The complete guide to Sega Mega Drive games on Nintendo Switch Online

Mega Drive Nintendo Switch Online

Along with its Nintendo 64 offering, Nintendo has been quite slow to trickle out new games onto the Sega Mega Drive app for the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack service. That said, the offerings that are already there are very strong indeed — though there are a few notable omissions for various reasons.

In many cases, titles are “missing” because they’ve already had a standalone release elsewhere, perhaps in enhanced form through the excellent Sega Ages lineup for Switch. In others, they simply haven’t arrived on the service yet; fingers crossed we’ll see more of the Mega Drive essentials in the long term.

That’s no reason to sleep on what is there already, though — so let’s take a look at what’s available right now. Don’t forget to check out our companion pieces on the NES, SNES and N64 games available via the Nintendo Switch Online subscription!

Alien Soldier

Notoriously challenging run-and-gun title from Treasure. Impressive graphics, but one hell of a learning curve, and easy to bounce off.

Alien Soldier for Mega Drive

Alisia Dragoon

One of the Mega Drive’s finest action platformers, developed by Game Arts. Beautiful visuals, great music, well-crafted gameplay. An essential.

Alisia Dragoon for Mega Drive

Altered Beast

The original pack-in game for the Sega Mega Drive. Has never actually been very good, but has a certain camp charm about it that remains timeless.

Altered Beast for Mega Drive

Beyond Oasis

Also known as The Story of Thor, this is a beautifully presented top-down action RPG developed by Yuzo Koshiro’s Ancient outfit. Top-tier Mega Drive game.

Beyond Oasis/Story of Thor for Mega Drive

Castlevania Bloodlines

Solid Castlevania in the traditional style, notable for upping the pace a little over previous installments and being noticeably gorier.

Castlevania Bloodlines for Mega Drive

Comix Zone

Spectacularly stylish beat ’em up in which you battle your way through the pages of a comic book, complete with speech bubbles and visible onomatopoeia.

Comix Zone for Mega Drive

Contra Hard Corps

Contra’s super-slick run-and-gun gameplay is present and correct here, as is an absolutely monstrous difficulty curve. Expect a stiff challenge.

Contra Hard Corps for Mega Drive

Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine

It’s Puyo Puyo, from that dark time before the west was considered ready for Puyo Puyo in its original form.

Dr Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine for Mega Drive

Dynamite Headdy

Action platformer from Treasure, featuring the developer’s characteristic beautiful presentation and batshit insane concepts.

Dynamite Headdy for Mega Drive

Earthworm Jim

Well-loved at the time for its beautiful animation, Earthworm Jim’s gameplay hasn’t aged super-gracefully, but is a tad more focused than its chaotic sequel.

Earthworm Jim for Mega Drive

Ecco the Dolphin

Beloved chilled-out underwater exploration game. Noteworthy for its creativity and atmosphere, but doesn’t resonate with everyone.

Ecco the Dolphin for Mega Drive

Golden Axe

Famous fantasy-themed beat ’em up. A little clunky by modern standards, but still a good time, particularly if you can bring a friend along for the ride.

Golden Axe for Mega Drive

Gunstar Heroes

Treasure’s frantic run-and-gun is a cult classic with good reason. Spectacular presentation, snappy controls and challenging gameplay.

Gunstar Heroes for Mega Drive

Light Crusader

A rare foray into RPG territory for Treasure, this isometric adventure combines action, platforming and role-playing to good effect.

Light Crusader for Mega Drive

Mega Man: The Wily Wars

Mega Man 1, 2 and 3 get the 16-bit treatment. Mega Man purists prefer the NES originals, but this is still a solid way to enjoy Mega Man’s action platforming.

Mega Man: The Wily Wars for Mega Drive


One of the best and most technically impressive vertical shooters on the Mega Drive, and a spiritual successor to the Aleste series from Compile.

MUSHA for Mega Drive

Phantasy Star IV

Most Phantasy Star fans agree that this title is the best of the series’ 16-bit adventures; certainly much more accessible than II.

Phantasy Star IV for Mega Drive


Underappreciated platformer from the tail end of the Mega Drive’s life on the market. Gorgeous presentation and animation, and solid level design.

Ristar for Mega Drive

Shining Force

The strategy RPG action of this classic title still holds up extremely well today, even if the presentation is a little dated.

Shining Force for Mega Drive

Shining Force II

It’s Shining Force, but better. No radical mechanical changes, but the presentation is a tad better and the gameplay is still rock-solid.

Shining Force II for Mega Drive

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Is it the best Sonic game? The arguments will almost certainly rage forever, but it’s the only mainline Sonic game in the app for now, so you might as well enjoy it.

Sonic the Hedgehog II for Mega Drive

Sonic Spinball

The pinball stages from mainline Sonic games expanded into a full game. Hated by many, but nowhere near as bad as the Internet would like you to believe.

Sonic Spinball for Mega Drive

Space Harrier II

It may not be quite as slick as the arcade version, but this is still a solid port of Sega’s classic quasi-3D arcade blast ’em up.

Space Harrier II for Mega Drive

Streets of Rage II

Still a benchmark for the beat ’em up genre. Beautiful presentation, banging music, satisfying mechanics and a well-paced challenge. Essential.

Streets of Rage II for Mega Drive


Solid port of Capcom’s challenging arcade classic — arguably a better experience today due to being balanced for home play rather than quarter-munching.

Strider for Mega Drive

Super Fantasy Zone

Beautifully presented free-scrolling cute ’em up, originally only released in Europe and Japan. Super fun, and full of catchy tunes to enjoy.

Super Fantasy Zone for Mega Drive

Sword of Vermilion

An interesting RPG that combines first-person dungeon crawling, real-time combat and side-scrolling action. The first console game from Sega AM2.

Sword of Vermilion for Mega Drive

Target Earth

Aka Assault Suits Leynos. Mecha-themed run-and-gun with emphasis on plot, notorious for having some scenes removed on its western release.

Target Earth/Assault Suits Leynos for Mega Drive

Thunder Force II

While later Thunder Force games were strictly side-scrollers, this game combines top-down freeform shooting with side-scrolling segments. Solid, fun and challenging.

Thunder Force II for Mega Drive

ToeJam and Earl

A roguelike from before anyone really knew what a roguelike was. This largely non-violent, exploration-centric game is super chill and great fun with a friend.

ToeJam and Earl for Mega Drive

Zero Wing

The one, the only, the legend: the source of “All Your Base Are Belong to Us“. And a solid horizontally scrolling shoot ’em up from genre legends Toaplan to boot.

Zero Wing for Mega Drive

The Sega Mega Drive app for Nintendo Switch is available as a free download for subscribers to the Nintendo Switch Online and Expansion Pack service.

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