A lovingly crafted collection of games that mostly don’t deserve loving craft.
Developer: M2, Sega
Released: April 26, 2016
Copy provided by publisher
Nintendo, once upon a time, brought 3D Classics to the 3DS, taking some beloved retro games from its historic library and giving them the 3D treatment to make them pop. Because Nintendo is Nintendo, it dragged its heels with the idea to the point where we’ve all pretty much forgotten it was a ever a thing.
However, one company has remained supportive of the concept to the point of trumping Nintendo’s own efforts and making the platform holder look lazy in comparison. While Nintendo is content to just throw up an old NES game and call it a day, Sega has been lovingly rereleasing its Genesis games on the 3DS with a range of special features.
Rather than simply 3D versions of retro games, Sega’s 3D Classics offer a variety of customization options, including full control tweaks, international versions, and screen settings. Some games have all-new features, as Sonic the Hedgehog adding a Spin Dash or Streets of Rage getting an overpowered “Fists of Death” mode.
Sega loves its compilations, so it shouldn’t be surprising at all that the publisher has compiled a bunch of these retouched games together for the Sega 3D Classics Collection, a fun little package of nostalgia that shows off some loving effort, even if it does sport a bizarre choice of games.
A lot of the usual suspects aren’t featured in this package. When Sega does its obligatory rerelease compilations, one usually expects to find Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Golden Axe, and Streets of Rage present. You can at least usually count on seeing Decap Attack, Comix Zone, and a Shinobi or two. None of these are present in this particular presentation.
Instead, the collection features the following games – Power Drift, Altered Beast, Puyo Puyo 2, Maze Walker, Fantasy Zone II, Fantasy Zone II W, Galaxy Force II, Thunder Blade, and Sonic the Hedgehog.
Rather than go for the more recognizable (and frankly better) titles, it appears the 3D Classics Collection has focused more on selecting games that will look more visually impressive on a 3DS. Games like Thunder Blade and Galaxy Force II feature perspectives tailor made for 3D settings with all the crap flying at the screen, while titles such as Power Drift and Maze Walker pop significantly with the handheld’s settings pumped to full.
The problem is that while these titles may be good at showing off the 3D of a system old enough to never need its tech demonstrated again, a lot of them just aren’t very good games.
Altered Beast, for example, is crap. Whatever nostalgia we may have attached to this unfastidious beat ’em up, there’s no escaping how horribly designed it is and always was. Sluggish, mindless, and horribly ugly even for its time, Altered Beast is a continual marvel in how it’s managed to remain a “classic” in spite of how bad it is.
Even when not total garbage, there are a good chunk of these games that aren’t capable of keeping one hooked. Thunder Blade, Galaxy Force II, Maze Walker and Power Drift are all good to try out one or two times, but I can’t say I feel any strong urge to play them now or ever.
I’ve always got time for some Fantasy Zone II, and the two versions presented here are put together with some cool extra features – they also look terrific in 3D. There are two versions because one was included for posterity, while another is an enhanced remake with an all-new endless mode.
Puyo Puyo 2 wasn’t released in the West and comes to this collection with its Japanese localization intact. This is another rock solid addition and well worth checking out. Unlike most of the games featured, this one is capable of retaining a player’s attention for more than five minutes, mostly because it’s a Puyo Puyo game, which is hard not to get sucked into for long periods of time.
Then of course there’s Sonic the Hedgehog, which is Sonic the Hedgehog, and is on the collection because Sega needed a Sonic game. It’s still good fun, but we should all have about a thousand versions of this game on our collected systems by now.
I don’t want to be so down on the collection, because M2 has gone above and beyond in its efforts to make these games more than simple ports. Unfortunately, the “classics” chosen just don’t make for a good compilation, and I couldn’t justify getting the whole bundle just for the couple of games worth keeping around.
Sega 3D Classics Collection is a fantastic presentation of mostly mediocre games, like a beautifully shot and directed movie featuring David Duchovny in its leading role.