The world of Sega has changed drastically in the past ten years. Without a doubt the change from making consoles, to becoming a third-party developer and publisher was a difficult thing to do. Luckily they brought with them a plethora of games and franchises to feed into the consoles of today. Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection is a conglomeration of over forty titles that, without a doubt, are some of Sega’s best from back in the day.
Without a doubt the industry has seen its fair share of game collections as soon as graphics hit the third dimension. One of my favorites is the Mega Man Anniversary Collection that released for all of the previous generation consoles. However, Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection is an equally great conglomeration of classic and somewhat obscure Sega titles.
This library of forty games in the collection range from the obvious like Sonic the Hedgehog and its sequels, to lesser known titles like Vectorman 1 and 2. For the houses that never owned a Genesis, this opens up an entirely new library of classic games that some have never played. Although there are some complaints that certain games are not in this collection, the sheer volume of titles on this disc is absolutely nothing to scoff at.
Comix Zone is another of these unique titles that I had never had the opprotunity to play before, and immediately grew to enjoy. Streets of Rage 1, 2, and 3 are all present in their two-dimensional glory and they still look great in their remastered widescreen mode. Several of the best from the Phantasy Star series also make their appearance along with Ecco the Dolphin and Shining Force.
Sega did not just stick with action titles. This collection includes role-playing games, fighters, and shooters. Without a doubt the diverse collection deserves applause for the variety of the forty titles included. There were some classics and features omitted and therefore it’s not totally perfect, but who can complain at an MSRP of $29.99?
Without a doubt one of the most important factors in a collection is how well each of the titles upscale to wide screens and high definition televisions. Oftentimes these older games are left with poor frame rates and stuck in the original 5:3 aspect ratio. Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection offers a wide range of options for the user of standard or high definitions along with wide screens.
The default for each game is a 5:3 aspect ratio with a border that reflects the game in some way, shape or form. You can change that to widescreen and it will be that way every time you choose that particular game. The only frame rate issues I ran into with the game were slow downs that happened in the original games on cartridge…and there is even a setting to turn that off. I think the upscaling to higher definition and sound deserves a thumbs up. The music and sound sound like they are supposed to: old school.
While the games in the collection are solid, and the transfer to high definition is flawless, there’ is one major, and possibly fatal flaw: there is no online multiplayer. Xbox LIVE and the Playstation Network exists for a reason, and Sega did not see fit to take advantage of it. I know nothing about programing, but would it have really taken that much more time to put in online multiplayer? Sega has done it with other titles on the Xbox Live Marketplace, why not in this stand alone experience? I think Sega should have known better on this. Of course there is local multiplayer, but Internet enabled consoles are around for a reason.
One thing that struck me was the difficulty of the games in this collection in comparison to what we play today. Gone are the days of five lives and then it is all over unless you earn more. We are now in a day of check points, respawning, and saving wherever you want. Playing through Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was almost disheartening. After dieing several times, you just want to give up. The old school mentality comes back and you end up working hard to play careful and score extra lives as often as you can.
In a time of rough economic circumstances it makes one wonder if Sega just threw this together as quickly as possible in order to make some quick cash right after the Holiday 2008 sales. Although they may have had this in mind, everything besides the lack of online multiplayer is solid. As you beat certain objectives in each game you will unlock interviews, game art, and other “behind the scenes” content that is enjoyable to flip through.
It’s difficult to review a collection of games based upon graphics, gameplay, or any other of the normal things you review upon, but if there is one thing about this game that truly warrants a purchase it’s the actual value. If each of the forty titles were put on WiiWare or XBLA for six dollars that would be a total of 240 dollars. The MSRP for Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection is $29.99. The road down nostalgia lane, along with some great achievements/trophies and some old-school couch multiplayer warrants a purchase.
Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection is available for the Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360.
Reviewer’s note: The Xbox 360 version was tested for this review
Each old game upscales to high definition and wide screen. The menu's are slick, and transition between games is smooth.
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There is so much variety in Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection: Shooters, Beat'em Up, RPG, Action-Adventure, Arcade. No online though.
Most of the games sound like the original carts, but there are some slight times of distortion if you're on surround sound.
You could potentially play this game forever.
If it had online multiplayer and was a bit more polished this game would be the perfect Genesis collection.