- Game: Sega Genesis Classics
- Consoles: PS4, Xbox One (reviewed), PC
- Publisher: Sega
- Developer: Sega
A Sega Genesis Classics review code was provided by the publisher.
It’s pretty wild to realize that today’s younger gamers probably have no clue about the glory days of 16-bit gaming. 90s babies know all too well about the console wars that erupted between Sega and Nintendo. The super disrespectful yet hilariously memorable “Genesis Does What Nintendon’t” catchphrase and hard hitting ad campaign from Sega once put a dent in Nintendo. Another reason why Sega once dominated the gaming industry is due to their strong collection of Genesis software. Over the years, nostalgic gamers have been treated to various collections that feature the best of the Sega Genesis library. Current-gen console owners now have the chance to revisit or experience those games within the newly released Sega Genesis Classics collection.
As soon as you boot up this new Sega Genesis compilation, a literal recreation of your childhood bedroom graces the screen. This special attention to detail is an unexpected treat that brings back warm memories of a simple time in everyone’s lives. All the different modes and options are represented by numerous objects around the room, such as an older TV model, a corner desk, and a shelf full of boxed Genesis cartridges. This might seem like a minuscule feature to some, but having a retro bedroom take the place of a generic menu is pretty cool. Extra points have to be given to this collection for its presentation, which will definitely evoke memories of your past hours long gaming sessions.
Any gaming collection worth its salt needs to feature classic titles worth revisiting. Thankfully, this assemblage of Sega Genesis releases is respectable but lacking in some areas. When the Sega Genesis is mentioned, certain games immediately come to mind – the Sonic the Hedgehog, Streets of Rage, Shinobi, and Golden Axe series. Those franchises are certainly highlighted here. Then there’s underrated “treasures” (pun intended) included as well, such as Gunstar Heroes and Alien Soldier.
Practically every genre is covered here (there’s a lack of sport games to enjoy, but you can blame licensing issues for that). But there’s a few omissions that stick out like a sore thumb. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles were both playable on the last major Sega Genesis collection. But sadly, neither of those titles are available here. Sega loyalists know the reason why (it has a lot to do with the both games’ music – look it up), but it’s still odd to see an incomplete Sonic the Hedgehog collection within this Sega Genesis stockpile.
When it comes time to actually play the games featured on this collection, you can enjoy them in a myriad of cool visual types. It’s possible to clean up the overall look of every game or stick to the throwback visuals old gaming heads grew up with. There’s various pixel scaling options, filters, and even a visual presentation that delivers the stretched back fullscreen look. Half the fun of this collection comes from playing around with all the cool visual features that help recreates the look of each game when you first experienced them.
Speedrunners and gamers who enjoy challenging themselves have a lot to look forward to – some games are tied to some sort of dedicated achievement that adds an extra layer of fun to your playthrough. Making your way to the final boss of the first Streets of Rage without using a single continue or maxing out your magic in Golden Axe 3 will push you to do more than just beat either game. These assorted challenges provide a cool sense of visual accomplishment, which harkens back to the braggadocios claims you spouted during your schoolyard gaming sermons.
While there’s several awesome games on deck, there’s also a few stinkers present among them. It’s nice to see Vectorman, the Phantasy Star series, and the slept-on Dynamite Headdy readily available. But it’s such a disappointment to see great games omitted and replaced by simple and pretty boring fare such as Flicky, Kid Chameleon, and the worst version of Virtua Fighter 2 you’ll ever play.
You’ll constantly find yourself questioning why certain games were flat out ignored every time you boot up this collection – “Where’s Eternal Champions? Herzog Zwei? Or even Chakan: The Forever Man?” Seeing Sonic 3D Blast get the nod as a featured game while the aforementioned omission of two other superior Sonic games is equally disheartening.
Sega Genesis Classics Takeways
In comparison to Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection, the Sega Genesis Classics collection is a step down. Classic games have been taken off and some truly terrible fare have seemingly taken their place. Even though those sore spots do a disservice to this overall collection, this retro compilation is still worth a look.
It manages to package together some of the greatest games ever produced, throw new challenges your way, deliver a nice mixture of visual options, and provide the retro feel 90s babies will rejoice over. The Sega Genesis Classics collection stands out as the preferred method to enjoying Sonic and his mascot buddies on current-gen consoles.