Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Sega 3D Classics Collection (3DS) Review

A delayed review is eventually good. A bad review is bad forever. Or something like that that excuses my tardiness for this review. Regardless, the extra time for this review on Sega 3D Classics Collection has allowed me some greater insight on this retro compilation. Check out SuperPhillip Central's verdict on the package with my review of Sega 3D Classics Collection for the Nintendo 3DS.

Nintendon't miss out on what Segadoes with this collection.

Growing up in the late 1980's and early 1990's, you were either a Sega kid or a Nintendo kid. If you had the massive amount of wealth (or what kids of that day perceived to be a massive amount of wealth), you had both, but that was rarer than finding someone with a Virtual Boy. It seems just incredible that a decade or two after Nintendo and Sega were sworn rivals that the two would get along so well these days.

With Nintendo's 3DS, Sega put the Japanese M2 team to the task of recreating various classic Sega games, but this time in stereoscopic 3D to great and seriously impressive effect. Several titles, under the banner of "Sega 3D Classics", released on the Nintendo 3DS eShop as individual downloads. Now, North Americans have the chance to pick up nine of these such classics in one retail package with the Sega 3D Classics Collection.

I've done it countless times in my years, but speeding through Green Hill Zone still gives me pleasure to this day.
As stated, Sega 3D Classics Collection is a compendium of nine 3D Classics games from Sega's illustrious repertoire of retro games. Some of these have seen more ports in the past than Madonna has had hair styles. I'm referring to games like Sonic the Hedgehog, which still plays brilliantly to this day, and Altered Beast, which originally was packed in with early Sega Genesis systems back in the day. Unlike Sonic the Hedgehog, Altered Beast hasn't aged as well. To be fair, though, to many, Altered Beast wasn't worth buying the individual Sega 3D Classics eShop download for, as it's quite a quick game to beat with little to no replay value. Now, as part of this retail collection, it's like an added bonus-- one that you need not feel guilty for buying with the rest of the games included in the Sega 3D Classics Collection package.

Rise from my grave and into my bed. Altered Beast still bores me to sleep even in stereoscopic 3D form.
While games like Altered Beast and Sonic the Hedgehog have seen multiple appearances on classic Sega compilations in the past, the other games in the package have either only been seen one or two times or sometimes never before at all.

Power Drift may not be Out Run, but it is a stupendous racer regardless. Its 25+ tracks feature many twists, turns, curves, and vertical slopes and changes in elevation, really hammering home the 3D effect. If you want the feeling of racing up and down a roller coaster, then you'll get it with Power Drift, one of the early kart racers of gaming history. Just make sure you remember to switch gears well enough so you don't go careening off the track.

Speed up and down, left and right, and every which way in Power Drift.
What Puyo Puyo 2 lacks in English text for the most part, the game more than makes up for in puzzling action goodness. The game features competition against the AI, mixing and matching balls of different-colored jelly to score points, get big combos, and doing so all the while throwing trash onto your opponent's side. Be weary, though, as your opponent can do the same to you. Despite its overload of cuteness, Puyo Puyo 2 is quite the challenging game.

Another big game added to this collection is the tremendous Fantasy Zone II W, a sequel to the Sega Master System's original Fantasy Zone. This shoot-em-up, or dare I say, "cute-em-up", features the Opa Opa ship, which can be customized by visiting shops in-game to purchase new upgrades and weapons for the swift flyer. The goal of each of the game's many levels is to take out all ten enemy spawning ships, and then take out the large, real estate-taking boss that appears once this first task is completed. You can beat each level either in the light world or a special dark world that is arrived at upon entering a portal that occasionally spawns after an enemy battleship is destroyed.

Two of my favorite games in this Sega-fied compilation are Thunder Blade and Galaxy Force II. Both play in a perspective that is mostly behind-the-vehicle you're piloting. However, Thunder Blade also contains some overhead gameplay mixed in with its four levels. Perhaps I'm just a sucker for high score gameplay and the 3D effect of Thunder Blade, as there really isn't too much in the way of variety to keep players invested for a long period of time.

Thunder Blade takes place split between a behind-the-back and an overhead perspective.
Meanwhile, Galaxy Force II plays like a much more impressive Star Fox. Pretty cool considering it's several years older than Nintendo's Super FX-featured game. Galaxy Force II is comprised of six levels, each taking place in a different planet. One features waves of fire launching from the fiery planet surface while another is a planet totally devised up of machinery. You're not just limited to a narrow field of space in Galaxy Force II like you are in Star Fox. In outdoor sections, you can fly to the left and right while flying forward, opening up the possibilities for scoring potential exponentially. Then, the indoor corridor sections are a blast, having you pilot your craft through narrow sections, making sharp turns to the left and right, and moving up and down along changes of elevations.

The 3D effect of Galaxy Force II makes an already awesome game even more awesome.
Rounding out the list of nine titles in the collection are two games found in the Extras menu, Maze Walker and the original version of Fantasy Zone II. While the vanilla version of Fantasy Zone II is pretty much self-explanatory, while Maze Walker was a Sega Master System game that utilized the system's 3D glasses peripheral. The game itself is a slow paced overhead action game that has players moving through labyrinthine levels, searching for a key to unlock the exit portal. This is while defeating enemies that come close to the player. It's an impressive use of 3D, especially when you use the jumping ability, but it's more of a technical demonstration of the 3D effect rather than a stellar game.

Nonetheless, if you're of the mind that Sega just decided to unload several ROMs onto a game card and called it a day, you couldn't be any more mistaken. The nine games in the Sega 3D Classics Collection aren't straight emulated ports. Instead, they're greatly recreated, adding a superb stereoscopic 3D effect while keeping the frame-rate  of each game rock solid. New features like save states, the ability to customize the controls, play each game in cropped view or widescreen, change the difficulty and amount of lives you begin with, wireless local multiplayer in the case of Altered Beast and Puyo Puyo 2, and more are all included to give players the option to fit each game to their liking. Even something that has been added to collections like this to death like Sonic the Hedgehog adds the co-creator of the series, Yuji Naka, approved spin dash from Sonic 2 and on into the fold.

This is actually the second retail collection of Sega 3D Classics released in Japan. The first, featuring such games like Out Run, Ecco the Dolphin, and Streets of Rage, released back in late 2014 in Japan only. Hopefully the West will see a second collection with these titles as well to continue the streak of retro Sega excellence. Though I'd be lying if I said that it doesn't stink that such games weren't included in this collection for the West.

Regardless, while not every game in the Sega 3D Classics Collection retail package is a winner, the amount of variety in the genres represented in the collection, the quality of the games and new additions to old classics, and the inclusion of rarities like the never-before-localized 3D Power Drift make this particular retro package a must-own for fans of the classics. From 3D Sonic the Hedgehog's "blast processing" to 3D Maze Walker's 3D without the need for glasses this time around gameplay, Sega 3D Classics Collection delivers old school charm in new school fashion.

[SPC Says: B]

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