When it comes to hidden gems for older generation consoles, many of the same games get tossed around into the discussion. There’s a good reason for this, because they are proven to be of good quality. It does however deplete the “hiddenness” of these so called gems. To find what I deem a true hidden gem, I had to dig all the way back to my childhood.
There was a locally owned video rental store in the small town in which I grew up in. They also rented out video games and systems. Needless to say I visited this store quite frequently to rent games. Being that I only had a Sega Genesis growing up (as most kids of the time only had one system), I rented numerous Sega games. This was an easy way of trying out games before you bought them.
There was one game I instantly fell in love with that I rented. It was Greendog the Beached Surfer Dude! This game encapsulates everything that is the 90’s. It has a funky island vibe soundtrack, a blond-haired surfer “dude”, and 90’s Saturday morning cartoon look (think Doug Funny). It was everything a boy of that time would want in a game.
Developed by Sega Technical Institute and Interactive Designs, Greendog the Beached Surfer Dude! Was released on the Sega Genesis in 1992. The Sega Game Gear also received a version a year later in 1993. Sales were decent for the title, but there was never a sequel produced. Greendog the Beached Surfer Dude! has you assume the role of Greendog. A lover of extreme sports such as skate boarding and surfing, Greendog is out to get the biggest thrills he can. While surfing one day he gets caught up in a wave that sends him crashing into a beach. He awakens to find himself in an alternate version of reality. There’s a pendant necklace around his neck that he is unable to get off. His girlfriend Bambi shows up to inform him that the pendant is cursed, not allowing Greendog to surf. The curse also makes all the creatures on the islands attack him. The only way to break the curse is to collect six pieces of a lost Aztec treasure. These six pieces are scattered throughout six Caribbean islands. Find them all, and the curse will be lifted.
The levels in Greendog the Beached Surfer Dude are very diverse. One level has you combing the beach dodging enemies. Another level has you under water searching through a shipwreck. There’s even a level where you skateboard through Aztec ruins. The change in scenery and play styles makes each level feel fresh and exciting.
The soundtrack is another aspect of this game that shines. The music in Greendog the Beached Surfer Dude was performed by Paul Gadbois. Gadbois composed music for games such as Sonic Spinball and Eternal Champions. His island style tunes really shine in this game, adding to the atmosphere.
The game is a pretty straight forward platformer. While I found the game to be on the easier side, there are definitely challenges to be had. While most of the platforming is precise, there are points that can be a little tricky. Your weapon is a frisbee. The frisbee doesn’t have a wide range of trajectory. This can be frustrating when getting into enemy encounters. This is usually just a minor annoyance and not a crippling gameplay factor. Overall, it has solid control.
This is a game that should be played by all avid gamers, whether you are a Sega fan or not. The level design, scenery, and soundtrack way compensate for any lacking of the gameplay. This game does the job of immersing you in the world of Greendog. I find myself jamming to the soundtrack even to this day. It’s a game I hold dearly in my collection. It still receives lots of playtime in my Sega Nomad or Genesis. If you have not played this game, I highly recommend picking it up!
Bonus: As an added bonus, I have found some cheat codes. If you feel the need to boost your gameplay experience. These codes need to be enter when you pause the game during play.
Flying Disc Mode- C, A, B, A, Left, Left
Restore All Health- Up, A, Left, B, Down, C
Nine Continues- Right, Up, B, A, Down, Down
Nine Lives- B, A, Left, Left, A, Down
Skip to Next Level- C, Right, A, B, Down, Up
Slow Motion- Down, A, C, Up, Left, Left
Cancel Slow Motion- Left, Right, Up, Down, A, C