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March 10, 2005
Sonic Mega Collection Plus - Review
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Some effects are quite nice.
Ohh Sonic. How I love thee. At the ripe old age of 14 I spend month of hard earned lawn mowing money to buy a Megadrive and Sonic on import from Japan from a local retailer. It cost a fortune, but was worth every single penny. That was in 1990. Fifteen year later and there have been dozens of Sonic based games, comic books, cartoons, toys, and pretty much any other kind of merchandising you can think of. While recent Sonic games have struggled in their translation to 3D, the developers at Sonic Team have been kind enough to reward fans with this extremely generous offering. Sonic Mega Collection Plus includes a grand total of 17 games for only $69.95. You can't go wrong with that, or can you...

Click To Enlarge Image
Some effects are quite nice.
I assume that anyone reading this review is familiar with the games so I won't go into them in detail. As previously mentioned this compilation includes 17 titles which includes the following Megadrive (aka Genesis) titles: Sonic The Hedgehog, Sonic The Hedgehog 2, Sonic The Hedgehog 3, Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic 3D Blast, Sonic The Hedgehog Spinball, Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, plus three Sonic lock-on games (from Sonic & Knuckles); six Game Gear titles including: Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic Chaos, Sonic Drift, Sonic Labyrinth, Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, Sonic Blast. As well as these titles Sonic Mega Collection Plus includes four bonus games in The Ooze, Comix Zone, Flicky, and Ristar.

Essentially Sonic Mega Collection Plus is a package which emulates the original 16-bit code on the PS2. The games are not remade or reprogrammed which ensures that each of the 17 titles are exact pixel perfect replicas of the original titles with every little nuance and trick perfectly reproduced. The PS2 controller works quite well with the original games, and the momentum still works perfectly. The best addition to this compilation for many will be the ability to save the game at any point, even mid-level. Sonic Team have also included several bonuses such as artwork, movie clips, illustrations and comic book covers to keep the fans happy and add a bit more nostalga and value to the title.

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The screen that started it all...
While it all sounds like a wonderful compilation, and indeed the games are fantastic, there are some issues which could have been ironed out prior to release. My biggest issue is the fact that many games remained locked until you've completed certain, quite unreasonable, tasks. Rather then being unlocked when you complete a game, or reach a high score this compilation makes you do the ridiculous, such as start up a game fifty times, or play for 30 hours and so on. Now I'm a good gamer, and I can finish the first Sonic in a matter of hours in a single sitting, why then should I repeat the process of starting and the stopping the game another 49 times to unlock a new game? Oh and another thing, remember to press the R3 button to remove the borders around the game, perhaps it was done to make the games look a little criper, but you'll also be playing the games in a small window.

When you're looking at retro games it's hard to give them a score for their graphics and Sonic Mega Collection Plus is no exception. During their time the games really were quite revolutionary, and even today they still look nice. However with the lower resolution, limited colour palette and lack of action on screen it looks lacking. How do you score that? Resolution becomes a major issue for the Game Gear titles which look quite average on a large TV when they were designed to run on a screen only a matter of inches in diameter. Another disappointment is that the PAL version doesn't include a 60Hz mode to run the games in full speed.

Click To Enlarge Image
Some effects are quite nice.
As with the graphics the sound in this game is a perfect port from the original title. Compared to the CD Audio we expect these days the sound in these games is substantially lower in quality. That's not to say they're without their charms, the Sonic theme music is known the world over and remains extremely catchy. In terms of sound effects the game remains faithful as expected.

Overall, Sonic Mega Collection Plus is a great package for gamers with fond memories of the 16-bit era. Fortunately the games have lost little of their charm and while older gamers may cringe at the sight (or the thought) older gamers will love this trip down memory lane, and can bring their young kids with them for the ride.

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version) or Amazon (NTSC version)
GRAPHICSNo 60Hz mode, the Megadrive games look great, Game Gear less so.
SOUNDIt's still catchy, but the music is starting to date badly.
GAMEPLAYSonic remains as addictive as ever and is still tremendous fun.
VALUE17 games, but the Game Gear ones are average. $69.95 is a steal.
OVERALLSonic Mega Collection Plus could be seen as the essential purchase for gamers from the 16-bit era. This compilation will have you hooked for weeks, if not months and is well worth the price.

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