The nostalgic appeal of revisiting classic Sonic titles is almost non-existent these days. Any one even remotely interested in playing the blue speedster’s first few outings would have surely done so by now, whether it be through XBLA, The Wii’s virtual console, plug-and-play TV kits or via the countless Genenis/Sonic compilations that have been released over the years. Still, say you don’t own a TV, or a PC, or a PSP and would love the opportunity to relive your genesis-obsessed childhood, Sonic Classic Collection on the Nintendo DS might be the game for you.
Just last year Sega released a PS3/360 compilation containing almost 50 retro titles and in 2006 the PSP received a compilation featuring over 30 classic games. Sure the DS isn’t a powerful as either of those systems but is 4 Genesis ROMs seriously all a DS cartridge could handle? I understand why Sega may not have wanted to bring some of their other franchises over to the DS but a Sonic/Genesis compilation that doesn’t even feature all the Sonic Genesis games is almost insulting. I’m no game developer but I’m pretty sure Sega could have included more titles such as Sonic Spinball, Sonic 3D, Dr. Robotniks Mean Bean Machine and maybe even Sonic CD with very little effort.
On a brighter note, the four games that are here are all awesome and they all deserved to be played in one form or another. Sonic The Hedgehog, Sonic The Hedgehog 2, Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles are arguably some of the best 2D platformers ever made and having them all with you during lengthy commutes can seem like a godsend. I’m not going to patronize you readers by talking in-depth about each game, chances are you’re already extremely familiar with them all. Furthermore since they are all pretty much the same game with different levels, detailing each of them would make this review very repetitive. If by some miracle you’re new to the series, Sonic is a blue hedgehog, he runs fast, hops over spikes and there’s a irrelevant plot involving emeralds and a fat, evil scientist… That’s all you need to know.
The presentation in Sonic Classic Collection is underwhelming, especially when you consider the iconic status of itï¿½s source material. There’s very minimal fan service here, you get four ROMs, a few pieces of art and the ability to play as Knuckles in Sonic 2 and 3, that’s it. During gameplay, the action takes place on the top screen while the bottom screen displays a sentence about the game, a control layout and a few menu options such as Pause, Save and Quit. The problem is, the bottom screen looks very amateurish. Since the actual games were already made several years ago all the developers really had to do was surround them with some fancy presentation, how could they fail and such a seemingly simple task?
Lack of additional content and barebones presentation aside, Sonic Classic Collection is a respectable compilation which contains four legendary and much-loved games. With Sonic 4 just around the corner now is the perfect time to take a look back on the games of yesteryear. Just be wary that there may be cheaper and more robust alternatives already on the market.