Sonic Mega Collection + PS2 Review

Compilations. It seems every publisher is releasing one nowadays, sadly most are substandard, Sonic Mega Collection + is an exception. Combining some of the greatest “2D” games ever seen on a television and featuring one of the most iconic characters ever. If you are a Gamecube owner you may recognise this game, it was released a couple of years ago in the guise of “Sonic Mega Collection”. The quick-witted people out there will notice the addition of the “+”. The game is mostly the same that appeared on the Gamecube, with the addition of some Game Gear games and some extra content, in total Sonic Mega Collection + features different 20 games. Without a doubt the stand out titles of this compilation are Sonic the Hedgehog 1, 2, 3 and Sonic & Knuckles.

The games included are:
[b]
Sonic The Hedgehog[/b] (Sega Megadrive)
Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (Sega Megadrive)
Sonic The Hedgehog 3 (Sega Megadrive)
Sonic & Knuckles (Sega Megadrive)
Sonic 3D Blast (Sega Megadrive)
Sonic The Hedgehog Spinball (Sega Megadrive)
Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine (Sega Megadrive)
The Ooze (Sega Megadrive) (Unlockable)
Comix Zone (Sega Megadrive) (Unlockable)
Flicky (Sega Megadrive) (Unlockable)
Ristar (Sega Megadrive) (Unlockable)
Sonic the Hedgehog [i (Game Gear)[/i]
Sonic Chaos (Game Gear)
Sonic Drift (Game Gear)
Sonic Labyrinth (Game Gear)
Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine (Game Gear)
Sonic Blast (Game Gear)
Sonic & Knuckles lock-on: Sonic The Hedgehog 2
Sonic & Knuckles lock-on: Sonic The Hedgehog 3 (Unlockable)
Sonic & Knuckles lock-on: [i]Blue Spheres (Unlockable)
[/i]
Graphics

Obviously, we all know this game is not going to win any awards for its graphics, but that is not what this game is about, it is about experiencing the gameplay. First of the emulation of these games are damn near perfect; you will be hard pushed to notice any difference from the megadrive. Players using a 30-inch or so TV will notice a black border round the screen, but it is not something that will bother you once the game starts. Its very interesting to notice the improvement of the graphics between the first Sonic game and Sonic & Knuckles – seems so much brighter and alive. Not all is good however; The Game Gear games were made for a very small screen, adapting them to a big screen is not a pleasant viewing experience. Sonic Drift for instance, the graphics are very blocky and not at all pretty. In all honesty, id be surprised if people played the Game Gear games more than just trying them out. All the normal Sonic Megadrive games run fine, although I did notice a little ghosting on certain levels, its hardly noticeable though and definitely not something that will stop you playing it.

[b]Gameplay
[/b]
What can be said about the gameplay in Sonic Megadrive games? Some might say the best ever seen in video gaming. Some might disagree with that statement, but few would disagree with the fact this it is definitely one of the most enjoyable forms of gameplay. It is always simple and never escapes the fact that it is all about pure speed. Sonic & Knuckles is perhaps the pinnacle of the series, with the gameplay at its finest and the level design beautiful. The controls used throughout Sonic Mega Collection + are very simple, the left analogue stick is used to move Sonic around, pushing down on the stick will result in Sonic spinning. The majority of face buttons do nothing more than allow Sonic to jump.

There are several unlockable games included in this compilation, Comix Zone and Flicky are good for a laugh but most of the unlockables are nothing special. It is a bit tedious of SEGA to make you go to so much effort in order to unlock games that are nothing special, for example, in order to unlock Blue Sphere, you Play Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic 3d Blast 20 times each. This is exactly the same for the other unlockables, though you actually have to play more games in order to unlock them. It is interesting to look at the evolution in gameplay during the newer Sonic games, for example, the first Sonic laid down the foundations for speed and adrenaline based gameplay. Sonic 2 maintained this while adding new level layouts, allowing you to take multiple routes during levels. Sonic 3 brought the first real graphical improvement of any note, allowing you different perspectives in which to view Sonic form, Sonic & Knuckles took the series even further away, concentrating on a more platform like environment, rather than straight out speed, the one thing that has stayed constant is that catchy MIDI music that everyone knows and loves.

As for the extra content included in this game, it consists of original manuals, which are viewable, in game footage, character art and even the Sonic comic series. One nice addition to the game that I am sure people would have loved back in the day, is the ability to save your game during a level, I for one remember the anger felt at having to start from the beginning having been near completion of the game, though some people may class this as cheating. As I have already said the Game Gear games aren’t worth playing and the unlockables are hardly worth the effort, but for the price the main games do make up for it.

Sound

What can I say about the sound in Sonic games? The timeless MIDI chimes that we all know so well, they are getting old and do sound dated compared next to modern music, but they’re just so damn catchy. The sound effects are quality as well, the chime as you collect rings, the sound as you lose all your rings as you land on those annoying spikes and the sound as sonic spins, it’s all there and sounding as sweet as ever.

Lifespan

This game could last as long as you want it to, it’s not something that you are going to dedicate a large amount of your gaming time, but it is good fun nonetheless. The bulk of your time sent playing this game will probably be on the Megadrive Sonic games, some people may want to unlock the other games, but its not something that is really worth the time spent doing so. The extras in the game are a nice addition, especially the comics which are completely viewable, though it may hurt your eyes after a while. It is a shame that Sega could not have included some other classics such as Sonic R, instead of the very ropey Game Gear games.

Overall

For the price it costs, each game works out at £1 each. Though you may question whether the Game Gear games are worth that, I think you’ll take it for the Sonic Megadrive games. I would urge all the younger gamers out there, who never had the chance to take in some old skool Sonic to go and buy this, and see what all us old gamers fuss about. For people who loved the originals back on the Megadrive, I would still recommend this to you, its serves as a great lesson for what quality gameplay stands for, and in the day of polygon power, that is what some people need, and at £20, you cant really go wrong.

7.4 out of 10

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