Review by ConfusedGuy

Reviewed: 01/25/03 | Updated: 01/25/03

Twelve games for the price of 0.8

Sonic the Hedgehog, Sega's speedy blue mascot, was a viable force on the Sega Genesis with a number of high-speed platformers. Sonic Team has compiled a number of these games into one for the Gamecube, to relive (or experience for the first time) Sonic's classic adventures. All the games are direct ports, meaning there have been no modifications to the originals whatsoever.
2D sidescrolling Sonic games, which make up the majority of SMC, are sonic-speed pursuits through varied terrain and enemies to make headway against the evil Dr. Robotnik (aka ''Eggman''). It's a simplistic formula, and one that's been duplicated a number of times.

All of the games - all 12 of them - in SMC have lackluster attempts at stories. What can you expect? - platformers from this era rarely or never had a story at all. Sonic games were no exception. Basically, the evil guy (usually, if not always, Dr. Robotnik) has kidnapped/enslaved someone and/or a bunch of furry critters, and you need to save it/them and overthrow the evil scientist. Anything divergent from that is, well, easy to figure out and pretty much meaningless anyway.

There are twelve games in Sonic Mega Collection - some of them not precisely Sonic games, but Genesis games (from Sonic Team, to the best of my knowledge) nonetheless:
Sonic the Hedgehog (default) - Sonic's very first adventure. Classic Sonic action. Fairly low-frills compared to the later games. Not much going on here except the essence of Sonic - a slight emphasis on puzzles with a large emphasis on speed and impressive level design.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (default) - Here's Tails! StH2 marked the appearance of Sonic's flying-fox sidekick, Miles ''Tails'' Prower. Aside from that, it's little more than an improved rehash of the first Sonic, albeit with new and different levels and a few new features (most notably, the spindash).
Knuckles in Sonic 2 (unlockable) - This is the effect of using StH2 with the Sonic & Knuckles lock-on cartridge: play through the game as Knuckles. More on this later.
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (default) - Said by many to be the pinnacle of Sonic games. Sonic 3 brings a new (non-playable) character into view, Knuckles the Echidna; but, more importantly, the stuff in Sonic 3 is far and away an improvement over its predecessors. An important new element is the ability to save your game, unlike previous Sonics. Other new things, like shields, add more depth to the game. Personally, I find Sonic 3 more fun to play than all the other Sonic games. Except, that is...
Sonic 3 & Knuckles (unlockable) - The effect of using StH3 with the Sonic & Knuckles lock-on cartridge: it adds the S&K levels to the Sonic 3 storyline, and lets you play as Knuckles. Booyah.
Blue Sphere (unlockable) - The blue sphere minigame from Sonic 3. Simple yet fun.
Sonic & Knuckles (default) - The follow-up to Sonic the Hedgehog 3, S&K is basically its predecessor with different levels and a new playable character (Knuckles). On the Genesis, the S&K cartridge had the ability to ''lock-on'' to StH2 and StH3, and modify the game slightly to accommodate Knuckles. This is taken care of in SMC with new games to unlock; besides that, not much has changed here.
Sonic 3D Blast (default) - An isometric 3/4 viewpoint in a 3D-esque environment. Control is a bit awkward, and a lot of Sonic elements were removed for the sake of the 3D. Gets more than a bit boring, in my opinion.
Sonic Spinball (default) - A lot of people don't like this game, and I know why. Essentially, Sonic's role has been reduced to that of a pinball; you must play pinball to succeed in this game. Not only is it more difficult than it should be, it can get repetitive and annoying.
Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine (default) - Similar (but not identical to) Tetris, this puzzle game set in the realm of Sonic's villain Dr. Robotnik is quite a bit of fun for quite a while. The basic gameplay and the scenarios the game presents are fairly enjoyable.
Flicky (unlockable) - Apparently, one of Sonic Team's earlier works. It's a very simplistic game you'd expect to encounter in an arcade somewhere; you run and jump around and try to rescue the flicky birds from the evil cat things, then return them to the exit door. Surprisingly fun for such a primitive game.
Ristar (unlockable) - Not at all related to Sonic, Ristar is about an animate star creature (whom you control) who has the ability to stretch his limbs and make use of his massive fists. He defeats enemies, climbs stuff, and so forth in his platform game. Personally, I don't think a whole lot of it, but it's not bad.

From the depths of Flicky to the heights of Sonic 3 & Knuckles (which, I think, looks better than 3D Blast), the graphical elements of all the SMC games maintain, for the most part, crisp and polished graphics. Obviously, they get better chronologically, but there you are. Sound and Music follow very similarly.

SMC's replay isn't strictly limited to the twelve different games you can play, though some might argue that it realistically is. There are some extras on the SMC disc, including art galleries, comic covers, and movie clips; however, they're really not all that exciting. With all the games to play, though, you could be kept busy for a while.

If you owned/played the original Sonics on Genesis, getting SMC isn't recommended unless you want it for a collection or something. But, if you're a relative newcomer to the series, the classic Sonic action is worth it. Especially since you're getting twelve games for the price of less than one.

Overall arbitrary rating: 7/10

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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