Today we are going to review the SEGA Mega Drive: Ultimate Collection for Xbox360, now being someone who grew up with games from the golden generation of 16 bit gaming, i can honestly say this one ticks all the boxes for me.
The Snes and MegaDrive days were in my opinion the best of what gaming is all about, the classics from that time had decent graphics for the day but also there was a massive variant of types of games, anyone these days must be bored with the never ending line up of First Person Shooters that offer nothing majorly new.
Another reason for liking this collection is my love of emulation and the ability to play older games on systems never intended to be played on, with this being an actual Sega Release you know or indeed hope they will get it right
The collection boasts an impressive 40 Megadrive Games:
Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
Decap Attack starring Chuck D. Head
Dr. Robotnik's MBM
Ecco the Dolphin
Ecco II: The Tides of Time
Golden Axe I
Golden Axe II
Golden Axe III
Phantasy Star II
Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom
Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
Shining in the Darkness
Shining Force 2
Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
Sonic 3D Blast
Sonic and Knuckles
Sonic The Hedgehog
Sonic The Hedgehog 2
Sonic The Hedgehog 3
Streets of Rage
Streets of Rage 2
Streets of Rage 3
Super Thunder Blade
If thats not enough theres also 9 unlockable Master System/Arcade games:
Alien Syndrome (arcade)
Altered Beast (arcade)
Congo Bongo (arcade)
Fantasy Zone (arcade)
Golden Axe Warrior (Sega Master System)
Phantasy Star (Sega Master System)
Space Harrier (arcade)
Thats some seriously great amount of games, me personally the Sonic games, Ecco the Dolphin, Super ThunderBlade (best helicopter game ever ?) and Dr. Robotnik's MBM are my personal faves. In a time where you pay £4 or more for replaying retro games like this on Xbox Live, to get them all in one collection is value in my book, yes the graphics will look dated but gameplay is king here.
This is where our reviews will differ from other site reviews, i am a 40 plus year old gamer brought up on the days of the 16 bit generation and an emulation fan for ever. My 18 year old son has played games since the age of 4 and can slaughter games in a way even i cant. So 2 viewpoints.
Well from the moment i popped the game in the drive i was impressed, the menu is one of the best ive seen from these compilation games of yesteryear, when you get onto the main screen you are met with the menu itself, you can give ratings on games from 1 - 5 and when you scroll down the games it tells you what the genre is and on the right hand side theres a cartridge showing the loading screens, quite a nice touch. Seems very polished so far.
The manual gives instructions to a selection of the best games out of this collection, with games like Ecco and the Story of Thor youll need to read up on them.
Ok lets get to the games, now in this world of HD TVs if you have tried connecting a megadrive or Snes to a HD TV youll agree with me that the screen looks crap, to play these games like you did in their glory days you need an old style CRT TV. Well you can put that one to bed.
First game i tried was Sonic the hedgehog 1, it grabbed me straight away how damn good the graphics looked, they are still 16 bit graphics but they look like they are on steroids, i completed 5 levels just to be in awe at how good this looked.
The speed of the game was just as i remember it and the music sounded perfect, best news ever is the addition of a save game feature which lets you save whenever you want, perfect for those damn hard games with no save features or daft passwords that you can never remember.
Ecco the Dolphin was up next and it simply looked excellent, again the graphics looked way better than i remember, the game was still as hard as ever (for me anyway). Not all games looked as good as the 2 above but having never got any of them looking this decent on a modern television i for one was in heaven.
One thing i did notice was that Achievements were being handed out, great for the modern generation who collect such things but of no interest to me who was brought up in this generation of games.
Theres no online multiplayer but there wasnt in the originals, so whilst it would have been an interesting feature its not one i miss.
Lets be honest, the games listed are great, 49 in total with the unlockable ones but theres some gems missing, Earthworm Jim, Virtua Racing, Megalomania and Super Skidmarks to just name a few.
Being an emulation fan i would have loved it if Sega would have introduced a way of loading roms of USB to play in addition to whats on the disc, but that would kill off sequels to this collection i suppose.
So out of 10 i would personally score it a quite high 9.1 out of 10
, yes its missing a few games but overall the list is impressive and you really need to see the likes of the Sonic and Ecco games and youll fall in love with 16 bit gaming all over again.
Jamie Wraggs Review
A lot of the points above i agree with but from my point of view the graphics are nothing to shout about to todays games but however the difference between the collection on the original Xbox and this version shows how much time has gone in and they have somehow enhanced the graphics way beyond what the Xbox version showed us. I was impressed with the style of the menus and the ease of it to understand games that i had not previously heard of. The achievement implementation was a masterstroke, not only will it attract the attention of the new generation of gamers who enjoy the challenge of collecting achievements but it will also give the older generation who played the games it adds replay value to games they may have already played in their younger days. The addition of saving means that some of the harder games are much more user friendly. If i was to give a score out of 10 i would give this Ultimate Collection a 8.5 out of 10.
SEGA Mega Drive: Ultimate Collection for Xbox360 is available at stores like Viking Direct
and Amazon UK
Thanks to Viking Direct
for the review copy of this excellent collection.