It seems almost pointless talking about if Sonic Classic Collection on the DS is good. This is the four Mega Drive platforming games together on the DS for the first time, and you also get the option to link up fourth game, Sonic & Knuckles, with Sonic 2 and Sonic 3. It's without a doubt, a great selection of games, and quite rightfully classics of the 16-bit era, but as a collection, it feels a little lightweight.
It's hard to believe anyone reading this doesn't know who Sonic is and what his games are like, but just in case, here's a very brief overview. Sonic, a blue hedgehog, and in later games his buddy Tails the fox and Knuckles the echidna, run across colourful 2D stages, jumping on enemies and collecting rings. Arch enemy Dr Robotnik wants the Chaos emeralds and Sonic takes it upon himself to prevent him from getting his hands on them. This results in a series of end of stage boss encounters in which Robotnik fights in numerous maniacal machines.
The four games on offer here have been brought across to the DS without much in the way of bells and whistles. Unless you're ultra hardcore Sonic 1, 2, 3 and Sonic & Knuckles will look as they did back in the 90s and sound more or less as you remember them too. On the DS' top screen Sonic and friends all look nice and colourful, but the visuals are starting to show their age somewhat.
Things aren't helped by the iffy frame rate present in all the games. Given that we're talking about games made almost 20 years ago, the least I expected was silky smooth motion. It's surprisingly not as bad as it sounds, though, with gameplay never being damaged. In fact, while playing the stuttering isn't that noticeable, with you focusing on speeding through the stages and not the dropped frames.
Sadly missing are all the two-player elements seen in the series, with the games here all limited to just solo play. This isn't a huge problem, given that playing with a friend who also has a DS wouldn't have been common anyway, but a shame nonetheless. In terms of extras there's extremely little here to get excited about, with a collection of character art accessible from the main menu and a fairly basic save function.
More troublesome is the lack of other Sonic games. Sonic CD is perhaps the biggest omission, as it is a 2D platformer in the series from the same era. It also happens to be one of the best Sonic games ever and deserves a place in this collection. Other games, such as Sonic Spinball and Sonic 3D aren't so essential, but would have added to the overall package, while the Master System Sonic games would have been a nice bonus too.
Sonic Classic Collection, despite being bare bones in the extreme, still comes recommended. You're getting four great platform games from the Mega Drive, playable on the DS for the first time. A bit more bang for your buck would have been great, but retro gaming still doesn't get much better than this.
VideoGamer.com Score8 Score out of 10
- All four Mega Drive sonic games on the DS
- Great retro gameplay
- Frame rate issues
- What about the other Sonic games?