Things were much more simpler back in the day. The dominant arguments regarding framerates, resolution and exclusives burned a lot less fiercely in the nineties. These competitive points were still quite relevant, but nowhere near as much as they are in modern day gaming. Myself, I was always a SEGA boy. While I enjoyed the likes of Mario and the likes of Zelda, nothing, for me, came close to Sonic, Golden Axe and Streets of Rage. I held my Mega Drive (or Genesis, depending on your geographical location) in high regard, by and large, it was my best friend at the time. Now, nostalgia hits hard and fast with SEGA’s new and vast bundle of goodies via the SEGA Mega Drive Classics.
There’s over fifty classics stuffed into this collection in total, including the likes of Altered Beast, Alex Kidd, Gain Ground, ToeJam & Earl and several other mostly interesting games. I have to admit that I was quite impressed with the selection of games, not so much the volume, but the diversity. It would have been nice to see Ecco the Dolphin or Earthworm Jim making an appearance, though that’s completely subjective and merely a matter of my own opinion and preference. Still, when all is said and done, there’s bound to be several gems within that will appeal to many of you. One thing that goes without saying is that this collection is undoubtedly the most fullest bundle that SEGA has ever released on console.
I wont waste your time going over the specifics for each included game. The collection takes place within the confines of an interactive bedroom. Players can tweak settings and options, browse the extras, view the credits or even change the time to alternate between day and night within the room. It’s a wonderful touch and something that’s made all the more authentic by toys and posters that are fashioned on some of the games included. Browsing through all games is accomplished via looking through the shelves to locate the cartridge of your choice. There’s also the option to check out leaderboards and challenges; yes, SEGA Mega Drive Classics does indeed support online functionality, for multiplayer too.
Online play pretty much amounts to playing any supported game two-player. Honestly, I’ll be very surprised if this holds any longevity, simply given the vast amount of titles included. Still, it’s a great addition for friends that want to join up and take to some good old action-packed Streets of Rage 2 or the more relaxed pace of ToeJam & Earl. Despite the occasional technical interference, each game plays just as well as you would imagine. Players can tweak the visual presentation if that’s of any interest. This includes adding scanlines to capture that 90s vibe, smoothing the visuals up, playing full screen, playing on classic 4:3 aspect ratio and more. Seriously, the game goes above and beyond to truly relay its roots.
The game also allows you to rewind and fast-forward during play. This isn’t something we haven’t already seen before, but I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t help me out with the freakin’ ninjas in The Revenge of Shinobi. Hell, after twenty years, I might finally get through the final boss. There’s no doubt that this specific mechanic removes an edge of the challenge, though in fairness, it’s a totally optional function. Mirror Mode, on the other hand, just feels wildly out of place. Mirror Mode inverts the screen for all games and while that does inject a new challenge for enthusiasts to soak up, it just feels tacked on for the sake of it. I personally don’t see the allure to this, in fact it annoyed more than it excited.
The ability to create save files for each game is a welcoming sight. I’m not afraid to say that many of the games within are as taxing as they come, something this feature helps with overcoming. Touching up on the challenges again, these, alongside the sheer amount of games, pushes the longevity of SEGA Mega Drive Classics to the extreme. There’s easily tens of hours worth of content here. It’s not the best bundle of classics on Xbox One, that honor sits with Rare Replay, but SEGA Mega Drive Classics isn’t far off from top spot. The gameplay for each title suits the Xbox One controller, with each game responding and performing well for the most part. The price-tag is well struck, sitting at a very reasonable £22.49/$29.99.
SEGA Mega Drive Classics’ most impressive achievement is its vast and carefully selected collection of titles. There are games in this bundle that will appeal to everyone and although there’s a few performance hiccups to contend with, this is, by and large, one of the best compilations available on Xbox One.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.