In the vein of our new format for classic game compilations, a quick reminder that I’m not going to be reviewing any of the titles here. I will point out that for a few of the titles included on the SEGA Genesis Classics, this release marks their official debut in the North American market, most notably the Treasure shooter, Alien Soldier. Let’s dive in and see what SEGA has brought to the table.
Following a fantastic opening video, the collection boots you into an appealing 90’s era bedroom that serves as the main hub for your experience. This allows for several viewing modes, access to a museum portal, emulation options and more. Select your game from the shelf and get playing… but let’s address that dirty word “emulation” right now. This is emulation, yes, but it’s very, very good emulation. Will it be as accurate as playing your childhood Genesis on a tube tv? It will not. However, everything is playable without issue (with one exception we will hit later), and having these games on the Switch, some of the best video games ever made, is worth this slight, slight compromise. It’s not quite the level of SEGA Ages by M2, but for much less than a dollar a game, this is very smooth sailing.
Speaking of compromises, this is flat out, the best these games have sounded on emulation since the Wii Shop. Genesis audio is, for some reason, notoriously tricky to emulate, and most products in recent years bearing the SEGA moniker have made a total mess of the music and audio. Not so here! FINALLY!
I will note that there’s a stark lack of shmups (spaceship/plane shooters) on this compilation. This is understandable for this genre, because with any lag, all but the top-end-we-wrote-an-emulator-for-this-specific-game solutions will translate into extreme frustration for the player. Also conspicuously missing, but present on the PS4/Xbox One version of the collection, are the Wonder Boy games. From this, I can’t help but Wonder (pun intended) if we may be seeing more remakes of titles in the series soon on the Switch.
Alongside all of the hub features listed above, the Genesis Classics collection includes some interesting additional features. On tap we have save states, which are very well executed, online multiplayer… let’s stop. Why do we keep trying to do this guys? It’s not going to work for retro games, well, ever. Let’s just move on, seriously. Additionally, there’s a fascinating feature called “mirror mode.” This reverses the gameplay for a new challenge with old games. Mastered Sonic 2? Not anymore! It’s a bit of a gimmick, but I’m glad it was included nonetheless. The video options and borders we know and love are all here, as well!
I will note that Sonic the Hedgehog 3 is absent, and that may put a lot of people off. First, that’s silly, there are a metric ton of amazing games in this compilation. Second, as a musician and engineer, I always want to explain this a little. Michael Jackson had a longstanding relationship with SEGA in the 90s, and he is listed as a composer on this game. He was influential enough that he most assuredly retained rights to his compositions within the game… which means SEGA would have to license those songs back from his estate with any new releases. Michael Jackson’s music is VERY expensive to license, and given the price point of this collection, it was very likely not viable financially. SEGA will never come out and say this officially, nor should they be expected to, but it’s something I feel consumers should understand, even if only a little.
At the end of the day, this is the best compilation on the Switch, hands down. Excellent emulation, a huge pile of iconic console games and arcade ports, and a fun, nostalgia-fueled presentation make this an easy decision. If you ever liked the Genesis, or always wanted to check it out, but the used game market put you off, this collection is your answer, and what a Nintende… SEGADeal (is that blasphemous? …nah.) it is!
Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download, Amazon Digital, Amazon Physical, GameStop Physical
Publisher – SEGA
Price – $29.99
Genre – Action / Adventure / Role-Playing / Arcade / Beat ‘Em Up / Platformer / Puzzle
Size – 1.1GB
Charlie’s first attempts at gaming did not go well. Repeated, failed run-ins with the first Goomba in Super Mario Brothers 1 plagued his maiden gaming voyage. Undaunted, he would go on to become an avid gamer of all platforms, with Nintendo always sitting atop the highest pedestal. Except for that Halo 3 incident in 2007. We don’t talk about it. It never happened.
Currently, Charlie enjoys playing games on as many platforms as he can get his hands on, with current favorites being the Switch, 3DS and Neo Geo. When he’s not playing games, Charlie is a live sound engineer and manager for his production company, Clear Harmonies, based in Washington, D.C.
Charlie enjoys talking about games nearly as much as playing them, and loves meeting new people, so hit him up!
Plays: All of them games. Seriously.