Action 52 was a cartridge containing a collection of 52 games released for the NES and Sega Genesis. It is also almost certainly the most expensive game ever released for the system. At "less then $4 a game" the cartridge totals to $199. Unfortunately, every single one of those 52 games are good examples of the worse games either system has; And that is not even considering all the bugs and similarities the games all share. In fact it is quite notorious for it poor quality and rarity, and is even sought after by game collectors because of this. For a more in depth guide into the Action 52 I would recommend the Angry Video Game Nerd's review of Action 52 (1, 2).
Currently, their is a Action 52 game remake competition and a few games have already been released. I think it was a great game collection to set a game dev competition around, it has a wide range of genres and themes to choose from and all of the games are so bland that it really leaves everything up to the developer. Quite a few of the released games are quite good and since the competition has hardly even started, I for one am eagerly awaiting the other games completions. Most prominent in the collection of currently finished remakes are the games Jigsaw and Illuminator.
Jigsaw is a action platformer themed around construction. The enemies are construction tools and the player combats then using his trusty nail gun. In addition to combat the nail gun is also useful in the platforming; Up to 3 nails can be can be in play at a time and then they hit collidables they stick into them, making a small platforms and triggering the switch if applicable. This platform making and switch triggering can create some complex logic puzzles latter in the game.
Illuminator is quite unique, and does not fit well into any genre, but I would say it is a strategy action game. The game is divided into a series of houses filled with progressively harder and harder enemies; The enemies being varied demons, poltergeists, and other monsters. But the real enemy in this game is the dark. The houses all start out almost completely dark, the only light coming from windows and electronic devices. This light does not illuminate the house at all but does allow you to see any monsters passing by. To light up the house you can use your flashlight and collect numerous light making devices and plug them into electrical outlets around the house. Your flashlight's battery empties when in use and recharges when off, and has two levels of charge that when reached and activated will release progressively bigger beams of light. In addition to illuminating your enemies, light is also your weapon against them. In general, if a enemy is touched by light strong enough it will die, but some enemies take multiple strong flashes to kill, and the glowing red and blue orb enemies are rather unique. These glowing enemies are easy to see, even in the dark, but present a unique challenge. The blue ones need to have light directed at them for an extended continuous period of time to kill, while the red ones are impossible to kill and are attracted to light. To complete a house enough enemies must be killed to open up the portal to the next level.
Download links (Jigsaw, Illuminator)