Review by HyperSonic06

"The museum is addictive. Such a great collection."

Sonic Gems Collection is the second, and probably of many, Sonic the Hedgehog compilations on the GameCube. When the first compilation was released, Mega Collection, it became a top seller and still is with its inclusion of every Sonic game on the Sega Genesis along with movies, artwork, and comic book covers. One gem was missing and that gem was Sonic CD, Sonic's critically acclaimed appearance on the ill-fated Sega CD and PC. Considered to be THE best game in the Sonic series, because of it's CD-quality soundtrack and inclusion of time travel, it has now been ported to the masses in this collection of rare Sonic games. How appropriate that a gem of a game is in a collection with gem in the title.

Another rare game included is Sonic the Fighters, a Sega AM2 arcade game that saw a limited release in the U.S. under the name "Sonic Championship" and has sprung a cult following with the spin-off's silly take on the Virtua Fighter series. Finally, Sonic R was released on the abismal Sega Saturn and later released on the PC back in 1998. This was Sonic's true 3D debut. The game is a great idea, but lacks depth with only 5 tracks. Oh yeah...there are game gear games, but I don't care about those. Here's the breakdown on the entire collection:

GRAPHICS: 9.5/10
The GameCube struts its stuff as it makes all 3 games look better than their originals. Yes, I'm grading the graphics at the time they were released, thus the high score, so I'm not like EGMorons and compare them to today's standards, but they look better now! Sonic the Fighters looks awesome and a little less "polygony," Sonic CD looks crisper, and Sonic R looks less choppy.

SOUND: 9/10
Every ring, jump, punch, kick, and screech to a halt sounds great. The Sonic CD sound FX have always sounded a little off to me, so a 9 seems appropriate.

MUSIC: 7.5/10
Man, the only reason this compilation gets a 7.5 is for the Sonic R music. That music is hilariously crappy! It's such a big joke...luckily, you can turn the lyrics off. Sonic CD's music is just as AWESOME as ever and Sonic the Fighters is just as good, pumping out original tracks as well. Hardcore fans will be disappointed with the lack of the way popular Japanese soundtrack of Sonic CD. I could care less.

PRESENTATION (outside the games): 9/10
The game's menus are a sight to behold, with images of Sonic's past seemlessly floating in the background and so easy to navigate. The addition of the museum mode has consumed my last few hours playing. I just hafta unlock all this Sonic artwork! The museum allows you to unlock game artwork, Sonic Screen Saver artwork, song remixes (which are played in a Media Player of sorts), videos, and 5-minute demos. Unlike Mega Collection, where you had to play a certain game so many times where a lot of entering and immediate exiting occured, you can unlock artwork by meeting goals, like beating a game or playing a game for more than 1-2 hours (time flys when you're playing...don't worry, it won't take that long).

CONTROLS: 8/10
Sonic CD is a basic Sonic title. No need to address any flaws for it's perfect. Sonic the Fighters...a true button masher, where my 5 year old neighbor beat me for pressing any random-a$$ button he didn't know he desired. It takes a little time to get combos to work, but it's worth it. Still, you could just be a little cheap guy and keep pressing the punch button, but trust me, it's not as rewarding. Sonic R as been a problem since I owned it back in 1998. It's Sonic, so you have to jump, unlike other racers. The A button is jump instead of the standard accelerate. The control stick in the up position is now accelerate, leaving you turn without acceleration. The R and L alleviate this problem, allowing you to make sharp turns and still accelerate and I like that. A little learning curve, but no problem.

UPDATING THE GAMES (do they stand the test of time?): 10/10
OMG! Now Sonic R is FOUR PLAYER!!! I love it! Sonic the Fighters now has a pause menu with a move list for each character and an options menu for difficulty, rounds, damage ratio, and other cliched fighting game options! Also, the GameCube allows minimal...and I mean...MINIMAL...load times. There's barely any! I remember time traveling on Sonic CD on my PC and it would load and load and I could travel multiple times in one act. Not the case no more! The collection flows so well. Plus, the Game Gear games and Vectorman come complete with a save feature now! Also, a quick save option which allows for a "save state" feel. Don't feel like doing the whole level over in Vectorman? Quick save right before the boss!

GAME SELECTION: 6.5/10
Now, come on. I've played these Game Gear games already on Sonic Adventure DX and I hate half of them. Why SONIC SPINBALL??! The Genesis version is crappy, and the handheld port is even crappier! Tails' Skypatrol is horrible and boring, and Sonic Drift, for some reason, bores me after a while. The games (I know you've heard the following comment before, but I must agree), the games were picked at random. They should have stuck with the tradtional Sonic GG titles. But, the variety in the main 3 games is awesome. Classic Sonic, and two different spin-offs (fighting and racing) and a quick load/switch between them kept me enthralled for hours. If I got bored, there was a different style of game to play to keep my interest up and I'd come back to each of the 3 for more! The Vectorman games are also a great break. A classic platformer with excellent graphics breaks any little monotony you should find. And the flags...so cool. Overall, the Game Gear games were a waste of space, because many of us have been there, done that.

I averaged the scores and it's an 8.5, so I'm rounding it to an 8, because I don't think it totally deserves a 9, but the $30 price tag is very affordable and worth the price for the three main games in my opinion. A good buy, because I don't think a rental will suffice for a hardcore fan. If your kinda new, say you just entered the Sonic series through the GBA games, then I recommend a rental. Sonic CD won't disappoint though.





Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/19/05


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