Review by Edge AoM

Reviewed: 10/10/05

Sonic CD! At last! And some other stuff too.

I should perhaps begin this review by explaining the title of it: "Sonic CD! At last! And some other stuff too."

I have been a Sonic fan since 1990, when Sonic 1 came out on the Sega Master System. I had played almost every Sonic game ever made, with the exceptions of Sonic CD and Chaotix. Whilst Chaotix isn't included with Gems, CD was. So, at last, I could play it.

The reason I say "some other stuff" is regarding the inclusion of several other Sonic games, from the "Saturn" (PC), "Arcade" (probably PC) and Game Gear (actually, yes, Game Gear). The effect of this is similar to inserting a CG Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII into a kid's drawing of his RPG character in Dungeons and Dragons; Cloud (or, in reality, Sonic CD) stands out intensely.

One main issue is the way the game handles the controls of Sonic the Fighters and Sonic R.

I have Sonic R for the Saturn. I have beautiful memories of it. I do not have memories of it having spectacularly unresponsive controls and ineffective "air braking" (see: Wipeout 2097). Despite the fact that the game throws the (U.S.) Saturn case of Sonic R in the players face, the fact that it is the PC version of the game is barely hidden, and if you've played the original, you can tell the difference. Maybe it's the GC's shoulder buttons that cause the delay, but I doubt it. I'm willing to bet this is just a poor conversion.

Sonic the Fighters is a similar deal. I haven't played StF before now (well, Bean and Bark in Fighters Megamix on the Saturn), but the GC controller just handles it hopelessly. Compare: Arcade joystick / GC analogue stick. Ye gods, I hope it isn't just me, because I just plain stink with this thing: "I said Quarter Circle Towards, QUARTER CIRCLE TOWARDS, not punch-air-whilst-being-owned!". End result, the more advanced techniques are just plain unavailable unless you have a thumb small enough to use the D-pad. A lot of depth is removed from the game as a result, and that makes me slightly irritated.

The remainder of the games featured are Game Gear emulated, and some are quite good. Sonic 2 on the Master System still makes some people grimace (Green Hill Zone act 3 anyone?) and the GG version of Spinball will make people feel a little relieved when they find it to be simpler than the unforgiving Genesis version. Alas, Sonic Drift and Tail's Skypatrol are a bit out of place amongst these. And as for Vectorman: Streets of Rage 2 + 3 > Vectorman. The Japanese, once again, have all the luck.

Ah, I'm forgetting the Genesis game demos. If you play the game continously for X number of days, then you unlock some demos of various games. I haven't done this, and I doubt I ever will, because the whole concept is overwhelmingly pointless; the entire ROM for these games is located on the minidisc in full, and would be fully playable if it wasn't for the time limit which SEGA have, in their infinite wisdom, applied to these demos. It reminds me of the old rip-off Arcade machines where you could play Super Mario World, having to insert money not because you sucked, but because you ran out of time. It's really sad to see, in this post-Stolar age (*nudge nudge*) that SEGA are still managing to make some really boneheaded decisions.

It just dawned on me I haven't mentioned Sonic CD since the start of this review. I will now. SONIC CD IS ONE OF THE GREATEST 2D GAMES EVER MADE. Well, maybe top 20. The emphasis on exploring the levels to find the pollution machines, the excellent (U.S.) soundtrack, plus a time attack option (woefully missing from the Mega Collection games) mean that this is easily the best 2D Sonic game after S&K3. Oh, and the race against Metal Sonic is really cool, too.

So, in summary:

- If you want a Sonic Collection but do not have one, go buy Sonic Mega Collection.

- If you have SMC and want Sonic CD, buy this collection. Or buy the PC version.

- If you have SMC and do not want Sonic CD, do not buy this collection. But consider yourself a fool for not wanting it.

Apologies to anyone who was offended by my opinion.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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