Forgotten Worlds is one of those Capcom classics that was popular at one time but kind of fell off the map. Perhaps it was due to Capcom's successful line of fighting games - Final Fight, Street Fighter 2, etc. Perhaps the genre was just overloaded with good games and it was easy to forget about a lot of high quality titles. Or maybe Forgotten World was just meant to have a small cult following. Whatever the case, you can't help but remember Forgotten World for the Sega Master System. It's a solid shooter that doesn't quite get the arcade feel down, but does a good job trying.
Things get off to a rocky start from the very beginning. In the arcade Forgotten World used a rotating joystick, something that allowed you to quickly (and accurately) spin your gun around kill your enemies. Unfortunately the Sega Master System didn't have a rotating control, so Capcom ended up tweaking the two-button configuration enough to make it work. Now instead of rotating your control you will be asked to push one button to spin clockwise, while the other spins you counter-clockwise. This is not a perfect solution, but it does get the job done ... for the most part.
At its core Forgotten Worlds is really like a 2D version of Sega's Space Harrier, kind of a MERCS-in-space. The levels you know and love from the arcade original are all represented here, even though much of the detail has been dropped off in order to fit it all on the 8-bit cartridge. There are a surprising number of different enemies and a couple of impressive boss battles that require you to keep on your toes if you plan on winning. The controls do sometimes get in the way (the spinning function is simply too slow), but Capcom has done a remarkable job fitting this game into this cramped cartridge.
Capcom has gone one step further and included a two-player mode, allowing you to take a friend along to fly through industrial locations and shoot down strange creatures. This is easily the best part of Forgotten World, even if it does come with a couple of forgettable problems. For one thing it makes the game much easier, almost to the point where it's not a challenge. You may also find that there can be quite a bit of slowdown when more than a few enemies pop up on your two player screen. If you can get over these minor complaints you'll find an exciting co-op experience that was rare for the Master System.
At first I hated the way the game played, but it didn't take long before I was won over by the game's fast action and unique worlds. At its heart it's nothing more than a 2D shooter, but it's unique enough to recommend along side some of the other great shooters. It's not quite as refined as I would have hoped, but if you've been looking for an exciting shooter for your Master System this is a great place to start.