Action 52 is a 16-bit follow-up to the NES title of the same name. The Genesis version was developed by FarSight Technologies and features a very different line-up of games from the NES version. Like the original title, the game is a collection of 52 smaller titles, compiled on a single cartridge.
Very little was reused from the original NES version of the game; instead, all the games were rebuilt, and many are different from the original. In some cases they share only the name of the original title. Even the Cheetahmen was a very different title than the original version. Because the games were rebuilt, they contain much less bugs than their versions in the original game.
Games on the game select screen are color coded by difficulty. "Beginner" games are displayed in a green font, "intermediate" games are displayed in a purple font, "expert" games are displayed in a yellow font, and multiplayer games are displayed in a blue font.
This version of Action 52 features a music test mode, and a "randomizer" option which will randomly choose and start one game from the 52. The fifty-second game, Challenge, is an endurance test to see how long the player lasts in a random series of the highest levels of the other games.
Nearly every genre is covered in the collection, although the most prominent genres are shooters and platform games. The Genesis version of the game also featured more multiplayer titles. Games in the Genesis version include:
Bonkers, Darksyne, Dyno Tennis, Ooze, Star Ball, Sidewinder, Daytona, 15 Puzzle, Sketch, Star Duel, Haunted Hill, Alfredo, The Cheetahmen, Skirmish, Depth Charge, Minds Eye, Alien Attack, Billy Bob, Sharks, Knockout, Intruder, Echo, Freeway, Mousetrap, Ninja, Slalom, Dauntless, Force One, Spidey, Appleseed, Skater, Sunday Drive, Star Evil, Air Command, Shootout, Bombs Away, Speed Boat, Dedant, G Fighter, Man At Arms, Norman, Armor Battle, Magic Bean, Apache, Paratrooper, Sky Avenger, Sharpshooter, Meteor, Black Hole, The Boss, First Game, and Challenge
The Cheetahmen was the featured game on the cartridge, and before the game was heavily criticized, there were plans to build a brand out of the characters. The NES version of Action 52 shipped with a Cheetahmen comic book that introduced the 3 characters and their enemies. The game was the least buggy of all the games on the cartridge. Cheetahmen 2 for the NES was a completed follow-up to the Cheetahmen game included in Action 52, but was never officially released at retail. However, a shipment containing 1,500 copies of the title was later found and sold.