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Sega Genesis Collection

1 rating: 3.0
Action video game by Sega for the PlayStation 2

SEGA Genesis Collection features over 30 titles including, Altered Beast, Sonic The Hedgehog, Shinobi III, Phantasy Star, and the original SEGA Genesis version of Golden Axe.

Release Date: November, 2007
1 review about Sega Genesis Collection

SEGA!!!

  • Jul 5, 2009
Rating:
+3
Pros: A very solid collection

Cons: Several bad choices; collection not as good as it should be; Altered Beast appears AGAIN

The Bottom Line: Seeeeeegaaaaaa!!!!

Being a child of gaming's 16-bit Silver Era, I'm perpetually amazed at how far removed video games are from those old days. I'm well aware that we'll never see another Sega console on the market, but I can't help but be shocked at some of the things Sega has done since the Dreamcast gracefully took its final bow and left the world for console heaven, leaving its loyalists with just three machines far more powerful than the fabled swan song and our memories. My most recent jolt came at the startup screen of F-Zero GX, which I bought for my Gamecube a couple of days ago: A giant Sega logo right under the Nintendo logo. F-Zero is a popular cult franchise created by Nintendo specifically for its own consoles, and here is Sega helping them perfect it.

With our fond Sega memories, we also have the occasional nostalgia package featuring games from the Silver Era. This is a wonderful thing because it allows those old gems to be passed on and played by gamers whose oldest Sega consoles are no longer functioning. Sega has mostly been very smart about picking and choosing games for its nostalgia packages. They had an excellent collection on Sega Smash Pack for the Dreamcast, a collection which was seen as the standard-bearer at the time. Here for the Playstation 2 we have Sega Genesis Collection, a collection of popular and beloved Genesis titles in case you couldn't figure that out. The back of the package proudly boasts of 28 classic games.

There are classics in this collection to be sure. Several of them. But not 28 of them. The complete 28-game collection on Sega Genesis Collection is as follows: Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle; Altered Beast; Bonanza Bros; Columns; Comix Zone; Decap Attack starring Chuck D Head; Ecco the Dolphin; Ecco: The Tides of Time; Ecco Jr; Flicky; Gain Ground; Golden Axe; Golden Axe II; Golden Axe III; Kid Chameleon; Phantasy Star II; Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom; Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium; Ristar; Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi; Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master; Sonic the Hedgehog; Sonic the Hedgehog 2; Super Thunder Blade; Sword of Vermilion; Vectorman; Vectorman 2; Virtua Fighter 2.

A serious gamer is now taking a cursory glance at that list and is perplexed about that last one. "Hey!" he says. "Virtua Fighter 2 was a Saturn game! And an arcade game! There's no way Sega would be dumb enough to use the Genesis version for a collection like this!" Well, guess what: Sega DID use the Genesis version of Virtua Fighter 2, floaty controls and everything. It could just be the quality of the emulation - all of the games on Sega's nostalgia packages are emulated - but the fact that every other game turned out just fine doesn't warrant the benefit of the doubt for it. The unfortunate downside of any nostalgia package is that the problems of the original games never, ever get fixed. Therefore you're still staring at your inability to mount an attack from the air in Virtua Fighter 2, the terrible sliding effects in Decap Attack and Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle, the ridiculous speed rate of the higher levels in Columns, and the general cheapness and poor hit detection of Golden Axe.

On Netjak, I reviewed Capcom Classics Collection for the Playstation 2. It was the first time I ever used the term "nostalgia package." In that review, I said that in some cases, these nostalgia packages feel like attempts to pawn a developer's dirty little secrets off onto an unsuspecting gaming public. They use the marquee titles to lure you in. But take a second look at the game list on Sega Genesis Collection and you'll see there aren't a whole lot of dirty little secrets Sega is trying to throw at you. It's true that many of the games on it haven't aged well, but they were solid games for their times and so their inclusions are understandable. Some of the games are quite dirty by today's standards, but none of them are secrets. I'm thinking primarily of Altered Beast here. It was a solid, great game when it first came out but Father Time had repeatedly walloped it with his cane as early as 1995, when people started to consider it BADLY outdated. 

Truthfully, there are a few games on Sega Genesis Collection which aren't dirty little secrets as they are hidden gems. I've gotten addicted to Gain Ground, an overhead game in the Gauntlet mold in which you try to guide various warriors across enemy lines to safety. Bonanza Bros and Flicky are both worth quick go-rounds when you need to kill those spare 15 minutes after getting dressed to leave for an appointment. But the real surprise to me was Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi, universally blasted as the dark horse of the beloved Shinobi series. Most serious game fanatics seem to hate it, but I found it to be one of the best games in the series, after Shinobi III. I'm glad Sega took a chance by including it rather than throwing out Revenge of Shinobi again. Ristar, a game developed by Sonic Team in the waning days of the Silver Era, is an extremely solid and well-made platformer which is a lot of fun. And I've taken a liking to Decap Attack, an early Genesis platformer which is raw and rudimentary and has terrible music but is still very enjoyable once you get around the general roughness of the game's design.

On the other hand, Ecco Jr is nothing more than filler. It's a kid's game starring everyone's favorite sea mammal and believe me when I say it's free of ANY challenge at all. I didn't hear a lot of people clamoring that they absolutely, positively MUST have a version of Super Thunder Blade, a very tough helicopter shooter which is impossibly fast. Ditto Sword of Vermilion, an RPG. Golden Axe III was a very thoughtful addition which otherwise never saw the light of day in the States. It's a solid game but having the first two Golden Axe games really render it unnecessary. And finally, why, dear god oh WHY does Sega keep inflicting Altered Beast on its loyalists? They've managed to preserve it on just about every other nostalgia package they've ever released despite the clamors of game reviewers everywhere insisting they don't need to see Altered Beast yet AGAIN! People don't appear to have a particular demand for it, and if Sega ever does wise up and quit adding it to nostalgia packages, there are plenty of ways for its fans to emulate and download it themselves. We don't need to see Altered Beast again! PS: If Sega insists on giving us Virtua Fighter 2 again, here's hoping they make it the arcade/Saturn version. If anyone at Sega ever reads this, guys, please, this logic is why Sonic is showing up  Mario's consoles and not on actual Sega consoles.

There may not be 28 classics in this collection, as Sega brags. But the good news is if you want CLASSICS, honest to god dyed in the wool classics, you got 'em! There are many games in Sega Genesis Collection which can unequivocally be referred to as classics. One is Columns, which is aged but still fun enough to warrant its inclusion. Comix Zone is another one, and that's a game which I think actually improved with age. It was an odd little novelty back in its time, and you can't help but love it because we haven't seen anything quite like it since. Ecco the Dolphin and Ecco: The Tides of Time haven't aged a day. These two achingly beautiful games are as gorgeous, atmospheric, playable, artistic, and HARD as they ever were. All three Phantasy Star adventures for the Genesis are on here, and all of them are excellent. They haven't been immunized to time the way the Super NES Final Fantasy games have, but they're still outstanding. Vectorman and Vectorman II both remain among the best action games released at the tail end of the Silver Era. Yes, there are real classics on Sega Genesis Collection and if you were a Super NES owner who envied some of the games on the Genesis, this is a great package to buy.

Unfortunately, there is more to a nostalgia package than just the games on it. You also have to look at the complete collection of games developed and published by a particular video game company. And I'm utterly sickened by what Sega is keeping from us here. I understand it must be tough to make decisions like this when you have such a collection of outstanding games to choose from. And I shall not complain about Sega excluding a number of great and very very RARE Saturn titles like Shinobi Legions, Nights, and Panzer Dragoon - this is, after all, the Sega GENESIS Collection. However, since the 32X and Sega CD were both attachments to the Genesis, I WILL complain about Sega's apparent need to forget about their existence. Chaotix is not included. AGAIN. That awesome 32X version of Virtua Fighter is not included. AGAIN. The Sega CD and 32X, contrary to popular belief, did released good games once every two blue moons or so. So Sega needs to get with its program here. This isn't even getting into the Genesis games which weren't included. Shining in the Darkness is missing in action AGAIN. The whole Shining series on the Genesis, in fact, isn't there. Streets of Rage isn't represented either. Shining in the Darkness would have made a FAR better choice than Sword of Vermilion and I would have easily given up the Golden Axe series in favor of Streets of Rage. I would have also accepted Michael Jackson's Moonwalker just for the novelty of having it, even though it really wasn't that good.

There are two Sonic the Hedgehog games, the first one and the second one. I understand Sonic is Sega's mascot, but by this point the first two games are getting a little bit played out. Sonic starred in a lot of games but Sega keeps recycling the same ones and so I'm at a point where I have trouble accepting Sonic and Sonic 2 at all knowing Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles were also perfectly great games. Again, I repeat to Sega that this kind of logic is why they kept getting creamed in the console wars once the Genesis had worn out its lifespan. Sonic CD was a very good game and is almost universally considered the best game in the whole series. Why does Sega keep forgetting about it? Chaotix is floating around out there too and Sega is starting to look very militant in their increasingly apparent denial of Chaotix's existence. 

I was torn about whether or not to give Sega Genesis Collection three or four stars. I'm going with the four-star rating because the games on it rank from solid to genuinely classic for the most part. There's a ton of unlockable filler material on Sega Genesis Collection too, but I can't see many gamers really caring for it that much. We buy nostalgia packages to relive our Silver Era memories. There's filler on Sega Genesis Collection, but not enough of it to steal a lot of attention from the good games, and some of the game choices are questionable. But for the most part, this is a must own collection for those like myself who grew up in the Nintendo/Sega console wars from the Silver Era and fondly remember it as the brightest hour of video gaming.

Recommended:
Yes

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"SEGA!!!"
Source: Sega Genesis Collection on Lunch.com
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