Sonic Mega Collection


Review by Dan Loosen






Overall: 9

Time to review another Xbox game, this time around I'm going to take a look at the recently released Sonic Mega Collection +. I picked this game up just last week for $19.99, which seems to be a dead-on price for any game that is basically just a fancy emulator (Namco Museums, Midway Arcade Treasures, Intellivision Lives are all around the same price). Since the games that are included on this disk have all been released before, I'm not going to spend my time with them, but instead with what the fancy emulator gives us and the selection of games included with the package...

First off, I wasn't a fan of the Sonic series until I got a Neo Geo Pocket with Sonic and played the game like crazy. I'm still looking for puzzle pieces with it, and have probably spent well over 100 hours playing and replaying it. That having been said, I wasn't "not a fan" because I didn't like the games, but more because I never had a Genesis and I didn't actively seek one out thanks to the (believe it or not) Jaguar and Dreamcast. After playing the NGP game, I spent a little time with each Sonic game for the Geni, but never had time to actually play them through. That was actually one of the things that I heard about this collection that I really liked...

You can save the game anywhere by pressing the white button. This means that if you are holding on to a ton of coins that you want the bonus for and facing a boss, you can save it every time you get in a good hit until you win. That's not exactly the way the games were meant to be played, but it isn't that big of a deal. I really like the constant save states because almost all of my Xbox games (with the exception of Pure Pinball) require a time commitment to sit down and play, and I've been wanting to get something that I could just sit down and play for five or ten minutes at a time. The save feature does that. I'll admit that it would have been cooler if the game only allowed you to save at the end of levels, but it would be unrealistic to expect that the emulation could do that.

Another "wish" that I have that wasn't fulfilled, although I completely understand why has to do with the unlockables. I would have much rather it been a "beat this game and unlock ____" than the current "Play ____ 30 times and ____ 30 times to unlock ____" or "Play X hours to unlock ____." I completely understand why this wasn't included, but it would've been a bonus. With the current way, it would have been nicer if the games that were unlockable didn't appear as question marks and you were just "given" them after you completed whatever you were doing. I feel like I need to unlock the games, but I'm not going to just sit going in and out of the menu to get them.

I was surprised to see that as soon as I powered up the system, I could take a look at all of these different pictures of Sonic, the various magazine covers and so on. It would have been neat for them to have you unlock some of this stuff too. Or unlock this stuff by playing a certain number of times or hours and have more games available right away.

Along with this, I wish that it would've been easier to tell how many times you've logged into a game or something like that. Considering the game is tracking how many times you've played a game and how much time you've spent with it, it would've been nice for there to be a little counter under each selection that said:

Sonic & Knuckles
3.26 hours played in 7 sessions

Or something. Again, this isn't really a problem as much as it is a "wish list" of neat things that could've been added. Another thing along the same wish list is that for each game it would have listed right next to it the release date. Considering that there is a neat animation of a Genesis with the years flashing beside it for the releases, it would've been nice to know that the first Sonic was released on this date, Sonic 2 was this date, etc. It would have given a more "historical" perspective.

The selection of games is great. I especially enjoy having the Game Gear options included, as it allows me to see how good some of those games were -- I have tried playing the games on the Game Gear, but the LCD-bleed was too much for me on most of them. Of course, it has to be mentioned that the compilation doesn't include Sonic CD. I would add to that list Knuckles Chaotix and the aforementioned Neo Geo Pocket Sonic game as games that would've been nice to be included. The only thing that I question is why more of the Game Gear games weren't included. It is disappointing to see at least four games missing -- Sonic Spinball, Sonic Triple Trouble, Tail's Adventure and Sonic Drift 2. Considering that there were two versions of Mean Bean Machine, at least the inclusion of Spinball would've seemed natural.

I do like the fact that some games were included that are not known for being very fun (*cough* Sonic 3D Blast *cough* Sonic Labyrinth *cough*) because you get to see where the series didn't deliver as hoped. If Nintendo was to release a Mario compilation, I doubt they would toss stinkers like Mario's Time Machine and Mario's Fun With Numbers on it, but I would rather have the games there than not. It is interesting to see the *entire* history of a character, and the Genesis doesn't leave out much of anything.

(Speaking of Sonic Blast, ironically, for some reason I get motion sickness when playing Sonic 3D Blast. I remember getting it to check out on the Genesis a year or so ago and having the *same thing* happen. Probably some sort of mind defense thing...)

As for the number of games, I can't complain. It would've been nice to add a few more games like the Game Gear titles, but what compilation wouldn't it be nice if they added more games too?

The control is about as perfect as you could expect. I've been using the D-Pad, but the option to use the analog joystick is cool and was rather unexpected. Having the emulator menu be accessed through the white button is really smart.

Overall, in the way of compilations this is one of the best. The emulation seems to be just about dead on, and I haven't witnessed anything that seems to be out of the ordinary with it. You can't add any borders like you sometimes can in other games (no Game Gear border for instance) but that doesn't really matter.

Overall Ratings (Compilation Specific):
Game Choice - 9
Emulation - 10
Menu - 10
Extras - 7
Control - 10
Overall - 9

While I think that this may just be the best compilation for a system ever, I just can't give it a perfect 10 with the small oddities about the unlockables and the fact that a few Game Gear titles weren't included. Please note that I'm not rating the games themselves, but just the overall package.

If you are a fan of Sonic or you never really got to play the games, it is easily worth the $20.00 to grab this title. If you've already got the collection, it is probably only worth it if you want the save states.


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Last updated: Monday, November 22, 2004 05:45 PM