The early 90’s were a very special time in gaming history, Nintendo and Sega’s console wars were at a peak, everyone wanted either the SNES or the Genesis and great games were being churned out like crazy on both systems. The Sega Genesis Classics collection on the PS4 / XB1 and Switch are a reminder of those days. Remember those Christmases as a kid when you were waiting with baited breath to see if your folks got you the latest Sega Genesis or SNES games that everyone was talking about at school? This collection allows you to relive those days with over 50 classic titles. For the low price of $29.99, you’re getting an incredible deal.
The presentation when you boot the game up is a nice homage to many of the games that are included in this bundle. It’s basically a video using sprites directly from those games with a modern twist, a nice techno track and it just gets you in the mood to play some classics once again. Once you get to the game itself, you’re taken to a virtual room where you can do a few things like adjust the time on the clock to make the room appear as if it is day time or night time. You can also tweak the emulation settings, filters, things like that. Personally I don’t use those settings much on any of the platforms though so I don’t know much about how they would enhance the picture quality. You can also do challenge modes, where you can play certain segments of the games built into the collection in order to get to a goal of x amount of points, etc.
The emulation is also pretty spot on as well, I haven’t noticed any sound issues, additional slowdown or anything that was not present in the original games. All those glorious soundtracks that were composed on the Zilog Z80 are very much intact and sound exactly as they should, graphically everything looks as it should, no glitches, everything is all smooth. What’s nifty is there is a rewind feature in all the games too. This especially comes in handy when you’re playing an RPG or a brawler. You can rewind time and ultimately undo what is about to happen by taking a different course of action.
But I am sure the highlight for most of us who buy this collection is to be able to go through all the games that are present and play them. Either rediscovering childhood memories, or discovering games you missed out on, this collection hits almost all the right marks with the games included. Just about every game in the Sega Genesis Classics collection’s library ranges from “pretty decent” to “downright classic”, and spans a pretty wide choice of genres from puzzle games to RPGs, so no matter what there is something here for almost everyone. The entire list of games is as follows:
- Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
- Alien Soldier
- Alien Storm
- Altered Beast
- Beyond Oasis
- Bio-Hazard Battle
- Bonanza Bros.
- Columns III: Revenge of Columns
- Comix Zone
- Crack Down
- Decap Attack
- Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
- Dynamite Headdy
- ESWAT: City Under Siege
- Fatal Labyrinth
- Gain Ground
- Galaxy Force II
- Golden Axe
- Golden Axe II
- Golden Axe III
- Gunstar Heroes
- Kid Chameleon
- Light Crusader
- Phantasy Star II
- Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom
- Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
- Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi
- Shining Force
- Shining Force II
- Shining in the Darkness
- Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
- Sonic 3D Blast
- Sonic Spinball
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2
- Space Harrier II
- Streets of Rage
- Streets of Rage 2
- Streets of Rage 3
- Super Thunder Blade
- Sword of Vermilion
- The Revenge of Shinobi
- ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron
- ToeJam & Earl
- Vectorman 2
- Virtua Fighter 2
- Wonderboy III: Monster Lair **
- Wonderboy in Monster World **
- ** Not available in the Switch version
There are some gems missing from this list, the most glaring and obvious omission is the lack of Sonic 3, Sonic and Knuckles, and especially the combination of Sonic 3 and Knuckles. From what I’ve heard, it is because of licensing issues with the estate of Michael Jackson that prevented these amazing games from being in the collection. Another missing gem is the game Toki Going Ape Spit, which to this day remains the best version of Toki. Also, there were no racing games in the mix, which is a shame as I love a good racing title. Yet, in spite of that, there is plenty of goodness to be had here with all the gems that are present in this collection. For me personally, Phantasy Star III and IV alone make this worth the price of admission. They were two of the best RPGs on the Sega Genesis when they hit, and to this day remain two amazing RPGs that need to be experienced by anyone who appreciates a good storyline.
Some shoppers may have noticed that in addition to the Sega Genesis Classic Collection there are also individual titles from the past being sold on the eShop at a higher price than what you’d pay per game in this bundle. These are part of a series of releases known as SEGA AGES which are not the same and even made by a different developer entirely (M2 Co. Ltd.). The SEGA AGES ports often feature subtle changes to the games in order to provide slight modernization of classic titles. For example, Sonic The Hedgehog being given controls and move-sets more similar to that of 2017’s Sonic Mania to help out with some aspects of the original that haven’t aged well. There are also sometimes 3D graphics created for these titles and customization features included. The SEGA AGES releases are considered the best quality versions of these retro games but the increased price and digital-only offering may not be for everyone.
Online Problems, Oh My! While this collection is excellent in many ways, a large part of why gamers would buy retro games in the modern age may include their expectation that online multiplayer for 16-bit games should be flawless in 2018. Sadly, that is not the case. On every platform, Sega Genesis Classics Collection suffers from a myriad of game-breaking, unforgivable issues including (but not limited to); stuttering, characters teleporting randomly due to de-sync issues, frame-rate drops, constant “connection problem” notifications on-screen, session disconnects, players experiencing completely different things while in the same game together, the complete oversight of allowing rewind and pause by other players while they are Player 1, and more. If you wanted this bundle to play the classics online with your friends, don’t bother – it doesn’t show your friends list, and even if it did the online gameplay experience is completely broken!
So, in conclusion this collection is an absolute must-have for any gamer who appreciates those 16-bit console war days, those of us who grew up during the era of Sega Genesis vs. SNES, and have since come to appreciate all the wonderful games that came during their heyday. In spite of the glaring omission of several games, this is still a ridiculously strong collection of games that is well worth owning no matter what system you pick up the collection for. The Switch version might be missing the two Wonder Boy games, but it is still an absolute no-brainer. Being able to take all these amazing games on the go is quite the experience. All in all, I am going to give this collection a 9.25 out of 10, with the only caveats being the broken online multiplayer, some iconic games missing, and the somewhat clunky “bedroom” interface.
Developer: D3T Limited
Review Copy Info: A physical copy of this game was purchased by RealGamerNewZ for the purposes of this review.