Name: Sega Classics Collection
Format: Playstation 2
Region Reviewed: UK (PAL)
Year of Release: 2005
This may be slightly cheating however as each game here received an individual release in Japan but I don’t have them all I felt it better to just have a stab at the UK version which collects together lots of them in one handy money saving package. So here we are ladies and gents, boys and girls, people of all ages…..Sega Classics Collection.
Released in 2005 this was a collection of 9 games that at a previous time had been released in Japan as individual SEGA AGES titles, for once good old Blighty was getting the better deal here, oh sure things were missing from each game for sure however considering the best version of each game was the one selected it’s still all positive.
Now that we are in the age of compilations of retro games on digital storefronts like Xbox live and the PSN Network it seemed like a really good idea to go back to a time when companies tried their very best to make sure the existing gamers of the time knew about and respected what came before. Sometimes this would really work such as the outstanding Metal Slug Anthology and other times it would be a total disaster such as Intellivision lives. Without giving too much away this is one of the better ones but stay tuned for the in-depth reasons below.
Lets get the formalities out of the way though shall we, whets on the disc Megs I hear you cry, well worry no more because the games on offer here as as follows…. Columns, Outrun, Golden Axe, Virtua Racing, Monaco GP, Fantasy Zone, Space Harrier and finally a double game pack of Bonanza Bros and it’s almost unheard of spin off Tant R. The box cover and manual say’s 8 games however it’s actually 9, once again megatron investigates and comes up trumps.
Much like a music compilation a videogame collection suffers from the usual suspects of great games, bad games and so so titles however this time round threes definitely more good than bad. Recently I came across a video review of this collection on youtube and as I went into this review in the back of my mind I was already expecting what I would like and what I would simply breeze through, thankfully though and as a pleasant surprise it turns out my opinion differs from said online video review.
So let’s get into this shall we? I’m going to give a brief summary of each part of the collection finishing with a simple out of 10 number before we get to the main review score at the bottom, ready? Begin!
Columns is first up here and it’s an easy one to talk about because it’s nearly impossible to mess a simple puzzle title up and thankfully this is the case here, all of the usual suspects like Story mode and time attack are here as is the standard continuous mode for players who want that high score buzz. The graphics look very nice especially the story cut scenes and if you like a bit of colour matching then your going to feel very happy with this for sure, it gets a solid 7
Outrun as im sure you all know is the iconic racer that launched a generation of spin-offs sequels and clones and is about as famous as Sega games can get, part of the same range of games that included Thunderblade and Space Harrier this arcade treat was adored then as much as now by the mad army that follows that little blue hedgehog. It was Outrun that was one of the games the you tube video review mentioned was a standout option here however I actually don’t agree with this, for me it’s actually a bit poor if you ask me. The main arcade option is obviously the meat of the game here however it also contains some time attack modes and a few others to keep people coming back for more so there are a lot of things to go through but my problem is how it all plays.
The graphic tune up just feels weird now and in trying to make it feel more modern it’s lost its initial charm and vibe, the music of course is still great and threes re-mixes of the original musical score so that’s fantastic but it’s just the game play itself combined with look that just doesn’t sit well with me, plus im sure they made it even harder than before, all in all its below standard for sure so im giving it 5
Golden Axe is up next and this looks totally different to what you remember, every single aspect has been changed except the music which is the same but with a nice subtle tempo change. The main character sprites however are terrible with the Dwarf looking like he is actually squashed not just small and the faces are abysmal, almost PS1 like but that’s just the graphics, the game itself is fantastic! This is in complete opposition to the remarks from other reviews which rip this apart and I just cannot see why because the original is actually devoid of much needed story cut-scenes and introductions to boss fights and it’s here that this new Golden Axe excels.
Add to this the really cool special attack sequences and clever touches and this is a stand out part of the collection for sure in my eyes, plus it’s two player and has has a large amount of challenge and replayability. I spent ages on this part of the review and would happily spend cash on just this game on its own, for me it’s a real high 8.
Virtua Racing was to follow on the play list and after the high’s of Golden axe imagine how happy I was when I was presented with the Sega Saturn version of the arcade original with even more added options and functions, yes I was in retro loving heaven. Everything you remember is here but it moves along at such a lovely frame rate with only very minor texture or graphical pop ups when dealing with tunnels using the far away camera option. The grand prix mode is huge and really exciting and offers a lovely difficulty curve that encourages you to persevere. It’s hard to find fault with this at all and again I would pay money fro this all on it’s own so for me it’s a real 9
Monaco GP is nothing like what most of you will remember, it’s not the mega drive game at all, its based off of an original Sega arcade that sucked then as much as it sucks now, it’s a top down racer that you control the speed of using the analogue stick rather than buttons and has the worst A.I. I have seen in many years, Loads of options but they all play the same, it’s annoying and I hate it so I’m cutting this short and giving it a 3
After having to endure the pain that was Monaco next up is one of the stars of the show, Fantasy Zone. Put simply this is real class, the presentation is utterly superb and the cartoon graphics really pop from the screen, it’s mesmerizing at times and moves like a dream. Everything you remember about the original is here however the new scaling technique used during the intro to the level plus other graphical effects like power ups only add to the overall stunning version on offer here, it’s a must have title and is worth buying the collection alone for, this is a solid 9
Moving on, Next was the very weird double pack of games labelled as TANT R which is in fact a collection of mini games for 1-2 players in order to tell a story which is played out after you complete the tasks in cut scenes, sounds weird and quite frankly is but is actually very addictive. The game stars the lead characters from Bonanza Bros however this time they are good guys, detectives in fact and they are chasing down criminals dressed as Sherlock Holmes and his trusty companion Dr Watson, don’t ask me why but I like this. To top this offering off is the inclusion of the entire arcade version of said Bonanza Bros which also includes the superb two player mode, classic! This is for me an 8
I saved what I was told was the best for last…… Space Harrier. Maybe I had built this up in my mind a little too much or maybe like Outrun memories sometimes play tricks on the mind but I have to say although this version Is fantastic it absolutely is not the star of the show, that honour is divided between VR and Fantasy Zone for me but this is very much liked. It moves so fast and is so smooth, the enemies are all there and the boss battles stand out very well and of course that music pumps out to keep it all going nicely along. It doesn’t however have the famous intro speech part of welcoming you to the fantasy Zone, this was a big fail for me so it lost a whole mark for that bit on it’s own, sorry but that’s unforgivable. I ended up playing this for quite a while and really had a blast with it so overall this also gets a nice solid 8.
So there you have it, these are the 9 games you get as part of the whole package, like I said a mixed bag for sure but overall many more good or great that poor and bad so for me it’s a very good collection, rather than just pumping out mega drive or cheap arcade ports some of these offerings are massively different meaning for collectors and especially Sega nuts it’s an absolute must. The only game I hated was the terrible Monaco GP and Columns bores me to tears so I brushed past it very quickly indeed however I know for a fact puzzle lovers will adore it so as I said only Monaco will make you angry.
If I have other gripes it’s in the presentation of the actual collection once you load them up, the main menu screen is very boring and apart from choosing the game you want little else is going on here, some concept art, some history articles etc would have helped however this was done a long time ago before a more demanding consumer retro loving market fully formed so I wont be too harsh here. The manual for the collection however is nice, it’s black & White which is a standard for UK releases on the PS2 but it does have sections for each game and hey at least you get a damn manual unlike new games…Grrr.
Overall I’m impressed with this, it’s not going to set the world on fire and it’s not the best collection you have ever seen but a lot of fun can be had from this for sure and with two player options for some of the games it’s a good thing for a games night with friends. Will I return to it again? YES is it better than the Megadrive Collection? God NO but on it’s own merit it gets a thumbs up from this old git and considering most reviews rip it to shreds it means it’s cheap as hell to pick up so my advice is to go and snap up a copy right now.
Verdict:- With one terrible game and one meh title this offers 7 other very solid games to make your evening fly by, it’s often mis-understood and sometimes torn a new ass on other websites but then that’s because they seem to compare it against the almighty Megadrive Collection and that’s unfair.
It’s got the best version of Fantasy Zone I have ever played and what they did to Golden axe from the perspective of changing up the pace and level design is superb even if it does sometimes look like a PS1 game.
My honest advice is to pick it up and spend a few hours with it and make your own mind up but for me I’m more than pleasantly surprised with what I found, this happens so little for me that when it does I smile a bit more for a while longer, I think that says enough on its own right?
Second Opinion:- Although Transbot loves himself some Sega classics he is still upset that he has not been allowed to star in his own sequel.
That being said this is an ok collection of some great classics with one or two really standing out and a couple best left the hell alone. Lots of value for money here though considering it's dirt cheap so go give it a go is my suggestion puny humans.
Transbot Scores:- 6 out of 10