Review by Fieryterminator
Perfect for any Sonic fan
Sonic is to Sega what Mario and The Legend of Zelda are to Nintendo. His debut was in 1991, with Sonic the Hedgehog on the Genesis, but he's also appeared on the GameGear, Sega CD, Sega Saturn, and many more. It started out with a blue and white Hedgehog who loved to go fast while keeping small woodland creatures safe from the tyranny of the evil Dr. Robotnik (Also known as "Eggman"), and has grown larger ever since.
Sonic Gems Collection compiled not the primary games of the series, but rather the spinoffs and handheld ports released across various systems throughout the mid to late 1990's. One for the Sega Saturn, one for the Sega CD, and one released as an individual arcade game, and several for the GameGear, a handheld system.
Besides featuring the games themselves, Sonic Gems Collection features manuals for each of the games, which is very convenient after the fact that most of the games are not self-explanatory. In addition, there is also a "Museum" and a section for hints. The Museum features artwork from several of the in-game titles, which you receive gradually through a process of achievements. These serve no real purpose, and seem to be placed simply for the sake of it, as unlocking them requires the execution of menial tasks such as "Play 5 times", and hints much the same.
The first of these games is Sonic: The Fighters, which was originally released as an arcade game played by either one or two people, which you can also do here. As you might have guessed, it is a fighting style with the standard Sonic characters such as Sonic and Tails, but it also includes obscure characters such as Espio the Chameleon and Bark the Polerbear (Misspelled, oddly enough). The graphics are some of the best in the whole collection, although the game spikes in difficulty early on, so beware.
The second game on the list is Sonic CD, which is arguably the best Sonic game ever made. Released for the Sega CD (A Genesis add-on), the game plays exactly like one of the primary games, yet is treated as a spinoff, and is usually overlooked by the public. Even the hidden content from the initial game is still intact. It is without a doubt the highlight of the collection, and a reassuredly great game.
The most recent game in Sonic Gems Collection is Sonic R, which stands for Sonic Racing. Ported from the Sega Saturn, the game is played in third person and is part of the reason Sonic is how it is today. The game is fair, and one of two games in the collection that is 3D. It's entertaining, but could have been better.
The rest of the games are converted from the GameGear, a portable console from Sega that premiered the same year as the Genesis. Due to this, the screen may be sized to fit a GameGear screen or resized to match a Television screen. There is also an in-game menu accessible with the Z button for saving and loading your game, adjusting settings, and returning to the directory of games. This is a useful feature, but why it wasn't done for the other systems is beyond me.
Sonic The Hedgehog 2 and Sonic The Hedgehog: Triple Trouble are both games that are presented in the style of classic Sonic Gameplay, yet are much shorter than their console counterparts. While bearing the same name as a Sonic game for the Genesis, Sonic The Hedgehog 2 is actually a completely different game. Don't fool this into swaying your opinion, because it's actually a great game in itself and a decent clone of Sonic 2's style. Triple Trouble is also another game in the style of Sonic 2, yet is also an independent game worth playing.
Sonic Spinball and Sonic Drift 2 are both relatively bland games and the worst in the collection. Sonic Spinball is a giant pinball game where you control both Sonic and a pair of pinball flippers in an effort to get "Chaos Emeralds". Sonic Drift 2 is an average racing game where you can't see the turns ahead of you, so you end up staring at the map of the track most of the time, and only glancing at yourself while turning. Both are decent, but don't rival the quality of the other games.
Tails Sky Patrol is without a doubt the most unique in the collection, as you spend the entirety of the game suspended in the air, using your tail to guide you. Tails, for some odd reason, has a ring attached to him that lets him interact with objects in his environment, such as poles and cars on tracks. This is easily the most difficult game out of all of them, as you're often going either too fast or too slow to bypass obstacles, although it is worth it for the challenge.
The last game is Tails Adventures, an odd take on the Sonic formula. Instead of speeding through each level, it's more of an adventure game that grants you an unlimited supply of bombs which you can both attack enemies with and destroy weak walls. You can hover with your tail, although it lasts for a short amount of time and can only take you so high. The game isn't difficult, but it is worth playing.
To conclude, Sonic Gems Collection is a good collection of Sonic games that many people will enjoy. After finishing the games, you can unlock artwork and hints by accomplishing tasks within the games. There is a lot to do, and it is sure to please all kinds of people, whether they are fans of Sonic or not.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Sonic Gems Collection (US, 08/16/05)
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