A very wide collection, well presented, full of challenges, online game and leaderboards. Good price. It only omits a few games.
Sega Mega Drive Classics is outlined as the definitive version of the various recompilations launched by Sega, based on the classics for Mega Drive, the 16-bit console that had its heyday in the early 1990s. In addition to adding some of the best, most popular and most important franchises from the first phase that have somehow contributed to consolidating Mega Drive as a reference (in North America the console is known as Sega Genesis), Sega Mega Drive Classics offers the possibility to play games with ability for at least two players online, a series of challenges, several parameters of customization in graphical terms and a series of extras that make this collection the most advanced to date.
We all know that emulation has long occupied a central space, with many users who are dedicated to improving and creating codes in order to obtain an experience as accurate and framed in the original format (lag is always the biggest problem of emulation when it very successful). However, publishers are still focusing on their classics, at a time when nostalgia reaches new heights.
Nintendo recently gave us two mini systems, the NES and NES Mini, two miniature-format consoles capable of running more than two dozen games created specifically for the originals. The emulation is good and even the commands are perfect replicas of the originals. Sega has already announced that it will produce a Mega Drive mini, for now only for Japan, but it is proof of a reality that is increasingly more pronounced for the classics.
Streets of Rage is one of the unquestionable ones on the list.
For the price of 29.99 euros (that’s how much a copy costs for PS4, the version we reviewed here – the game is available for Xbox One and PC), the consumer has access to a disc that guarantees more than 50 games. In practice it gives an average of 56 cents per game. If we think that a physical copy of Streets of Rage III can easily surpass 75 euros, being able to enjoy that game for less than a coffee lets us think about the opportunity of this line of classics.
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This collection aggregates all games published on the same line by Sega, both in digital and physical format. The exceptions are three titles from the Ecco the Dolphin series, Etternal Champions and Sonic 3 & Knuckles. While we understand the absence of the first three, leaving Sonic 3 out, together with the Knuckles version, is a notable failure, when the three + Knuckles together form one of the best trilogies on the 16 bit console. Fortunately, there are among the more than 50 games a huge selection of mandatory ones, but it is inevitable to highlight the absence of Sonic 3, especially for raising the quality of the series.
However, when we are looking at a list of over fifty titles, we cannot say that the options are scarce. We easily refrain from thinking about Sonic 3 when we find Streets of Rage 3 (less common in recompilations, whereas the first two are recommended and are really exceptional but it is more usual to find them in these wanderings), Shinobi III, Shadow Dancer, Comix Zone, Wonder Boy and the Shining Force series, among many lesser known ones (check the list for all available games).
The menus are very simple and the entry and exit of the games is not only fast, but lets you see the room. Even the insertion of the cartridge did not escape.
Reference should be made to the good presentation and organization of the menus, after an initial musical sequence and a frantic rhythm, in which we see the characters from the games present in the collection. After clicking a button, we entered a common room from the nineties, which could well be the room of a gamer of the time, a fan of Sega’s 16 bit console. The CRT monitor rests on a shelf where the Mega Drive is located, right next to a shelf where the more than 50 games are located. With a simple movement of the analog, it is possible to move the display for music editing, extras and bonuses, challenges and even a series of settings.
This table is quite complete and lets you choose a series of presentation formats in order to make the pixels more prominent or connected. The results are very different depending on the format, but in general and despite the variations the performance is very positive, with an emulation that does not produce lag and only in one or another game there are some breaks. You can choose to play in wide format, although the very distended image is not the best and so you are given the possibility to fill the sides with art from Streets of Rage, Sonic, among others.
In the room there are posters and objects alluding to the games. Even a wall clock marks the passage of the day, oscillating between the natural light that passes between the shutters and the artificial clarity, when playing at night. After selecting a game, the cartridge goes directly into the console, producing that memorable snapping noise (there is no need to blow because the entry never fails).
Fans of the 16-bit console will remember Alex Kidd, also a classic from the Master System.
If you lightly click on the motion sensor, you can exit the game screen while the action pauses. This gives you a perspective of the TV screen in a very reliable emulation, and you can continue playing from there. They can also record the position and continue later (there are multiple recording slots) or continue to press the button to move back from the screen and return to the shelf where the games are, choosing another one. The transition process is very fast, intuitive and lets you run several games with almost no breaks or breaks, which is great.
The presentation and organization of the room is undoubtedly impeccable and there is little to point out. In terms of content, in addition to the options already listed and trophies, there are specific challenges that can be played at any time. They range from completing a level in Streets of Rage without losing a life bar, to completing Flicky in less than 10 minutes or defeating bosses in Golden Ax III without using the “continue” option. There are immense challenges and in many of them you will discover things that you probably have not realized before. There is always a sense of rediscovery in these classics through these challenges.
It is natural, therefore, that in the middle of 50 games, many of them from third party publishers, there is that title that they have not tried or played very little, and can now give an opportunity. The list is long but it is far from encompassing everything that Mega Drive received, in addition to the games that have not aged well. If it’s nice to find Treasure gems like Dynamite Headdy and Gunstar Heroes, the absence of Konami’s games (Contra and Castlevania) is evident. There are also some Capcom classics missing (Quackshot, Aladin, the Thunderforce shooters) that only due to licensing difficulties explain their absence, although it was not difficult to include Alisia Dragon. More than that, Sega chose to leave out 32X titles and Mega CD games, closing the compilation only with Mega Drive games, but we think that because they run in the same platform habitat (the generational leap occurred with the Saturn), although some of the most representative could be present, namely Virtua Racing from 32X.
Golden Ax is another game that can be played with more than one player online and still contains challenges.
So, we have to be content with slightly more predictable titles, namely ToeJam & Earl, Sonic Spinball and the always special Vectorman. If many of these games can be enjoyed in a resounding way, there are others that have not aged so well and are more difficult to enjoy, such as Galaxy Force II (in the 3D Classics version for the 3DS it turns out to be better, in a great work by the M2 studio) and Gain Ground. It is noticeable a significant gap between the first generation games and the titles launched already in the final stage of life of the 16 bit console, thanks to cartridges with more memory power and therefore able to provide more stimulating games, both in gameplay and graphics . The differences are enormous.
Even in such an extensive list, considering the Mega Drive game catalog, there are always games that we would replace with others. But in general, whether for the presentation, degree of options, customization, challenges, online mode, titles in attendance and price (56 cents per game), we are faced with a job that is not only carefully and carefully developed, but also allows one of best periods in the history of video games. Mega Drive is the most successful Sega console in the world, a 16 bit that has experienced huge quality games until the last phase. This recompilation preserves that legacy and reconstructs most of the incredible moments it provided to everyone who could enjoy it.