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Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection (Xbox 360) artwork

Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection (Xbox 360) review


"The first objective of any video game to players is to entertain, to give them the sense of enjoyment and satisfaction. However, I rarely get that sensation whenever I dive into a retro compilation. I have this theory that most developers release these compilations more for archival purposes, as a way to remind people what they churned out in the past. I say this because a lot of the collections I've played have a list of games with varying degrees of quality. I know it's going to be impossible ..."



The first objective of any video game to players is to entertain, to give them the sense of enjoyment and satisfaction. However, I rarely get that sensation whenever I dive into a retro compilation. I have this theory that most developers release these compilations more for archival purposes, as a way to remind people what they churned out in the past. I say this because a lot of the collections I've played have a list of games with varying degrees of quality. I know it's going to be impossible for every gamer to love every title in a compilation, but that's not what I'm getting at. I'm talking about the crap games, the ones that have absolutely no business being in a collection supposedly showcasing a company's finest moments.

That brings me to Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection, which is a remixed version of the Sega Genesis Collection that was released for the PlayStation 2. The list of games from that collection have been kept mostly intact, with only some games being removed and replaced with something else. Now, with the compilation making a bold claim at being an ultimate in Genesis collecting, one would easily assume it has a fantastic array of Sega titles. However, that assumption goes flying out of a 15-floor window when you realize Super Thunder Blade is in this ultimate collection. You're seriously telling me that Shadow Dancer, a fun Shinobi game, was removed, yet this botched, on-rails shooter was left in?

Don't get the wrong idea that SUGC is filled to the brim with horrible titles, because there's plenty of quality games featured, like the four main Sonics (the exclusion of lock-on is a huge turn off, though), The Best Shinobi Game Ever™ (Shinobi III), the original Phantasy Star series, and Streets of Rage III. But, as a whole, this ultimate compilation is questionable in its attempt at being ultimate, making you wonder, constantly, about certain decisions. Why not include the arcade version of Thunder Blade, instead? What's the point of having both the Genesis and arcade versions of Altered Beast? How did two horribly-designed platformers, starring a green robot, succeed at making it on the list? And why... why is the menu music so catchy?

There's easily several other Genesis titles to show off than what was dumped into this collection, like After Burner II, Super Hang-On, and Space Harrier II. Hell, those aren't even fantastic games, just ones that are superior to the bad titles that made it. They really fumbled with the opportunity to create an actual ultimate collection of Sega games. The producer has stated that they worked under a tight development schedule, specifically when talking about passing on including the lock-on feature for Sonic & Knuckles. He went as far as saying that they would have to drop games just to make it happen. Hey, that would have been fine with me, since I doubt I would lose any sleep knowing titles like Comix Zone, Sonic Spinball, and one of the Altered Beasts were cut...

Look, the next time you make a similar "ultimate" collection in the future, don't fill half the compilation with legit, quality titles, like the platforming classic, Dynamite Headdy, the tactical Shining Force games, and the arcade version of Shinobi (it's an extra), then just half-ass it the rest of the way with stuff like the dreadfully repetitive Fatal Labyrinth. And at least pick decent games to show off if you're going to do this. It's a good thing the quality titles have more weight in their enjoyment than the horrible ones with their crappiness, or this collection would have been in really bad shape.

Rating: 7/10

pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (August 29, 2009)

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bigcj34 posted September 01, 2009:

That was a good read, as you've delved into how this is a quantitative selection, rather than picking the actual best games.

It is something of a joke how there's constant Mega Drive releases, espcially with the original Sonic, whislt many remakes and modernisations are often less than stellar. After releaisng a big compialtion, they release them individually over XBLA and PSN. Barely an attempt to modernise the visuals.

Yu've made the assumption that the reader is one who wants to make a nostalgia trip to their Mega Drive games, which is fair enough, but if I'm going to be really nit-picky it's just that you haven't described much actual gameplay, especially on the hit titles. But more me I fully understood what you were saying for I am a Mega drive fanboy.
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pickhut posted September 01, 2009:

I actually ended up writing an entire paragraph about a number of good games included in the collection, but I scrapped it when I realized it was sidetracking the main point of the review. As for not delving deep into the gameplay of the games on the collection, I intentionally do that with all the collection reviews I do, though, I guess I could have attempted more "in passing" comments like I did with the games I mentioned towards the end of the review.

Thanks for the comments!

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