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Jahanzeb Khan
16 Mar, 2010

Sonic Classic Collection Review

DS Review | The best of Sonic returns in your hands.
Occasionally, when a video game company can’t come up with a new hit, they tend to re-release several of their old hits in one convenient compilation along with some bonuses. Sega have been particularly well known for re-releasing games from their glory days, hence the Sega Mega Drive collections, the Sega Ages series in Japan and of course the Sonic compilations. Sonic Classic Collection is yet another compilation of the Mega Drive Sonic games, but this time we get to revisit them in portable form on the Nintendo DS.

Sonic Classic Collection, as the packaging states, features ‘the best of Sonic’ from the Mega Drive days. The collection has the following games: Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles. Not only that, but it also has the ‘lock-on’ variations, that were originally made possible courtesy of the lock-on feature of the Sonic & Knuckles cartridge. These lock-on variations are Knuckles in Sonic 2 and Knuckles in Sonic 3, which essentially allow gamers to play as Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic 2 and Sonic 3. Knuckles in Sonic 3 is more formally known as Sonic 3 & Knuckles, which is the complete version of Sonic 3.

It's always nice to revisit the good old days.

It's always nice to revisit the good old days.
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The first Sonic the Hedgehog game is a timeless classic, and if anyone remembers the horrid GameBoy Advance remake, they need not worry because Sonic Classic Collection has the game in all its Mega Drive quality. Perhaps the reason why this game plays so well, even in 2010, is because it really has that level of polish, presentation and stellar design that continues to inspire platformers. The beautiful music, ambiance and overall flow of the game are just right and it has the right mix of speed and classic platforming.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is considered by many to be the best game in the series, and it certainly was the most commercially successful one. Sonic 2 is arguably the fastest of all the Mega Drive Sonic games and features, what many say, the very best levels in any Sonic game. Their creative and clever design allows for some insane high speed action with plenty of intense platforming. There is certainly a lot of adrenaline and energy in Sonic 2.

Sonic 3 & Knuckles is the magnum opus of the Sonic series.

Sonic 3 & Knuckles is the magnum opus of the Sonic series.
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Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and its expansion pack Sonic & Knuckles are fantastic games on their own, but they are not meant to be played separately. Instead, players should jump straight to Sonic 3 & Knuckles in order get the complete experience. Sonic 3 & Knuckles is arguably the magnum opus of 2D Sonic games and the series in general. It is truly the last great Sonic game before the series went into a deep and endless downward spiral. The game offers 14 massive levels, 14 emeralds to collect, 3 playable characters (the only case where having Sonic’s friends as playable characters wasn’t such a bad idea), plenty of bonus mini games, cool power-ups and super forms. It certainly has the right mix of high speed action gameplay, slow paced exploration, platforming, and it really sets an example for the design that modern Sonic games ought to have.

The problem with modern 2D Sonic games like Sonic Advance and Sonic Rush is that their sole focus is on speed and speed alone, and hence the games end up feeling as if they run on auto pilot. Sonic 3 & Knuckles however, nails the gameplay flawlessly. It features plenty of break neck moments, but at the same time it gives players plenty of opportunities to just stop and explore alternate routes and secret locations. It certainly gives players a lot more control of the action than modern Sonic games. The game really has a lot of substance and variety for a Sonic game, so the replay value is absolutely immense. To put it bluntly, Sonic 3 & Knuckles is to the Sonic series what Super Mario World is to the Mario series.

Sonic Classic Collection has all the classics, but nothing more.

Sonic Classic Collection has all the classics, but nothing more.
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While Sonic Classic Collection has all the right games, the problem is that the emulation just isn’t as perfect as it could (and should) have been. Granted, the games look nice and crisp on the DS screen and run really well for the most part, with the unforgettable background music sounding really nice on the DS speakers. But some of the sound effects sound are odd and messy and all the games suffer from noticeable slowdown and glitches, especially Sonic and Sonic 2. Thankfully, these flaws do not cripple the experience, not being as significant as you could fear. However, when you consider that these 16 bit games are over 15 years old, these imperfect emulations reflect lazy development. Another problem with the compilation is that it doesn’t offer much in terms of bonus content - all you get is a small gallery featuring old Sonic illustrations. Finally, there are no multiplayer options or aesthetic menus.

Sonic Classic Collection isn’t the best Sonic compilation around (those would be Sonic Jam and Sonic Mega Collection). There are many other ways to play and enjoy these classic games (that too in HD), courtesy of XBLA, PSN, WiiWare and the many other Sega Mega Drive compilations. That said, Sonic Classic Collection still successfully accomplishes what it meant to do, which is to provide some of the greatest platformers of all time in one convenient portable package. So for now, there is no better way to enjoy the Mega Drive Sonic games in portable form than with Sonic Classic Collection.
The Score
Sonic Classic Collection compiles some of the greatest platformers of all time in one convenient portable package.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Sonic Classic Collection Content

Check out the Sonic Classic Collection limited edition
16 Feb, 2010 A tin full of goodies.
Love to Hate #5
20 Jul, 2009 Beyond the speed of suck.
Sonic Unleashed Review
03 Dec, 2008 Faster than the speed of sound gameplay.
3 Comments
4 years ago
Some of the emulation isn't too spot on; but it's alo been proven to work better on a DSi. Still worth the purchase IMO.
4 years ago
I would have got this if it wasnt for the lazy emulation. I'll just stick with Sonic Jam which I thought I lost but found around the house the other day.
4 years ago
Yeah agreed, it's worth the purchase to play around with.
I personally have Sonic Mega Collection (SMC, or SoMeCo) on PS2 and don't really have any complaints regarding the emulation.. taking into account the original versions.

I don't think people would buy this for any sort of bonus content anyway, so the lack of is not too hindering.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  11/03/2010 (Confirmed)
Standard Retail Price:
  $49.95 AU
Publisher:
  SEGA Australia
Genre:
  Action Adventure
Year Made:
  2009
Players:
  1

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