When Sonic Mega Collection was released for the Gamecube (and the PlayStation 2 and Xbox months later), there were some notable exceptions from the list of Sonic titles that left retro fans a little disappointed. Following on from the success of Sonic Mega Collection Sega are going to be releasing a new Sonic compilation, featuring some of the most requested Sonic titles, including Sonic CD, Sonic R and Sonic The Fighters. This preview is going to be a little different to our conventional previews, as we're going to outline the main games on the Sonic Gems Collection.
The first title to appear in Sonic Gems Collection is Sonic CD. This was released in 1993, and was (and still is) considered one of the best games on the Sega CD platform. It was a little different to other Sonic 2D games, featuring no Knuckles, or Tails, just Sonic Vs Robotnik. Sonic CD also introduced a new villian to the Sonic franchise, Metal Sonic.
Sonic CD also includes "Past" and "Future" zones, with the ultimate goal to create a good future. Fans of Sonic CD have been pleading not only for a perfectly emulated version of this game, but also for the Japanese soundtrack to be ported over. Unfortunately, this will not be the case when Sonic CD is released, the U.S version soundtrack will be coming over, Sega insists this is due to licensing issues.
Whilst the demand for Sonic CD is definitely there, it was never a particularly memorable game, whilst it is unlikely many people have played this game, (as it is not available in ROM form) the game itself is a little repetitive, and many people discovering the game for the first time may be a little turned off by the lack of innovation. The game was on the Sega CD, but it didn't take full advantage of the format it was on.
Sonic CD also features some of the weirdest level design we've come across in a Sonic title yet. Some of the levels range from a pinball machine to Green Hill Zone. The game itself doesn't take too long to complete, but the past and future zones will help to expand the lifespan.
Sonic the Fighters is the second title on the mammoth collection and will be the first time this game has been released on a console. Originally released as an arcade title in 1996, and barely released outside of Japan, this is an arcade 3D based game very similar to Virtua Fighter but with Sonic characters.
The fighting game doesn't take itself too seriously and consists of the usual lineup of Sonic characters, as well as some lesser known characters, such as Espio. Each character has their own specialised move, that gives each character a different move-set.
The two bosses of the game are Robotnik and Metal Sonic, in the arcade version there was no way to unlock these two players as secret characters, but our hopes remain high that there will be a way in this home version. If you play as Sonic you are able to transform into Super Sonic at the end of the game, but it does require a bit of skill.
We were surprised last year when Sonic R didn't make an apperance on the Mega Collection, but Sega must have been preserving the title to appear on this collection. Sonic R was originally released for the Sega Saturn in 1997.
Whilst many Saturn fans were hoping for an entirely new 3D adventure, Sega developed a action / adventure, racing title, with Sonic and Co racing around tracks full of shortcuts and obstacles.
The entire Sonic crew once again makes an appearance, including the regulars, as well as some unique unlockables such as Metal Knuckles and Metal Tails.
The game took advantage of the Sega Saturn hardware, and this was one of the first (and certainly not the last) times that Sonic appeared in 3D. The graphics aren't anything special, but in 1997 they were incredible.
However, the lifespan of the game is questionable at best - it will only take casual gamers about an hour to get through the title, and about three hours to complete the game completely (unlocking all the characters). Once this is done, it's likely this will be the least played of the games in the compilation.
The game will also include six GameGear titles, which include Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog Triple Trouble, Sonic Spinball, Sonic Drift 2, Tails Sky Patrol and Tails Adventures.
The original Mega Collection featured a plethora of unlockables and this title will be no different, there is character art, movies, remixes and classic Sonic songs to uncover. The Japanese version of Gems will feature Streets of Rage as an unlockable, whereas the U.S version will feature Vectorman 1 & 2 whilst we're unsure which games we'll recieve, we're crossing our fingers it is Streets of Rage.
So the main drawcard of Sonic Gems collection won't necessarily be the quality of the titles released, but the fact that most of them haven't been available on a console for years, (or even at all) and most of them are very obscure Sonic titles. Nonetheless, the compilation should definitely please Sonic fans, and we're looking forward to seeing what else Sega can add to the compilation to make it even more appealing. Sonic Gems Collection will be released on October 14th, on the PlayStation 2 and GameCube for a recommended retail price of $59.95, We'll have a review around that time. In the mean time, however, read our recent Sonic the Hedgehog Franchise Mode article - it'll kill some of that dreaded waiting time.