Over the last few years SEGA have been re-releasing collections of old Sonic games for various platforms, and then you have the downloadable versions for the consoles/phones, so you can see why fans are getting a little tired of them. This year it’s Sonic Classic Collection for the DS, okay I’ll give SEGA credit for picking a console they haven’t released these games on before (unless you count the abysmal port of Sonic 1 to the GBA about four years ago).
The question is it good? Or is it another slapped together re-release to cash in on some of the back catalogue… again.
We’ve seen it all before…
First off it seems pretty pointless describing the games in great depth since everyone with half a brain will have played one of these games at least once, but those of you that have lived under a rock for the last two decades…
You take on the role of Sonic, a blue hedgehog with attitude, racing through levels jumping on enemies and defeating the evil Dr. Robotnik/Eggman. Got it? Good!
The package covers the main Genesis/Mega Drive releases from Sonic 1 all the way through to Sonic and Knuckles and even gives you versions of Sonic 2 and 3 where you can actually play as Knuckles, a feature which has been lacking in previous re-releases.
The games also have the added ability to save your progress as you go along, so if you die you can just re-load from the start of the level and be none the worse for ware, it’s a nice addition considering the DS is something you play on the go for short periods of time and playing through one of the games from end to end without being able to stop just won’t appeal to a lot of people.
One thing that is noticeably absent from the games is the options menus, therefore throwing out any ideas of using the good old Sonic 2 level select cheat, and the multiplayer aspects have been neutered which is understandable considering the console it’s on, still a bit of wireless multiplayer would have added to it’s appeal.
This little Screen…
One of the main issues I have with this compilation is the screen, they are trying to squeeze a lot of detail into a very small screen and compromises have been made to make it fit, consider these games were originally designed to fit onto tv screens, then to shove them onto something about the size of a credit card is not the best idea.
The controls are all solid and responsive, beating the pants off of the iphone version of of Sonic 1 purely for not being entirely touch screen, although the pause and save functions are controlled through the touch screen which for me was disconcerting as I always ended up pushing the normal DS pause button and then wondered why nothing happened.
Occasionally I’ll notice little slow downs and some of the sound effects for power ups aren’t right, it’s nothing that breaks the flow of the games but by the very fact they are there shows that not enough time was spent getting things right, and to some hard core classic Sonic fans this may seem like a slap on the face.
So what else is their?
Other than the games themselves there is little to speak off, their is an art gallery with the same promotional pieces of artwork that
has been tacked onto every single Sonic collection under the sun, and the credits section which I’m only mentioning because their isn’t anything else. There was mention of a history of Sonic video and Sonic Chronicles trailer being included when the BBFC rating first popped up but neither can be found in the final version.
It’s a shame really, they could have squeezed in a few more games Sonic Spinball and Mean Bean Machine anyone? It would have made a bit more of a a complete collection, at the very least they could have put a bit more into the extra features.
In all it’s OK, yes there are a few issues which will drive the hardcore Sonic fans mad, but by this point do they really care about another classic Sonic game collection re-release? For first time Sonic players, this could make for a nice introduction to the franchise. Score: 7/10.
I know someone who pulled off a Level Select Cheat in Sonic The Hedgehog 2 without the use of the Options Menu and Sound Test, however, I forget what he did. So I know it is able to be done.