Hearing "Say-gaaa!" all over again!
Dec 26, 2002
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Perfect ports of the originals, memorable soundtracks, bonus features, viewable game manuals, excellent controls
Cons:No save features in the older games, absent Sonic CD, the other games...
The Bottom Line: Although Mega Collection is has it's slight shortcomings, it's still a collection of unforgettable classics in perfect form plus other stuff to tickle Sonic fans into nostalgia
There's nothing a gamer likes better than bringing back the thought of games they've played while growing up, and although Nintendo has sort of done that with Super Mario All-Stars, they have yet to update that. Cleverly, Sega must have been listening to fans as they release they're all-star line-up onto the Nintendo GameCube exclusively. Sonic Mega Collection is simply what nostalgia means for youngins who grow up on Ninja Turtles, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, and Super Mario Bros. Having grown up in the heart of all this, the Sonic games were always a pretty gigantic impact on an otherwise struggling Sega Genesis in the early ninties, to really no fault of Sega, but it wasn't easy to compete with the brazen Super NES and the collapse of the Nintendo era. Without any doubts, Sonic was part of what kept the Genesis going strong through the Super Nintendo's reign with an excellent platformer and a mascot that rivals the ever-so-popular Super Mario. With his speed, and surly sharp look, Sonic helped dominate the hard times and made people realize they were missing out if they didn't own a Genesis. Around ten years later, Sega has followed up that success, bringing gamers back down that path that has been almost forgotten in the midst of Sonic Adventure and new-aged graphics. Sonic is back, and you'd better like it.
Recommend this product?
Sonic Mega Collection, as cheap as it sounds, is basically all the Sonic platformers combined into one, beefy, colorful package. You get Sonic The Hedgehog, the rather primitive, but original that started it all, Sonic The Hedgehog 2, introducing Sonic's dim-witted two-taled sidekick, Miles "Tails" Prower who is also playable, Sonic The Hedgehog 3, introducing a red-clad Echidna named Knuckles who seems to be Sonic's friendly nemesis and finally the controversial and confused Sonic The Hedgehog "4": Sonic & Knuckles which now enables the ability to play as Sonic or Knuckles. Now with a completed universe, each game has it's own challenging levels filled with frustration, simple but tough bosses, and a classic 16-bit soundtrack you cannot forget. Amongst these you get a bunch of unappitizing fillers that unsuccessfully cashed in on the Sonic license such as Dr. Robotnik's Bean Machine, a tasteless rip-off on the puzzle-genred Bust-a-Move/Tetris-style affairs, Sonic Spinball, the horrendously bad pinball simulation, and finally the underachieved Sonic 3D Blast. There are plenty of unlockable games, not having anything to do with the Sonic uinverse, just a bunch of two-cent fillers by Sega, most that have either gone unnoticed or undelievered to the American market. Sadly, in none of those hidden titles will you find the Sega CD exclusive Sonic CD, which was more or less a forgotten addition to the Sonic series that didn't quite make the cut on this Mega Collection. Having never played Sonic CD before, probably along with many other Sonic fans being on the now-and-then defunct Sega CD, it would have been nice to see what kind of game it was. Ah well, guess I'll have to go with the bargain-bin PC port or bust. Still, it's rather unexplained why Sonic CD was not here in this collection, and there's no reason it couldn't have been.
One thing Mega Collection does well, and Nintendo should be taking notes on for a possible (hint.. hint...) Zelda Anthology or possibly an update to Mario All-Stars (done right this time), is that it successfully ports each and every game to 1:1 scale of perfection. Every sound, framerate hitch, menu, sprite or what have you is unparalled perfect of it's Genesis counterpart in every way. However, this seems to be where the games can fall slightly short in the long run, proving some problems of the original games such as in-game saving. Although Sonic 3 had a save file feature, the others don't making it sort of a damper on the gameplay. As far as Sonic and Sonic 2 go, you'll have to be fully comitted to trying to complete the entire game in one sitting, you'll be forced to, or else you'll have to start back at square one all over again next time. Luckilly, being the ports of the originals that they are, you'll be able to use the cheat codes to access the menus and level select cheats. Getting back to why change is good, you'll have to go on the net to look for them, or struggle with entering them like the infamous Sonic 3 debug menu; which is to this day nearly impossible to activate. Whether you're conservative on the topic of these being direct, unaltered ports of the original Genesis classics or liberal in being you would of like them to fix some of the rough edges, just remember that nostalgia has it's prices to pay, and that being that you'll be transported back to a time where it wasn't as user-friendly as these days.
Another welcoming trait Mega Collection doesn't fail at is bringing fourth a clear as a digital bell sound from the sensuous menu music to the classic stuff found in the games. Whatever your opinion, Sega has always prospered in composing the perfect music for the Sonic universe, being fast, looped, but entirely memorable and hummable. Gamers who are entirely intoxicated by nostalgia will probably be singing along with the excellent music from the games, like myself. Most importantly, as said before, the music has been done superbly all over again, now sounding clearer in stereo and even better on a hi-fi system. And as always... you'll be able to hear the ever-so-memorable SEEEE-GAAA! all over again as these haven't been left out.
Being a sort of tribute to the classic that it is, you'll be able to take a look at a handful of bonus "DVD-extras" inspired stuff within the disc. You'll be able to take a look at 130 plus comic-book covers of Sonic and his friends, illustrations from the original games up until Sonic Adventure 2's designs, and be able to see Sonic before he went eerie-green-eyed scary looking. Although these bonus features aren't very interactive, you'll be able to spend literally almost an hour taking a look at the bonus materials from the original packed-in vintage black-and-white Sonic manuals you probably lost long ago, to some readable comics. A nod to the developers, all of the artwork, text, and what have you has been high-resolutioned, so you'll be able to zoom in and out of each piece of artwork without having to squint or get closer to the television screen. You'll also be able to view some movies, including the brilliantly compressed Sonic CD opening and ending sequences as well as a bunch of other movies and FMV-sequences, previewing some upcoming and already available Sonic games like Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, and Sonic Advance 2 which will be available soon, and a anthology-inspired look back on Sonic History.
Whether or not Sega forecasted, the Nintendo GameCube controller is by far the best choice to replay these classics on. Although there is only a couple buttons to use, many of which do the same action, it all feels much easier and more comfortable on the Cube's analog stick; even better than the original Genesis controller. If you want to stay strictly nostalgic, take on the D-Pad for a much more classic experience, or give your thumbs a rest on the analog stick.
Although Sonic Mega Collection isn't a standard priced GameCube game at $39.99 retail, it's well worth the forty bucks you'll pay to own a collection of memorable titles. Not having Sonic CD or any initial improvements over the originals, plus the somewhat absent-feeling filler titles, they don't affect the overall package, but you wont help to feel a little short-changed in the end. Chances are pretty good you'll be buying this for the Sonic saga; not Bean Machine, Spinball, or the poorly adapted Sonic 3D Blast as they prove to be more less of the package deal. If there was to be an addition to Mega Collection, games like Sonic R, which was an abominably horrendous on-foot racer for the Saturn, and even Sonic CD could be in here, as well as Sonic Adventure... possibly just wishful thinking. Like Sonic Jam for the Sega Saturn, you don't get any of the added bonuses as you did there like a polygonal interface, but all in all, Mega Collection is a but a collection that doesn't loose sight of it's goal; bring foward the classics in a bundled form. For fans, Mega Collection is an excellent re-representation of the classic Sonic gameplay that has been forgotten in a new-age of 3D polygonal worlds, and although it has slight shortcomings, it's a package that many fans would like to see happen to other sagas like Mega Man, Mario and even Zelda.
(on a basis of Epinions' stars ratings)
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The Final Decisions are based on the emulation of the titles, not the technology
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