by Joseph Barron, reviewed on
One Short of 50
Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection is a compilation of 49 first-party games released for the Sega Genesis console in the 1980s and ‘90s. The major selling point, as the title suggests, is the collection of all of the Sonic The Hedgehog games released on the system, including Spinball and 3D Blast. On top of the must-have Sonic games, the collection also contains almost all of the Sega-developed Genesis titles you could wish for. These include classics like Streets of Rage, Golden Axe, Ecco The Dolphin and Vektorman. Your enjoyment of the overall package will be determined purely by personal preferences. I really don’t enjoy Super Thunder Blade, but I know plenty of people that do. On the other hand, the package does a really great job of giving you incentives to play every game on the disk. There is a PSN Trophy/XBL achievement to unlock in each game and you can unlock interviews with key developers of the original versions.
Unfortunately, having all of these great first-party classics means that you don’t get any of the fantastic third-party Genesis games, such as Earthworm Jim. Another problem with the choice of games is that 3 of Sega’s truly classic franchises have been overlooked in favour of some much less memorable titles. You won’t find OutRun, Super Hang On or Toejam & Earl in this “ultimate collection”.
The other major issue with the choice of games won’t apply to everybody, but it is certainly worth mentioning. The vast majority of the games on this collection have already been made available in other ways, so chances are that you already own them on current-gen systems. Many of the titles are available on Xbox Live Arcade, or as part of Sega Genesis Collection for the PSP and PS2, a year-old game that you will be able to find in the used section for cheap. There is also a more comprehensive collection of Sonic games available in Sonic Mega Collection +. Of course, if you had a Genesis system back in the day, you might even own the original cartridges. People who already own the products mentioned above will get a lot less out of owning this collection. Still, it is nice to have everything in one place.
The emulations have been developed by Backbone Entertainment, which has a great reputation in this field thanks to producing huge numbers of arcade and retro console emulations for Xbox Live Arcade. Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection is definitely one of its greatest works, as evidenced by the consistent frame rate and animations, even when playing the games in full-screen HD. There are some strange sound glitches from time to time, but for the most part the only glitches in the games are the same ones that were present in the original versions.
As far as the gameplay goes, you will probably react one of two ways to this game. Most people who played the originals will love the sense of nostalgia and the chance to replay old favourites in glorious High Definition. However, younger gamers who have never played these games before must come open-minded. These are old games, and it can be hard getting used to the 16-bit graphics if you have been brought up on today’s significantly better looking games.
Overall, Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection is a wonderful exercise in nostalgia for older people, and a great little museum of retro games for younger gamers. However, if you are a hardcore fan who has already downloaded some of these games on XBLA or bought other retro Sega collections in the last few years, be aware that you will find significantly less value-for-money in this package compared to most other players.
No Pros and Cons at this time