Everything old is new again, even though it’s the same old – but in the case of compilations such as this, it’s generally a good thing. SEGA Mega Drive Classics gathers literally thousands of dollars worth of games (back in the day) in one budget-priced collection.
Such compilations are nothing new, in fact each generation of console tends to host a variant of them. In this case, 53 (no, we don’t know why the randomness either) games from SEGA’s ace Mega Drive console are gathered together for us to have and to hold, to swear at and rage quit. If you want to see them all, we’ve listed them at the bottom of this page.
There’s quite a mix on offer, and sequels are a big thing. Why have one Golden Axe or Shinobi game when you can have three? The same for brawler Streets of Rage. Yet Sonic the Hedgehog’s full MD legacy isn’t here. Wha…?
In many ways what’s missing is just as interesting as what is included in this package. Some genuine first-party classics are strangely absent – Ecco the Dolphin is perhaps the most notable, and while arcade conversions such as Super Thunder Blade, Galaxy Force II and Space Harrier make the cut, the likes of After Burner II, Out Run and Super Hang-On don’t. In fact no racing games feature at all, and there’s a complete absence of sports games (not that we mind the last one so much).
Beyond compiling intricacies – many of which would involve rights issues (hello Moonwalker, the Disney games, the WB cartoon games…) – SEGA Mega Drive Classics delivers ancillary content beyond the 53 games (although we thought it curious that there’s nothing on the games’ histories).
After a fab animated intro, we’re booted into an apparently typical teenaged gamer’s bedroom circa the early 1990s. From here you can grab a game from the shelf, which mysteriously inserts itself into the Mega Drive beneath the TV. You can change how things look, from a round-cornered, scanline-infused display to big, bold and blocky. You can do game-specific challenges, or even play online against others.
Unlike most games on the original console you can save progress and come back later, or rewind if you make a major blunder. Plus you never heard that satisfying “DING!” for scoring a trophy back in the day.
Like any compilation with this many inclusions, few punters are going to love every single game. But with a reasonable mix of genres from arcade to RPG, and some genuinely brilliant original inclusions such as the ToeJam & Earl games, Wonder Boy’s two Mega Drive outings, Ristar, Comix Zone and some of Sonic’s adventures, there’s sure to be enough to justify the purchase if you’re into playing old school. After all, it works out to less than one dollar per game, plus you get a natty double-sided poster in the box!
Now, where’d we put that Blu-Tack?
SEGA Mega Drive Classics releases May 29 for PS4 and Xbox One.
Those included games in full:
Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
Columns III: Revenge of Columns
Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
ESWAT: City Under Siege
Galaxy Force II
Golden Axe II
Golden Axe III
Phantasy Star II
Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom
Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi
Shining Force II
Shining in the Darkness
Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
Sonic 3D Blast
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Space Harrier II
Streets of Rage
Streets of Rage 2
Streets of Rage 3
Super Thunder Blade
Sword of Vermilion
The Revenge of Shinobi
ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron
ToeJam & Earl
Virtua Fighter 2
Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair
Wonder Boy in Monster World