We’ve been bombarded by collections of "classic" console and arcade games over the last few months and this one’s thanks to those Japanese gaming geniuses over at Sega.
The Sega Mega Drive Collection pulls together titles from the company’s early-90s beast. Ah, we remember those carefree days when all you had to fret about was how much footie could be crammed in at playtime and that your mum wouldn’t stumble on the "specialist" magazine you found in the woods.
This type of collection should always be approached with caution though. Taito Legends 1 and 2 were stupendous, Midway Arcade Treasures was a total turkey. So where does Sega’s fit in?
Looking down the list of names, it’s plainly obvious that this collection comes with some real big hitters. We’re talking as star studded as the Chelsea first 11 here. Well, when they’re not suffering from an ill-timed injury crisis anyway.
There’s three Golden Axe games featuring some cracking beat ‘em up action. We’re also treated to three Ecco The Dolphin titles which are an acquired taste admittedly, but the first in particular was an absolute stormer. Alex Kidd – remember him? – even puts in an appearance.
We shouldn’t overlook Sega’s biggest asset either. Sonic The Hedgehog’s latest incarnation on the Xbox 360 may have been roadkill, but the original titles are classics in the true sense of the word.
Loading up the original Sonic The Hedgehog takes us back to those heady days of flicking Sonic rubbers around - the rubbing out pencil marks kind, not the other kind – while trying to race through stage two of the the Spring Yard Zone.
True Sonic fans among you will remember the level select cheat. Well, you can even access it in the exact same way as all those years ago. Want to go straight to the Star Light Zone? Well now you can and be treated to some of the best video game music ever. Doo do do dooooo.
We’d buy this collection for Sonic alone, but there’s plenty more to see here. For RPG nuts there’s three – yes, count them – Phantasy Star titles to play through.
Phantasy remains one of the greatest RPG series ever created and all three pack gripping storylines. You’re looking at a good hundred plus hours to finish just these and that’s not bad value for a collection stickered at £19.99.
Most of the titles have extras to unlock too, the best being the original arcade version of Altered Beast. Then there’s the usual interviews, artwork and even a few of Sega’s very early games - a great illustration of how far the company came in such a short period of time.
It’s not all plus points of course. There are a few strange omissions, like the lack of any version of the still gripping Streets of Rage series or one of the Shining Force RPGs. Sega released many obscure titles during this period so some fans are going to be disappointed. There's a second volume in the offing we think.
All in all, we’ve not seen such a collection of beauties since we last took a walk along Miami Beach. The only difference is the Sega Mega Drive Collection has far more depth than those plastic peroxide blondes.