Sonic is back, not in true 2005 Technicolor, but in a collection of games that goes way back to the beginning. Probably spurred on by the success of Direct-to-TV-consoles, Sega, the creator of the Sonic series, has released all of the original Sonic games on one disc for a waiting PlayStation 2 and Xbox audience.
The list is impressive, so impressive that we have to admit we didn't realise that the Sonic team had been so busy over the last ten years and the 17 games in this compendium come from the Sega Genesis, Sega MegaDrive and Game Gear eras.
So what do you get? MegaDrive versions consist of Sonic The Hedgehog, Sonic The Hedgehog 2, Sonic The Hedgehog 3, Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic 3D Blast, Sonic The Hedgehog Spinball and Dr Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine.
GameGear titles, Sega's shortlived handheld, include Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic Chaos, Sonic Drift, Sonic Labyrinth, Dr Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, and Sonic Blast.
Playing the different games a certain number of times will unlock the remaining titles, all of which are Sega Genesis games: The Ooze, Comix Zone, Flicky and Ristar.
The graphics are a carbon copy of the original, cheesy music, graphics and all, but understanding that today's gamer isn't prepared to sit for one session in front of the television and complete the whole game Sega has added a save option to all the games. It's certainly a nice touch and one that means you can play the massive disc in chunks at your own pace.
From a gaming perspective, most of the games still stand up to today's efforts showing that Sega has not only been in the industry for some time now, but that it's been innovative from the start and kept gameplay in mind almost all the time.
Sonic is still just as addictive as it was 10 years ago and the inclusion of some of the other not-so-well known titles like Sonic Drift is also a nice welcome alongside classics like Dr Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine.
If you've been tempted to buy a Direct-to-TV console purely for the Sonic games and already own an Xbox or PS2 then this the better way to go. At £29.99 it's slightly more costly than the Direct-to-TV consoles but once you've got a pocket full of rings and released some bunny rabbits and birds into the wild you won't want to care.
Okay so you won't get Golden Axe or some other random game you've never heard of, but you will get Sonic, Knuckles and the rest of the gang. Top Marks.