15 Best Sega Genesis RPGs of All Time

RPGs galore with the Sega Genesis!

Milan Zagorac
Milan Zagorac
10 Min Read

The Sega Genesis has a decent collection of RPGs, even though most would look at the SNES for this genre. The following games are the best Genesis RPGs, including a couple of series, instead of specific titles.


The Shining Series

Shining Force II showing the main character tasting water from a well, in one of the best Sega Genesis RPGs.

Release: 1991/1992/1993
Developer: Climax Entertainment/Sonic! Software Planning
Publisher: Sega

The Shining series is a masterpiece of role-playing games, and the Genesis is lucky enough to have at least five games if we include the add-on Mega CD games. Whether you play Shining in the Darkness, Shining Force, Shining Force II, or the Gaiden titles, you won’t be disappointed.

The Shining series is a tactical RPG on the battlefield with adventuring and exploring away from the battlefield. The series contains some of the best Genesis RPGs and in general, great games.


The Phantasy Star Series

Phantasy Star III. The Phantasy series has some of the best Sega Genesis RPGs, ever.

Release: 1989/1990/1993/1994 
Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega

Phantasy Star is the other series that you should play if you like RPGs and the Genesis. There are four games on the Genesis. The one released in 1994 is actually the first one, released as an exclusive game.

Set in various worlds, but mostly in the system of Algol, the games span over a couple of millennia, depending on the title. The games are typical RPGs, with adventuring and exploration, talking with characters, and having turn-based battles. The stories are unique and breathtaking.


Crusaders of Centy

Crusaders of Centy is a great RPG title for the Genesis.

Release: 1994
Developer: Nextech
Publisher: Sega

Crusader of Centy is a combination of action-adventure game and RPG. It is very similar to the Legend of Zelda, a famous game for the NES and SNES. There are enough differences that make this game stand out.

It is played in real-time, for starters. You can talk and interact with NPCs, but what makes it unique are the animal companions that you can take with you. They give you different abilities, based on which animal you have handy.


Dungeons & Dragons: Warriors of the Eternal Sun 

A standard party of four in D&D: Warriors of the Eternal Sun on the Sega Genesis.

Release: 1992
Developer: Westwood Associates
Publisher: Sega of America

This is a typical D&D game with a few twists. There are two combat variants, outside combat which is turn-based, and indoor combat which is first-person and real-time. The third aspect of the game is exploration and adventuring.

You build a party of four people, a fighter, dwarf, elf, cleric, thief, and halfling being the races at your disposal. Each excels at something or is a jack of all trades. Stranded in a different place, you must discover what happened and why. 



Exploration in Starflight, one of the best Sega Genesis RPGs.

Release: 1986/1991
Developer: Binary Systems
Publisher: Electronic Arts

This is a true RPG experience in the sense that you have the freedom to explore and navigate the world until the plot pulls you in. It is one of the best Genesis RPGs, even though it is a remake of the original, released for the IBM PC in 1986.

You are a starship captain, and you can explore, mine, and navigate space. It is a relatively peaceful endeavor until you realize that some beings are causing stars to explode. Given how problematic supernovas are, you have to investigate and stop them.


Light Crusader 

Sir David at the start of Crusaders of Light.

Release: 1995
Developer: Treasure
Publisher: Sega

Light Crusader combines everything from action-adventure and platformer to RPG, and it works. You can jump, and fight in real-time, as well as visit towns, interact with NPCs, shop, and advance quests. 

We follow Sir David, who is sent by the king to investigate the recent disappearance of people. David uncovers quite a plot, which escalates to a bigger threat, as it often does. This game is a solid mix of everything popular in the 1980s and 1990s.


Ys III: Wanderers from Ys

YS III added a new perspective to an already successful series.

Release: 1989/1991
Developer: Nihon Falcom
Publisher: Nihon Falcom

Action RPGs might not have been as popular in the 1990s, but there were outliers that didn’t comply with the traditional turn-based style. The perspective is now a side-scroller, instead of a top-down game. Attacks must be prompted now.

We follow Adol Christin after the events of the first two games. Adol gets swept into another adventure while traveling with his friend, Dogi.


Sword of Vermillion

Sword of Vermillion has a dark start but a lovely story and is a great RPG title for the Sega Genesis.

Release: 1989
Developer: Sega AM2
Publisher: Sega

This is a mix of different genres all in one, though it is primarily an action RPG. It has multiple views, depending on the part of the game. We follow the son of Erik, a king, as he begins his life anew after his caretaker and warrior, Blade, is on his deathbed.

The town view is top-down, typical for exploration. Battles are played in real time with a different overhead view. Dungeons are explored in first person and bosses are fought sideways.



Syndicate is an interesting take on a management simulator and RPG.

Release: 1993
Developer: Bullfrog Productions
Publisher: Electronic Arts

Syndicate takes us to a modern time where corporations have taken over as rulers, instead of governments. In this dystopian future, we must control agents and take over select countries by performing missions.

The gameplay doesn’t stop at the action part and isometric shooting. You have to manage the countries, and develop new tools, but that costs resources. Finding and managing everything, while also fighting, Syndicate offers a proper challenge.


King’s Bounty

King's Bounty is the precursor to the Heroes of Might and Magic franchise.

Release: 1990/1991
Developer: New World Computing
Publisher: New World Computing/Electronic Arts

King’s Bounty is an interesting tactical RPG with turn-based combat. You are given orders by the king to take over various territories and chase down or dodge villains, as you find your way to another objective. 

This is widely considered the precursor of the Heroes of Might and Magic series. The Genesis version moves the exploration to real-time, making the entire game more challenging.



Shadowrun is takes you to a dystopian future, an interesting experience for the mid 1990s.

Release: 1994
Developer: BlueSky Software
Publisher: Sega

Shadowrun is an adaptation of the eponymous tabletop game, set in a world with creatures and cybernetics. We control Joshua as he navigates the dangerous world.

The player has contracts and earns Karma or experience, which is used to level up. The game’s levels are accessed by taxi or helicopter. The battles are short but fun, also in real-time.


Might & Magic II: Gates to Another World 

Might and Magic II: Gate to Another World is one of the best Sega Genesis RPGs.

Release: 1988/1991
Developer: New World Computing
Publisher: New World Computing

The Might & Magic series has plenty of great titles and this is one of them. There are 8 available classes and you control a party of six. The game switches between fantasy and sci-fi in an instant, making it rather interesting.

Other than the non-traditional storytelling, the game has plenty of puzzles, as well as an aging factor. The characters can age and eventually die if their aging is not reversed.


Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday

Buck Rogers has great titles in the series and Countdown to Doomsday is one of them.

Release: 1990/1991
Developer: Strategic Simulations
Publisher: Strategic Simulations

Set in the Buck Rogers XXVC universe, we are here to help the New Earth Organization fight off the Russo-American Mercantile. There are ship battles, exploration in space, adventuring, land combat, and first-person exploration.

You can build a party of six with five classes and six races, limited to four classes and races on the Genesis. Despite the omissions, with all that is going on in the game, Countdown to Doomsday is one of the best Genesis RPGs.


The Faery Tale Adventure

The Faery Tale Adventure offers a simple but interesting story and non-standard gameplay for an RPG of its time.

Release: 1987/1991
Developer: Microillusions/New World Computing
Publisher: Microillusions/Electronic Arts

Released originally for the Amiga, this game has three playable characters, three brothers, in fact. Each of them has their own strengths and weaknesses.

The goal of the game is to recover a stolen amulet and return it to Tambry, their home village. Combat is in real-time, as is the exploration and adventuring.


Beggar Prince

The Beggar Prince is a great game and one of the best Sega Genesis RPGs.

Release: 1996
Developer: C&E Inc.
Publisher: C&E Inc.

The Beggar Prince is known under the name Xin Qigai Wangzi and tells the story of a prince switching places with a beggar, to experience the world.

This change ends up being almost permanent, and troublesome. It is a large game and one of the best Genesis RPGs, released late in its life cycle.


These are some of the best Genesis RPGs released or ported to the consoles. There are more titles that could be on the list, notably Landstalker and Laggrisser, present on the list of best Sega Genesis games.

The list would be very large if it were to contain all the titles, so these 15 (more if we include the series and two titles above) will be a great introduction to the best Sega Genesis RPGs.

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With over 1650 hours of Apex Legends, and 2100 of League of Legends, Milan is an avid gamer. When he's not indoors, he climbs mountains or does urban acrobatics. Add a passion for writing to the mix and you get a hopefully interesting broth.
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