We've seen a number of Sega Genesis compilations over the years, but we were wondering when our current consoles would be getting their share of 16-bit love. While we're still waiting to see what drops on Nintendo Switch, Sega Genesis Classics will finally release this Tuesday on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
The bad news is that it's not quite the best collection we've seen from Sega; but the good news is that it delivers more than enough nostalgia to overcome the odds, so when you scream "SEGA!" it'll be in a good way.
This collection features over 50 classics from the 16-bit console's library, all lovingly recreated via wondrous emulation from Digital Eclipse. Most of your favorites are intact and there are also a few odd selections that we're happy to see here, just for the sake of getting exposure.
Games, Games, Games
For instance, Alien Soldier. This is a game that never got a U.S. release and yet it's one of Treasure's toughest titles. It's a side-scrolling shooter that's essentially just a bunch of boss fights. But it's so well done and it'll push your skills to the next level. But before you go crying, "Aw, no Gunstar Heroes?" Relax, it's here too, along with the quirky platformer Dynamite Headdy.
That's just the tip of this collection. There are tons of RPG's included in Sega Genesis Classics. The Phantasy Star games? Save for the original Master System release, yep. Shining Force? Both I and II, along with Shining In the Darkness. Even quirky favorites like Landstalker and Light Crusader are in there.
That said, the game selection process isn't quite perfect. Sure, we get obscurities like Galaxy Force II and Golden Axe III, but where's After Burner II? Or for that matter either OutRun or OutRun 2049? And some Sonic fans are likely to cry foul that neither Sonic the Hedgehog 3 or Sonic and Knuckles -- with its Lock-On technology, mind you -- are no shows. We're not sure what happened with these missing titles, but they certainly would've been welcome.
That said, there's more than enough here to make up for the lapse, especially as you get into a heated session of Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine. Boy, have I had a few. And you can't go too hard on a collection that includes both the Toejam & Earl games. "Money!"prevnext
The 90's All Over Again
The whole game takes place in what looks to be a recreation of a classic rec room, complete with a CRT television and a virtual collection of games to choose from. It's vintage 80's through and through, so this was pretty nice to look at. Plus it's well put together, complete with a shelf to show off all the achievements/Trophies you unlocked. All that's missing is the classic 80's music like what Activision Anthology had -- but I digress. At least you can customize it in certain ways to make it feel like your own.
Speaking of CRT, Sega Genesis Classics comes with a number of vintage viewing options in case you're feeling old-school. You can watch the whole thing as you would playing on a classic system, complete with lines and all; or you can stretch the picture out to the whole screen so the full experience blasts into your corneas. The choice is yours. The audio is perfect too, though you can't really mess with it too much. Why would you? It's Genesis music.
As for the unlockable stuff, it's not as packed as Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection was. There's no behind-the-scenes videos here or unlockable games like Congo Bongo and Phantasy Star. I would've liked these, but that might've taken focus off of the Genesis name. Still, something a little more would've been nice.prevnext
It's a 16-Bit Party
Sega does make up for it with online multiplayer. With this, you can take part in two-player oriented games even if you're not in the same room. The sessions I tried out worked pretty well, but servers may be iffy with the game's launch. It just depends how many people you get lining up to kick each other's butt in Virtua Fighter 2. I'm glad this feature is included, in case you've got an old-school buddy that moved away to start a new life somewhere. There's always room for two-player Streets of Rage 2 fights. (And if you have local friends, relax -- they're supported too.)
Had Sega Genesis Classics included more of our favorites (Pulse Man at the very least, c'mon) and a few more unlockable extras, it would've been the console's most quintessential collection to date. But as it stands, it's still a must have for retro fans or those of you seeking to relive one of the greatest moments in gaming history. It's jam-packed with great titles and options, and the online multiplayer options are surprisingly packed even if you never thought you wanted to challenge someone to a high-score contest of Kid Chameleon.
Hopefully Sega continues its classic celebration with new collections. A Sega Saturn Collection would most certainly hit the spot. And why not give the Dreamcast some love too? If Genesis does, then these clearly can too.
WWG's Score: 4 / 5
Disclaimer: A review code was provided by the publisher.prev