For as long as there has been video games, there has been dungeon crawlers and role-playing titles for every system. While the older games were great, it wasn’t until graphics and memory advanced that we got immersive story-driven epics.
Genesis RPGs are often overlooked. Less face it, the console itself was less popular than its competitor and the genre itself was just starting to evolve. There were a lot of good RPGs for the Genesis that were overlooked, missed, or forgotten.
So in case you missed any of these the first time around we are going to look at the
21 Best Roleplaying Games On The Sega Genesis
Uncharted Waters: New Horizons
New Horizons is a sequel to the popular Uncharted Waters. Set in the 16th century, you are the captain of a ship and as you sail, you have to look out for pirates that are trying to steal everything you have.
When you are docked, you can hire people to work on your ship, find out what places are worth exploring, buy and upgrade weapons, and new ships.
The presentation is decent for Sega Genesis and you can even take on your enemies in a duel. The controls take a little bit of work to get used to and not everyone will have the patience for it but those who stick it out will find many hours of entertainment here.
The year is 2096 and a competing company has created a program that is wanted by your research team. Instead of different countries, the world has split into regions with the biggest companies in the world controlling each region.
You control a team of cybernetically modified agents as they attempt to take control of a particular country. You must overcome the local police force and armed agents from rival gangs to complete missions.
They didn’t hold back here. There will be blood, drugs, and violence in this isometric cyber-thriller.
The storyline may sound familiar in this side-scroller where you have to rescue the princess. But that is where the similarities end. You can fight your way through with magic as a wizard or you can rely on your combat skills.
The arcade port of this action RPG would allow four players but the console version only allows up to two players, and there will be consequences if you fail because you can’t save.
With a deep currency system and tight controls that just feel right. The bosses in the game were also memorable and are no pushovers.
Mermaids, zombies, ninjas, and dragons. Cadash has it all.
Buck Rogers: Countdown To Doomsday
This game takes place in the future and Earth is about to be destroyed. The evil empire has an ultimate weapon and you have to team up with Buck Rogers to save the planet. It is an all-out battle between Earth and Mars.
You control a team of 6 characters with multiple races and classes to build from.
Perfect for any sci-fi RPG players, the game does take a while to get into, but if that’s your thing it will not be long before you are hooked.
It is a war of intergalactic proportions and there is no more time for talking.
The Faery Tale Adventure
Yes, that is spelled right.
At the time of its release, The Faery Tale Adventure featured the largest game world in gaming at the time.
You take control of 3 brothers that have to protect the land from an ancient evil. To overcome this evil force, you must retrieve the stolen talisman. The only things that can help you are your sword and the guts to not back down from any challenge.
Some people may be turned off because there are mazes that will require some time to beat and figuring them out won’t be a piece of cake. However, the reward for completing those mazes is always a payoff and the items you collect will be needed to further your adventure.
This game is also one of the first to introduce optional side quests which are always worth giving a chance.
Some people consider this game the best role-playing game on the Sega Genesis.
You control a group of commanders and you know very little about the mission. Every commander gets their army and then it’s time for war.
If you like role-playing games that require a little more strategy then you have hours of gameplay ahead of you. There are plenty of additional leaders to acquire and special abilities to make you more powerful.
If a commander dies then all the soldiers following that commander also die. So if you make the wrong move, you may need to reload your game. Fortunately, this is one tactical role-playing game where you can save whenever you want.
Are you a role-playing gamer who enjoys collecting everything you can in a game?
This game was made with those gamers in mind. Just like the previous game, you are in charge of a small army and there are four continents that you must investigate, and countless enemies that you must defeat.
You are looking for the King’s scepter which is a relic with never-ending power. But before you find the scepter you must find the 25 pieces of the map that will reveal its location.
Any classic RPG fan is familiar with the original Gauntlet game, and its awesome sequel.
Gauntlet IV brings back that familiar action on the Sega Genesis with up to four players instead of only two.
Everything else about the other Gauntlet games remains the same in this one. You still have many levels to explore with many enemies in your way that you have to defeat. But with three people helping out, you have a better chance of succeeding.
You and your crew are sailing around in the Caribbean during the 1600s and you will risk your life and your treasure when you come across enemies. You will also be looking for more treasure, make pacts to acquire new allies, and rescue hostages in danger.
Pirates! Gold has Super VGA hand-painted graphics that look amazing. From sailing the sea, discovering land, and epic sword fights, it has everything a pirate would want.
The battles are fun and using maps to find treasure adds to the experience of the game.
People have been going missing and the king tasks you with finding out where they might be. After fining finding a hidden dungeon under the graveyard, your quest starts to unfold.
Light Crusader is an isometric action RPG that gives players a wide range of control. This is good because there is a mix-up of platforming and puzzle-solving.
There are a huge number of different spells that you can use to defeat the ever-growing hoard of monsters you come across as you progress deeper into the unknown.
After a millennium of inactivity, the followers of the dark sorceress Castomira have stolen the sword of light and plan to use it to resurrect her. It’s up to you and your group of adventurers to retrieve it.
If you love role-playing games that feature a lot of shooting then this is the game for you. This is another beautiful action RPG with a top-down view.
You can go in any direction to find several side quests and receive help from non-playable characters along the way.
Ys III: Wanderers From Y’s
Set three years after the first two games, You and your friend head out to his town after getting some ominous news. On the way there a mystery begins to unfold and you find the townspeople are not safe. With no one else to help these people, it’s up to you.
The graphics look great and the music in the game is on another level from most other games of the time. Instead of the top-down view, most other games on this list have, Ys III offers a side-scrolling view.
This is one role-playing game that requires grinding so don’t be too quick to give up. Pushing through is worth the effort.
Wonder Boy In Monster World
Most are familiar with this side-scrolling role-playing series but even back in the day, this was one of Sega’s not-so-hidden gems.
Wonderboy is a series that progressed kind of like Mario on the NES. Each game seemed perfect and it was hard to believe how they could improve. Then the next one came out and it blew away its predecessor.
An evil army of monsters is invading the peaceful land and now the princess has been kidnapped. Of course, it’s up to you to save her.
Before you reach every town, some areas will allow you to grind. If you want the best weapons in, there is no way to get them without grinding. But it is not excessive and well needed.
This game has it all with memorable enemies, beautiful graphics and art style, and music will stay with you.
Seattle is a place of great suffering and injustice in the year 2050 and the information of everybody is stored on a computer. You play Joshua and you are trying to save the world while doing some questionable activities for Mr. Johnson.
Fans of real-time combat will love this classic. The story in the game is the same as in the books that Shadowrun is based on. It is a dark futuristic tale of technology, cybernetics, and magic.
While this cyberpunk RPG also came out on the Super Nintendo, the Genesis version wasn’t censored as heavily as the Nintendo one and follows the books more closely.
Hard to explain Landstalker without giving too much away, but it throws you in the middle of a conflict between a duke, a wizard, lots of treachery, and a king’s gold.
Many role-playing games from this era tasked you with saving the whole world. That isn’t the objective in Landstalker.
You will love the music and interaction between characters but this is not an easy game. Platforming will add a challenge as you progress through the different levels, and it is one of the best-looking fantasy RPGs listed here.
Dungeons & Dragons: Warriors Of The Eternal Sun
You and other characters have no idea where you ended up after the whole castle was transported to a mysterious valley. The locals are hostile, which will make your task of finding your way home all the more difficult.
While there were plenty of Dungeon & Dragon games on Nintendo, this was the only one to make it to the Sega Genesis, and it was amazing.
When you create your party, there are over half a dozen classes to choose from so you can create a party unique to the way you want to play.
There are a bunch of different environments to explore and creatures to kill. They even change up the overhead RPG action with actual dungeon crawling.
The music is a bit repetitive, but not bad to listen too and the tone always matches the situation spot on.
Crusader Of Centy
Some people consider this the best role-playing game on Sega Genesis and it is often compared to a Link To The Past on the SNES for its style and gameplay.
You play a teenager who is unable to speak to people but he instead gains the ability to speak to animals. These animals that you can talk to will help you on the way.
Later in the game, you will regain your ability to talk to humans and use your newfound powers to try to build a better world.
There aren’t many branching paths in this game but there is still a lot of variety thanks to the many different animals that help you out.
The bracelets of power have been discovered and it’s up to you to summon the four spirits to stop the wielder of the silver armlet from summoning the evil it controls.
Beyond Oasis is another “Zelda-style” game. But with the ability to run, jump and duck!
You start with only a knife but quickly discover more powerful weapons and you will need to continue to grow your magic ability as you progress through the game.
The graphics are great but sadly it’s not quite as long as other role-playing games on this list.
Shining Force II
A thief steals the jewels of Light and Darkness not knowing they are the seals to the long-forgotten demon king. The king falls sick and the Princess is kidnapped.
These events throw the world into peril. You have to create a team of 12 characters from a selection of 20. Your objective is to save the world of course.
This turn-based fantasy roleplaying game has lots of exploration. The battles you will encounter are fun and even players not familiar with role-playing games will not be turned off.
With memorable fights, villains, and a story with a message, SF2 is one of the best titles in the series.
Phantasy Star II
Phantasy Star II is a traditional RPG just like the original for the Sega Master System and is set 1000 years after the events of the first game.
It is a futuristic sci-fi adventure based in the fictional Algol star system. The environment is a perfect mix of monsters, magic, and futuristic technology.
Each character you pick up will have their own moves, abilities, and weapon sets. As you progress you will lose and acquire new characters so the game continues to change and evolve as you play. Something later titles in the game continued to expand on.
Phantasy Star II is considered by many to be the best RPG of its era. Even if it’s not, you owe it to yourself to play this game.
Phantasy Star IV
Magic plays a big part here, just like in previous Phantasy Star games. Battles against enemies are still turn-based and your main view is from overhead. The battle system in this game is much like others in the series and it feels great.
The graphics and new storyboard animations help rise this on up above its predecessors and the sound helps pull you into this world.
But as with every Phantasy Star game, the story is what makes it a winner. Phantasy Star IV takes place one thousand years after the third Phantasy Star game. After the “Great Collapse”, most of the world has been thrown into turmoil.
You play Chaz Ashley and with the increase of biomonsters you figure out there is an evil force behind the growing number of events and decide it is up to you and your team to make things right.
These are the top 20 role-playing games on the Sega Genesis. I had a really difficult time ordering them as most of them are a solid 10. So if you disagree with the list I won’t argue with you.
If you haven’t tried these games, you are missing out. Which were your favorites?