Review by Yaash

"A great Sonic collection"

Sonic Gems Collection is the sequel to Sega's earlier Sonic compilation, Sonic Mega Collection. Or more accurately, Sonic Mega Collection Plus due to its added Game Gear games. After years of begging and petitioning, Sega finally released Sonic CD on the current generation, as well as a few other "gems", as well.

Sonic CD (Sega CD), Sonic the Fighters (Arcade), and Sonic R (Saturn), are what really make the collection, but the one that will stand out for most is the stellar Sonic CD, which some have ranked as Sonic's best 16-bit generation game. The plot is deeper and more complex than previous Sonic games. The Little Planet appears once every year, and Sonic's going to get a front row seat when Dr. Robotnik (or Eggman as he was called in Japan and now in America as well) kidnaps his number one fan Amy Rose (or Princess Sally as she was called in the American Sonic CD manual, a name change made to pimp the Sonic cartoon which was new at the time) using a metal replica of him named Metal Sonic (original!). Robotnik is after the Time Stones, and if he's able to collect them all he can twist the future using his Robot Generators placed in the past and use the Little Planet as his base (a predecessor to the Death Egg, perhaps?). Sonic needs to time travel to save Amy and the Little Planet, leading into a race against Metal Sonic and a showdown with Robotnik himself. Wow.

The other two games? For Sonic the Fighters, think Virtua Fighter. It comes natural though, considering that AM2, Virtua Fighter's developer, worked on Fighters. Dr. Robotnik's made a new Death Egg II after his first Death Egg was destroyed in Sonic & Knuckles with more power than ever, but it isn't finished yet. While Robotnik completes his ultimate weapon, Sonic's sidekick, Tails, develops an airship that can reach the Death Egg II, but there's only a seat for one fighter and it requires the powers of the eight Chaos Emeralds (consistency be damned). So, how do they figure out who to send up there? They beat the hell out of each other, of course!

Sonic R is a racing game, and it's self explanatory what the goal is, but since I like making my paragraphs look nice and big, I'll explain the story. Sonic and Tails are running around one day when they see that the Grand Prix is about to begin. Sonic isn't interested until he sees Robotnik's name on the list of racers, so naturally he'll sign up. Tails signs up because Sonic did, Knuckles signs up for the hell of it, and Amy overhears Robotnik's plan to trick Sonic into joining where he can clobber him with his evil versions of the trio, but not unless you can find all seven Chaos Emeralds and become Super Sonic to save the day.

There are also some Game Gear games that were excluded from Mega Collection Plus (though, all 12 Game Gear games were found on Sonic Adventure DX for the PC and Game Cube, so their inclusion on the Game Cube version is baffling). Sonic 2 and Sonic Spinball are, well... awful games, to say the least, but the rest of the Game Gear selection ranges from average to solid. Tails Sky Patrol and Sonic Drift 2 representing the average, Tails Adventure and Sonic & Tails 2 (or Sonic Triple Trouble in America) representing the solid... ness. Tails Adventure is a solo Tails adventure RPG, Sonic & Tails 2 is the follow up to the original Sonic & Tails (or Sonic Chaos in America) with some added features, Tails Sky Patrol is a weird flying game, and Sonic Drift 2 is a sequel to the Japan only Sonic Drift, which is, as the name suggests, is about racing (random trivia: Sonic Drift 2 came out in the US in 1995, but under that title. Where's Sonic Drift?). There are also two Vectorman games, and if you're playing the Japanese version you'll find the Streets of Rage series and Bonanza Bros., which were excluded elsewhere due to issues with the ESRB.

Now, the extras. It's no Sonic Jam, but it's better than Mega Collection's serving (Game Cube - crap videos and Archie comics covers, PS2/Xbox - Sonic Heroes pimpage). You can unlock pictures from Knuckles Chaotix (which, sadly, is nowhere to be found on Gems), Sonic Screen Saver, Sonic Adventures 1 and 2, a whole load of Sonic Heroes, pictures relating to the three main games, and some random extra pictures. On the elusive sixteenth page, you can find some lame videos and demos of games from Mega Collection (both of which are there for the sole purpose of advertising other Sonic games... for shame). You can unlock some dreadful song remixes, at least. As I've said, it's nowhere near Sonic Jam's levels of awesomeness, but hey, it's a start. I can only hope Sega improves this department for the inevitable third collection.

Some good Sonic games and an average Sonic museum, I give this an 8 out of 10.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 08/23/05

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