Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection - Xbox 360

Packs of classic titles may not be new, but none have seemed as jam-packed as this one courtesy of Sega. Including 40 of their most fondly loved Mega Drive classics, you can get away with spending less than a solitary pound per title: a hell of a lot cheaper than buying the original hardware and gaming collection on eBay. And takes up much less room…

All the old favorites are there, with the best of Sonic’s early adventures included. Back in the days when that blue hedgehog was all about frantic platforming brilliance, and not growing arms and plodding about at the speed of an asthmatic caterpillar. And despite these games now being well over a decade and a half old, they’re still some of the greatest pieces of gaming design ever created.

A big batch of Sonic based brilliance is more than enough for us to rip open our wallets, but that’s barely scratching the surface. Fellow platformers, such as Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle, and Altered Beast make much appreciated appearances. The latter not exactly at the cutting edge of technology anymore however.

Fans of the more sedate gaming experience can take in the glories of the two Mega Drive Ecco the Dolphin titles. Both still pack that age old feeling of “what the blooming heck am I supposed to do?” but still somehow draw you in.

Then there’s the appearance of some of the best scrolling beat ‘em ups ever created. Back in the days when simply wandering across the screen kicking bottom was considered something marketable, the Golden Axe and Streets of Rage were major players on Sega’s sublime console. And all six titles (three for each series) stand the test of time, particular the Streets of Rage games.

Even RPG fans are catered for, with six full scale adventures ready and raring to go. Fans of old school role playing will no doubt lean towards the Phantasy Star titles, but to miss out on the strategic brilliance of the Shining Force games would be an absolute travesty. Think of them as classic RPG story telling, mixed with an Advance Wars-lite battle system. Sheer brilliance.

Each title comes complete with the ability to stretch them from their original formats to fit your new widescreen TV, and each pack the chance to turn on “smoothing”. All this essentially does is remove the blocky appearance of the aging visuals offered in this huge collection, and replace them with a smoother, sleeker feel. It’s a question of taste essentially.

A huge mass of unlockables are available, from even more gaming wares, through to interviews with some of Sega’s much loved characters. Achievement points, for the Xbox 360 version at least, are cheap and fairly simple to devour, but at least it doesn’t draw your thoughts away from the classic gaming brilliance on offer here.

Admittedly not EVERY Game here is a classic. E-Swat is a fairly dull platformer with dodgy gunplay, and Shinobi III certainly wasn’t the best of choices. And Sonic Spinball is … well … Sonic as a pinball.

Verdict

Sega’s latest collection of their past gaming exploits stands tall and proud of what these sorts of collections truly should be offering. With 40 brilliant games on offer as well as a huge mass of extra’s, anyone with a love of Sega’s glory days really should pick this one up.

Plus, that classic "Sega" jingle is fully intact. Brilliant.


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