Where’s the Sonic Peanut Butter?
Come see the adventures of a bizarre blue hedgehog and his mutant squirrel friend. Of course I am referring to that classic pair, Sonic and Tails. Oops, almost forgot to mention that big red echidna like creature, Knuckles. All of them are back for adventures on the Saturn which are, well . . . exactly like they were on the Genesis.
It worked with the Star Wars trilogy, why shouldn’t it work with video games? Repackaging and reselling of old product has become the newest trend (Can anyone say irony? Good, I knew you could.). For only a fraction of the price of making a new game, you can throw three or four old games on the same CD. These games sell for two reasons. First, they’re usually cheaper than every other game out there. Second, in an industry that’s only about fifteen years old, people are starting to get nostalgic for their old games with giant pixels. I admit, I miss some of the games on my old Intellivision, but that doesn’t mean that I would buy them for my Saturn.
Sonic Jam, however, changes my mind about the whole idea. Unlike Sonic 3D Blast, the Sonic games that came out on the Genesis were good, plain and simple. They’re fun games. Sure, their graphics are remarkably worse than today’s standards, but the play value is equal, if not better. When Sonic Jam came into the office, I enjoyably played that little blue rodent for a few hours (much to the chagrin of my co-workers). Since Sonic is Sega’s mascot, it makes sense that they would want to do some sort of compilation game.
Sonic Jam essentially combines four cartridges: Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic 2, Sonic 3, and Sonic and Knuckles. Is that enough? Do you remember the lock on feature of Sonic and Knuckles? With it you could play any of the older games with a few extra twists. Well, Sonic Jam incorporates that into the game. You can turn it on with the push of a button. Isn’t technology great? The only thing missing is Sonic Spinball (or am I the only one who liked that game?).
So, you now have more Sonic then you ever could have asked for. Well, Sega decided to give you a little more. As a teaser for the promised 3D polygonal Sonic, the designers have included a virtual museum that allows you to see great moments in Sonic history. While the graphics of this interactive propaganda are impressive, the setup is just plain boring. The only fun part is watching the old commercials and Sonic CD(Good game! Not included.) movies. American gamers may be a little confused by the movies because they are the Japanese versions. Some of them are just plain freaky. All of them are entertaining, however, and well worth watching.
There are also little missions that you can do in the 3D world. The manual promises an extra special surprise if you finish them all. I’m here to tell you they’re a bunch of liars. If you finish all the missions, you get to jump into one of those giant warp rings and get to see (insert trumpets here) THE CREDITS!!! News flash to designers: nobody wants to see the credits. There is a reason why everyone leaves during movie credits – no one cares who bought the lunches every day. (Though we appreciate all you’ve done for us, oh most wise and venerable design people whose teat we suckle on for nourishment…- Ed).
In the end, Sonic Jam is just a solid set of games that we’ve seen before. If you liked the games, but never got to play them all, I recommend it. If you’re tired of rehashes and you want the latest technology has to offer, this is not your cup of tea. All these Sonic games together represent countless hours of non-stop gaming. Well worth thirty or forty bucks.