Review by Nightmare827

"Mega-underrated, but not great"

I'll start this review by saying one thing: I love Sonic. Sonic the Hedgehog was the very first game I ever remember playing, and it's still one of my all-time favorite series ever, despite mediocre 3-D showings.

Alas, despite being a huge Sonic fan, I managed to miss these aptly-named "Gems". I was born in 1991; by the time I had become a mature gamer, arcades were all but obsolete. Thus, I missed Sonic the Fighters (or Sonic Championship). I never got a Sega Saturn; I was too absorbed in Nintendo and Playstation to care, and I also am not a PC fanatic, so I missed out on Sonic R, as well. And I'm sure I'm not the only gamer who managed to miss Sega CD, so Sonic CD stayed lost to me for years.

These games make up the meat of Sonic Gems Collection, and the multitude of Game Gear games make up the icing on the cake.

Gameplay: 9/10

Any one of these games probably wouldn't be able to stand alone as a game today. However, they've all been rolled up into one easy-to-swallow package.

Sonic CD is easily one of the best 2-D Sonics, and definitely the best game in this package, better than the original but not as good as 2 or 3 & Knuckles, and I think it's better than Advance 2 and 3, but not 1 or Rush. Sure, it's basically the same as the original, but it improved on everything that the original did well. The time-travel system can get annoying after a while, but it was quite innovative, and I give Sonic Team points for that.

Sonic the Fighters is just a few pegs shy of being fighting-game gold, but it is solid. It was pretty decent for its time, and you'll most likely get a bit of game time out of it, but it's nothing particularly special.

I don't care what anyone else says, Sonic R is fun. This is still one of the very few racing games I will actually play. It seems that this is a natural setting for Sonic; rushing frantically to get to the goal before your friends. There's things to find in each track, as well. It's fun, but I can't honestly say that it would be a party hit. Hardcore Sonic fans will probably get a kick out of it, but not much else.

None of the Game Gear games are really worth playing, except for Triple Trouble (I prefer its Japanese title, Sonic & Tails 2, with Sonic Chaos being the original Sonic & Tails). Has anyone ever gotten past the first boss in Sonic 2? Pure gaming crap. Stick with the three main games, the two Vectormans, and maybe Sonic Triple Trouble if you want to see what Sonic may have been like on the NES.

Speaking of Vectorman, did I mention that Vectorman and its sequel Vectorman 2 are on this disc as unlockable games? This is one franchise that Sega needs to bring back...give us a GBA or a DS Vectorman 3! These games are sublime, and will make your purchase that much more worthwhile.

Graphics: 8/10

I feel that I shouldn't be rating these graphics simply because they're some 6-10 years old. Since this is a collection, I'll rate the games based on how they compared when they were released. Sonic CD basically took the Sonic 1 graphics and added new stuff to them, but that's about it. Sonic the Fighters looks great in all its polygonal glory...ahh, the old days of 3-D gaming. Sonic R is nice, with decent graphics...except for Tails Doll, the unholy lord of flesh-eating demoniacs. The Game Gear games are about on par with, maybe slightly better than, old Game Boy graphics. Vectorman is still one of THE best-looking Genesis games ever.

Sound: 6/10

Even sticking with my "rate them compared to how they were back in the day" mantra, these games just don't have very good music and sounds.

Music is a completely necessary aspect of a game; whether I like it can make or break a game for me (I'm a very musically inclined individual...but you don't care, you're here to read a review).

Sonic CD has music, yes, and I suppose it's decent, but nothing stuck in my mind the way Sonic 1/2/3's music did. I found myself putting in a CD while playing this game.

Sonic the Fighters maybe has the best music out of the three main games. Every song was nice, and I sometimes played it just to soak in the sounds.

Sonic R wins the award for the worst music ever to be in a Sonic game...ever. I'd take listening to the entirety of Sonic Adventure 2's soundtrack over listening to "Can You Feel the Sunshine?" once. Every time you play this game, do yourself a huge favor; go to the options menu and turn off Voice (or Lyrics, or whatever it says. The exact phrase escapes me at the moment). This will make the game exponentially better.

As for the sound effects, most of these games have pretty much the same sound effects, which is also pretty much the same sound effects as every other Sonic game that was made before 1999. Hey, if it ain't broke...don't fix it.

Story: 2/10

The only reason this game gets higher than a 1 or 0 is because I thought Sonic CD had a pretty decent plot. All the other games have terrible plots or no plot whatsoever. Law of averages....we get 2.

Replay Value: 7/10

Well, you could go through each game multiple times, putting in mass amounts of your own time, and exploring every nook and cranny of every single part of every single one of these games...but there's really no point. There's tons of artwork to unlock, as well as some remixed music tracks, and there's demos of other Sonic games...but unless you're into looking at old artwork of Sonic and co., there's really no point. The demos are pointless, and can't even be unlocked if you have Sonic Mega Collection data on your memory card (which is just as well, since all the demos are on SMC in full).

In short, no hardcore Sonic fan can call himself such if he hasn't played every one of the titles on this disc. If you're looking for the golden age of Sonic, pick up Mega Collection (which I definitely recommend over this game). If you're looking for the obscure age of Sonic, take a bite out of this baby. Sonic CD, Vectorman, and Sonic Triple Trouble are definitely true gems, but if you're not looking for really obscure Sonic games, this one's maybe worth a rental.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 01/25/07

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