Review by ShadowGeenhx

Reviewed: 05/30/03 | Updated: 05/30/03

At least there's no Game Gear Sonic 2.

Remember back when Nintendo and Sega were pure rivals in the video game industry? Sega's weapon was a spiky blue hedgehog named Sonic. This guy had quite a few games on Sega's dominant consoles. Now, he is bringing you over seven of his greatest achievements in their unspoiled original format for the Gamecube.

This game is a collection of Sonic games that were first released on the Sega Genesis. There are the four ''real'' Sonic games: Sonic 1, 2, 3, and Sonic & Knuckles. Then there are three ''novelties:'' Sonic 3D Blast, Sonic Spinball, and Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine. There are also five unlockable games: three are the result of locking the first three Sonic games on to Sonic & Knuckles. The last two games are Flicky & Ristar, which have nothing to do with Sonic. How do they stack up?

Well, chances are most Sonic fans bought it for the first four games, and for good reason. These four games are the meat & potatoes of Sonic. The original Sonic was famous because it mixed traditional platform elements with hyper speed. Of course, it looks bland next to some of the later titles, but it's still just as much fun now as it was in 1991.

Sonic 2 introduced Sonic's sidekick buddy, Tails. This guy, who was a two-tailed fox, could fly and lift Sonic to out-of-reach places, putting a new twist on the platform genre. This game is considered by many to be the best Genesis Sonic, and for good reason, since it's all pure fun.

Sonic 3 has been given mixed thoughts by a lot of reviewers out there, because it introduced several new excellent ideas but messed up some of the old ones. Knuckles the Echidna made his debut as a new nemesis for Sonic, and there were also different varieties of shields for the first time. However, the huge levels made the game more exploration than speed, which did not hold well with some people. It's still a fun game, though.

Sonic & Knuckles was the ''second half'' of Sonic 3, for it was Sega's intention to make the two games into one. However, the introduction of the Lock-On made it so that you could play the two games back-to-back. It also let you play Sonic 2 as Knuckles and opened up a 500-stage ''blue sphere'' bonus game. This is definitely the best game included here.

Sonic 3D Blast has been considered the worst Sonic by many since it did not come close to the traditional format. While Sonic 2 for Game Gear may ultimately win the Sonic Crap Award, 3D Blast does have enough fun in it to entertain in short bursts. The reason it was hated was because it was supposed to be true Sonic and the result was a mediocre novelty.

Sonic Spinball was released in the style of classic arcade pinball. While it is just as fun as pinball in the arcade, it eventually amounts to just hitting X so many times. Good in the short run, average in the long one.

Mean Bean Machine is an acquired taste. Puzzle addicts will find a lot to love about this one, but those not interested in puzzle games will shun it. The AI is cheap and you have to use a password system to continue your progress (but at least passwords are only four characters long). The game itself is Puyo Puyo with a dash of Sonic characters from the TV show.

Flicky is the only game I went to once and then forgot about. If you've played the arcade Mario Bros., Flicky will suck. If you haven't, it could hold your interest for awhile. Ristar is a great game with some gorgeous graphics, but it's out of place here, in a Sonic collection.

So what needs improvement? Well, not the graphics and sound, which are direct imports of their Genesis counterparts. It's obvious that Sega just wanted to recreate the games as-is, and I certainly won't hold it against them. It's tough to have several games on one disk and then upgrade the unnecessary features.

Unfortunately, some things that could have used a basic nudge in the right direction didn't get it. The only games with a save feature are those that had one to begin with. Surely the Gamecube is capable of saving all these games, right? Also, there are bland extras ranging from comic book covers to illustrations of characters. Who wants covers, anyway?

Also, Sonic Spinball needed to have made use of the shoulder buttons. The arcade always had buttons on either side of the machine to control the flippers. Spinball should have used L and R to control the flippers instead of A, B, and X.

What is also a concern is the lack of some other high-quality titles. Sonic R, though bad compared to some other games here, would have been better than 3D Blast. Another game that MUST be here to make things complete is Sonic CD. I can understand it not being in Sonic Jam because that game was for the Saturn. This is the GAMECUBE, guys. You've got much more room to work with.

Sega, here's a statistic for you to consider next time: one Gamecube disk can hold 190 N64 games. Surely it can hold many more Genesis and Saturn games? I know Sonic CD would have eaten up quite a bit of space, but that should not have been a concern. And while we're on the subject of space, instead of giving us comic COVERS, give us the entire comics. I know there's one comic in here to read, but it's only one. There could be more here.

Still, this is a nice collection. If you're new to Sonic or you don't have a lot of the games here, go ahead and buy. If you own most of these games or Sonic Jam already, just get out the Genesis or Saturn, because the additional games are below the standard of the ones you already have. That's not to say this is a bad game, because it isn't. It just had a lot of ''could have been'' moments.

The Kelly Clarkson:
-graphics and sound are untouched
-the ''real'' Sonics are high-quality even today
-tons of replay value (7 games and more!)
-7+ games for $40 is one helluva bargain

The Kelly Osbourne:
-we NEED Sonic CD!
-comic COVERS, and nothing more
-what a waste of opportunities

Final Word: Don't get your hopes up about Sonic CD. It might reach the Gamecube by itself, but for now Sega can't seem to figure out which games are hot and which are not. Write to them and tell them to GIVE US OUR SONIC CD!

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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