Welcome To The Museum Of Sonic,
This review is from: Sonic Mega Collection (PS2) (Video Game)
I remember purchasing Sonic Mega Collection Plus for the PS2 from a GAME store for about £30. That was back in early 2005...the best part of a decade ago...WHERE has the time gone?! I mean it seems like only yesterday that I handed over the Queen's faces to one of the staff members so I could play this retro collection, and now the PS2 disc itself is retro. Scary!
It may seem pointless to some now considering the numerous Sonic retro collections available for purchase (both hardware and software), not to mention that his better outings can be found as part of the SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection on the PS3 along with other great MD games. But it's still interesting to see so many Sonic games in one place, one disc, one fancy blue neon lit club. Heck, even the colour of the case of my copy is blue. It really is "Old School Cool."
Among the Mega Drive offerings we have Sonic The Hedgehog, which got the whole franchise rolling way back in 1991. From the lush green grass and chequered grounds of the Green Hill Zone to the mesmerizing night sky and flying catapults of the Star Light Zone, Sonic 1 lit up the video game world with its super fast paced platform play, challenging jumps and spike pits, and introduced a character with a jolt of attitude that forced Super Mario to up his game. It's a title that has passed the test of time with flying colours.
Sonic 2 improved on this formula thanks to more exhilarating zones, a Spin Dash move, tricky 3D-ish bonus areas, and a loveable sidekick fox called Tails. Plus a multiplayer mode provided opportunities for friends to battle it out for Sonic supremacy. A brilliant game to immerse yourself in. The series arguably hits its peak with Sonic 3. The gaming pace was pushed way beyond the speed of light, and combined with the brilliant Michael Jackson-esque music, Sonic's third MD outing was filled with 100% pure win. Definitely a must play. Elsewhere Sonic Spinball is a mind-boggling but largely enjoyable pinball game, while Dr.Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine is an interesting puzzler featuring robot characters from the first episode of the cartoon show "Adventures Of Sonic The Hedgehog."
As well as the Mega Drive games, there are a series of Game Gear titles to try out too. Most of these feel more experimental and mildly rebellious, but unfortunately they don't always strike gold. Sonic Labyrinth for example plays on the idea of Sonic only being able to use his spin dash move because some dodgy footwear has reduced his running to snail's pace. Neither the concept nor the game work, and overall it is quite boring. On a more positive note, Sonic The Hedgehog managed to successfully carve out its own identity from the MD version with different zones and bonus areas, while Sonic Chaos is another enjoyable adventure which can be played with either Sonic or Tails.
The extras section is quite interesting. You're given the opportunity to read the original manuals for the games page by page (really, it is interesting!), and you can check out a series of front covers for the Sonic The Hedgehog comic books that first started publishing around the time of the airing of the SatAM series. It's fascinating to watch the comic's gradual transition from being primarily aimed at young children to showing a more mature image for the grown up audience. There's even one comic (marked as Issue #0) that you can view from start to finish panel by panel. To me it was a pretty good read.
A couple of games haven't aged particularly well, but overall Sonic Mega Collection Plus for the PS2 is a polished, well presented and adrenaline inducing retro package worthy of good marks. With 20 games to play on the whole, including some unlockable ones one way or the other, it remains good value for money to this day. If you've never sampled the Mega Drive games before and are currently in possession of a PS2, then this will sit nicely on one of your bedroom shelves.
Final Score: 8.5/10