One of the great things about modern consoles is the sheer power that they offer inside the casing. As someone who has been around computers and games for over 30 years, I naturally have fond memories of the old 8-bit and 16-bit era as well as all the old classic arcade games and it’s that raw power that sits underneath the hood of consoles like the PS3 and PS Vita… hell, even the PS1 and PS2 in most cases – that’s meant that the potential has been there to give virtually all of these old classics a new lease of life on contemporary hardware.
While Namco, Taito, Midway, Activision, Atari and Capcom have all had various compilations released over the years or their classic games, Sega haven’t taken advantage of the love of their old games. While there were a couple of releases of their Sega Ages collections featuring just a handful of their games reworked for modern systems, there was nothing that really collected a large amount of games in a single place. Until the Megadrive Collection, that is. This PSP title (which has since been released in an expanded form for the PS3) contains almost 30 classic games from the Sega Megadrive (or Genesis for our American friends!).
I have found that retro compilations like this seem to be aimed at limited groups of gamers – usually either those old enough to remember the original consoles or arcade games that the games are taken from, or younger gamers who have recently discovered retro gaming. Either way, they generally don’t have the same mass-market appeal that most releases have despite some featuring what are considered to be all-time classic games so they often have lower price points – which isn’t a particularly bad thing for those of us who are interested in them.
Converted by Digital Eclipse, renowned for their arcade and console conversions, rather than featuring a series of updates and re-writes of all of the old Sega titles, at the heart of this collection is a Sega Megadrive emulator so the games themselves use as close as possible to the original code from the Megadrive itself making the package as authentic a recreation of the Megadrive experience as they could. On loading you’re presented with a list of all the games on offer as well as access to a list of all the unlockable bonus content that you can access depending on your in-game performance including developer interviews, additional games, cheats and tips and much more.
Onto the games themselves and there’s a mixed bag. Sonic The Hedgehog is represented with his first two titles, there are the first three Golden Axe games (a little overkill perhaps considering the extensive range of Megadrive games that were at Sega’s disposal), three from the Ecco series, three Phantasy Star games, Comix Zone, Columns, Altered Beast, Virtua Fighter 2, Super Thunder Blade and many, many more. Despite having multiple games for some of Sega’s more popular franchises, there’s still an incredible amount of variety on offer and there’s something for everyone from platform games, beat-em-ups, shoot-em-ups, racing games, puzzle games. RPGs and more besides.
It’s hard to make comments regarding the graphics and sound because in virtually every instance, the games here are at least 15 years old so its unfair to comment on any of them in comparison to today’s gaming standards, but for anyone who loves 16-bit era gaming, they certainly showcase some of the best in terms of what the Megadrive had to offer. The only thing I would say – and this is more a personal thing really – is that I always found the music on games on the Megadrive to be very limited. Regardless of the game, they all seem to be restricted in terms of the instruments used (and the same could also be said for the SNES) and that’s really just a limitation of the original hardware.
One thing that should be mentioned is that while some of the games on the collection are arcade conversions – Golden Axe and Super Thunder Blade for example – the ones features on this collection are the Megadrive versions and not the arcade versions. While this may disappoint some, especially as there hasn’t been a Sega collection released yet with either of these games included, it’s something that you should remember when looking at the games on offer.
Playability wise, some of the games have dated quite badly I’m afraid and struggle to maintain interest for too long (Gain Ground, Golden Axe and Virtua Fighter 2 amongst others). There are some gems amongst the rough, with Columns remaining as addictive today as it always was but some, like Sonic, are the type of game that you either love or hate and some really are for die-hard Sega fans. I can’t fault the controls which are perfect for this collection – using the d-pad and action buttons means that playing the games feel exactly as they would were you using a Megadrive and its own controller and the emulation of the console is spot-on… it’s just that I felt that the quality of the games is somewhat hit and miss.
Despite offering incredible value for money for this many games, I do wonder how often you’ll return to most of them. If you have fond memories of the Sega Megadrive and used to own many of these games in your youth then this is something that will really appeal to you and you’ll find a lot of the games hard to put down, even if it’s just for nostalgia reasons. For everyone else, you’ll probably only find a small number that you’ll find offering you any form of repeat play, but if you’re willing to persevere then it is still worth investing in at a fraction of the price of a regular game.
At A Glance
- Title: Sega Megadrive Collection
- Publisher: Sega
- System: PSP
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: No
- Cross Play: No
- Online Multiplayer: No (local mutiplayer possible via adhoc mode)
- PlayStation TV Compatible: Yes
- Memory Card Space Needed: