all fans of classic console gaming.

So, follow me below to relive fond memories of the Sega CD and the incredible games it offered. In no particular order, here are the

Best Sega CD Games Ever

Sonic CD

Sonic CD is one of the most iconic games on the Sega CD console, featuring the classic Sonic gameplay that players know and love, with the added wow factor of time travel mechanics that alter the layout, music, and graphics of the various stages in the game, all of which have multiple paths and secrets to be discovered.

Sonic CD game

Though some critics propose that Sonic CD did not fully utilize the Sega CD’s impressive power, the game has stunning 2D visuals and a banging soundtrack that is almost worth the price of admission on its own.

The game also introduced some of the franchise’s most beloved characters like Amy Rose and Metal Sonic, and it even included animated cutscenes, making it a must-play for Sonic fans.

Lunar: Eternal Blue

Lunar: Eternal Blue is a different kind of RPG and the long-awaited sequel to the epic Lunar: The Silver Star.

Lunar Eternal Blue

Eternal Blue was lauded by critics for its vastly improved graphics which included longer and more detailed animated cutscenes, a more engaging storyline, and fine-tuned gameplay experience, as well as for making better use of the Sega CD’s increased firepower than its predecessor ever did.

Like all great RPGs, Lunar: Eternal Blue has top-notch production values, a colorful cast of endearing characters, challenging and inventive boss encounters, a memorable soundtrack, and rewarding progression systems.

The game is not only considered one of the best Role Playing Games on the Sega CD, many believe it to be one of the best RPG games of the 90s. Period.


Snatcher is a critically acclaimed graphic adventure game with visual novel elements created by the legendary Hideo Kojima.


The game tells an exciting cinematic tale in the vein of the best cyberpunk fiction and deals with surprisingly mature themes for the time.

The story, which set the foundation for many of the themes and motifs developed by Kojima in his later games, follows the amnesiac Gillian Seed as he joins the JUNKER taskforce to hunt down murderous humanoid robots known as snatchers.

Fans of Blade Runner or Kojima’s Metal Gear series will feel right at home in this world.

The game’s unique blend of graphic adventure and visual-novel-style elements create a highly immersive experience. While the main narrative is fairly linear, there are enough puzzles and dialogue options to keep players engaged throughout its duration.

Snatcher for the Sega CD features one of the most fleshed-out cyberpunk worlds ever created for a video game, and enough engaging gameplay elements to make it a serious contender for the best adventure game of its generation.

Popful Mail

Popful Mail is an action-packed 2D platformer with some light RPG elements thrown in.

Popful Mail Magical Fantasy Adventure

The game was developed by Nihon Falcom, better known for their best-selling action RPG series Ys, and its players control the titular bounty hunter, Popful Mail, as she battles various enemies in a vibrantly epic fantasy world filled with vicious monsters and powerful overlords.

Gameplay-wise, Popful Mail offers solid platforming action interspersed with challenging combat.

Besides Popful Mail, there are two more unlockable characters (each with different attributes) that can be switched on the fly, making for a dynamic experience all around.

Pausing the game also allows players to change out their equipment or activate a variety of items.

Combat, which is the meat and potatoes of the experience, is challenging and highly engaging, with the player gaining access to several different weapons and magical attacks.

Overall, Popful Mail is a great game for the Sega CD, with a solid story told in cinematic scenes full of voice acting, engaging combat, colorful visuals, interesting playable characters, memorable villains, and plenty of quirky fun to go around.

Shining Force CD

A remake of the classic titles Shining Force Gaiden and Shining Force Gaiden II, Shining Force CD has gained cult status and is considered one of the very best games that the Sega CD had to offer.

Shining Force CD

Shining Force CD transports players to a world filled with epic magic and endless adventure.

Presented in gorgeous 2D graphics, the game lets players control a band of heroes through a series of strategic battles interspersed with some cinematic cutscenes that tell an engaging storyline.

The playable roster is full of likable characters, each with their unique abilities, strengths, and weaknesses, so the game presents the player with engaging and strategic moment-to-moment gameplay.

If you were lucky enough to play Shining Force CD when it was first released you are probably reliving nostalgic memories from your childhood right about now. But, if you are discovering this gem for the first time, the game’s many exciting battles, detailed combat animations, and wonderful sense of epic exploration will have you coming back long after the final enemy has been defeated.

Keio Flying Squadron

Keio Flying Squadron is a 2D side-scrolling shooter with tight controls that puts the Sega CD’s extra power to good use by featuring some vibrant anime-inspired cutscenes and a memorable soundtrack, all wrapped in a layer of quirky humor.

Keio Flying Squadron

In Keio Flying Squadron players control a seemingly normal teenager who is charged with keeping the secret Key To The Secret Treasure, except she doesn’t know what the key does and her overbearing grandma doesn’t even remember. Nevertheless, the key is stolen and she has to get it back before the world is destroyed.

To do so, the player must enter battle atop their flying dragon mount Spot and defeat endless waves of quirky enemies with some truly idiosyncratic designs.

Among the enemy factions the player encounters we find the sea monsters, the flying rooster heads, the Navy, the Russian Army, the Seven Gods of Good Fortune, and a humanoid raccoon with an IQ of 1,400, just to name a few.

Keio Flying Squadron is a vibrant, colorful game with tons of fun characters, quirky enemies, and a banging soundtrack.

This one is for fans of fast-paced action gameplay and light-hearted fun and sits on this list because it is a unique and entertaining experience.

Night Trap

The release of Night Trap for the Sega CD was mired in controversy, and its recent 2018 re-release on 8th-generation consoles was met with mixed criticism. However, the game remains one of the most iconic releases for the Sega CD and for that alone, it deserves to be on this list.

Night Trap

Night Trap was very unique and it defied traditional genre classifications. It is less of a traditional video game and more of an interactive movie, where players only control a variety of camera angles and trigger a limited set of actions to progress the story forward.

However, it was the game’s subject matter (which revolved around a group of teenage girls being attacked by vampires while having a pajama party) that led to the controversy and public outcry.

Many people, including the United States Congress, considered the game’s content too violent and sexually suggestive for the time.

Nevertheless, its full-motion video sequences and highly cinematic presentation were way ahead of its time and provided a unique and memorable experience for Sega CD owners.

Although the controversy might have ultimately overshadowed its release, the game’s impact on the gaming industry can still be felt to this day.

Road Rash (1994)

Road Rash is a very popular and highly successful classic motorcycle racing game franchise. The original Sega Genesis version first debuted in 1991.

Road Rash

But the 1994 release of the Sega CD was a significant upgrade, featuring enhanced graphical fidelity and sound, with surprisingly high-quality CD audio tracks for both the game’s soundtrack and sound effects.

While the core gameplay of Road Rash for the Sega CD remained the same as the earlier versions, 1994’s Road Rash featured new tracks, new bikes, and new riders not found in the original release.

Additionally, and as in many other Sega CD titles, Road Rash included full-motion video sequences to increase the cinematic immersion into the game world. My favorite were the clips of the player getting arrested, and the clips of antagonists bikers talking trash and taunting you.

Something else which the Sega CD version of Road Rash brought to the table was the inclusion of a licensed soundtrack, with popular songs from popular bands like Soundgarden and Monster Magnet playing over the races.

Despite the enhancements, and plenty of critical acclaim upon release, Road Rash for the Sega CD underperformed and final sales were much lower than initially anticipated. This was likely due to the fact that the Sega CD enjoyed a relatively small install base for much of its lifetime.

Regardless of its lack of commercial success, this version of Road Rash remains one of the most beloved classics among fans of the series and of the Sega CD console.

Heart of the Alien

Heart of the Alien is a cinematic platformer released for the Sega CD in 1994, and it is the direct sequel to the classic Amiga game Another World. As such, it features the same cinematic presentation and minimalist storytelling.

Heart of the Alien Out of this World

Like its predecessor and part of why Heart of the Alien is such a memorable Sega CD title, the game focuses heavily on cinematic immersion by providing the player with a situational control scheme (one where different actions can be accomplished by the same button press) and no heads-up display.

The game’s visuals and sound design were praised for their technical prowess, especially the detailed and realistic character animations.

While the gameplay experience was very similar to that of Another World, enough new gameplay mechanics were introduced (such as the alien Buddy’s powerful energy whip), to give Heart of the Alien its own identity.

The Secret of Monkey Island

The Secret of Monkey Island is a classic point-and-click adventure game released for the PC in 1990, but which was later ported to the Sega CD in 1993 where it joined the ranks of the very best games available for the console.

The Secret of Monkey Island

The Secret of Monkey Island tells the story of the hopeful pirate wannabe Guybrush Threepwood as he embarks on adventure and mischief; and thanks to what can only be described as top-tier writing, the game offers some of the funniest and most memorable moments in gaming history.

Upon its original release and again when it was released on the Sega CD, The Secret of Monkey Island received nearly universal praise for its witty writing (the game had some legitimate laugh-out-loud moments), charming cast of characters, and inventive puzzles.

The game’s point-and-click gameplay was a perfect match for its pixel art graphics and innovative approach to storytelling, which allowed players to interact with the detailed environments in creative and engaging ways.

The game’s musical soundtrack was also praised for its catchy tunes, especially because the Sega CD version of the game offered players enhanced CD-quality audio and voice acting, adding another layer of immersion to the already-engaging adventure.

The Secret of Monkey Island was both a commercial and a critical success, spawning several sequels and becoming a cult classic among fans of the genre. The game’s hilarious writing, fun puzzle gameplay, and memorable cast of characters helped to cement its place in video game history, and it remains a must-play even to this day


The next great Sega CD game on the list is Vay, a fantastic Japanese-style role-playing game of interstellar adventure.

The Legend of Vay

The game was published by small-house Japanese studio SIMS and had the honor of being one of the very first full-fledged JRPGs released for the Sega CD, serving as an example of the sort of impressive visuals and sound design that the console’s extra horsepower could offer.

While the game’s story is the typical science fiction fanfare we’ve seen a billion times before, its presentation is top-notch. The impressive visuals are achieved using a combination of hand-drawn art and traditional digitized sprites, resulting in very detailed environments and expressive character moments.

The game’s sound design is also fantastic, with high-quality music and sound effects perfectly setting the tone.

Most impressive, however, is the large cast of memorable and well-written characters that make even non-combat moments shine.

While Vay received mixed reviews upon its initial release, it has since gained a cult following among fans of classic RPGs and fans of the Sega CD console.

The game’s engaging, well-written storyline and characters, impressive visuals, and top-notch sound design have helped Vay stand the test of time, and earned it a spot on this list.

Dark Wizard

Dark Wizard is a tactical turn-based strategy RPG that is widely considered the best strategy game released for the console due to its depth of strategy and complexity.

Dark Wizard one of the best Sega CD games

The game takes place in a kingdom divided by war, and various factions are vying for control of the land and its resources. The player is given the choice of one out of four different characters, each with their unique strengths and weaknesses, as well as their own narrative path through the story.

The game features a deeply engaging tactical gameplay system that revolves around adequate resource management, strategic unit recruitment, and RPG-style character progression.

Battles, of which there are many, take place on a hex-based tactical grid and players must carefully position their units on the battlefield to gain the upper hand via strategy and tactics.

The surprisingly compelling albeit cliche storyline is told through a series of branching paths and features multiple endings. While Dark Wizard offered the usual increased visual and sound fidelity that Sega CD owners came to expect from their console’s titles, the game received most of its positive reviews for its deeply engaging and addictingly gameplay experience and is an especially beloved title that remains challenging and highly rewarding all these years later.

Final Fight CD

Final Fight CD is a Sega CD port of the iconic 2D side-scrolling beat ’em up hit Final Fight. The game was released for the Sega CD as an enhanced port of the original Final Fight arcade game from the late 80s.

Final Fight CD

In Final Fight CD, the player takes on the role of one of several characters as they fight their way through the criminal hordes and gangs of the city.

The Sega CD version of Final Fight features enhanced graphical fidelity and sound compared to the original arcade version, with smoother, more detailed animations and a remastered soundtrack.

The game also features an additional Time Attack mode for the players who seek the thrill of an extra challenge.

The game received mostly positive reviews upon its release and is still widely considered one of the best beat ’em up games on the Sega CD console due to its tried and truly addictive gameplay formula, a memorable roster of playable and unplayable characters, and colorful visuals and sound design.

Rise of the Dragon

The next game on the list, Rise of the Dragon, is another classic graphic adventure game released on the Sega CD to great acclaim and commercial success.

Rise of the Dragon

Released in 1993 for the Sega CD (the original PC release was in 1990), the game is set in a near future dystopian version of Los Angeles, where the player takes on the role of a private detective tasked with investigating a series of murders and uncover the hidden truths of the seedy LA underbelly.

This compelling setting is the perfect background to tell an immersive storyline, and Rise of the Dragon does a fantastic job with its narrative. The game offers multiple branching paths and various endings can be unlocked depending on the player’s choices through the game.

As with most Sega CD games, the game had some impressive visuals and standout sound design, with detailed backgrounds and a groovy jazz-inspired soundtrack. The characters also have very decent voice acting, which adds an extra layer of immersion.

On a gameplay front, Rise of the Dragon offers plenty of noteworthy puzzles, placing a heavy emphasis on the exploration of the environments and investigation of contextual clues.

Overall, Rise of the Dragon is a superb graphic adventure game, combining an immersive detailed world, impressive visuals, solid sound design, an engaging story, and challenging gameplay mechanics. It has stood the test of time since its release for the Sega CD and remains a beloved classic.


Dune for the Sega CD is an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s beloved speculative fiction novel of the same name. This epic game manages to capture the essence of the novel and is considered one of the best the Sega CD had to offer.

Dune game for Mega CD

Much like the novel, the game places the player on the desert planet of Arrakis as a young Paul Atreides in an excellent mixture of point-and-click adventure gameplay with real-time economic and military strategy elements.

To complete the game, players must manage their resources and build up their forces to battle the rival Harkonnen faction and drive them from their territory.

Dune’s extensive voice acting and full-motion video sequences are fantastic, and, along with some excellent 3D-rendered travel and location screens, manage to create a richly realized video game version of the vast world of Dune.

By following the story of the novel closely and providing players with innovative and engaging strategy gameplay, Dune for the Sega CD has become one of the most beloved classics among fans of Sega’s powerful CD console.

Batman Returns

Batman Returns for the Sega CD is a video game adaptation of the popular 1992 film of the same name, directed by Tim Burton.

Batman Returns for Sega CD

The game features superb 2D platforming gameplay, where players control the iconic Batman as he fights against hordes of enemies and menacing bosses throughout Gotham City.

The Sega CD version also features exciting 3D vehicular racing sections where players control the mighty Batmobile and navigate through Gotham City’s winding streets.

The game features full-motion video sequences, including clips from the motion picture as well as original footage made exclusively for the video game. These sequences help to create a highly immersive experience, especially for those players who have seen the movie and can recognize key moments in the story.

While the game received mixed reviews upon its release, with some people criticizing the fact that much of the narrative was lifted from the movie, it remains a popular choice among fans of the Sega CD.

Samurai Shodown

Samurai Shodown (yes, it’s spelled Shodown and not Showdown) is a 2D side-scrolling fighting game originally released for the Arcade but ported to the powerful Sega CD console shortly after, where it became one of the fastest-selling fighting video games.

Samurai Shodown

The game’s defining feature (a feature that was considered groundbreaking at the time), was the fact that combat featured weapons as opposed to bare hands like most other fighting games of the era.

The game, which was set in 18th-century Japan, featured a varied roster of fighters, each with a distinct design and moveset based on quick, powerful strikes.

While some players criticized a lack of an extensive combo system, many players praised the game’s ease of pulling off powerful and highly cinematic special moves.

Most importantly, and partly the reason why the game lands on this list, Samurai Shodown offered players colorful graphics, detailed animations, and tight controls, which made battling it out pure, unbridled fun.

Chuck Rock II: Son of Chuck

Chuck Rock II: Son of Chuck is one of the most unique games on the Sega CD.

Chuck Rock II Son of Chuck

This slapstick sequel to 1991’s Chuck Rock, follows the wild adventures of Chuck’s son, Chuck Jr., as he explores a colorful and vibrant prehistoric world. 

The game’s levels are varied and filled with enemies and platforming obstacles made challenging by the inclusion of inventive environmental puzzles. The addition of power-ups and items increases the game’s intractability.

Making use of the Sega CD’s enhanced power capabilities, Chuck Rock II: Son of Chuck features gorgeous pre-rendered graphics, which create a memorable 3D-like effect, giving the game a distinct look that sets it apart from many other platformers of the time.

Despite mixed reviews upon its release, Chuck Rock II: Son of Chuck had some impressive graphics, a lighthearted presentation, and plenty of fun platforming sections, making it a fan favorite among owners of the Sega CD.


Soulstar is a gem in the Sega CD library. This science fiction rail shooter video game was released in 1994 and features some truly gorgeous, highly-detailed 3D graphics which complement its high-stakes alien invasion storyline.


From the moment you take control, the game pits you against a horde of enemy ships, and you’re immediately immersed in the fast-paced science-fiction action.

The game features richly realized levels, each with multiple stages and challenging bosses to defeat, keeping you hooked for hours on end.

One of the standout features of Soulstar for the Sega CD is the fact that the game offers three distinct types of combat. The first mode is an on-rails shoot’em up, the second revolves around an impressive 360-degree control of your ship, and the third form provides a snappy Mecha, each with its own unique control scheme and gameplay functions.

Soulstar is one of the most epic science fiction shooters on the Sega CD and it has earned a spot on this list for its technical achievements, jaw-dropping levels which are rendered in gorgeous detail, and impressively varied gameplay experience.

Shadow of the Beast II

Shadow of the Beast II is a true classic on the Sega CD, and it has earned its place on this list for good reason.

To start, Shadow of the Beast II boasts some truly impressive graphics for the time, with incredibly detailed backgrounds and lively character sprites that simply pop off the screen.

Shadow of the Beast II

The game also uses an up to 12-layer parallax effect to create an impressive sense of depth and immersion in the fantastic world of its setting.

But the Sega CD had many games with impressive graphics, so it’s not just the graphics that make Shadow of the Beast II stand out. The game had very exciting action-platforming gameplay. In fact, the entire duration of the game was action-packed, making sure that players always had something to punch, kick, and attack so they were never bored during its duration.

And let’s not forget about the soundtrack! The game’s musical score is surprisingly beautiful, with haunting, atmospheric melodies that adeptly encapsulated the game’s dark and mysterious tone. It’s no wonder since the game’s composer was David Whittaker, who is considered one of the all-time greats in video game music history.

All in all, Shadow of the Beast II is a game that will transport you back to the golden age of gaming as soon as you take your first step into its vast world. With some impressive visuals, surprisingly challenging gameplay, and a classic soundtrack, this game is a true gem on the Sega CD that deserves to be remembered and experienced to this day.


Microcosm is a visually stunning and action-packed game that takes players on a uniquely thrilling journey through the hidden depths of the human body.


Featuring legitimate cutting-edge graphics and intense on-rails shooter action gameplay, Microcosm showcases the enhanced power of the Sega CD.

In the game, players are given control of a miniature vehicle as it navigates through various pathways of the human body, fighting off hordes of enemies in the form of infectious pathogens and other microorganisms, all rendered in realistic detail.

The game features a variety of levels, each with its unique set of challenges, obstacles, and vicious enemies to overcome.

The smooth and fluid animation, combined with the unique novelty of its setting, creates an immersive experience that transports players to realms of pure imagination.

Microcosm is an adrenaline-filled experience that you must play to believe.


Thunderhawk is one the best games of the Sega CD era, so strap in and get ready for an action-packed journey through the skies. Set in a future world where rogue military factions wage war, you are tasked with piloting the elite Thunderhawk helicopter.


With a pulse-pounding soundtrack that will get your heart racing and adrenaline coursing through your veins, Thunderhawk manages to create a thrilling gameplay experience from start to finish.

The game features impressive 3D graphics which were so ahead of their time it is hard to describe. Thunderhawk’s graphics changed the status quo and showed the gaming industry what home gaming consoles could do.

While piloting the powerful Thunderhawk helicopter through the game’s various levels, you fly over deserts, cities, and oceans as you take on a plethora of enemy tanks, planes, and other military vehicles, in a variety of missions that are all based or themed on realistic military scenarios or events.

Something else that sets Thunderhawk apart from its competition is the fact that the game is about more than just blowing things up. To achieve victory, players will have to strategize and use tactical movement. Engaging an enemy head-on will almost always result in defeat. The game requires quick reflexes and sharp instincts to succeed.

With its challenging and highly rewarding gameplay, jaw-dropping visuals, and infectious musical score, Thunderhawk is a Sega CD classic. If you missed out on playing it when it was released in 1993, I strongly urge you to dust off your Sega CD console and give it a try. You won’t be disappointed.

The Terminator

The Terminator for Sega CD allowed players to live out iconic moments from the highly successful Schwarzenegger flick, The Terminator, and for that alone it takes a spot on this list.

The Terminator

The game places you in the shoes of resistance fighter Kyle Reese, the hero sent back in time to protect John Connor’s mother, Sarah Connor from the relentless pursuit of the killer robot.

Armed to the teeth, you must battle your way through the streets of 80s Los Angeles, and defeat a swarm of Skynet minions.

The Terminator for the Sega CD had some impressive visuals, with detailed sprites, advanced animations, and a beautifully vibrant color scheme, working to create an immersive experience and bring the world of the Terminator to life.

The gameplay was surprisingly challenging, with varied missions and rewarding objectives to keep you engaged and coming back.

And let’s not forget about the game’s fantastic soundtrack, with blistering rock tracks, 80s synth tunes, and even some sections of the film’s score.

The Terminator for the Sega CD perfectly captured the mood and atmosphere of the movie, with pulse-pounding gameplay and immersive action.

Flashback: The Quest for Identity

Flashback: The Quest for Identity is one of the best games for the Sega CD and one of the most unique experiences we will see on this list.

Flashback The Quest for Identity

Flashback: The Quest for Identity is a science fiction action-adventure cinematic platformer about a man who wakes up with no memory of who he is and how he got there. As the player you will have to navigate through a dangerous world filled with enemies, obstacles, and puzzles, to uncover the truth about your past and secure your future.

The gameplay in Flashback for the Sega CD is top-notch, and its combination of platforming, puzzle-solving, and combat is perfectly balanced to make sure the player is always engaged and always moving forward. But what truly sets this game apart from the competition is its visual presentation.

Flashback features colorful hand-drawn levels and hyper-fluid rotoscope animations for the playable and non-playable characters. The result is a vibrant and richly-realized game world that makes moving around and fighting horses of enemies a legitimate blast.

As with many other Sega CD games, Flashback: The Quest for Identity featured a fantastic soundtrack filled with highly atmospheric, CD-quality tracks.

The overall experience was moody and atmospheric, full of mystery and tension. Flashback: The Quest for Identity was a commercial and critical success, and for good reason.

Robo Aleste

Robo Aleste is a superb vertically scrolling shooter for the Sega CD that offers players top-notch non-stop action.

Robo Aleste

The game features combat that is fast-paced and challenging, pitting the player against horde after horde of relentless enemies and powerful bosses. To achieve victory the player has to make adequate use of the potent upgradeable arsenal at their disposal, which includes advanced weapons with cool names such as Exploding Flower, Flying Shadow Formation, Lightning Flash, and Windmill Throwing Knife.

On par with these types of games, Robo Aleste features some impressive visuals. The level design is very detailed, and enemy sprites are vibrant and colorful. The animation is also very smooth, adding a sense of immersion to the gameplay experience.

Robo Aleste will keep you on the edge of your seat.


Wolfchild for the Sega CD is an immensely popular action platformer game for the Sega CD that lets players live out their hidden lycanthrope fantasies by putting them in the shoes of Saul Morrow, a scientist who gains the ability to transform into a powerful werewolf.


This fun gameplay mechanic lets players use the werewolf’s enhanced strength and agility, to perform impressive feats and take on waves of heavily armed enemies. Wolfchild’s levels are also filled with many obstacles, giving plenty of chances to showcase the tight platforming controls.

With well-designed levels, dark and moody music, and a compelling storyline, Wolfchild offers a memorable gameplay experience that will keep you engaged from start to finish.

Ecco the Dolphin

Ecco the Dolphin for the Sega CD is a timeless classic and one of my all-time favorite video games.

Ecco the Dolphin

This classic adventure game takes players on an awe-inspiring journey through the ocean as Ecco, a bottlenose dolphin on a surprisingly emotive mission to save his family and the oceanic ecosystem from a dire threat.

The game’s unique gameplay experience revolves around making smart use of the dolphin’s abilities including swimming at various speeds, ramming into enemy creatures, and using sonar blasts to solve some challenging and creative puzzles.

Ecco the Dolphin offers some truly stunning graphics, character animations, and sound design that make a great case for the extra power of the Sega CD drive.

The game is filled with a sense of wonder that few other games have managed to match. It’s compelling story and well-designed gameplay makes Ecco the Dolphin one of the all-time classics of the gaming world.


Silpheed is an intense space shooter for the Sega CD that offers players non-stop combat against waves of enemies.

Silpheed game

The Sega CD version of the game (there are a few PC versions as well) features detailed polygon graphics over pre-rendered backgrounds and an epic pulsing musical score that complements the action-heavy gameplay extremely well.

Players can upgrade their weapons, of which there are several, as well as defensive stats through generous power-ups.

Silpheed is a must-play for Sega CD fans of space shooters and action games, offering a fine-tuned and no-frills thrilling experience.


Hook is based on the highly successful 1991 movie of the same name.

Released in 1993 for the Sega CD, Hook offers players a solid side-scrolling adventure gameplay experience based on the adventures of Peter Pan as he journeys through Neverland.

This entertaining game offers beautiful graphics, with large detailed levels and brightly colored sprites. The gameplay is challenging but always fun, with a large variety of enemies, obstacles, and pitfalls to overcome.

On the musical side of things, Hook for the Sega CD has a very cinematic soundtrack that perfectly encapsulates the magic and adventure of Peter Pan’s world.

Prince of Persia

Prince of Persia for the Sega CD is an enhanced version of the 1989 classic cinematic action-adventure game that maintains the same iconic gameplay as the original PC title, including tons of nail-biting platforming, challenging sword-fighting, and clever puzzle-solving, but with much-improved graphics and cleaner sound.

Prince of Persia for Sega Mega CD

The game stands out for its animation, which is highly realistic and very fluid, making the Prince’s movements feel more lifelike.

The Sega CD game also features new cutscenes adding to the game’s overall immersive experience.

Prince of Persia for the Sega CD remains as challenging and charming as the PC original, with plenty of traps to avoid and enemies to vanquish, and should be played by all fans of the genre.

Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective

Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective, released for the Sega CD in 1991 offers a distinctively cinematic gameplay experience.

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective

Rather than featuring traditional action/adventure or puzzle-solving gameplay, the game gives players clips of full-motion video featuring live actors and real sets.

The gameplay loop revolves around the player listening to these clips and gathering clues that can be used to decipher the various cases presented. As such, players must rely almost entirely on their powers of deduction as well as investigative skills to solve the mystery at hand.

There are multiple outcomes and varied solutions to each case, making the game surprisingly replayable for the time.

Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective for the Sega CD is a fantastic game for fans of mystery and investigation and one that deserves a spot on the list of the best Sega CD games for its innovation alone.

Android Assault: The Revenge of Bari-Arm

Android Assault: The Revenge of Bari-Arm, or simply Bari-Arm in Japan, is a futuristic 2D side-scrolling shoot ’em up released exclusively for the Sega CD in 1994. The game offers plenty of frenetic action and white-knuckle gameplay.

Android Assault The Revenge of Bari-Arm

The basic gameplay loop revolves around players controlling the titular Bari-Arm, an advanced android fighter jet with a powerful offensive arsenal, in an attempt to thwart a dangerous cyborg uprising.

The moment-to-moment experience is engaging and very satisfying, with what seems like the perfect level of challenge at all times, and plenty of power-ups to frequently increase player power. The game features bright graphics and sprites with interesting designs that fit the futuristic post-apocalyptic theme, especially the game’s unnerving bosses.

While not as popular as some of the other games on this list, Android Assault: The Revenge of Bari-Arm is a solid game that deserves recognition and is a great addition to any Sega CD game collection.

Road Avenger

The next game on the list is Road Avenger, also known as Road Blaster in some markets, an interactive cinematic title.

In the game, which is heavily inspired by the revenge thrillers of the 70s and 80s, players take on the gripping role of a vigilante seeking revenge against a biker gang responsible for the brutal murder of his wife.

Road Avenger

Gameplay in Road Avenger consists of pre-rendered video clips that are overlaid with a variety of input instructions, or prompts, for the player to follow. Think in the vein of the modern-day Quick-Time Event, and you will have a pretty good idea of what I’m talking about here.

To succeed, players will need to make use of fast reflexes and quick decision-making skills as the various obstacles and enemies constantly come at you in the blink of an eye.

Stylistically, Road Avenger for the Mega CD is reminiscent of fast-paced anime-style animations and rocks a pulse-pounding synth-pop musical score to emphasize the adrenaline-fueled high-speed chases.

Its gripping revenge story and completely cinematic presentation make it a worthwhile and highly entertaining experience.

Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side

Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side is the 1995 sequel to the 2D fighting game Eternal Champions for the Sega Genesis. Challenge from the Dark Side features a total of 24 playable characters, 13 of which are available from the start and 11 of which must be gradually unlocked as players progress through the game.

Eternal Champions Challenge from the Dark Side

It’s worth noting that the game’s roster includes every character from the first game, which means that fans of the series will have the ability to fight with their favorites.

As usual for fighting games, each character has their own unique moves and special attacks, so there is plenty of replayability here and fighting styles to master.

Thanks to the extra power afforded by the Sega CD’s disc drive, the game features impressively smooth animations and vibrantly detailed character sprites.

Rounding out the presentation is a rocking soundtrack that adequately captures the game’s intense and fast-paced action, and the cinematic “Cinekills”, which play in full-motion video glory when activated, and keep players engaged and coming back for more.

Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side is a great fighting game that may have been overshadowed by more popular franchises such as Mortal Kombat or Fatal Fury, but it certainly deserves a spot on our list.

Earthworm Jim: Special Edition

The final game on this list of the best Sega CD games is Earthworm Jim: Special Edition, an enhanced version of the classic 1994 Run and Gun platformer game.

Earthworm Jim Special Edition for Sega CD

The original game featured tight controls and a quirky sensibility that imbued every single moment of gameplay with a humorous spirit, and the Special Edition for the Sega CD is no different in that regard.

However, what the game does do differently is make use of the extra power afforded by the console’s CD drive and gives players much-improved graphics and sound design.

The game’s animation is impressive, especially that of the game’s various enemy sprites, and it also features detailed and vibrantly colorful levels. Speaking of levels, Earthworm Jim: Special Edition has all of the levels from the original release, as well as all-new levels and over 1,000 totally new frames of animation.

All in all, Earthworm Jim: Special Edition for the Sega CD is a must-play for those looking for charm and humor in their video games.

Final Thought On The Games Of The Sega CD

From Sonic CD’s fast-paced platformer action to Eternal Champion’s immersive fighting action, every single game on this list is here because it captured the imaginations of Sega CD owners, and in many ways helped to set the standard for what future console gaming could achieve.

The Sega CD has something for everyone, so whether you’re reliving old childhood memories or discovering these gems for the very first time, there’s never been a better time to enjoy the wonders of retro console gaming.

Thanks for reading, and happy gaming!