The 16-bit era for me was an especially sweet time for gaming. New gaming consoles such as the Mega Drive and Super Nintendo let developers really tighten up and refine game play from the last generation as well as of course adding a lot of atmosphere and polish. I personally find games from this era age better than early 3d titles, largely remaining playable and visually pleasing.
Sega have tried to recapture the glory of the 90’s with their latest version of the Ultimate Mega Drive Collection. There are over 40 classics packed onto this one disk, and I have to say that some real beauties were included. At $79.95, this game is a real bargain, that’s about the price of one of the rarer original carts on this disk.
Waiting for a cheap version of Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles? Well you also get the first two, Sonic 3d and Sonic Spinball. Other classics include Shining Force, Shining Force 2, and Shining In The Darkness. Not enough gameplay? How about the Streets of Rage Trilogy, Four Phantasy Stars, Columns and Shinobi 3? There really is almost something for everyone here. A nice little extra is that the game allows you to rate each title so you can see at a glance which you enjoyed and even trivia on each game.
Of course with any compilation you can fault it for not including certain games. How come there are no shooters (Go-go Toaplan)? Where is Desert Strike? Earthworm Jim? Gunstar Heroes? Castlevania? Aladdin? It’s hard to go down this route however when you consider what WAS out on the disk. I think this is one of the single most meaty releases since Orange Box or Super Mario All-Stars.
Thankfully I was able to play all the games I tried okay with the stick and avoid the horrible XBOX d-pad. All the games look, feel and play like the originals, but I wasn’t sure if one or two were perhaps a little faster perhaps? No biggie anyway. Oh and the game does support 720p, of course this just adjusts the graphics to suit newer TV’s a bit better, thankfully the graphics haven’t been messed with and changed like on some compilations. I recommend plugging in your console to a CRT and playing these games in their original format for a nostalgia achievement. (not an actual achievement)
If you buy this collection or not really depends on if you have bought it before. That is to say, I own each of the Sonic games for at least three formats now and now have about two versions of a lot of the other games. Those that sold their originals, or are just wanting to play some of the games on here will get great value out of the disk. If you are a newer gamer and don’t mind not having gore and polygons forced into your facial region, then I also recommend picking up Mega Drive Ultimate Collection.