With the WiiU’s release late last year, it’s likely that Sega’s support of the original Wii has come to an end as they move onto Nintendo’s new console. Throughout the years Sega has been a huge supporter Nintendo’s motion controlled system and released many exclusives, ports and sequels to some of their most popular franchises. Any Sega fan without a Wii is definitely missing out on some games that will definitely be remembered as “essential” Sega games in years to come.
Hit the jump to read about our 10 essential Wii games published or developed by Sega.
Scott Morrison: If the Wii does one thing right it’s bringing an arcade experience to your living room without the need for piles of tokens. Ghost Squad is no exception to this fact. The game itself could be cleared in all of 20 minutes, but the replay value is ridiculous. As a member of a Special Forces team, it’s your job to defeat the terrorists. That’s it. Do you really need a secure plot with on-rails shooters? Ghost Squad shines with its replay value by allowing for various paths in each level, unlockable weapons, and unlockable costumes. There are few things more satisfying than seeing your teammates dressed up as a cowboy or in a giant panda suit while trying to secure the perimeter. The game also gets intense in times involving melee quick-time-events to break add a bit of variety, but not to the point of annoyance. Few arcade shooters attempt four-player modes, and Ghost Squad actually does it well by adding just enough enemies and difficulty, but not to the point of insanity. The B-Movie lines are laughably great, and add to the campy feel of the game overall. Ghost Squad is a great little romp for anyone who doesn’t take video games too seriously, but also needs a game to kill time with friends.
House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return
Scott Morrison: As a Sega fan, if House of the Dead 2 is somehow not in your collection yet, then you have no excuse but to pick up House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return. I feel like little can be said that hasn’t already been said about HOTD 2, because everyone has suffered like G did at this point. However, the suffering is only half of the fun. HOTD 2 can be found in many arcades and is not an incredibly challenging game, but HOTD 3 is a different story. It wasn’t until this home version did I actually play all the way through HOTD 3 seeing as I never owned an Xbox, and never had enough tokens to conquer it in the arcade. Both games are some of the best campy on-rail shooters to grace arcades, and the ability to have both in one set is great. The bonus included, such as Extreme Mode in HOTD 3, provide for a variety of challenges for both veterans and newcomers, but you’ll always find yourself going back to the original games in hopes of ridding the world of zombies. Having 2 games in 1 makes this one of the best deals on the Wii, and one of the best ways to spend a Friday night.
House of the Dead: Overkill
Josh Newey: A lot of games have attempted to mimic the grindhouse aesthetic, but not one of them reaches the sleazy, grungy perfection of House of the Dead’s latest iteration. With scratched film, missing reels, gravelly announcers, hilarious B-movie plots, and enough F-bombs to make Martin Scorsese blush, Overkill is an absolute must-play based on its brilliant presentation alone. But above all of that is the magnetic relationship between the game’s dirty-mouthed bad boy protagonists, Isaac Washington and G. The chemistry between these two just isn’t found enough in videogames, especially the horror genre, and despite the intentionally bottom-of-the-barrel dialogue and scenarios, there is never a moment in the entire game where I wasn’t delighted to hear what the mysterious agent and his hard-nosed Samuel L. Jackson-inspired partner had to say. Add to that some trademark pick-up-and-play blasting, as well as the sadistically enthralling “GOREGASM” combo meter, and you’ve got one of the very best “lightgun” games to hit not just the Wii, but any console ever.
Alex Riggen: Right out of the gate Yuji Naka’s new development studio, Prope, was able to prove that the Sonic creator still had the talent and ability to make creative game experiences that were accessible to a large demographic. Using the simple gimmick of setting the Wii-mote on a cardboard box and tapping the box to interact with the game, Prope created a compelling multiplayer experience with 5 games that all used the input method in different ways. Some of these games, like Runner and the Rhythm game, were incredibly addicting and satisfying experiences. They weren’t all up to the same level of quality but at the $30 launch price there was more than enough to keep anyone satisfied and coming back for months.
Josh Newey: Poor Platinum. Despite having released what are hands-down the best Sega games of this generation, some of their universally fantastic titles failed to make even a minor splash in the financial pond (besides of course Bayonetta). That’s a damn shame in Madworld‘s case, as this Wii exclusive is one of the most visually interesting and perversely satisfying beat-em-ups in recent memory. Its unique, inky Sin City-style black and white (and blood red) art direction is really something to behold, and while the gameplay is pretty basic and gets a bit repetitive toward the end, the constant search for more multi-faceted, creative ways to bludgeon, impale, disembowel, grind, slice, crush, and decapitate your enemies never gets boring. Adding extra flavor to the endless bloodshed are none other than comedian Greg Proops and voice acting extraordinaire John Dimaggio, whose immaculately performed one-liners follow the violence like a couple seasoned sports announcers. Madworld might not be the deepest or the most mature game the Wii has to offer, but there certainly is no other game like it on the market.
NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams
Michael Westgarth: Never having a Saturn as a lad, Journey of Dreams was in fact my entry point into the short series. This was back before I was the Sega Addict I am today, back when I didn’t really know what Nights was about. After about 10 frustrating minutes battling with the motion controls I switched to a GameCube controller and quickly realized that I was playing one of the sweetest and light-hearted games I’d ever played.
I’ve played the game on and off for years, so the actual story line alludes me, but even so the wonderfully uplifting atmosphere of the game combined with the colourful environments and heart warming soundtrack warms my cockles every time I play. NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams is like that cheesy, feel-good Christmas movie you can never say no to, and I love it.
Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love
Alex Riggen: NIS America releasing Sakura Wars V in the West is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because Western gamers finally got a chance to play the much loved Sega series in English after nearly a decade since the franchise first came out in Japan. It’s a curse because now we know that we were missing out on one of the best and most unique RPG series to ever see the light of day. Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love takes the RPG genre, the turn-based strategy genre and dating sims and blends them into an experience that takes the best from what each genre has to offer. The story and characters are charming, the battles are engaging and spread out enough that you always look forward to the next one and the music is memorable and fits the tone and aesthetic of Sakura Wars perfectly. If you’re a Sega or RPG fan it’s essential that you track down a copy of this game.
Sega Superstars Tennis
Flake: To me, this is the game that really started Sega’s (successful) assault on the party-style sports and racing games that have traditionally been Nintendo’s turf. Sega Superstars Tennis took a lot of Sega’s best mascots and crammed them into a wacky tennis game where powers, obstacles, and levels are directly lifted from some of Sega’s best games.
What separates this game from Mario Tennis or another Nintendo mascot-fest is the level of fan service (pun). The game itself is
serviceable (another pun) but a lot of care was made to design mini-games based around Sega’s old games. With homages to Virtua Cop, NiGHTS, Space Channel 5 and more, the game feels like less of a tennis game with a Sega skin and more like a love-love fueled celebration of what makes the House of Sonic stand out.
Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing
Flake: Mario Kart Wii sucked. It was boring. It felt slow. The worst offense, in my eyes, was the litany of items that could screw the whole game up for the leader in a split second. In my opinion, Mario Kart is a series that saw its last entry on the Game Cube. For cart racing on the Wii (and several other consoles), it was all about the Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing.
There was a lot to love about the game: The budget price, the silky smooth online play, and the achievement system that really gave you a reason to re-play levels. Add on to that a control scheme that felt better than Mario Kart and the most random cast of Sega characters and you had a winner.
Sure the game was not perfect. There were glitches to be had and some of the character omissions were down right mind boggling. Like…how NiGHTS was a bit player but half the game was based on Billy Freaking Hatcher. Also why it seemed like Sonic Heroes was the center of the Sonic universe. All that aside, the game was fun and in any race, at any point, you always felt like you had a chance to get the lead or hold on to it.
Michael Westgarth: Sonic had a bit of a rough time during the first decade of the 21st century. Sega struggled for quite some time to find the blue blur’s place in the world of three dimensions, releasing some mediocre to down right abysmal games in the process. Sonic Colors however was a giant leap in the right direction.
Building on the non-werehog levels of Sonic Unleashed, Sonic Colors featured a clever mix of 2D and 3D levels that were appropriately sized, well designed and (mostly) devoid of cheap deaths and poorly placed enemies. Sega also ditched the real-world setting of previous games for a charming space adventure that would see Sonic zipping around a planet made of sweeties, an oriental water world, a orbital carnival and more. It’s vibrant, it’s colourful, it has a really cool and original soundtrack and it’s a bunch of fun to play.
Sonic Colors was the first Sonic game released in a long time that I felt justified the continuing existence of the Sonic franchise. Not only was it as fantastic game, but the prospect of further Sonic games like it genuinely excited me. If you have a Wii and haven’t played Sonic Colors yet then you’re missing out on what is without a shadow of a doubt a future classic.
Honorable Mentions: Conduit 2
Josh Newey: There’s no doubt about it–the Conduit series has a lot of problems. Issues with irritating level design, generic story and laughable art direction plagued the first game, disappointing fans (and I include myself in that number) anticipating what looked to be the Wii’s FPS savior. While Conduit 2 carries its own satchel of aggravations, it vastly improves upon the original, with surprisingly attractive visuals, much more entertaining and creative gameplay, and the very best online FPS multiplayer that the Wii has (or will ever have) to offer. The real star of Conduit’s show, however, is the silky smooth, pinpoint-accurate, fully-customizable controls. Despite all of the series’ awkward missteps, playing it with your Wii-mote is an undeniable blast. Since the fad of motion controls finally seems to be fading into the distance, one of its most exciting and under-explored possibilities–a refreshing new way to play FPS’s–is fading as well. For that reason alone, Conduit 2 is worth a try.