About this series: In stark contrast to the Cheapest Games series, this Rare & Valuable series will round up the rarest and most valuable games for a given console or handheld so you’ll know what to look for whether you are buying or selling.
In this round-up of collectible games, we will be taking a look at the TurboGrafx-16 and it’s Japanese counterpart, the PC Engine. Rounding up accurate pricing for the PC Engine/TurboGrafx is significantly tougher than most of the other systems we have covered in the past, as the PC Engine market is relatively small these days. The collectors in the PC Engine community are also much more inclined to buy, sell, and trade amongst themselves as opposed to using eBay or similar services. To help out, we have scoured some of the hardcore TG16 community forums (a special thanks to the folks at pcenginefx.com) to survey what collectors have paid and sold their most valuable pieces for. It is also worth noting that the price ranges vary a bit more in this lineup as the high-end usually is due to eBay inflation, while the hardcore community prices usually stay a bit more conservative.
Valuable Japanese Standard Releases
|Darius Alpha: $350 – $1400
Even though Sapphire (see below) usually steals some of the attention due to its graphical flair, Darius Alpha is actually the one of the rarest PC Engine games and can sometimes be considered the most expensive Japanese release. Originally, in order to get their hands on this rarity, Japanese PC Engine owners had to purchase the Hu-Card the Super CD version of Darius Plus and then send in the coupons from the manuals to enter themselves in a drawing. The first 800 names drawn in the competition were awarded the Darius Alpha Hu-Card. In addition, some copies of the game were distributed as prizes by magazines such as PC Engine Gekken and Marakatsu.
Check for Darius Alpha on eBay
|Ginga Fukei Densetsu: Sapphire: $300-$1000
Hudson’s shooters are always well-received, whether developed by Hudson themselves or gifted contractors. This legendarily-expensive Turbo Duo game isn’t overly challenging, but it will impress you with its technical prowess. As a late-era Turbo-Duo import that makes the most a massive RAM expansion to provide plenty of frames of animation for the game’s colorful sprites and lots of background tiles. The graphical lure and the exclusivity of the title to the PC Engine has kept the demand for Sapphire extremely high over the years. Some knock-off/pirate runs were also made and are circulating around on eBay and other places (usually for far lower prices), meaning this title is relatively attainable, but originals are not very common.
Check for Ginga Fukei Densetsu: Sapphire on eBay
|Bazaru De Gozaru No Game De Gozaru: $150 – $350
This puzzle game with a monkey hero is probably one of the least-know games on the list, but it’s quite hard to find and typically brings in some serious cash when it shows up. It was released in July of 1996 (three years after US TG16 releases dried up) — making it one of the last licensed retailed PC Engine releases, so it’s not surprising that it had a pretty low print run.
Check for Bazaru De Gozaru No Game De Gozaru on eBay
|Sylphia: $100 – $240
It’s no secret that the PC Engine is one of the best consoles for 2D shooter fans and Slyphia is just the third shooter on this list. This shmup from Compile had a very limited print run and it seems that most of the copies have ended up in the hands of collectors who aren’t looking to sell anytime soon. Most Compile fans will agree that Sylphia isn’t ones of their best releases, but that hasn’t stopped the collectors from paying good money for it.
Check for Sylphia on eBay
|Akumajou Dracula X: Chi no Rondo: $100 – $185
Chi no Rondo is not only one of the best Castlevania games of all time, but it was probably one of the most impressive games released for the PC Engine in Japan. Dracula X introduced Richter and Maria, as well as the new graphical style and fluid animations Castlevania games would employ for years to come. Many of the enemy graphics in SoTN came directly from Dracula X with little modification. This is because the PC Engine game went all out with great graphics and an incredible level of animation. If this game had been translated and released earlier in the US (it has since shown up on the PSP and Wii Virtual Console) it could have brought more fans and revenue to the tail end of the TG-16’s life.
Check for Akumajou Dracula X: Chi no Rondo on eBay
Valuable North American Standard Releases
|Magical Chase: $500 – $2000
Magical Chase is a side-scrolling shooter in which you play a witch on a broomstick (yup, pretty similar to Cotton). The soundtrack is solid, but thanks to some wonderful feats of programming, the graphics really shine on Magical Chase. Colorful and fast moving, the sprites and animations are great, not to mention lots of other special graphical effects. It’s rather interesting that the US release was so limited and slightly reprogrammed considering it was a beautiful accomplishment.
Check for Magical Chase on eBay
|The Dynastic Hero: $300 – $500
Even thought Magical Chase gets most of the attention due to its high resale value, The Dynastic Hero is said to be one of the absolute hardest TurboGrafix title to track down. However, The Dynastic Hero is actually a slightly-rebranded version of Wonder Boy in Monster World (Master System/Genesis) with pallete-swapped visuals (think Doki Doki Panic vs North America’s Super Mario Bros. 2). The Dynasitic Hero was also one of the very last North American releases — Bonk 3 was released just a bit later, but understandably, had a higher print run.
Check for The Dynastic Hero on eBay
|Super Air Zonk: Rockabilly Paradise: $200 – $380
This second installment of the high-quality shmup reboot of the Bonk series is one of the most accessible, stylish, and enjoyable shmups on the TG16, so it isn’t a huge surprise that is remains in demand. It was also one of the final handful of North American releases.
Check for Super Air Zonk: Rockabilly Paradise on eBay
|Bonk 3: Bonk’s Big Adventure: $200 – $300
The third game in the trademark series, Bonk’s Big Adventure, brought 2 player simultaneous action to the Bonk universe and was released in both TurboChip and Super CD format (with differences between the two being the inclusion of a CD soundtrack and some 4-player vs minigames for the latter format). It is also worth mentioning that Bonk 3 is the last Super CD release in the US (right after Super Air Zonk).
Check for Bonk 3 (Super CD) on eBay
|Bonk 3: Bonk’s Big Adventure: $150 – $250
Much like its Super CD counterpart, Bonk 3 was also the last TurboChip released in the US (August 1993 — right after Magical Chase was released in July 1993)
Check for Bonk 3 (Turbo Chip) on eBay
|Might and Magic III – Isles of Terra: $125 – $225
This installment from the classic RPG series was the second one to surface on the TurboGrafx, but its late release in October of 1993 in the US saw to it that this release would be rather scarce. Considering that the game has been released on a handful of other platforms, this is pretty much a pure collector’s piece.
Check for Might and Magic III on eBay
|Beyond Shadowgate: $150 – $220
An adventure game (King’s Quest style) that was supposedly in co-development for the PC, but eventually became a TurboGrafx exclusive. This little gem includes lots of good puzzles and an incredible number of interesting ways to die. Beyond Shadowgate is a creative and truly under-exposed entry in the adventure genre that most genre fans will love. Of course, being a late release in 1993 also contributed to having a relatively small print run.
Check for Beyond Shadowgate on eBay
|Dungeon Explorer II: $130 – $200
This sequel to the popular TG16 action RPG was a late release in 1993 and ended up being a TurboGrafx exclusive.
Check for Dungeon Explorer II on eBay
|Syd Mead’s Terraforming: $120 – $185
This shooter has average gameplay but some interesting visual design. The game has good music and adopts a pre-rendered graphical style with designs by futurist Syd Mead, who is responsible for the backdrops of productions like Blade Runner, Time Cop, and Star Trek. Terraforming was also the last Super CD release in the US right after Sherlock Holmes 2 and Buster Bros.
Check for Syd Mead’s Terraforming on eBay
|Soldier Blade: $80 – $180
The Star Soldier releases are fun, vertical scrolling, challenging shooters that should appeal greatly to people who long for a time when shooters weren’t just tedious exercises in dodging patterned bullet spreads. The series typically have some of the best graphics from any TurboChip shooters. Soldier Blade changed the weapon system completely from Super Star Soldier and upped the ante with equally impressive graphics and better music. The bosses are probably the high point of Soldier Blade. Soldier Blade wasn’t a especially late release (1992) and isn’t quite as rare as most of the games on this list, but it’s one of the best TG16 exclusives out there, so it’s always in demand.
Check for Soldier Blade on eBay
Additional Games of Value
Japanese Standard Releases
- Gunhead Special Version (Hu-Card): $90 – $180
- Renny Blaster (Super CD): $90 – $175
- Kaze Kiri (Super CD): $90-160
- Magical Chase (Hu-Card): $90 – $130
- Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari (Super CD): $90 – $125
- Tatsujin (Hu-Card): $95 – $105
- Faussete Amour (Super CD): $90 – $105
- Cotton (Super CD): $80 – $100
- Darius II (Super CD): $90 – $95
- Fiend Hunter (Super CD): $80 – $85
- XAK III (Super CD): $75 – $80
- Steam Hearts (Super CD): $70 – $80
- Terraforming (Super CD): $50 – $80
- Ai Chouaniki (Super CD): $70 – $74
US Standard Releases
- Local Girls of Hawaii (Super CD): $90 – $145
- Bikini Girls (Super CD): $90 – $145
- Godzilla (Super CD): $85 – $120
- Air Zonk: $50 – $100
- Dead Moon (TurboChip): $45 – $100
- Legend of Hero Tonma: $30 – $100
- Loom (Super CD): $20 – $85
- Dragon Slayer (Super CD): $35 – $84
- Vasteel (Super CD): $70 – $80
- Y’s I & II with original map (Super CD): $20 – $65
- Bomberman ’93 (TurboChip): $35 – $55
- Splatterhouse (TurboChip): $34 – $53
- Exile Wicked Phenomenom (Super CD): $37 – $51