Review by XCommander

"Classic Sonic Action for Only Ten Bucks!"

In my local Staples store, there is a rack of budget titles for about 10 dollars each. Usually the games there are those pretty crappy compilations of ''100's games in one,'' but every once in awhile you find a game like Diablo or this one here. One of the best budget titles I've ever purchased, this game is worth the ten bucks and then some.

Sonic and Knuckles Collection is a compilation of three classic Sonic games released for the Sega Genesis. They are Sonic 3, which had only Sonic running through the stages; Sonic & Knuckles, which had the Hedgehog (Sonic) and Echinda (Knuckles) going through several different stages (but with no in game save!!!); and Sonic 3 & Knuckles, a combination of the two (but with a save feature). If you don't see this a classic, then go hit yourself in the head.

First things first, the emulation quality on the PC is quite good. The graphics are very bright and colorful, just like the Genesis version. The sound is quite similar, too. One thing I noticed, though, is that, when in the default small screen mode, the game moves entirely too fast and is kind of silly. I don't know if it is my computer or what. This problem is fixed by going full screen, which I personally run the game in. Overall, this is a pretty good port from the Genesis.

The control is simple, fast, and fun. The game definitely simplifies from the Genesis by allowing the use of only one button (default is enter) and the arrow keys. You can also use a controller if you want. It reacts tightly, but it can get awkward sharing the keyboard if you want a friend to play as Tails with you. The control is definitely great for playing the single player, which is more than likely what you would be playing if you were to purchase this title.

If you haven't played a Sonic game before, please make it your goal to do so. Sonic is a great diversion on the typical platformer style that Super Mario Bros. set up. Now you have an extremely fast character you control, with less worrying about the lame pitfalls and only having a stupid jump ability (well, maybe there's the fireballs... ). Sonic has abilities like a spin jump, spiral roll, and force field. Different varieties in the levels add fun, like running on a spinnning top and rolling onto a switch to make mountains come up. Knuckles has similar moves as Sonic, except he floats instead of spins and can crawl up walls.

The level design is extremely creative. You have the jungle, pinball, water, and mountain levels. Each level has its own surprises and bonus levels. You should go find out for yourself; it is very fun.

The story is quite lame, involving Dr. Robotnik stealing the Chaos Emeralds again (this time going to a faraway island). The only difference now is that Sonic has to compete with a new rival, Knuckles. You really won't be playing this for a story, so it's not important.

The graphics are colorful, bright, and have very detailed sprites. This game had much better graphics than most other Genesis titles, which still looks great today on the modern PC. Animation is great for characters, enemies, and bosses. I can't really find anything wrong with this 2D splendor.

The music is a little cutesy, but it won't really get on your nerves as much as say, Kirby. None of them are really memorable, but you might find yourself humming them for a bit. Some of the stages have a semi-techno sound, too. The sound effects are great, I especially like the pinball sound and the sound of Sonic charging up. No real complaints here, except for the cutesiness.

In conclusion, this title is a great PC budget title and definitely worth your money. Definitely get this if you have ten bucks to spare, because you won't regret it. Fans of platformers, Sonic, and classics alone will love this compilation. I know I did.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 06/09/03, Updated 06/09/03

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