I’m feeling better than ever! At the time of writing, I am back at University. Got an exam this afternoon, but who cares? It’s a beautiful (but cold) summer’s day. (In England, you’re just happy when the sun comes out, even if it’s still cold outside.)
University: with its quaint yet ugly malformed British idiocies, slow sentences and misuse of mouthwash. It’s a fresh day for everyone—my friends haven’t been this Listerine-clean in months.
Make of that what you will.
So good day all ’round. And with good days…it’s good to have your family around on good days.
Unless you’re an orphan. Poor Haruka and friends, having to live with a bumbling ape like Kiryu Kazuma.
My family? Well, I grew up with Sega and Sonic the Hedgehog. They were, to use an oxymoronic phrase, my real family.
Family are good to have around—at times. But sometimes, they do REALLY piss me off. Family are just that—people you’re related to—people you perhaps share some of your blood with. But thassit, y’know?
I rarely get on with, or even converse with, family members who aren’t in my immediate family. I really hope they don’t get offended by my disinterest in having a conversation with them, but at least I don’t hate them.
Hate is something kept safe under lock and key for every game of Samurai Shodown Sen that I get fooled into playing.
My family can start outstaying their welcome. Fictional example now, but a plausible one nonetheless:
When my cousin third-removed’s daughter draws three swirling lines on a piece of paper, I’m considered the asshole if I don’t praise it like it’s the the latest Picasso. It’s three shiity lines, drawn with felt-tip pens on the paper I need for my sodding printer. Now I’m four pages short for an assignment, and I’ve had to write the answers on my ASS and hand myself in to be marked.
As you can tell, fictitious. But still, if my family were to treat me in such a way, I’d turn around and say, “yeah, about coming over at Christmas to eat MY turkey and play MY Metal Gear Solid 4 on MY 32″ flatscreen HDTV—fuck you.”
This family metaphor can be loosely stretched to Backbone Entertainment, Sega’s cousin-in-law’s brother’s nephew. Or rather, I hope it can, or I’ve rambled all this time just to increase my word count.
Backbone has drawn a smashing picture of three squiggly lines with Crayola crayons on my finest quality arts-and-crafts paper. He wants me to believe it is a selection of Sega Genesis titles available in full HD. I’m not fooled so easily…
He told me that if you say “gullible” slowly, it sounds like “oranges.” Gull…i…ble… Gull…i…ble… Damn, he’s done it again! I regret buying him those Dennis the Menace comix. I’ll choke that cocky little freak!
Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection, as it is called in Europe (because we’re so pissy about names over here), is the “ultimate” collection, as far as Sega is concerned. This is interesting, to say the least. To say more than the least, it’s a list so unfathomable that MC Escher might as well have created it with a pencil on four napkins in one afternoon.
I believe that some of the choices on this list are completely ridiculous—like, hold on, you cannot decide what is “ultimate.”
That’s a privilege that only staff members of GameCola have.
First of all, who thought it was a good idea to include Fatal Labyrinth? Ugh, it’s called Fatal for a reason—trying to play this game results in death by boredom.
Fatal Labyrinth is definitely the worst game in this collection, as it just doesn’t stand the test of time anymore. Although, eventually, not even time can stand its own test, breaking down to be revealed as just another everyday lie, like Father Christmas, The Sound of Music, or Reggie Fils-Aime.
Fatal Labyrinth—sluggish, dull and mindless, and perhaps the worst dungeon crawler ever made. Besides, I’ve never been one for dungeon crawlers, anyway. They’re just terrible things in general. As an element of a larger RPG they’re fine, but on their own? Sure, I’ll wade through X amount of floors. Oh, nice, found another loincloth that I can’t sell because ALL I DO IS WALK AROUND.
Hold on, tangent. A dungeon crawler is fine, so long as it is part of a bigger thing. For instance, Blue Sphere, the game you get when you combine Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic the Hedgehog. It’s just the same thing over and over, and only one chunk of a larger, better game. If you like the small excerpt (which I particularly do), you can have all the fun you want until the cows come home. But for someone who doesn’t like that, they’re at a massive loss as to what to do.
Like when you’re lost in a cave, and you shout really loudly—the only thing that speaks back is your echo.
Thankfully, some of Sega’s more famous (ergo, flagship) titles are included in this compilation. Many of them still hold up very well, though this is to be expected. Included amongst them are some generally decent arcade classics.
Although…Flicky, decent? Scratch that; Flicky isn’t exactly the best game to be included.
At least Comix Zone managed to sneak in with the Sega disasterpieces. I still play Comix Zone regularly, because it is very much its own genre. Also, because I have some massive fanboy lust for Howard Drossin.
How much do I love his beautiful, beautiful sound? Well, let’s just say that I eagerly and gingerishly await the canned-like-sardines Splatterhouse remake, JUST BECAUSE he is credited on the soundtrack. I bought Afro Samurai on Xbox 360 for the very same reason. The game turned out to be all right, but…I BOUGHT IT BECAUSE HOWARD DROSSIN WAS CREDITED ON THE SOUNDTRACK.
I didn’t buy Sonic and the Black Knight, though. Speaking of Howards in music, there’s also Thomas Howard Lichtenstein, and I praise the ground he walks on, too (even though I only like two of his songs).
Maybe I have a thing for Howards, and beards.
Other games that are good for a short while before you PUSH START BUTTON are titles such as Bonanza Bros. and E-SWAT. I hadn’t played E-SWAT before I flung UGC into my Xbox 360—and I’m somewhat glad I hadn’t. I wouldn’t go so far as to say the game is dreadful; it’s just dreadful until you’ve played the levels a couple of hundred times and actually know where to go.
Ecco swims into this collection too, appearing twice (the original and Tides of Time, respectively). Sadly, as this is a Genesis collection, Ecco the Dolphin is without Spencer Nilsen’s abso-fucking-lutely in-bloody-credible Sega CD soundtrack. I understand that this is a UGC and not a USCDC, but Ecco is only a good game with the CD soundtrack.
Then there’s Vectorman. Oh my wonderful, hideous three-dimensional, two-dimensional, and perhaps one-dimensional love. Oh, how I spent many years on you in my youth. Are you hurt? Are you alright? It’s good to see you again.
Vectorman is very much a Marmite game, in the sense that you either love it, or you hate it…or you refuse to be placed into a social group, select a choice at random, and pray the decision making is over. But you slip up. You’re asked a few days later, and you answer differently—they stare at you, with their BEADY LITTLE EYES. They demand an explanation. You freak out. You run. But they’re watching.
Is this you? Then try Marmite already, and decide. If it’s a bad taste, then you really know for sure.
Vectorman, right? I love it. It’s exciting, fast and furious, with power-ups and extras that really kick Orbot arse. It’s a blast, like the time I went on holiday to Flickies’ Island.
And to round the collection off, it wouldn’t be Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection without every Sonic title released for the Genesis. This excludes Sonic Eraser, although I doubt Sega would ever want to admit to the existence of that particular game.
I’m not a big fan, either—I’d just like to see it actually included on a collection of some kind. Sonic Eraser is two parts Columns, and it results in bleeding ears thanks to the wonderful tunage of Bossanova OYZ. I haven’t seen this person credited on any other game soundtracks, so I think Sega must’ve fired him rather quickly.
Also missing is Knuckles Chaotix. Sega! Don’t you think it’s about time that more than four people have played this game? The 32X is a Genesis with a few bells and whistles—so because you managed to ignore it on UGC, please PLEASE release it on Live Arcade.
Excluding Sonic Eraser and Knuckles Chaotix, something else is missing. Hmm, would that be the ability to use the lock-on feature from Sonic & Knuckles? Right you are! This is very upsetting, and it does annoy me greatly, as, again, this makes the word “ultimate” a massive lie.
When it comes down to value for money, you’re getting it. But still, the list needs some work… Gunstar Heroes and Soleil, anybody? It’s good you put Beyond Oasis on here—no really, good choice! And Shining Force, AND the Phantasy Star saga. But CRUSADER OF CENTY. WHERE IS IT? RAGNACENTY. SOLEIL. WHERE IS IT?
…then you wonder why I release a massive sigh, and ruffle my hair with my hands.
Super Hang-On is missing too, a game that really does deserve to be included. You included Space Harrier as an unlockable, which lets you off for only one of the games in this series.
It’s like building a coliseum on a low budget, and then acting like you’re puzzled when the Columns give way underneath you.
Until Sega learns to rue the day they crossed me, the world “ultimate” is always going to be used incorrectly. Whoever chose that word deserves to die. Go on; jump from the top of the Eiffel Tower and let us never hear from you again.
If, like me, you’re an avid emulation fan, then you’ve probably already got your own ultimate emulator set-up going, complete with render plugins and BIOSes, so you can play any release for any console in glorious 1600×900 HD. It doesn’t matter if Crusader of Centy or Syd of Valis is missing, now does it?
When this is the case, there isn’t much of a reason to shell out on UGC, is there? Especially with a load of great titles missing, there just doesn’t seem like there is any point to owning this collection.
But enough! There is ONE good reason to own this collection, or at least play it for five hours: ACHIEVEMENTS.
Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection has easy Gamerscore. Well, if you’re anywhere near as good at these old credit-munching games as I am, anyway. Yes, the real reason to spend money on UGC is if you’re a Gamerscore fanatic. Rejoice in your love for Sega and shower in the Gamerpoints that rain down from their celestial heavenly body.
So in short: Achievements. Outweighs being an emulation addict. Therefore, I’m both the kind of person who would buy and wouldn’t buy this collection.
I pre-ordered it. I raved about it. I posted blog entries about it. I gushed over it. I praised it when it arrived a day early due to a postage mix-up. And I love Sega. End of story. I love them. I love their games, their stories, their music…their worlds. I love them.
It’s like Sega’s headquarters is an island of angels.
Oh dear GOD, what have I become!?
I can’t give this game a high score just because I love Sega more than I love myself!
If you play the games on this compilation properly, you’ll be playing from now until the end of time. But you’re not going to. You probably don’t dig Bonanza Bros. I know I certainly don’t.
I’m not likely to play Gain Ground, or ZAXXON, or even the Genesis version of Altered Beast, because they’re just rubbish. The value of this collection stems only from how much you will play it, and how much the titles mean to you.
There is something for everyone, as they say in the business, but for some it will be meager twaddle as opposed to retro gold. I’m awaiting the day that NEC, Hudson and Irem club together to release a TurboGrafx-16 Ultimate Collection. Then I’ll have all the shmups I need, and Bonk may just get his well-deserved recognition.
Do you have money to burn, and will you play every title on this collection? Well yes, I have money to burn, and I’ll at least load them all up, because it is an Achievement to do so.
Do you like these old games enough to buy them AGAIN even though you bought them on the Virtual Console last month? Maybe not. Comix Zone was the one I bought on the Wii that is in this collection, but there are a few more on here that are on the Virtual Console.
Having already bought some of the games makes me rage and release my Katon Goukakyuu no Jutsu.
Do you think unlockable interviews with Sega staff are SOOOO COOOOOL? I do, as long as there is an Achievement for watching them all (which there is).
Spending money on Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection—boosting Gamerscore, or buying out of loyalty? It’s both. At budget price, this collection is a must, if you can admit you’re a massive Sega fan. If not, just rent it out over a weekend and soak in the beautiful Trophy glow.
If Trophies and Chievos aren’t your thing, then feel free to steer clear of this game. But also feel free to miss out on the addictive nature of collecting Achievements and the wonderful side effect (where you discover you’re slowly increasing your social ineptitude).
I can pretty much put it this way—Ultimate Genesis Collection is worth playing and owning, but it’s not in any way a unique, aesthetically pleasing or special experience. It isn’t going to change your life, and it doesn’t deserve a high score—but it does deserve some care and attention. Like a Tamagotchi. Or everyday life.
Could have done without the meandering digression at the beginning (as you noticed), but excellent review overall. Best Sega game in my opinion was Streets of Rage 2, without a close second.