The SEGA Genesis Classics Collection is a terrible husk of what could have been a great compilation of classic Mega Drive games. While there are some staples of the console’s library from the 90s included here, the ones that are absent stand out in a very big way and highlight some of the duds that take their place. But other poor design decisions, bland visual filters, and a severe lack of extras that were once included in other Genesis collections make this package very shallow. For some fans that love SEGA’s iconic video game console, this collection might be an embarrassment.
Included in the Genesis Classics Collection are over 50 games from throughout the console’s lifespan. There are the obvious choices you’d expect to be in a collection like this, such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Altered Beast, but what’s interesting are the games not included here that were once part of other Genesis collections. No Ecco the Dolphin, no Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, no Eternal Champions, and a few others that hardcore SEGA fans will undoubtedly notice. The games we get instead, such as Wonderboy and Crack Down, are definitely no replacements. In addition, there are a few extra games that feel like weird duplicates between each other, such as Shadow Dancer with Revenge of Shinobi. There may be a lot of games to switch between here, but it definitely doesn’t feel like a complete collection of the classics that made the Genesis what it was.
Playing any of the games is exactly what you’d expect, with a few standout issues like sound bugs and glitches that come from the emulation of certain games. Anyone that owned some of the original cartridges will immediately notice things that are wrong or different. There are options to tinker with some of the emulation settings in the main menu, including various filters and the ability to mirror the visuals of entire games. But does this make a huge difference when playing? Not really. The most significant addition to this collection is the ability to rewind at any point while playing, which is great for those trying to get through some of the tougher points in the games they loved from their childhood. You don’t have to use it, but it’s a great option to have around.
But this is where things go totally off the rails with the SEGA Genesis Classics Collection. The inability to customize your controls, a meager selection of background options while playing, dull TV projection and scanline options, and more really bog down everything that is here. The most disappointing part of this collection is the terrible online multiplayer that supposed to allow everyone to play multiplayer Genesis games online. While you can definitely get matched up with other people, it becomes nearly impossible to play the games online because of huge connection and syncing issues.
Even while on a great internet connection, any game you try to play online with the Genesis Classics Collection can turn into a complete failure. You can filter out which multiplayer Genesis games you want to be matched up with, but there’s no way to specifically play one type of game without first going through a process to turn off every other game in the collection. Online multiplayer is not fun and can turn into a complete waste of time.
If you were hoping that the extras and bonus features of the Genesis Classics Collection would help alleviate some of its issues, then you’re not going to be happy. There’s nothing here to explore or learn about the console’s history, let alone any extras that complement the lineup of games included. Previous Genesis collections have far more bonus content that can be earned from playing some of the games in the lineup, but this one makes no effort to do such a thing. There is a list of challenges for a selection of games that feel random, but there’s absolutely no reward for completing them. There are leaderboards to track and compare your stats with others, but nothing beyond that.
It feels like a lazy effort to include these challenges and not give players something for accomplishing them. Where is all of the info and history about these iconic games? What happened to the Arcade variations of games like Altered Beast and Shinobi that were included in previous collections? Why do the cartridges on display in the room like menu not feature any of the original or variation box art for the games? These are important questions with no reasonable answer for anyone that explores what the Genesis Classic Collection has to offer, and as a result, makes the entire package look very lackluster.
The SEGA Genesis Classics Collection is a very disappointing compilation for arguably one of the greatest consoles to be released. There is very minimal effort towards making this collection of games feel special and offering something to those that may have never grown up with the original console. While some of the games included will always be iconic, they deserve to be celebrated in a far better way than what is presented here. Shame on you SEGA, you’re capable of much better than this.
This review is based on a digital review code of the SEGA Classics Collection for the PlayStation 4, provided by SEGA.