Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection: The Perfect Retro Holiday Gift

Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection

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     If you’re looking for your ultimate nostalgia fix, particularly for that Sega Genesis itch, then look no further because Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection (say that five times fast) is the perfect fit for you. Now, there has been a lot of talk about how to spend your holiday money/gift cards, so I thought I’d offer up my opinion as a humble retro gamer and Sega nut, but I just don’t want to tell you to go buy this game, I want to tell you why, but as always, I’m not going to sugarcoat anything, so without further ado, here we go.

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The beat ‘em up classic Streets of Rage 2, this is a boss fight with the bartender, how wonderfully cliche’.

First, I’m going to mention that this collection of Genesis classics is MASSIVE, it’s essentially the Sega Genesis Collection released earlier for the PS2 and PSP, but on steroids, and boy does it show it. This release of the Genesis collection is a much-needed improvement, particularly on the games front. For instance, the PS2 collection only featured 33 titles (including the unlockable games) whereas this collection features 49 games (including the unlockable content), that’s a 16 game jump for those of us who don’t like math. Some of the games added in this medley that were missing from the previous that I think make the myriad of games far better are: the Streets of Rage series: a classic beat ‘em up loved by most if not all Sega Genesis owners; the Shining Force series: a classic RPG series that is great and was and still is well-loved; Beyond Oasis: an interesting action RPG (think Kingdom Hearts, but more top-down view and far less complex) that features spirits, fantasy, and kings and queens of old; Alien Storm: a beat ‘em up from the same vein as Golden Axe, but featuring aliens; Dynamite Headdy: a nifty platform that is very unique in art style as well as presentation and gameplay; and the remainder of the Sonic the Hedgehog series (the previous installation only including Sonic and Sonic 2), just to name a few. Now, along with the massive shipment of games, there are other stuffers in this stocking, which brings me to my next point, the extras.

beyond oasis

     Now, in with the extras are the 9 unlockable games I mentioned earlier, but that’s not all. Along with the unlockable games there are also numerous interviews with the producers, artists, and creative teams behind the virtual treasure trove before you, but there are also histories behind every game included, as well as some artwork with each game, and a cute little “Did You Know” section about each game. Not a lot, but still some nice additions to the already beaming Sega collection you hold in your hands. There’s also a strange little rating system included in the main ‘game select’ menu, which feels a bit unneeded, but can help you organize your games in the collection any way you want with your favorites or the ones you play the most at the top.

Now, I promised I wouldn’t sugar-coat things, and so I won’t, as we say here at Games-Tec, no game is without its flaws, and this game is no exception. And while it is a treasure box, I’d like to start with the fact that upon opening it, I felt like there were some gems missing. Maybe I’m being a little picky, as I do remember my Sega days like they were yesterday and I still have a Genesis that I play frequently, but I will leave you to be the judge of that. My first question was: “Where’s all the great titles that everyone remembers (‘everyone’ being me)?” This list, as I mentioned, while hitting a lot of major marks, missed some major ones, as well, in my book. For instance, where was Gunstar Heroes, a fast-paced run-and-gun shoot-’em up platformer chock full of pop cultural references? Where was the Chuck Rock series, a platformer series exclusively for the Genesis that was charming and funny? How about one of the most highly regarded Castlevanias to date: Castlevania: Bloodlines? What about Rocket Knight Adventures, one of the great platformers of the day? Or Eternal Champions, a game everyone with a Genesis remembers with fond memories (or those of bashing your head against the wall)? How about Contra: Hard Corps. the only Contra ever released for Sega? And lastly (sorry, one more, I swear), Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master was included, but why not Revenge of Shinobi, I for one would love to fight Spider-Man and Batman as bosses one more time (I’m not lying, check it out, none of this is fake, I promise: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzh7kMcuDYY). I can understand copyright issues with some of these titles like Contra or Castlevania because of their respective series’ ties to Nintendo, but some of these other games I mentioned are quintessentially Sega and have a place engraved in the Genesis legacy.

rocket knight adventures

Rocket Knight Adventures, the classic adventure platformer: it’s so much more than giant steampunk mech pig fights, but come on, giant steampunk mech pig fights; yeah we don’t know why it wasn’t included either.

Lastly, some small gripes from the complaint corner: first, every game loads with a frame, it’s decorative and goes along with the theme of the game, but it’s unnecessary and frankly, very distracting, so I wish it wasn’t there. It’s a very easy fix, simply remedied by visiting the video options menu that can be opened in-game, but it gets a little tedious having to do this every time you open a new game; thankfully, the game remembers your video options changes so this step doesn’t have to be repeated every time you open a game you have previously played, but it’s still tedious and unnecessary. And second, I’ve noticed that a lot of these games are, at least, more fun with two people, and some practically meant for two people. This is even reflected in the extras as to unlock the original Phantasy Star you have to defeat the first boss of Sonic 2 with two players. Not a big deal, as I said, minor gripes. But, there’s one thing I’m sure you’re all still asking, “What about my wallet, Nick?”

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So this year, listen to Sonic, and spend less time buying expensive games…

Well, I’m glad you asked because this jolly collection of Genesis games is light on the wallet, perfect for those of us in college or any one of us who is buying on a budget this year’s holiday season. This, my holiday choice collection, runs at a cool $16 asking price, a nice pick for Pat’s Bargain Bin, and a perfect fit for your shelf this season. And if you’re feeling a particularly strong pass of Sega nostalgia, then wait until your local game store runs their usual buy two, get one free sale of the season (sure to come, every game store has one) and pick up Sonic Mega Collection and Sonic Gems Collection, the latter may be a little tougher to find, but altogether, these three games with the buy two, get one free special should run you no higher than $30, at most, so grab your makeshift Genesis controller and enjoy some Sega nostalgia while your gaming this holiday season. And, of course, from myself and everyone here at the Games-Tec family: have a happy and safe holiday. Now get in from that snow and put your nostalgia goggles on!

scrooge McDuck

…And more time diving into your money, like Scrooge McDuck!

 

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