Sega 3D Classics Collection Review – Altered Beef

A lovingly crafted collection of games that mostly don’t deserve loving craft.

01

Developer: M2, Sega
Publisher: Sega
Format: 3DS
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.

02

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 2Golden Axe, and Streets of Rage present. You can at least usually count on seeing Decap AttackComix 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.

03

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.

04

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.

6/10
Alright

David Wurzel
Guest
David Wurzel

“Altered Beast, for example, is crap.”

Fucking finally. I’m baffled as to how this game keeps getting brought up as one of Sega’s true classics – it was horrible back when it released and it’s even less tolerable now.

Sega created countless brilliant games during the late 80’s and early 90’s – Altered Beast was never one of them.

MM
Guest
MM
I loved Altered Beast back in the day. Maybe its very “ugliness” was what gave its “beyond the grave” feel, it certainly gave a bit of ‘fear’ in the kid I was then. (tho not as much as XCOM 2). Jim, didn’t you had an episode, not long ago, arguing how today’s monsters and undead are not scary because they’re just too “clean”? Too “pretty”? Perhaps even “cute”? Sanitized.. “Photoshoped”.. You gotta embrace the ugliness, that episode was genius and I think it applies to old games as well. Now, granted, if I compare Altered Beast to its successors, of… Read more »
Penguin
Guest
Penguin

I actually enjoy Altered Beast. It’s not great, but it’s a good bit of fun, and I remember when I played it in co-op on the Mega Druve Ultimatr Collection. Good times

The Winchester Kid
Guest
The Winchester Kid

How can you make fun of David Duchovny, history’s greatest acting robot?

Benson
Guest
Benson

I wouldn’t mind a list from Jim showing what games he plans to review eventually just so we know.

Jack Burton
Guest
Jack Burton

“like a beautifully shot and directed movie featuring David Duchovny in its leading role”

That is one of the greatest analogies of our time … so funny, good stuff Jim

Xyra
Guest
Xyra
When this collection was first announced, I felt very perplexed about the choices of games aside from Sonic and Puyo Puyo. But the games in this collection were specifically chosen because of their 3D-ness. It’s a shame that most of the games are mediocre in a modern day context. Except Altered Beast, which just plain sucks. I honestly hope Puyo Puyo gets a standalone release though, that’s just a fantastic and timeless puzzle game and North America doesn’t get enough of them. I think currently Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine is all we have on the 3DS eShop as an alternative… Read more »
det.bullock
Guest
det.bullock
So I’m not the only one that finds Altered Beast to be a mediocre game, fortunately I have the habit of trying roms before buying costly game cartridges for my collection and I saw right away it wasn’t worth it. It really pales in comparison to other Sega beat ’em ups, a pity Sega tended to make very stupid mistakes in that field at the time of the Mega Drive. They never really pushed the Golden Axe series on console after the first installment, Golden Axe 2 was a good gameplay improvement over the first but they could have given… Read more »
Mike Hoyer
Guest
Mike Hoyer

I wouldn’t called Altered Beast mediocre. I’d call it crap. Baffling crap.

And yet I sort of love it. Nostalgia can be a powerful force.

ENAY
Guest
ENAY

I still have a warm spot for Altered Beast, a kind of 2 player KungFu Master, but 2 player coop and you could turn into beasts. the Megadrive version is especially the best because of the cheat mode where you could choose which beast you wanted to spawn into on each other, adding a whole ton of replay value. Yeah, one man’s crap is another man’s gold. But hey Altered Beast is an average beat-em-up. No where near as good as Streets Of Rage and games of its type, but definitely not a bad game by any means.

HisDivineOrder
Guest
HisDivineOrder

Altered Beast is the Dark Souls of its time.

Yep. I done went there.

/drop the mic

Hahaha, j/k. Actually, I remember playing it in an arcade. (Remember those?) It was… I always felt it belonged right next to the Robocop arcade game. Cheap as cheap can be. You were just throwing quarters away on games like that.

leecherboy
Guest
leecherboy

“Altered Beast is crap.”
Hah, who are you trying to fool, Jim? We already know it’s the Citizen Kane of videogames!

http://www.destructoid.com/altered-beast-gaming-s-citizen-kane-143324.phtml

Enuo
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Enuo
Brotown
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Brotown

I am a little curious as to how old some of these commenters are that are casting grey clouds over the likes of Golden Axe and such. If you were 9-14 at the time of Genesis’ prime..it was awesome. Plain and simple. Golden Axe and any of the Road Rash…fuck yeah

Milestone_RP
Guest
Milestone_RP

Every time I wonder why Altered Beast never got the “reboot” treatment, it’s usually one of my friends from the other side of the ‘pond that reminds me about the Playstation game.
Ditto for Golden Axe.

Holy shit, some of these Sega properties just have not been given the chance to be something good. But I guess that explains why Sega’s in the position it’s in now.

🙁

El Minotoro
Guest
El Minotoro

It did, there’s a ps2 altered beast

SmaMan
Guest
SmaMan

The annoying thing is I already own most of these games individually since they were released on the Nintendo eShop years ago.

But some of these aren’t available there and probably won’t ever be. My inner Sega fanboy is screaming!

SilentPony
Guest
SilentPony

I kinda’ wonder if with the new 3D technology if we’re ever gonna see HD releases of the SuperScope games.
Yoshi’s Island with a bazooka was surprisingly fun.

SmaMan
Guest
SmaMan

Heck, any of the Mode7 games are just begging for a 3D treatment.

And it’s totally possible, since the Genesis games here are emulated, just through a 3D filter!

Lasse Andersen
Guest
Lasse Andersen

Are we thinking of the same Mode7? Mode7 makes Frozen Synapse and -Cortex

El Minotoro
Guest
El Minotoro

Mode 7 is the name of the chip that allowed parallax scrolling and scaling in the snes. It’s what allowed mario kart and final fantasy 6’s overworld to work

SmaMan
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SmaMan

^^ It’s really the same techniques that SEGA’s games like OutRun and Afterburner used for its 3-D effects.

Heck, maybe they should just contract the work out to M2 already…

Stephen Mc Devitt
Guest
Stephen Mc Devitt

I just want Golden Axe again.

CaitSeith
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CaitSeith

6/10!? You’re just a Nintendo fanboy, jealous that Sega does what Nintendon’t! /s

PeterParkour
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PeterParkour

You mean like running its console division to the ground? Or making its mascot the universal laughing stock in the gaming world? Last I’ve heard Sonic was in a Nintendo game. Several to be exact.

Cloud Strife
Guest
Cloud Strife

B-b-b-b-baited!

Mathew G. Smith
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Mathew G. Smith

With a sarcasm tag, even. Bravo.

Gervasius
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Gervasius

There’s an actual /s in his post. Its clearly sarcasm.

Joe Joeson
Guest
Joe Joeson

“You mean like running its console division to the ground?”

This could be said for both parties. Nintendo is a real far cry from the gamecube and if something doesn’t change they are going to have to axe their living room console division.

Mike Hoyer
Guest
Mike Hoyer

I don’t follow the business closely anymore so maybe this time really is different, but I think it is worth noting that I have been hearing this almost my entire life.

BAH!
Guest
BAH!

Not likely,. Sega went under because they released new hardware every couple years, effectively pushing themselves out of the market. The Wii was phenomenally successful, and the Wii U, though low in total sales, has a massive attachment rate- and software, as we all know, is the real money maker.

I don’t have any expectations for the NX, but even if it’s reception is only lukewarm, Nintendo is still a far cry from having to shut down their home console division.

greyXstar
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greyXstar

The Wii was really successful for the first couple of years. Sales dropped off a cliff when the library became mostly shovelware.

BAH!
Guest
BAH!

True, but it still sold a ton of units. And it had a pretty solid 1st party library, too. Some of the genuinely best games of last generation were on the Wii. Not many, but some.

But your point does shed some light on why Nintendo was so strict with the Wii U- to a fault, obviously (and that wasn’t the only problem). But they’re a very reactionary company, and they don’t like to make the same mistake twice in a row.

BAH!
Guest
BAH!

Actually, further research shows that your assertion isn’t true. The Wii sold nearly 70M units by the end of 2009 (having released at the end of 2006), and sold a total of 101M units by the end of 2012. That doesn’t look like sales dropping off a cliff to me. It looks like natural sales slowdown.

Aria DiMezzo
Guest

“Several to be exact.”

Just gonna put this here… “Several” is not an “exact” quantity. In fact, it’s pretty inexact. If you want “to be exact,” then you’ll need to provide an exact figure, not a notoriously inaccurate adjective. “More than two, but not many” is not a very exact description of a quantity.

SomeoneElse
Guest
SomeoneElse

I’m hoping they’ll get the Ferrari license back if they do another collection. That’s my only gripe about their 3D Outrun.

SomeoneElse
Guest
SomeoneElse

Just to note: Fantasy Zone and Maze Walker are both the SMS versions. Not sure what extra settings they have, though.

MyBodyIsReady
Guest
MyBodyIsReady

If you own a Vita just buy the PSP Sega Megadrive collection. More games, better games & a cheaper price

Elzombieespacial
Guest
Elzombieespacial

But withouth 3d.

Nathan Stapleton
Guest
Nathan Stapleton

Oh no… not without 3D…

Cristian Duran
Guest
Cristian Duran
That’s not the point. Games like thunder blade and galaxy force 2 flourish with the 3d perspective because it helps with the games field of view since it used crazy layers of 2d images. For people like me who love these old on rail shooters with awesom soundtracks this collection is amazing because these games haven’t been released in their arcade forms in america. Psp sega megadrive has games I can get anywhere else, but the remake of galaxy force 2, which originally was on ps2, is finally in the states. I can’t stand modern reviewers sometimes because they basically… Read more »
MJC
Guest
MJC

About time somebody pointed out that Altered Beast is crap.

Between that and Ashens having pointed out that Golden Axe is crap once, at least I know I’m not totally alone in thinking that Altered Beast and Golden Axe are terrible examples of beat’em ups and you can do a lot better.

SomeoneElse
Guest
SomeoneElse

I personally enjoyed Revenge of Death Adder, though the game could be shortened a bit.

Grim
Guest

Revenge of Death Adder is cool, but it’s never been ported to any console and probably never will be. 🙁

Golden Axe I & II are games I grew up with, so I can’t dislike them even though they are objectively not that good. However they are leagues bettered then Altered Beast.

SomeoneElse
Guest
SomeoneElse

I think it was available through Sega’s short-lived Sega Channel, but that’s it.

09philj
Guest
09philj

Ashens has also expressed disdain for Altered Beast.

La Chica Incognita
Guest
La Chica Incognita

Golden Axe came out in 1989, compared to it’s contemporaries it had a hell of a lot more going for it.

Brotown
Guest
Brotown

I also am willing to bet, in some way some how, it helped inspire Power Metal. I’d like to think so. Thank you Golden Axe

SomeoneElse
Guest
SomeoneElse

I personally enjoyed Galaxy Force 2, but apparently there’s a version that adds continues that should have been an option. Also I think Fantasy Zone 2 has a new song that fits well with the others, though I could be thinking of their treatment of the first Arcade one.

woopywoo
Guest
woopywoo

Even if the selection of games is a little off-putting, at least we have that wonderful cover art to stare at. I always love it when Ken Sugimori is given the chance to draw non-Pokemon art.

Error 52
Guest
Error 52

This is actually the second compilation of 3D Classics released. The first had a better collection of games, but was japan only. (Also, in japan, if you had a save file of the first compilation, you can get fantasy zone 1 on the second one.)