Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection

The last console I owned before I got an Xbox was a Sega Genesis. I got it in high school, and it went with me through all four years of college. The system still lives in my basement. I haven't plugged it in in years, but I have found Genesis emulators and ROMs (for just the cartridges I own, thank you) and played some classics from time to time.

I remember seeing Sonic's Ulitmate Genesis Collection announced a few months ago, and it was exciting news. I never heard its release date (10 February, according to Wikipedia), but I saw it pop up on a friend's gamercard and made a special trip to Best Buy to pick it up.

The collection features 40 games and retails for $30. Not a bad deal, especially considering that the games include some of the megahit classics like Phantasy Star (the entire series, including the first Sega Master System game).

The set of games on this collection and the set that consists of the cartridges gathering dust in my basement have a very small intersection. The Phantasy Star series matches, as do most of the Sonic games (I never played Spinball or 3D Blast, although from what I've heard, I wasn't missing much). But other than the occasional game here or there, that's about it. I guess despite a friend once accusing me of being able to play Sonic the Hedgehog blindfolded, Sonic and I don't have a lot in common in our Genesis game collections.

It's an interesting walk down memory lane, back to an era where the side-scroller and platformer were king. Not only does the collection have the games, but it includes a picture of the cartridge and box art, plus interviews with some of the developers and project managers who worked on the original games. It offers an interesting perspective, especially for me, on a time when I was the excited consumer, to see what drove the producers to make these games.

Of course I have to mention the achievements. They are fairly simple, spread across a large number of the games, with no more than one achievement for any game. Most of them require you to do some very trivial task in the game, so you don't even have to play through very far. Only two or three may require some thought or finding a special trick or YouTube walkthrough.

Some of the games are downright creative, though. Of the games I had never played before, I was really taken by Comix Zone, which takes place in the panels of a comic book. It's just very different than anything I've played before.

Not that games today aren't creative or innovative; it just seems that there's so much focus on technology today, that the creativity sometimes gets lost or masked; whereas it was the 16-bit era when developers' creativity started to blossom with technology that was good enough to expose it, but not so good that it overpowered it.

But maybe that's the geezer in me talking.

Anyway, a lot of good, solid games; nice extras with the interviews and a little blurb about each game; even little things like saving states, customizing controller buttons, sorting games by name/genre/date, and assigning a personal rating. Could've been better to include Live support (friends leaderboards at least; online play probably was way out of scope for the project, even on games that would've made sense for it). Pretty easy 1000 achievement points, too. Probably won't unseat Halo for the most-played game in your 360, but if you don't have a Wii for its Virtual Console and you want to get your hands on a good Sonic game (oh yes, I went there), this'll do nicely.


SlapShotSal said...

I may have to look into this disk. I'm sure my daughter would like a few of the games.

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