Who knew that Sonic had so many Genesis games?
Perhaps Sonic the Hedgehog is a fellow buyer on eBay, and buys up classic Genesis (or Mega Drive depending where you are) games to be a part of his comprehensive collection. Then again, maybe Sonic's just a damned pirate. Who knows? Regardless, developer Backbone Entertainment known for their less than stellar arcade titles on PSN and Xbox Live alongside SEGA have opted to bring over forty Genesis games to both the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 for the first time in HD and on one retail disc. The end result? A compendium of classic SEGA content known as Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection. Is the use of the word just hyperbole, or is "ultimate" the perfect way of describing this collection of games of SEGA past?
So what if you already have three other compilationsGrowing up as an elementary school student in the first half of the nineties, if you were into games at all, you either owned a Super Nintendo or a SEGA Genesis-- seldom both. Thus, playground arguments over which console was superior were commonplace. For those that didn't grow up playing the Genesis, Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection is a perfect chance to catch up to what the rest of us were foaming at the mouth over-- save for my old friend who drank Drain-O. He had his own reason. Ultimate Genesis Collection offers a fairly large amount of vintage games from the Genesis era, and pretty much every major genre aside from sports and racing are heavily represented. There's definitely something for everyone in this collection. The addition of a quick screen displaying what each button does before starting up a game is extremely helpful. The most popular titles, too, are present and accounted for-- Sonic the Hedgehog 1-3, Sonic & Knuckles, Golden Axe 1-3, Streets of Rage 1-3, Ecco, and so on. Role-playing fans will need to cut off contact with their loved ones just to get through the bounty of great RPGs included like the Phantasy Star and Shining Force series, Beyond Oasis, and the amateur-angering rogue-like fun of Fatal Labyrinth. Interestingly enough though are some titles that are mysteriously absent from this package such as Sonic 3 & Knuckles, After Burner, Landstalker, Gunstar Heroes, Pulseman, and Toe Jam & Earl.
with Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on it!? Here's another!
with Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on it!? Here's another!
Unfortunately, even though there are forty some-odd titles to play, many of the bunch are just incredibly poor by today's standards-- heck, even way back then I hated Altered Beast. Golden Axe feels way too clunky, Flicky controls like a car without traction, and other games just have an unyielding difficult though I will admit the last fault has to do with my skill and patience. Another thing that annoyed me in most of the games was the poor or grating music quality. The second level in Streets of Rage 3 was the worst offender of this. Meanwhile you have games like the mainline Sonic games that sound terrific for the most part.
Regardless of the omissions and the games I wish were omitted in their place, there's still a large range of quality games that I never got to play as a kid, and the games still hold up very well and are enjoyable to this day. Ristar is beyond fantastic, and I never got around to unlocking it in one of the Gamecube Sonic compilations. Decap Attack is a charming side-scrolling platformer where your character can throw his head at enemies to take them out. Then you have the games that were created to directly compete with the graphically-impressive Donkey Kong Country series in the wonderful run-and-gun fun of Vectorman 1 and 2.
As certain in-game objectives are achieved, new arcade games are unlocked ranging from the adrenaline-pumping Alien Syndrome and Space Harrier to the quirky Congo Bongo and Fantasy Zone games. Additionally, several interviews from various staff members who worked on numerous Genesis games are featured as well. These, however, were taken directly from the PS2 Genesis collection, so don't expect anything new in this regard. Each game has its original box art and cartridge to view in the museum section. Unfortunately, the original instruction manuals of each game were not included which would have been even more of a blast-from-the-past to view. Furthermore, the Mega Drive Collection version of the game (for PAL regions among others) do not use the original Mega Drive box arts. Instead, the Mega Drive Collection still use the Genesis box arts which just comes off as lazy.
Despite the minor messes of this medley of Mega Drive harmony or this Genesis gathering of goodness (again, depending on where you are), for thirty bucks, Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection is one of magnificent value. Purchasing these games individually online either through eBay or through Nintendo's Virtual Console service would run a person hundreds of dollars. Instead, one can pick up this assortment of classic games in one nice and tidy package that includes full HD support. For every game that a given person dislikes, there's another game waiting for them to fall in love with.
[SuperPhillip Says: 8.5/10]