A fast from the past. Review

Sonic Mega Collection Info

genre

  • N/A

players

  • 1 - 2

Publisher

  • Sega

Developer

  • N/A

Release Date

  • 01/01/1970
  • Out Now

Platform

  • GameCube

rating

A fast from the past.

There’s a good reason why Sonic the Hedgehog is still around and Kid Chameleon is off in some video game mascot retirement home – character. Sonic captured an arrogant self-confidence in the wag of a finger. He sped across miles and miles when others were still lightly trotting. He was one helluva mascot, that’s for sure.

And now everyone who yearns for the Sonic of yesteryear or those new to the

blue blur can find the past in one place, the Sonic Mega Collection.

This is essentially a compilation of almost all of his 16-bit adventures on

one disk. Sonic Mega Collection includes Sonic 1, 2, 3,

Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic Spinball, Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean

Machine
, and Sonic 3D Blast. That’s a lot of hedgehog.

The

emulation of these Genesis classics is well done, matching the look, speed,

and even the processing faults of the original versions, point for point. Notably,

the Sonic games feel comfortable on the Gamecube controller, complete with the

giant jump button.

The gameplay, graphics, music, and atmosphere of the original Sonic the

Hedgehog
are still unmatched within the series, though the second Sonic

does come very close. It was just such a different and special game in its time.

But with each following game, as more and more supporting characters and features

were being added, the simple and natural magic began to dull, eroded by clutter

and age.

Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles used a revised character sprite

and implemented special shields that granted Sonic new abilities. I didn’t much

like these two games back in their time, and even now, I don’t think they hold

up to the original two.

Sonic and Knuckles, in its original Genesis form, had an additional

cartridge slot that allowed any of the previous Sonic games to be plugged

in. This would open up combined versions of the games, such as being able to

run through Sonic 2 with Knuckles. When the original Sonic was

plugged into Sonic and Knuckles, a bonus game was accessible.

These “locked” versions of Sonic are included in the Mega Collection,

but are not available from the outset. Ironically enough, they must be “unlocked”

by playing the other games. Rounding out the list of unlockable games are Flicky

and Ristar, two non-Sonic games.

Sonic Spinball is a combination of the core Sonic gameplay ideas with

classic pinball playing fields. While I’m no pinball wizard, I can irrefutably

say that pinball is meant to be played with two hands, each controlling a flipper.

The major problem with Sonic Spinball was that it forced you to control

both flippers with one hand. The D-pad was used to veer Sonic towards bonuses

and switches, so the flippers were mapped to A and B. C would control both flippers

at once. Awkward!

Those poor Genesis controllers never had shoulder buttons. If you haven’t

noticed, Sega, Gamecube controllers DO. So why didn’t they have the common sense

to give Spinball the one tweak it was always dying for? Alas, there are

only 2 button mapping configurations, and neither of them do Spinball

justice.

Dr.

Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
is the Americanized version of the classic

puzzle game Puyo Puyo, utilizing enemy characters from the old Sonic

cartoons. Colored blobs drop into the playing field and must be arranged into

combinations of at least 4. The blobs gel together like amoebas when they touch

another blob of the same color. It’s among the best chain-minded puzzle games

and holds up well.

Sonic 3D Blast is the Genesis version, not the slightly improved Saturn

edition. Regardless, it’s still an unlovable game that misses the entire point

of a Sonic game: speed. In the name of completion, I’m glad it’s in there, but

it’s not as good as the classic 2D games.

Woefully missing from this canon of Sonic game is Sonic CD. While they

obviously couldn’t really pack every single Sonic game ever into this

collection, who decided to leave out this one? Sonic CD ruled and beats the

pants off Sonic 3D Blast, but it’s a no-show here. Bad move.

Sonic Mega Collection includes some light extras, but don’t get excited.

The art section is very incomplete. While the comic book covers of some 100

Sonic the Hedgehog comics are included, where are the pencil sketches or character

concepts, the roots of Sonic? Instead, we get a few scans of post-Sonic

Adventure
art with other images that you can easily find online.

Several video clips are also included, such as the opening and ending animations

of Sonic CD (which features a song almost bad enough to rival the DK

monkey rap
). There’s also a silly video biography of Sonic that plays more

like a commercial.

Where are the documentaries or interviews with developers? Where are the design

docs or early concepts? Pages of history behind Sonic? Info on the mysterious

Sonic

Xtreme
project? There just isn’t much meat to the extras.

But you’re probably not buying this for artwork or history. You’re buying

it for the slew of old-school Sonic games, a couple of which still provide

some good fun. However, if you already have some of these games, I’d advise

just blowing the dust off the old Genesis, because there isn’t enough good extra

stuff here.







REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

3
Rating
Robust emulation
Original Sonic 1 and 2 are still fun
Missing
Blah extras
Sonic Spinball