One more time. Again.
Y’know, owning this collection makes me realize that I’ve bought some of these games way too many times. I have the first two Sonic games in at least five different forms on at least four different systems! Now, maybe that’s just me being a lover of Sega classics. Maybe I’m just insane for the little blue furball. But even I’m starting to get tired of it.
[image1]The Sonic Ultimate Genesis Collection is a collection of some of the best titles the Sega Genesis had to offer… well, that were published by Sega, at least. Forty-plus titles released over the span of the classic system are dropped into this package, and thankfully represent a nice span of genres: RPG (Shining Force and Phantasy Star), action (Vectorman and Sonic), flight combat (Space Harrier and *shudder* Super Thunder Blade), and ninjas (Shinobi III).
I said before that I own too many copies of the first two Sonic titles… that’s because I’m apparently more of a Genesis fan than I ever thought I was. These titles have been re-released more times than the original Disney flicks for a similar reason: people (like me, apparently) keep buying them. Between the Sonic Mega Collection releases, the Sega Genesis Collection (which shares the bulk of the titles on this collection), the handheld releases, the Xbox Live Arcade… Sega is really milking these classics.
(Psst… keep doing it, Sega and Backbone, then I can make an octuplet joke somewhere down the line!)
[image2]Even though there are many games already included in the Sega Genesis Collection that was released not that long ago (the bulk of the Sonic games, three Phantasy Stars, Ristar, all of the Golden Axe trilogy, and Alex Kidd among others), there is very little here that is really a step above. With the exception of the Shining Force and Streets of Rage series, there’s nothing here that garners a purchase over the collection released over two years ago. Sure, some games have been added, and some dropped (Why not drop Super Thunder Blade? It’s the cheapo-wine to go with the $1,000 dinner), though honestly I doubt anyone has noticed the disappearances (Wait, they didn’t bring back Ecco Jr.? Poor baby!). With so many recurring games, you might hope that the extras are even better this time around… after all, they have to hook you somehow, right?
The only notable unlockable game here is the first Phantasy Star for the Sega Master System. But that makes me think all the harder. Why isn’t every unlocked game for the Genesis? Isn’t this supposed to be the "Genesis" collection? Backbone, why not grab some of the rights for some really fun Genny classics… y’know, like Rocket Knight Adventures? Championship Pro-AM? Ballz-3D? Why not more uncommon games like Wardner and any of the Valis titles? Why, instead, are we seeing Zaxxon for the twelfth time?
The only thing really slick here is the interface, and I have to admit, it gave me high hopes for the rest of the collection. The touch of having what look like cartridges flying every which way is really cool, and the sleek game selection menu (I can’t believe I’m happy about a menu regarding some of the best games of all time…) has the great feel of the Genesis/Mega Drive. Even getting into the games is nice because – finally – there are no load times for any game! That was a major down-side of the first Genesis collection: every game had to load, some more than others, and some even had random glitching and speed/sound issues. Not so here. Backbone sharpened their emulation techniques, and while it’s still not perfect (and will likely never be), at least the loading is practically non-existant.
[image3]Also, this game brings back shades of the legendary Xbox 360 title “Avatar” in that the achievements are about as easy to pick up as the cast of the latest Flavah Flav dating “reality” show. Most of the games’ achievements are literally as easy as “get to level 2” or “grab a Chaos Emerald”, stunting the possibilities that could have been offered, as far as replayability is concerned. If you need some quick points, it’s worth sniffing around. But if you already have the games, or a prior collection, it’s probably not worth the extra cash.
I’ll let the poet in me ask in haiku form:
Why do you only show games
We’ve already seen?
Show me something new,
That I shall buy with surprise
And praise you again!