Review by Psycho Penguin

"It doesn't even matter that half the games are crap, because it's still a great value."

Sega is the anti-Nintendo. Always have been and always will be. Back in the early 90's, Sega presented itself as the hip and cool console maker, while Nintendo was still aimed at little kiddies and "tradition". Now that Sega doesn't even have a console, they have an excuse to release older titles (unlike Nintendo, which just does it to make money). Of course, they are smart and decided to put a bunch of titles on one disc, unlike Nintendo which puts one game on one portable cartridge. If this was Nintendo's version, it'd cost you about 300 dollars to play this. This is just one of the reasons why Sonic Mega Collection Plus is such a great value and proves why Sega has always been an outstanding company.

There is really no reason not to buy this compiliation if you are a Sonic fan, old school fan, or really just a gamer in general. Boasting some of the greatest games to ever be released (as well as some crap, but more on that later), this is an absolute bargain. From the terrificness that was Sonic the Hedgehog 2, to some of the Game Gear titles that prove to be surprisingly playable, there is loads of replay value and fun to be had on this 19.99 disc. Yes, 19.99 for 17 games. It's too bad Sega isn't in the console business any more.

There is a variety of games to be had on this disc. A quick rundown of them would indicate that most of them are actually quite good. On the Genesis, there are 11 games to choose from. You get the main trilogy (Sonic, Sonic 2, and Sonic 3), Sonic and Knuckles (one I didn't really enjoy much), Sonic 3D Blast (which is a hideous game as well), Sonic Spinball (a nice little pinball game), and Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine (which is just a version of Columns with Dr. Robotnik in it.) In addition to these, there are some bonus unlockable games, which are Flicky, Ristar, The Ooze, and Comix Zone.

That would be a good enough value on their own, right? But wait, you also get 7 Game Gear titles, like the remake of Sonic the Hedgehog, the super fun Sunic Chaos, and the super easy Sonic Blast. A Mario Kart ripoff, Sonic Drift, the Game Gear port of Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, and an unique Sonic Labyrinth title also accompany the trilogy. So, yes, you also get a bunch of Game Gear titles, which are perfectly emulated despite the little box around the screen which is not really a big deal at all and just adds to the feeling that it is a Game Gear game.

It's too bad that some of the Sonic games are really terrible, or I'd give this game an easy 10. The sad truth is that only half the games on the disc are great. I hated Sonic 3D Blast. I felt it was a terrible waste of time, with awful 3D perspective and boring stage designs that ended with confusion instead of fun. As much as I disliked Sonic 3, I at least thought it was an average game, but the quasi-sequel, Sonic and Knuckles, is just an awful game. It relies too much on gimmicks and traps, like swinging on vines, instead of being a classic, super speedy Sonic game.

There's more than enough to make up for it, though. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for Sega Genesis is one of the best games ever created, and I was reminded of this when I played this disc. The music is super great and the level designs are just fantastic. Sonic the Hedgehog, also for Genesis, while not being quite as great, was also a super fun game. Ristar is one of the more underrated games out there and you will fall in love with it once you unlock it. It's too bad the disc didn't include more classic and fun titles, but I'd pay 19.99 for these 3 games alone really.

All of the games are emulated perfectly. Considering the speed of the Sonic games, and the fact that these are ports from emulators, they are remarkably playable. There is nary a hint of slowdown at all, and the graphics and sound are perfectly emulated. They didn't update the graphics or sound at all, these are straight ports, but they did a really terrific job and I prefer my Sonic to be old school style anyways.

The Sonic games always have had a lot of replay value, and the same could be said for this collection. Not only are most of the games on the disc super addictive (and great time killers), but the disc itself has replay value, because it requires you to beat and play through certain titles in order to unlock certain non-Sonic titles, like Flicky. Sure, it makes you own a Sonic Heroes save to unlock one, but that's the worst case of greediness? Give me a break then, Sonic Heroes is great to begin with and you could always rent a copy out anyways.

So, there is really no reason whatsoever not to own Sonic Mega Collection Plus. It's a great value (19 dollars for 17 games!), and despite the fact a few of the titles are decidely mediocre, most of them are as fun as ever. This is an excellent value and you won't regret purchasing it, especially once you play Sonic 2 again and remember how damn awesome it really was for its time, and still is.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 12/08/04

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