Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection (2009)

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“Sega does what Nintendon’t.”

 

 

Sonic the hedgehog isn’t the only glaring thing on The Well-Red Mage today. Anyone who has perused our pages for a length of time (as some of you darling NPCs have, thank you very much) will notice a glaring omission. Namely, Sega games. This bears some explanation, some coming clean, and some preliminary apologetics.

Heart to heart time. Though they’ve irked me often, I’ve always been a Nintendo fan. I got my start with the Nintendo Entertainment System in terms of serious gaming and collecting. Though I played video games on C64 and the like before owning an NES, the NES will always be my first baby. I will always consider it the pinnacle of classics gaming, a model and standard for the future of the entire industry, indeed the single system that saved the industry at all. I’ll never forget standing in front of those huge shelves full of cartridges at a Blockbuster or 7-11.

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Isn’t this post about Sega, though? Yeah, yeah… Since the NES, I’ve owned and loved every Nintendo console and system minus the Wii U and Nintendo DS (and also the Virtual Boy, which I owned but didn’t love). Nintendo was partly responsible for my textual awakening (not a typo), since I spent many days as a child writing out stories and character bios with accompanying doodles for made up Nintendo games like “Super Mario Universe” and “Super Duper Metroid”. By the way, those names are taken, Nintendo.

I could fill up entire encyclopedias talking about Nintendo’s contributions, their sense of magic, awe, innocence, escapism, the iconic status of their IPs, their innovation that paved the way and shaped the path for gaming in every home. But I won’t do that. This article is about Sega.

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I’ve never owned any Sega system except for a Game Gear for the span of a summer vacation. I didn’t play it much because I had a Nintendo Game Boy. No argument in terms of their libraries. The games that I played at friends’ houses on the Master System, the Genesis, the Saturn, the failed Dreamcast were cool and all but didn’t stay with me, weren’t compelling, had games that could be found on other systems, or felt vaguely inferior. I viewed Sega like a cool older cousin I never saw because they lived out of state, who smoked because they stole cigarettes from their parents and dyed their hair a different color every week to match their mood, but who wasn’t very good with the English language or basic maths. Sega was a slick, black, shiny-finish stranger to me that I didn’t have many huge aspirations to be with and get to know.

I of course don’t mean any of that to say “Hurr hurr Sega sukks!!!!!!!!1”, because on the contrary there were some games on their systems I liked and really wanted to play. Guardian Heroes was a game on the Saturn I adored, had a weekend fling with, and never texted again. The limited libraries, inundation of Sonic, downright crude and even petty marketing, and their attempt to come off as “mature and therefore better” (propaganda which has sadly found root in modernity) turned me away from Sega almost entirely.

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Did you know: Alex Kidd was Sega’s unofficial mascot before Sonic? I’m sure Kidd could’ve carried Sega on the platform of edginess.

Thus Alien: Isolation stands out as the only real Sega game we’ve reviewed here and it wasn’t even on a Sega console nor was it reviewed by me. Other games that received Sega Genesis versions I’ve reviewed for the Super Nintendo instead. Typically, these were superior on the SNES anyway, titles such as Sunset RidersZombies Ate My Neighbors, the hilarious Earthworm Jim and its lame sequel Earthworm-I-don’t-really-care-if-you-disagree-with-me-Jim 2.

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Left: Sega. Right: Nintendo.

Not many Sega games have been reviewed here but now that’s all going to change. This is, after all, a blog with a pun for a name referring to a learnéd individual, a jack-of-all-trades, a renaissance man, a well-read mage. Expect more from Sega here because of Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection, a recent purchase I made for the PlayStation 3.

Okay so it was a stopgap buy until I could get my finglets on an NES Classic Edition, so Sega is still playing second fiddle to Nintendo, but hey, I’m trying. And I am excited to dive into a lot of these titles, to look at them with fresh eyes retrospectively and analytically. This is a whole realm of gaming history opened to me, even as I remain on the search of physical Sega consoles.

Except for this console. I don’t want it or its bootleg clones and crappy wireless controllers with the same old d-pad issues.

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Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection, I’ll say right at the start, is one of the best single volume retro compilations I’ve played. It goes to great lengths to capitalize on delicious nostalgia. The main menu resembles the top of a Sega Genesis and shows a cartridge for the game on the right where you can see demo footage, cover art and read historical factoids. The collection opens with is this wonderful sequence, a wall of tv screens flash 16-bit imagery from Sega games recognizable even to this Nintendo fan. The music and the visuals builds up to this incredible crescendo that got me excited to dive right in.

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But where to begin? The collection boasts an impressive 49 games from the Genesis/Mega Drive, Master System and the arcades! Other retro compendium games I’ve played in recent history include The Disney Afternoon Collection and the Mega Man Legacy Collection, both of which feature incredibly accurate and tight controls for perfect, streamlined emulation of the NES era. However, neither of those spectacular collections had more than six games apiece. Here we’re talking about one short of fifty!

With Sega’s biggest (and only?!) mascot emblazoned across the cover and with his name in the title, we shouldn’t be surprised that this library of Sega games includes lots of Sonic. There are six Sonic games here. You know, let me just list the games. For science.

  • Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
    Alien Storm
    Altered Beast
    Beyond Oasis/The Story of Thor
    Bonanza Bros.
    Columns
    Comix Zone
    Decap Attack
    Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
    Dynamite Headdy
    Ecco the Dolphin
    Ecco: The Tides of Time
    ESWAT: City Under Siege
    Fatal Labyrinth
    Flicky
    Gain Ground
    Golden Axe
    Golden Axe II
    Golden Axe III
    Kid Chameleon
    Phantasy Star II
    Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom
    Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
    Ristar
    Shining Force: The Legacy of Great Intention
    Shining Force II: The Ancient Seal
    Shining in the Darkness
    Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
    Sonic & Knuckles
    Sonic the Hedgehog
    Sonic the Hedgehog 2
    Sonic the Hedgehog 3
    Sonic 3D Blast/Flickies Island
    Sonic Spinball
    Streets of Rage
    Streets of Rage 2
    Streets of Rage 3
    Super Thunder Blade
    Vectorman
    Vectorman 2

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The other games are unlockable after completing certain in-game requirements and grabbing a few trophies/achievements. These challenges include things like collecting a certain amount of points on this game or beating a boss in that game. The only one that seems unfair is beating the first boss of Sonic 2 with two players, demanding that you find a second player and have a second controller on hand. Everything else is easily accomplished. At least nothing so far has presented itself as truly teeth-grinding. Here are the unlockable titles, mainly arcade games:

  • Alien Syndrome
    Altered Beast
    (arcade)
    Congo Bongo
    Fantasy Zone
    Golden Axe Warrior
    Phantasy Star
    Shinobi
    Space Harrier
    Zaxxon

This sizable collection can be reorganized by our own ratings. You can give a personal score for each game, which is yet another unique feature among retro collections. Rest assured that the usual save states capability is included here though there are no online leaderboards or online multiplayer.

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Now even with 49 games, it’s clear that this is far from an “ultimate” collection. I’m sure you can think of a few titles that might’ve made your dream wishlist. EWJ sits right at the top for me, what with that extra level, but there’s also no Virtua Fighter 2, Gunstar Heroes, or ToeJam & Earl, not to mention any Battletoads. You figure they could’ve swapped out Altered Beast for… anything else. Not that kicking zombies in the nuts isn’t entertaining but I’m sure there are better representations for the Genesis. Perhaps the biggest hole is left by the absence of Mortal Kombat games, the ones that weren’t watered down like they were by Nintendo.

I do consider any of these exclusionary and inclusionary issues to be pretty miniscule. The fact that you’re getting almost fifty games outweighs that. I plan to use this single PS3 disc for many, many reviews to come. It’s not very often as an adult I get to experience 16-bit games for the first time, knowing next to nothing about them, and that’s my personal joy with Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection.

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The 8-bit Review
visual Visuals: 9/10
I assume the visuals are well-represented from the original systems, complete with that flat blandness of the Sega Genesis. Long live the SNES will be my dying warcry. The crispness of the pixels are and should be the biggest draw here and its not unpleasant in its accuracy. The standard settings present each of the 49 games in 4:3 with unique borders for the different titles. There is however 16:9 for people into that sort of thing.

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There’s also the smoothing option which you can thankfully toggle off. Not sure who this appeals to. Maybe homicidal psychopaths? I think smoothing is going to become such an anachronistic gimmick. Aren’t we coming back to these games for that pixelated look? If so, then why turn them into a cheap photoshop job?

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 Audio: 7/10

 

This piece of original music that plays over the interface between games is gold. Gotta love that chirpy warbling. The first few thrumming seconds of this song remind me of MIKA’s “Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)”, which I didn’t exactly want. Since there’s not much new material musically speaking and since a lot of these games have soundtracks that sound like nails on an electronic chalkboard, I can’t conscience giving this game a huge rating in the Audio department.

 Gameplay: 9/10
Annoyingly, the game has to take several seconds every time you get past the title screen to load and set up trophies. Why? Well, that might just be the single terrible thing about the way this collection plays, because everything else is a breeze and a beaut. Save states are helpful for those of us who aren’t too familiar with these games, especially with the ones that mercilessly murder your character with something you can’t see until you’re right on top of it thanks to the Genesis’ propensity for jittery screen movement. I’m looking at you, Sonic the Hedgehog numero one.

There’s the original in-game pause with the start button and a second pause feature set to the select button. This collection-specific pause allows you to access controls and video setup menus, saving and loading mechanisms, soft reset, and an exit that takes you back to the main menu to select a different game. Its implementation is very much unobtrusive. The focus remains on the presentation of the 49 games themselves and they play comfortably with the PS3 controller.

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 Accessibility: 9/10
Before each game boots up, there’s a brief insert screen that shows you the button layout for the game at hand. Most of the time it’s just a few inputs like Jump or Attack. These were simpler times, my friends. The only thing you’ll need to worry about at this point is making sense of the inaccessible elements inside each individual game, like some of the power ups and items which occasionally make little sense or are unintuitive.

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diff Challenge: 7/10
Everybody knows that retro games can be pretty unforgiving and unapologetic in their difficulty. I haven’t come across a real Mega Man II nail-biter yet but let’s just say I’m thankful for the ability to save at any point in a game.

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collection.jpg Collection: 10/10
As far as collections of classics go, this one is the biggest I’ve come across. Yeah not all of these games are stellar examples of 16-bit perfection (“Powerrrrrr up!”) but there are still 49 of them, a practically unprecedented number. The best thing about the Ultimate Genesis Collection, though, are the unlockable features. I couldn’t care less about the absence of leaderboards or online multiplayer because unlocking things by completing in-game challenges should be a staple in retro collections. Things like interviews, concept art, history, even extra games should all be the norm for unlockables and here a great many of them are. It provides just one more reason to play besides for reliving the games themselves and collecting a few trophies or achievements. Most importantly, it captures the spirit of old school games by hearkening back to a time when all secrets and additional content in a game was unlocked by completing in-game challenges and not by shelling out extra cash to download DLC.

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unique Uniqueness: 7/10
The house that Sonic built and later watched burn down: Sega. They’ve done a lot over the years, haven’t they? As I understand it, there are more extant collections of Sega games than just this one, but of all their compendiums it seems to me that this is the one to get for its size, its presentation, its unlockables, its arcade ROMs, and its nearness to current gen technology.

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pgrade My Personal Grade: 9/10
If you’ve some recommended titles on this collection, please do let me know. I was pleasantly taken aback at how much they crammed into this one PS3 collection. Other retro collections need to take some cues with this one. Include more games and more unlockables. This will keep me busy for quite a while and it works not only as a stopgap for the NES Classic but as a stopgap until I can find a working Sega Genesis and some black carts.

I guess to be this good takes AGES.

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I’d like to know what the “It” is that these “originals” started… You’re not Nintendo, Sega. Nintendoes what Sega don’t. Like make more consoles.

Aggregated Score: 8.4

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38 thoughts on “Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection (2009)

  1. I have not played this game. I actually feel that there are a lot less blog posts focussing on Sega games, rather than Nintendo games, so I am interested to find out about these old Genesis games. I have always wondered about the market for these compilation games. I remember enjoying one Sonic game, until the sequel (which was an improvement) was released, where I would almost forget about the earlier games and concentrate on the new one. I am not sure if these games can compete when old games are so easy to access in modern times. I agree about the lack of information regarding power ups and story, I would have thought the game would be able to provide a virtual copy of the instruction manual. I am surprised Street Fighter 2 was not included, it was a well-known game and an enjoyable multiplayer. I would recommend the Sonic games (enjoyable platformers), Ecco the Dolphin games (surprisingly difficult), Golden Axe games (simple battling games with an epic fantasy feel) and Streets of Rage (similar to action films from the time).
    What are the best games on the disc? Does the game make the gameplay feel retro? What extra features are unlockable? I enjoyed the description of experiences playing Sega games and the company’s profile, I always felt the Sega games filled a gap between the cheerful fantasy of Mario games and the grim violence of more adult games.

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    • Virtual manuals would’ve been smart, these were included in the NES Classic. Thanks for your recommendations and to answer your questions: I’m liking Sonic 2 and Alien Syndrome but I haven’t played all of these yet; the gameplay feels accurately retro; interviews and some games are unlockables.

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  2. That song is actually pretty cool! It’s kind of midi/8-bit electronica lol.

    You utterly nailed what Sega did wrong with their advertising. I still distinctly remember that “Genesis does…: commercial that sent me into childish rage because I loved Nintendo, and Sega was saying that it wasn’t good. How dare they?! I would get so mad at that commercial, and it firmly pushed me onto the Nintendo side of the console wars, though I was already well over there.

    The “more mature equals better” is an annoying go-to of many a critique. I think it’s a way to try to make your opinion sound like the only valid one out there by resorting to that. It’s kind of how darker and edgier have been used ad nauseum in many a gritty reboot, but darker and edgier don’t necessarily make something better. I personally prefer darker stories, but something isn’t good just by nature of it being dark. This is coming from someone who can say that most of her favorite shows are cartoons and many of them are considered children’s cartoons like Steven Universe, My Little Pony, and Adventure Time. There’s an ineffable quality to these programs that speaks to both young and old, but there are quite a few people who’d look at that list and scoff that I was “wasting my time” with childish things (I really hope this helps support your point…I’ve been trying to catch up on all my blog subs, and I’m a little bit sleepy).

    What I’ve seen of Sega,namely the Sega Master System (thanks entirely to Hungry Goriya) I really like and am a bit sorry I missed out on until now, but the Big N had more variety and knew how to market, and that’s why they won the console wars.

    I have that Genesis on my wish list, and there’s no one trying to gouge for more than twice the price 🙂

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    • Sweet! Thanks, as always, for leaving me an awesomely verbose comment. I’ve got a long history going back with this under-thought contempt for anything deemed “kiddie and therefore stupid” and conversely “mature and therefore better”. My go-to example to use is the Dark Knight trilogy, which famously swapped out the neon slapstick of Schumacher’s Batman for a more world-weary and realistic Caped Crusader. In retrospect, some folks have come to say that the only reason people liked that trilogy was because it was “dark and gritty”. No mention of incredible performances by award-winning actors, engaging cinematography, excellent writing, powerful scoring, exceptional storytelling in adapting a character nearly 75 years old at the time. It’s not an excuse that you can use that something is just better because it’s darker or maturer, even if it’s widely perceived to be that way. Case in point: many considered Man of Steel to be a flop and Batman v. Superman even more so, when both of those films were the darkest and grittiest takes on the Superman character in film to date. So… ultimately all of that is fluff and noise unless the substance is actually good. A film has to have quality film-making first and then be dark secondary or not. Sega’s games had to be as varied and engaging as Nintendo’s in order to be good, not merely because they tried to sell them on a platform of “oh they’re edgier and snarkier and grittier therefore they’re better”, or even to say “more appropriate for the adult palette”, when again they had to be good games primarily in order to be worth playing. Grittiness or no. I’m glad you see my point. Someday I’m going to dedicate an entire post to this. I just need to find the perfect example in gaming. I have a feeling I’ll stumble across it in this Sega Collection 😉

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      • You hit right on it again with The Dark Knight comparison. Many people feel the best movie of the trilogy was The Dark Knight and they think that because of the Joker who provided not only the conflict, but also the comic relief. DC movies tend to miss the memo that some moments of levity are necessary for a well rounded story, something Marvel really excels at.

        I would love to read that article. One of the things I love about the Final Fantasy series is that the stories are often heartbreaking, but they always have those moments of levity to balance it out. I always thought of it as the Shakespeare model, because the Bard’s plays (at least the ones I’ve read) always have that comic relief. It’s like that breath of air before retake a dark plunge. I try to model my own writing in such a way. To be honest, I think it makes a dark/morbid story stronger, because what’s sadder than knowing there can and have been good times, and it’s usually what the characters are fighting for.

        Always pleasurable and enlightening to talk to you. You’ve really me so happy to be a gaming (among other things) blogger, because I used to think I was (one of ) the only people who thought so deeply about video games and I was just “weird.” I AM weird, but there’s nothing wrong with delving deep into the how and the why of one of my favorite pastimes.

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      • Eghh Marvel… I will say that levity is a necessary attribute for quality films, unless the tone is going to be extremely limited (such as in 2001: a Space Odyssey, my favorite movie). In that case, Alfred provides a lot of warmth and one liners in the Dark Knight trilogy. The Dark Knight is just a well made film, regardless, and I don’t think that trilogy can be topped and I think the Dark Knight is excellent for a variety of reasons but I stopped watching Marvel actually because I kept walking out disappointed. I’d rather see a superhero movie than a comedy and slapstick. Age of Ultron is the last one I’ll pay to see. So much over-done humor took me out of the movie, but I fully realize mine isn’t the majority opinion and Marvel does quite well. Avengers 1 was a great film.

        My pleasure having these talks with you! Video games as we know are just an aspect of entertainment, which I think warrants introspection.

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      • Age of Ultron is not a paragon of the Marvel movies I’ll say that. I was disappointed myself with it and was really shocked, because the first Avengers was so good, and Guardians of the Galaxy was sort of the Marvel sleeper hit.

        The Dark Knight is probably Nolan’s finest work. I’ll agree Marvel does use a LOT of comic relief. I enjoy it because I myself use comic relief in order to deflect and/or avoid the deeper emotions of serious situations, so that might be the reason I’m really tuned in to their movies. I’m getting a bit annoyed at DC with Wonder Woman though (I’m pretty sure it’s DC…), because they’re doing little to no marketing for it. I didn’t even know it was coming out in June! The last few DC movies haven’t really been up to par. I saw Man of Steel and wasn’t overly impressed. I didn’t see Batman vs. Superman because of that and not being overly impressed with the trailer. I’d like to think Wonder Woman would put them back on track, but it’s not going to do as well if they don’t market it :\

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      • My history with Marvel is fairly long and convoluted. Short story is I loved Captain America and Spidey as a kid through teen. Loved the Spider-Man films, all of them so far. I was VERY excited to see the first Cap America film but I was sorely disappointed by a movie without a single actor who could pull off a German accent, a movie which used montages for all the good stuff, a movie which didn’t make me care about the character, yada yada, so then I watched pretty much every Marvel film (excluding Thor) up until Ultron, at which point I said enough was enough. I was tired of throwing my money away for sappy, jokey, cardboardish superheroes. Again, this is my personal taste and take and I don’t expect everyone will agree with me. Guardians I skipped since it seemed like more of the same that I specifically didn’t care for. Now that the universe seems headed even more so in that direction, I’m outro. Note though that I did think the first Avengers was a great film and probably the best they’ve put out. It annoys me to no end when a Marvel movie comes out and the hyperbolic tabloids call it the greatest Marvel movie ever. Either they’re movie up at an incredibly slow rate of quality or somebody’s lying…

        Nolan does some exceptional work: Interstellar, Memento, Dark Knight, Inception, so much so that we named our second child after him (and as a sly Batman reference too since our first son’s name is Kal).

        As far as getting annoyed with DC, tell me about it. I may dislike Marvel’s tone right now but that doesn’t make me a DC elitist. I’ve consistently followed DC my entire life and mine is a DC house (two kids named after the World’s Finest, yeah), but I’ve said before that I equivocate loving DC to having a lover who keeps cheating on you but you can’t seem to stop loving them. I liked Man of Steel and thought it had some serious issues. I was horrified by Batman v Superman (theatrical) version for some major directorial issues, while still thinking Affleck was amazing, and then saw the extended cut and realized it was the studio’s fault for cutting out 30 minutes of character development and… yknow… Clark frickin Kent. I was Suicide Squad to redeem the universe since that Bohemian Rhapsody trailer looked insane but instead it was just weird and predictable, another let down. If Wonder Woman fails… it’ll break my heart. Wife and I are talking adoption to guarantee us a girl, so we can have our third part of DC’s trinity but this character has been waiting seven decades for a film! They’d better not screw it up! Luckily, the trailers have been looking good but DC trailers always look good post-Man of Steel. Funny, ’cause marketing for WW hasn’t meant much to me since I follow the movie news pretty closely and see all the trailers and announcements day one. I just hope it’s good and they can Zack Snyder afterward, even though he’s not directing. I would recommend seeing the extended Batman v Superman. It’s a HUGE thinking movie with some real convoluted stuff but it still suffers from pacing and casting (Luthor). Anyway, fans loved WW from BvS, so I think she could stand to carry a film. Lots of folks said WW was the best part about BvS.

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      • I think The Dark Knight had the perfect formula of serious to comic relief, and Marvel does tend to have more of the latter, which doesn’t bother me (being someone who uses humor and randomness to deflect), but I can see how it go overboard. I liked Guardians for it’s literal nostalgia factor. Like the entire movie feels nostalgic, even though it’s pretty much a space opera, but I believe you’d run into the same issue. There’s a LOT of mood whiplash where you’ll be laughing on second and then heartbroken the next. Now that I’m thinking about it, it had a similar mien to a Futurama episode since those are damn near famous for such paradigms.

        I didn’t know he did Memento. That was a fantastic movie, and I loved Inception. I will check out BvS just so I can say I’ve seen it. I really hope DC gets with the program with WW marketing, because I really want this movie to succeed. I intend to see it regardless, but I don’t want it be like Disney’s John Carter.

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      • I fully recognize, especially in oratory, the value of the art of swaying emotion by making an audience laugh one minute then cry the next. It engages the emotions powerfully. It’s not merely the jokiness of Marvel that gets me, but that’s a big part of it. Maybe someday I’ll write an entire series of my beefs with them hahaha! That’d be self-indulgent. I got pretty close to it once with this post you might find ludicrous: I listed 110 Marvel rip offs of DC characters. https://thewellredmage.wordpress.com/2016/05/03/marvel-vs-dc-the-true-civil-war/

        Nolan is an incredible director. There are portions of his work I’ve yet to see but Dunkirk coming up looks extraordinary. Oh gosh hopefully WW is better than a Disney live action update film haha! Definitely see BvS extended version if you plan on watching WW. I’d like to know what you think. Just go in planning for a loooooong movie.

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      • You should write it! It’s counter culture to a degree, and I’d like to read it to get a perspective I don’t have. Different perspectives help me become a better listening and writer, so long as they’re presented in a rational way, which you always do. Ooh, bookmarking that!

        I’ll watch it with an open mind!

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      • Oh counter culture makes it sound edgy! Only problem is all the fire went out of me after not having watched a Marvel film since Ultron. I mean, I could always just watch one but ain’t nobody got time for that. I’d sooner just toss the Rage Mage at ’em. Actually I did write a horrific review of Ultron for IMDb. I’ll have to find that and post it here as a joke.
        Link is for a sliiiiiiiiiightly tongue in cheek article. No pressure. Read if you like. Thanks!

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  3. Great review! This looks like something I really want to check out. I’ve always been on Team Nintendo too. I never hated Sega or anything, it’s just that Nintendo stole me away. You reminded me that I wrote stories about Mario all the time when I was a kid. I remember one of my teachers got annoyed and told me to write about something else. Oppressive bureaucrats are mean, haha.

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    • Yeah me too, it’s not like I had any kind of personal vendetta against Sega growing up. It’s just that they never grabbed me and it didn’t ever seem like they had as great franchises. Preteen Mario fanfiction! I guess it was a thing. Public funded monster teacher…

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  4. Great review! This would a great collection for me, considering I grew up with none of these games. I’ve played a good number thanks to Virtual Console and Sonic collections, but this is quite the number of Sega games. I’ve actually seen this at bargain bins in stores, so I might have to finally get it.

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  5. I have the nerfed Sonic Gems Collection for Gamecube. Half the games and double the price :p This definitely does look like an awesome collection though. I never knew that it also brought Phantasy Star

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    • This seems like the best collection Sega has put out, in terms of unlockables and library. I was pleasantly surprised to learn the first Phantasy Star was here as an unlockable since I didn’t want to play the series without getting a hold of the first game, well, first. Be forewarned though that it requires two players and therefore two controllers to unlock Phantasy Star.

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  6. I have this one (PS3 version) on my wishlist and I’m always close to buy it even if I already got some games (Altered Beast, Streets of Rage 2, Sonic, Sonic 2… ) free with PS+. Amazing collection and really good memories.

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  7. Did you get a chance to give Fatal Labyrinth much of a go? A game much much like it (Dragon Crystal) was my first intro to Roguelike games. It’s a taxing game in many ways, but its mechanics were mysterious and drew me in.

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    • I have no played Fatal Labyrinth yet, sir, but I appreciate your personal recommendation. Thanks! Something which took me by surprise is how personal recommendations from someone else help to lend extra character to a game I’ve never played, almost like a kind of pseudo-nostalgia except I haven’t experienced it myself. It makes me look forward to an unknown game even more and in a way helps me feel more at ease that I’m not experiencing it wrongly.

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  8. I actually own this on more than one system 🙂
    It’s a wonderful little compilation and, outside the obvious stuff (Sonic, Streets of Rage etc), I was really happy to see Comix Zone and Decap Attack make it in. Those two kept me entertained for ages as a kid. Ecco too was a genius little thing I thought.
    I would have liked to see some EA games added, primarily Desert/Jungle Strike and Haunting Starring Polterguy. With Sonic, I would have liked to see Sonic CD and the rare 32X game Knuckles: Chaotix thrown in too.

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    • As far as compilations go, having this many choices and this much variety goes a long way and it was the primary draw for me to pick it up, especially being unfamiliar with most of the games on here. Maybe someday they’ll release a “Sonic’s Penultimate Genesis Collection” for the PS4 and raise the bar on how many games are included, sneak in some of those you mentioned. 🙂

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  9. It is a nice compilation. Few if any of the other Sega comps include arcade ROMs so it’s worth it for that fact alone here. The likely reason for the inclusion of two versions of Altered Beast is that it was a launch pack-in for the Genesis/Mega Drive until Sonic The Hedgehog came out. There are similar compilations out there like the one on Steam, but few games match the joy of Alien Syndrome. These days it’s considered esoteric, and isn’t as remembered as heavy hitters like Shinobi, Golden Axe, After Burner, and Out Run. But after playing it in the arcade as a kid, it quickly became one of my favorite Sega IPs. In fact to me, Sega’s best days were in the Coin Op machines of the 80’s. A lot of these games were ported to the Master System with varying results. But also on computer platforms too. I played a lot of Alien Syndrome on my C64, and still do. It’s one of the best of the home ports. That said, nothing touches the arcade cab, and that’s why I implore anyone with this compilation to check it out. Great review!

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    • I’m hearing a lot about this Alien Syndrome. 😉 I love arcade games so I know I’ll love those. There was a PS2 Sega collection, correct? This one seemed to be the better of the two. Have you touched the Genesis Classic Edition? I’ve not read good things. And I guess that explains the inclusion of Altered Beast… It’s about as fun as I remembered it being. Which is not much. It’s the only game so far that I flat out dislike. Thanks for reading and for your recommendation and info!

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      • There was a PS2 comp, but it didn’t have the arcade games if I remember right. The Atgames Genesis Classic is the latest retooled version of the clone system. The main problem with it (aside from the cheap construction) is the terrible sound emulation. From what I’ve heard it has never been resolved. Be that as it may, it IS compatible with around 80% of the Genesis library. So if you see one on clearance for $20, and don’t have $50 for a used Genesis, you may want to take a risk on it to save money. Alternatively, Retrobit makes a Genesis clone in a Super NES Game Pak. It requires it’s own AV cable to the television, and uses the Super NES for power. But it takes up a little bit less space, and does a much better hardware emulation job than the AtGames clone. AtGames does a great job with the Atari Flashback line though. If you’re interested Classic Game Room did a great review of one of the AtGames Genesis clones years ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4Ey5zKKldY

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