Pros: Best of the best: Some of the greatest Genesis titles ever
Cons: Only twelve? And why Altered Beast, Sega Swirl, and Wrestle War?
The Bottom Line: If you don't own or you never played these classics, you can't do any better than this. And it's only $10.00!
A $50.00 price tag, many, many great games for the prices of music cds, 128 bits of raw power and cheap internet access. How could I lose? Needless to say, I'm talking about my recent aquisition of a Sega Dreamcast here, having finally given in to the hype and bought one. Upon my purchase, I then asked myself what games I should buy with it. Scouring the shelves of my local retailer, I picked up Sega Smash Pack, with a long list of old Genesis games that I had either never played before or hadn't played in so long that I forgot about it's very existance. Twelve games, ten dollars, great deal. And so, in one shining moment of brilliance, I bought twelve old Genesis games instead of a game that would take advantageof the Dreamcast's power. Not that I'm complaining, because most of the games on this disc are well worth the dough, and since these games are all but nonexistant on the Genesis these days, I feel I made a good choice.
So what games are they? Glad you asked. I'm about to tell you, so go get a cup of coffee, sit down and relax as Baron Samedi, Supreme Lord of Video Gaming, takes you through Sega Smash Pack one game at a time.
And so, without further ado, we begin:
Sonic the Hedgehog I can't help but feel a little deja vu right now; I've capsule reviewed this game twice on Epinions already. What more is there to say? It's one of my personal all-time favorites, due mainly to it's incredibly fast pace and massive size. Sonic rushes through six levels at breakneck speed, jumping on enemies and zooming around obstacles and over pits. There are numerous paths through the levels and many secrets to uncover, and each level has it's own unique enemies and terrain. Best of all, all those characters that have been clogging the recent Sonic games haven't been created yet, so the game is easy to follow-it's just Sonic and Robotnik this time around. 5 stars
Golden Axe One of the earliest brawlers, Golden Axe helped to define the genre. What it is, really, is the original Double Dragon set during medieval times. You choose a warrior, an amazon or a dwarf to go out to save the king and put the evil Death Adder in his place. Along the way, you could ride dragons and cast magic spells. A great game, but it easily shows it's age, and the levels are a little on the short side. 4 stars
Shining Force Being a fan of Shining Force 2, this was one of the biggest draws of the disc-and it lives up to it's sequel in every way. I haven't been playing long enough to know the story yet, but the Shining Force games aren't so much about the story as they are about the strategic battles. In battle, you lead an army of up to ten characters featuring all the standard classes: Archers, swordsmen and mages. Each has a limited range in which he can move and attack, and you have to plan for anything the enemy might try, because your hard hitters and healers won't always be around when you need them. The battles play a lot like chess games and can sometimes take hours to complete. 5 stars
Wrestle War Sega should be ashamed of themselves for this one. Everything about this game stinks-the controls are choppy, the camera abruptly switches angles at the worst times, the moves do little or no damage, and a little capsule can't contain all it's flaws. This is by far the worst game on the disc. 1 star
Streets of Rage 2 Now this is what brawlers are all about. It's esentially the same gameplay style as Golden Axe, but the execution is much better, as there is very little slowdown, the graphics are nice and fluid, and the soundtrack, though terribly emulated, gets the adreneline pumping. Pick one of four characters and walk him through the mean streets, picking fights with everyone you see. You have a ton of moves, and the high challenge will have you using every one of them. 5 stars
Columns With Nintendo riding high on the success of Tetris, companies everywhere began emulating the formula, adding their own unique spin. Columns is Sega's attempt. As jewels fall from the sky, you had to line up the colors, three in a row, to make them disappear. It's one of the better Tetris rip-offs, actually, even if it is a little too tough for it's own good. 4 stars
Virtua Cop 2 The lightgun game! There's no story; just three levels in which you try to shoot all the bad guys and avoid shooting civilians and getting shot yourself. Although you can beat it through a single try on it's easiest setting, it fetures a bit of non-linear gameplay, and the large number of ways in which you can adjust the difficulty will keep bringing you back. Being a Saturn game, the graphics and sound are superior to all the other games on this disc. Too bad they didn't include the lightgun. 4 stars
Vectorman This game seems to have a little bit of everything-part platformer, part shooter, even part puzzler in some sections, but the game is mainly action, and the action never lets up. With this title, Sega introduced a new kind of animation, called Vector Piece animation, which consisted of figures made up of several sprites moving in unison. The result is incredibly fluid movement. The sound could have used a bit of work, but the game itself is one of the many treasure that the Genesis contained. 5 stars
Phantasy Star 2 Rpg fanatic that I am, it's ironic that I've never played a Phantasy Star game before. Hell, I'm not very far into this one. I haven't even completed the first mission yet. But the battle system sems to be working some odd kind of magic on me, and although I don't fully understand how it works yet, I'm having fun learning. Of course, if you want to explain it to me, leave a comment or maybe an email. Graphics and sounds show their age. 4 stars
Altered Beast I remember playing this one in the arcades when I was a kid. But I don't remember it being so bad. It's really just a rather poor attempt at a brawler, but you can only move the characters left and right, not in four directions. The game scrolls to the right, and youhave to be quick on the button to punch or kick the enemies. Pick up three spirit balls, and you change into one of a variety of beasts, each with their own unique powers, which is actually pretty cool. 2 stars
Revenge of Shinobi The Shinobi series, in my own humble opinion, is the best pure action series on the planet, except maybe for Contra. You moved to the right, destroying the enemy ninjas, jumping pits and avoiding bombs, and you face a boss at the end of each level. There are lots of bad guys, but you have tons of shurikens, magic, and a move that launches nine shurikens at once to even things out. But this game is still incredibly tough. It's also a lot of fun, with detailed, fluid sprites and good music. 5 stars
Sega Swirl This is new. It's just something that the programmers threw in for no apparent reason. You simply remove a screenful of little swirls by clicking on them. Its not really bad, but there's just no challenge in it-never are you in any danger of the screen filling up with more swirls. All in all, it's just pointless and forgettable. 3 stars
That's Sega Smash Pack. I should mention that the sound is emulated very poorly in all of these games (was the original Shining Force really so fuzzy in sound?).
Another thing: Sega fit six games on a cartridge for the 16-bit Genesis. A 128-bit cd should have been able to fit more than twelve games. They left out a lot of good ones:
The rest of the Sonic series The rest of the Shinobi series The rest of the Phantasy Star series After Burner Toejam and Earl Flashback Aladdin Virtua Fighter Nights Shining Force 2 Daytona USA Virtua Racing Deion Sanders' Prime Time NFL
I'm sure that's only the tip of the iceburg, but those are the only ones I can think of off the top of my head. Anyway, that's it. Great package. Buy it. Oh, and by the way, tell me about any leads on a Sega Saturn, I'm looking for one.
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Nicholas Croston (BaronSamedi3)
Hi! I'm here in part to plug my writing and let everyone know that I'm trying to take my work commercial. Now, what about me? Well, obviously I like to write. I'm … more
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Within this collection of games, you will bear witness to a series of titles that play as well today as the first day they were released. The 12 games included in this amazing collection are: Sonic the Hedgehog, Altered Beast, Columns, Golden Axe, Phan...