While the Nintendo Switch’s online collection of retro games never seems to grow as fast as anyone would like, the subscription service currently includes a pretty impressive overall collection of retro hits and obscure curiosities. Even better, the latest update to that service finally brings one of the most underrated Sega Genesis games to a wider audience.
Actually, the most recent Nintendo Switch Online update is entirely focused on Sega Genesis games. While that does mean that you’ll need to subscribe to Switch Online’s Expansion Pack service to access these recently added games, it’s nice to see Nintendo give the Genesis library some love given the once heated hardware battles between Sega and Nintendo.
Obviously, Earthworm Jim is the “headliner” of this particular update. Not only is that game still beloved by many for its strange humor and fascinating level design, but it’s nice to see that Nintendo decided to give us the Genesis version of that game rather than the SNES edition. As we previously discussed, the Genesis version of Earthworm Jim is actually far superior to its SNES counterpart.
The addition of Alisia Dragoon is also a big win for fans of retro Genesis titles. While that game was sadly not a big hit in its day, its fast-paced fantasy gameplay and wonderful visual design have since earned it widespread praise. If you’ve never had the pleasure of playing that incredible 2D title and you’re a fan of games like Strider, be sure to give it a shot.
Yet, I truly believe the crown jewel of the latest Switch Online update has to be the addition of Beyond Oasis (aka The Story of Thor).
First released in 1994/1995, Beyond Oasis had the great misfortune of making its Genesis debut at a time when many gamers already had their eyes on the next generation of gaming consoles. Mind you, it doesn’t seem like the game was that heavily marketed in the first place. Those who did give Beyond Oasis a passing glance may have even written it off as a poor attempt at a Zelda-like adventure for the Genesis. Mind you, that’s not inherently a bad thing, but Genesis owners just had so many other games to choose between by the end of the console’s run. It was hard for a new game not made by a major studio to make a name for itself without a serious publicity push.
Yet, Beyond Oasis most certainly deserved to make a name for itself. While Beyond Oasis‘ classic adventure game elements (i.e. Zelda-like features) will likely appeal to anyone with any fondness for that genre, the game’s real strength was its fantastic combat system.
Beyond Oasis‘ unique combat system combined elements of arcade beat-em-up titles and retro fighting games. It’s an incredibly active take on adventure game combat that forces you to make the most out of your character’s entertaining array of abilities. I don’t know if I’ve ever played another top-down adventure game from that era that makes every fight feel so satisfying. Even some of the best adventure games from that time sometimes treat combat as a small part of the more epic journeys they offered. In Beyond Oasis, you’ll find yourself smiling every time you run into a new foe simply because they’ll give you a chance to refine your fighting style and appreciate how both you and your character have grown.
It also must be said that Beyond Oasis is one of the absolute best-looking games on the Genesis. Granted, I’m usually part of the “graphics don’t really matter” crowd, but there’s something to be said for the way this game’s visual design encourages you to keep exploring new areas just to see what visual wonders they feature. Besides, the visual style of that era of gaming has aged fantastically well, and Beyond Oasis is a pretty great example of why that style is damn near timeless.
Beyond Oasis is one of those games that you may not have grown up with but will still feel instantly nostalgic the moment you play it thanks to its pure (yet refined) form of retro gameplay. It’s the kind of game that not only deserves the love it didn’t necessarily receive upon its initial release, but it’s the kind of game more people need to champion simply to increase our odds of getting more modern titles that follow in its footsteps.