Review by Urtheart.
You thought SEGA couldn’t release their collection of Sonic games again? Wait a sec, they haven’t released all 4 games on a portable console yet! Quick fix it! So here we are yet again with Sonic 1, 2, 3 & Knuckles in a single package waiting for you to enjoy. So is it worth parting with your cash again to play these games on the move?
Sonic Classic Collection (SCC from now on) is not the first portable version of Sonic 1 or 2, with both appearing on the PSP Mega Drive Collection, both on the iPhone and a Sonic 1 remake for the GBA, the last of which was a horrible scorn on humanity as a whole. However this is the first time the entire collection of the 2D platform games have appeared on the DS or a portable console. However with the likes of Sonic Mega Collection plus and the same games also available on the XBLA marketplace you need to ask if the £30 price tag is worth it just to play it on the move?
Thankfully unlike Mega collection, all the games are unlocked from the beginning. You get Sonic 1, Sonic 2, Sonic 3, Sonic & Knuckles, Knuckles in Sonic 2 and Knuckles in Sonic 3 (aka Sonic 3 full version), notice one missing? The first disappointment I had was no Blue Sphere, while this may seem an odd thing it just feels like that is the one game which has no reason to be left out as it is a conjuncture of Sonic 1 & Knuckles. If we then take the fact that putting Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles makes one game (as you’ll never play them separate if you have both of them) you basically get 3 games (well 3.5 if we are being nit picky).
But hey if you bought the game you knew that was the case, so more importantly how do they play? Well my first thought was to go back to Backbone Entertainment’s base to compare it to how them emulated the games. However I was surprised to learn upon playing them that the games are not emulated, they are ports. This brings two major advantages, first the controls are purpose programmed for the DS, making the gameplay itself responsive and accurate, one point up.
Secondly this has meant that the Creative Assembly Australia (CAA) have been able to edit the games to allow them to work better on the DS, this however has been both a blessing followed by a short sharp shot to the forehead. On the plus side, it has meant that CAA have allowed the screen to adjust sideway scrolling to fit with the DS’s more compact screen, which helps on some of the boss fights most notably. This however is where the praise ends, to compensate for the screen size, or more precisely the screen being slightly wider than taller, various horizontal lines of pixels have simply been removed which can be easily seen on Sonic 2 as it cuts off the bottom lines of most zone titles, so Emerald hill zone becomes Fmeraid Hiii zone. Secondly they have altered the title screens for both Sonic 2 & 3 (subsequently also S3&K). In Sonic 2 your front page options are Sonic & Tails, Sonic or Tails, this means you have no access to the options menu and stops access to the level select. On the S3 side, the only option is 1Player. This alteration is obviously to stop access to any and all 2 player modes, but this also means cutting out potential content for Sonic 3 (aka the time trail stages) and stops you being able to use level select for all games except Sonic 1, not great for those who just want a short blast at playing their favourite level.
The games themselves for the major part run fine. I played through all the games to try and break them. One thing that you do notice is slight slowdown when there are too many in game objects on display, for instance on Sonic 1 where you go down the double tube and fly up into the large cluster of rings and buzz bombers, very noticeable but usually not game breaking. The only major hitch that might cause problems (and might explain the lack of Blue Sphere) is the special stages in S3&K, which have a tendency to have epileptic problems with the square floor patterns, the colours seem to faze and move constantly, again not game breaking but not pleasent.
So are there any extra features? Well you do get a small (and I do mean small) set of illustrations, Sonic Tails & Knuckles’ official art from all 4 games, and some Sonic Drift artwork. Oh yeah and the credits list (which oddly has sprites from Sonic 3D and spinball in it). There is also a remixed version of the Sonic Jam mission theme to open with, a nice touch that very few people will recognise.
So let’s cut to the chase, should you get the game? Well how badly do you want to play Sonic on your DS? In all honestly the £30 price tag is what is going to kill it. Your best option if you want these games but don’t care about the portability, get Sonic Mega Collection plus, PS2 & Xbox copies still float about so with the Xbox compatibility it’s still an option, however the PC version is still easily available in the UK at £5, giving you a saving of £25 and double the amount of games (though you’ll have to unlock em). If you want an easier option, with achievements, all the games are available on XBLA and also give the S&K compatibility and still saves you about £10.
But if you only have a DS and need, and I do really mean need, your fix of classic Sonic, this is an option, but I wouldn’t recommend it. CAA have not done a great job, while it is unknown if it is due to laziness or they honestly were limited in skills or budget, but there just isn’t the care and love it needed.
|ACTUAL SCORE||One of the weakest Sonic specific collections, better than Mega Drive collection for the Sonic fan, but still only worth it if you NEED Mega Drive Sonic on the go.|
|ACHIEVEMENT HOG||Go buy the XBLA versions, that one has 800 points worth combined!|
|SW’S CRAZED FANBOY SCORE||“AUUUUGGGHHHUGH my heart – why is Sonic on a Nintendo console, they are rivals! Where is my Blue Sphere, I can’t live without a near unlimited amount of Special Stages. Where’s my Spinball, my 3D, why are there lines of pixels missing? You’ve mutilated my Childhood, I can’t go on!!””|