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SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection PS3 Review

The SEGA Mega Drive is the turning point in SEGA’s history. It was this console that helped the company move from small-time, first party hardware and software developer and conglomerate video games publisher. This was considerably helped by the console’s superb catalogue of games which kick-started the career of Sonic the Hedgehog; SEGA’s biggest selling game series.

So plugging a disc full of 40 Mega Drive games plus a selection of unlockable titles, bonus video interviews with key members from SEGA’s developing staff as well as box artwork and cartridge images should be a desirable little collection to a SEGA fan shouldn’t it? It’s certainly an impressive collection and well worth the asking price as some of the games on the collection demand a much higher price for an original copy.

Presentation is gorgeous with simple to navigate menus, a filtering system to organise the games however you want, a ratings system to allow the user to create a customised favourites list, history and box art for every game as well as the usual display options and control settings.

However, this is also where small issues show themselves. The game has not been localised for a European audience so the word ‘Genesis’ is plastered all over the place. The cartridges that fly by in the background are all North American in design, the box artwork are actually mock-ups using low quality images of the games’ artwork with higher quality images of the logos. The cartridge images that accompany the box art are incredibly small and displayed at a strange angle.

It makes you wonder whether or not the developer could have spent a little extra time in this department by actually making it enjoyable to look at the games’ artwork. Perhaps a 3D cartridge that could be rotated should have been included to make this area more interactive.

Either way, this can be excused when you see the games that are on offer. The first 4 Phantasy Star games are available, every 16 bit Sonic game, the Golden Axe trilogy, the Streets of Rage trilogy, both Vectorman games, Shining Force I & II as well as Shining in the Darkness; the list goes on and on. RPG fans should feel at home as the excellent Beyond Oasis tops the list of a marvellous collection of RPGs that no SEGA fan should miss out on. Emulation is brilliant with no frame-rate issues at all. The PS3 controller is beautifully suited for retro gaming with its’ comfortable D-Pad making the playing experience authentic and natural.

Sound is one of the biggest disappointments as some games crackle during the more hectic areas. The airship that flies past at the end of Angel Island Zone in Sonic 3 creates the most noticeable example of this and certainly made me rush for my volume control in disgrace.

The game’s biggest selling factor is its’ unlockables which include the arcade version of Altered Beast, the original Shinobi, Fantasy Zone and Space Harrier amongst others. Fantasy Zone has been one of my favourite games for quite some time as its’ cute exterior hides a rather tactical little shmup. The inclusion of the same interviews from the previous SEGA Mega Drive Collection makes the extras feel rushed and thrown together at the last minute.

Despite some presentation issues that cheapen the collection to an extent, this is the greatest bargain a SEGA fan can currently find. There is literally hours of playtime in each game so there’s plenty of replay value to be found (and that’s not even mentioning the trophies, about time SEGA!). If you missed the previous SEGA Mega Drive Collection you can do no better than to pick this title up.


Written by Sonic Yoda on 24/2/09



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