SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection

SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3

Over 40 games from SEGA's Mega Drive, Master System and Arcade.

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8Out of 10
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A great line up of games makes this well worth owning
A great line up of games makes this well worth owning

A great line up of games makes this well worth owning

Were you a SEGA or Nintendo kid? I don't know about you, but in my school it was all about SEGA. While I've heard stories of these legendary playground fights between rival SEGA and Nintendo fans (this was a time when fanboys stood and fought with honour and didn't hide behind internet avatars), my experience was more who owned certain games rather than who owned a certain console. We'd have been more hyper after receiving 40+ Mega Drive games than we would had we eaten a whole Woolworths store full of pick 'n' mix, and I dare say a lot of grown men would feel the same way now.

As a collection of some of the very best Mega Drive games it's almost impossible to review them all. What I'll say is that most of these are really very good, with classic series like Sonic the Hedgehog (1-3, Sonic and Knuckles, Sonic 3D and Spinball) Streets of Rage (1-3), Vectorman (1 and 2), Phantasy Star (1-4), the two Ecco the Dolphin games, Golden Axe (1-3 and Golden Axe Warrior) and Shining Force (1 and 2). Add to these the likes of Comix Zone, Kid Chameleon, Shinobi (arcade) and Shinobi III, Ristar, Decap Attack, Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle and Dynamite Heady, there's enough here to keep you 16-bit gaming for a very long time.

There's no doubt that you'll get plenty of fun out of this latest compilation if you're a fan of old games. Even if some haven't aged as well as you'd have liked, replaying games from your youth will bring back lots of memories. That isn't to say they have aged badly; most of the games listed above are still tremendously playable and hold up quite well visually too. If you've never played on a console that arrived at a time when bits meant everything you might struggle to see what the fuss is about, but there are few 2D games that can hold a candle to Sonic, Ristar, Dynamite Heady and Streets of Rage. There's a good reason why people always want to see remakes or sequels to these games: they were, and still are, damn good fun.

So, the games are good, but how have they been ported over to the Xbox 360 and PS3, and what exactly is the deal with SEGA's claim that they're now in HD? The ports have been handled very well with no noticeable flaws to my eyes, but the HD-ness is questionable. If you're expecting ultra sharp modern versions of your favourite games from the late 80s and early 90s think again. Developer Backbone has given you the option to use a graphics filter that smoothes out the pixel-heavy visuals, giving the games an almost hand-painted look, but this won't be for everyone. I found it to be a pretty good way to experience all these classics on a new HD TV, but some will undoubtedly prefer the original blocky presentation.

In terms of what else you get above and beyond the games, there's the ability to save your progress anywhere - something of a bonus considering some of these games had no save functionality at all - and numerous unlockable items, such as interviews with members of the dev teams and artwork. Sadly the UK release features the US artwork, which means we have to put up with the Genesis logo all over the place. It's a small thing, but these aren't the cartridges we spent all our pocket money on. Would it have been so hard to get UK artwork in the UK version of the game?

Another area which disappoints is Achievements and Trophies. It would have been great to have rewards for doing really tricky things in these games, in a way similar to how experts used to appear on the classic TV show Gamesmaster and demonstrate supreme skills on a certain game, but most of the rewards given here are for fairly trivial things. A handful will require a fair amount of effort, but some feel like they're handed out for next to nothing and some games don't even have a single associated Achievement or Trophy. A missed opportunity in our book.

If you've never played this, now you have no excuse.

If you've never played this, now you have no excuse.

For a bargain retail price of £29.99 you're getting far better value for money than any download service the modern consoles offer, but it's hard not to see areas for improvement. Completely missing is link-up between Sonic and Knuckles and Sonic 3 (one cartridge fitted on top of the other to combine the two games), and there's also the issue of Streets of Rage 3. While most people will get the same game they played, and likely enjoyed on their Mega Drive, the original Japanese release is considered superior, primarily down to its more balanced difficulty - its inclusion here would have made a few people very happy.

In terms of online functionality the collection also comes up quite short. While you can play multiplayer in supported games by using two controllers on the same console, there's no online play at all and no online leaderboards. Perhaps it is asking for too much considering what's already on the disc, but this is the so called 'Ultimate' collection. We'd have been over the moon had Backbone managed to include these features in just a handful of titles. You could also argue that there are plenty of games not included here, but we expect those will be making an appearance on the second ultimate collection, should it happen.

These quibbles are just that really - things that we would have liked, but not major flaws. SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection is still well worth your money, especially if you loved these games and don't own a Mega Drive any more, or simply can't be bothered to set it up. Gamers brought up on the likes of Halo and Call of Duty might struggle to see what's so great here, but that's their loss.

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User Comments

bluenosepunk's Avatar

bluenosepunk

I forgot to mention above that I would love to have seen the Road Rash series.Just sayin. Listen to punk rock
Posted 23:25 on 24 March 2009
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bluenosepunk

Man does this take me back.I used to love Golden Axe and Echo the dolphin.Streets of rage was pretty sweet too.But it's hard to play this disc for more than half an hour does anyone agree?
Posted 23:22 on 24 March 2009
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xboxlive

i was going to pick this up 2day from asda for £20 :( but forgot to pick it up lol
Posted 11:24 on 05 March 2009
FantasyMeister's Avatar

FantasyMeister@ ?

Both versions have trophies/cheevos.
Posted 22:14 on 02 March 2009
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?

I'm a PS3 user and I like the review by the way so well done. I was wondering does this game offer trophies as around the ps3 trophies.co.uk forum say they have and the american version has as well.

I want to get this as I love my gaming in the 80s but having trophies would enhance its excitement for me, so is there any trophies for the PS3 verison or achievements for the 360?
Posted 21:58 on 02 March 2009
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nickolas

streets of rage 3 should have the extra bits not seen in the original like the motor bike stages bigger level 6
Posted 07:24 on 28 February 2009
I'm sure Sega.'s Avatar
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I'm sure Sega.

..could dangle a wad of stinky bills under the nose of a few execs presiding over some very dead franchises and convince them to play ball... Maybe Sega's Ultimate Collection of Sega Releases on the Megadrive would have been more accurate albeit completely unbankable...
Posted 12:18 on 26 February 2009
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Rogue_Soul

None of the games you mentioned Timbo were published or developed by SEGA - all of the ones on this disc were. Maybe the 'game' title is a tad misleading.

I do agree though that there should be more games on the thing. Maybe that's just SEGA's way of 'testing the water' without investing too much time and money on it. I suppose if it sells well they'll release more of this kinda thing. There is a healthy back catalogue of 8-16bit games for them to choose from. Although it might be a bit fiddly/costly for them to slap on games from other publishers.
Posted 12:08 on 26 February 2009
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Timbo

It doesn't have Devil Crash. Herzog Zujwei, Kings Bounty, Populous/ Megalomania, road rash, Granada, flashback (!) the list (for me) goes on.... 49 formerly dead revenue titles consumming all of 1% of a standard DVD is not imho an 'ultimate' collection... Even nintendo system had 500 game carts available 17 years ago when it was current tech... Some great games but it's not justifying the expense for only a very few of the ones I would really want.
Posted 10:56 on 26 February 2009
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xboxlive

nice :)
Posted 12:51 on 21 February 2009
Rogue_Soul's Avatar

Rogue_Soul

Impressive!
Posted 15:26 on 20 February 2009
FantasyMeister's Avatar

FantasyMeister@ xboxlive

Picked it up this morning in town, piccy from the manual for you - looks like 49 games in total plus a load of extras like unlockable game bios/histories etc.

Click for Image
Posted 14:47 on 20 February 2009
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xboxlive

going top rent this game and see what its like,if its any good which it will be i might pop out and buy it.
Posted 10:48 on 20 February 2009
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nch2k1

Pblive, I agree with 32x virtua racing, I spent days perfecting my skills on that purely for the enjoyment of watching my friends faces as i destroyed them race after race... funny enough they stopped playing after a while. Also eternal champions on the mega cd was brilliant, would be interesting to see how good that would be today!
Posted 00:54 on 20 February 2009
South_East_Jedi's Avatar

South_East_Jedi

shinobi - thought this was revenge of the shinobi, many hours spent in my youth trying and failing to fully complete this, also, would of liked desert strike, oh how much fun i used to have playing that! honestly tho, this is a great little package if you want to have to have both nostalgia and some old school retro gaming!
Posted 17:27 on 19 February 2009

Game Stats

Technical Specs
SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection
8
Out of 10
SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection
  • Great selection of games
  • Some nice bonus material
  • No modern extras
  • The filter won't be for everyone
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 20/02/2009
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3
Developer: Backbone
Publisher: Sega
Genre: Retro
No. Players: 1-2
Rating: PEGI 12+
Site Rank: 811
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