Game: Sega Genesis Classics Collection
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS Rating: T for Teen
Often times here at the Spring Creek Sun we review games that are inspired by the 16-bit classics of the early 1990s. In recent years developers—especially of the indie variety—attempt to recapture the magic of the past with hits like Shovel Knight, Cave Story, and Axiom Verge. Our latest review brings back all the fun of our youth without trying to mimic well-known franchises. Sega is simply bringing back 50 of their most beloved games on one disc in Sega Genesis Classics Collection.
A virtual bedroom with a virtual collection
Growing up in England I knew the Sega Genesis under its European moniker, the Sega Mega Drive. No matter what you called it during the 90s, we all called it one thing for sure: it was a lot of fun. Now we can relive nostalgic memories—or for the first time if you were too young then—in high definition with fantastic extras. Upon starting up the game you are greeted by a teenager’s bedroom filled with posters of retro video game characters, a record player, an old sound system, a shelf brimming with Sega Genesis titles, and much more. The clock is one of the other things you may take note of, for it not only accurately represents the real-life hour, the light beaming from the window is also draped accordingly. If you play the game at night, it will be likewise reproduced. While this does not affect anything meaningful, it provides an extra detail that is some-how comforting—a reminder of how quickly putting on a few games can lead to hours of missing time, and for the moon to take the sun’s place before you know it.
Having your very own virtual game room is all well and good, but if the games therein don’t stack up well there is little point in spending time there. Thankfully there are truly amazing gems stocked on the shelf, gems like Sonic 1 and 2, the Streets of Rage trilogy, puzzle games like Columns and Dr. Robnotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, even role-playing games the likes of Phantasy Star and Shining Force, and many, many more. Playing as Sega’s famous blue hedgehog and rolling around the luscious greens of Emerald Hills is just as fun now as it was all those years ago. Battling monsters in the Golden Axe series feels as rewarding as I recall as a child, although it does play a little trickier than I re-member. These games again will open up a flood gate, allowing a deluge of childhood memories to pour into your brain, sometimes even bringing back thoughts, feelings, and interactions you had probably forgot about until now, like smelling the aroma of a home-cooked meal you haven’t eaten in decades.
Aside from serving up a whole heap of nostalgia on a gigantic plate, Sega Genesis Classics Collection also brings something fresh. The developers have added a challenge section where you are tasked with completing a level without taking damage or beating a stage in a time limit or defeating a boss without using a special attack. These challenges can be extremely frustrating. However, they will leave you with a tremendous sense of accomplishment after you strive, fail, and ultimately overcome the set tasks. Online multiplayer is another new and welcome feature. Players can play with each other from around the world using games that—20 years ago—would have been inconceivable to adopt online capabilities. This is a stark reminder of how far we have come in such a small time-frame.
The Sega Genesis Classics Collection brings us a startling array of content in one package, although there are some conspicuous absences, such as Sonic and Knuckles and Sonic 3, still it does not spoil the experience. Some gamers may find the contrast between today’s games and these older titles to be a little too different for their liking. Nevertheless, the rest of us will revel in the precursors that led to our present.
Full list of games found in this package:
Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
Columns III: Revenge of Columns
Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
ESWAT: City Under Siege Fatal Labyrinth
Galaxy Force II
Golden Axe II
Golden Axe III
Phantasy Star II
Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom
Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millenium
Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi
Shining Force II
Shining in the Darkness Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
Sonic 3D Blast
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Space Harrier II
Streets of Rage
Streets of Rage 2
Streets of Rage 3
Super Thunder Blade
Sword of Vermilion
The Revenge of Shinobi ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron
Virtua Fighter 2
Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair Wonder Boy in Monster World