Review: SEGA Mega Drive Classics – A new collection of SEGA games has seen the light of day. The SEGA Mega Drive Classics collection has no less than 50 first party games available to play on your (or virtual) Mega Drive. For the older gamer, beautiful nostalgia, for the somewhat younger gamer perhaps one of the nicest (interactive) history lessons ever. The concept works well and the collection will provide you with hours, if not days, of fun. However, it is not something completely new, because we have now reached the seventh collection that this developer and publisher has released. Is this current-gen collection worth its money?
SEGA Mega Drive: cashcow since 1988
The Mega Drive was by far the most popular console of SEGA ever. It was by far the first 16-bit console that appeared on the market and then became a huge competitor of the SNES. In Europe, the console even had a larger market share than the SNES. The Mega Drive remained a popular console with fans for years. It is therefore not surprising that SEGA wants to look back at these good old times with its umpteenth Mega Drive collection. The question, however, is whether SEGA is able to keep gamers’ attention.
It depends a little on how many of these collections you already have in the cupboard (or game list). Is the answer to that zero? Then the SEGA Mega Drive Classics collection is a fantastic composition to start with your figurative time travel to the 90s. With no fewer than 50 games, this is by far the most extensive collection that SEGA has ever released and oh boy, there are some ‘couwe ouwen’ between those for all ages are still fun to play!
A good start is half the work
SEGA Mega Drive Classics brings you after the intro-trailer straight to the dream room of every fanatical gambling 90’s kid. This room was previously seen in a PC version of the collection and is now being reused for this release. The menu options are creatively incorporated in the furniture of the room; the clock lets you adjust the time in the room, the Mega Drive controller gives you a number of controller options, the old home phone gives you the possibility to start the online multiplayer and the trophy on the desk lets you view the Trophies and challenges . Then of course you have the two most important pieces of furniture in the room: the TV and a bookcase full of games!
Fortunately, you do not have to complete certain challenges before you can and may play certain titles. As far as we are concerned, a big improvement compared to Sonic’s Ultimate Mega Drive Collection (PS3), in which that was still applicable. All 50 titles can literally be inserted into the virtual Mega Drive and the game starts playing directly on the old TV. You then have the choice whether you want to play fullscreen or watch the TV. If you choose the second option, there is even a ‘bulging’ in the screen to simulate your old TV experience as much as possible. Fullscreen, however, also looks fine and that takes this bulging away, so the image is not distorted slightly.
What is an irritation factor is that the control is indicated in-game on the basis of a Mega Drive controller. Unfortunately, a ‘translation’ to a DualShock 4 controller is a bit too much for SEGA, so you’ll have to figure out how the games are controlled exactly. With some games you have to deal with that, but by no means every game can be controlled well. This of course has to do with the age of the titles, but a somewhat more specific explanation with regard to the DualShock 4 controller was not out of place. That could have prevented some in-game frustration in different titles.
To be this good takes ages, to be this good takes SEGA …?
Your cupboard full of games is sorted alphabetically, but You can also choose your games as favorites, putting them on the top shelf for convenience. You will probably pick a good number of classics for this favorites list. Top games like Streets of Rage, Sonic 1 and 2, Golden Ax (1, 2 and 3), Phantasy Star (2, 3 and 4), Virtua Fighter 2, to name a few, are games that you certainly do not can miss in an ‘ultimate’ collection. But you also have to try out some lesser-known titles like Ristar, Decap Attack, Beyond Oasis, Bonanza Bros and Wonder Boy in Monster World.
Of course you now have the chance to play all games online, including leaderboards . That is a nice extra for the fanatical gamers and although it does not do me that much, I can well imagine that others are very enthusiastic about it. Also very nice is the possibility to move forward and backward. Do not want to go through those long pieces of text? Just forward and you can continue. Are you making a mistake? Rinse back and try again. It might be a little cheating, but with this type of games it can be useful, because the level is very different than we are used to today.
SEGA Mega Drive Classics- Maybe a few more ages …
This collection contains high quality games, but you can not expect all 50 games. For every classic in its genre you can expect at least two games with the same concept, which are often not of the same level. It’s fun when you’re looking for more of the same, but not for that, but for 50 games the list of available genres is a bit short. In summary; RPGs, Sonic games, here and there a stray puzzle game, shoot / beat ’em ups and platformers or a combination of those last three. That is not a disaster, but it is a pity that SEGA did not go outside its own library and bought other titles. Think of Mickey Mania, Aladdin, the Spider-Man and Batman games, Mortal Kombat, etc.
Although the collection is fun, it is ultimately a somewhat easy product. Emulate a few old games and hang a price tag. Even the effort that they took at Sonic’s Ultimate Mega Drive Collection (PS3) to render all box doctors in 3D, has been omitted here. Furthermore, there are few other extras in this collection. The only extra is that some games have regional options, allowing you to choose the regions Japan or US. This yields different titles and sometimes in-game some differences, so that’s a nice addition. For the rest, the extras are pretty scanty and that’s a shame. Many games have a rich history and certainly had something to do with it. In that sense there was much more potential in this collection, but unfortunately this has not been used.