Genre: Multi-Cart Developer: Sega of Japan Publisher: Sega of America Players: 1-2 Released: 1996
It’s been a while since I wrote a review for Sega-16. Thinking that it was time again, I realized almost all of my games are already reviewed there. But when I saw that the Sonic Classics compilation had been reviewed, I thought that I could review a compilation too, so here is what I chose.
Classic Collection is a compilation only released in Europe in 1996. American and Japanese players weren’t allowed to play this compilation, simply because they didn’t know what was best and had moved on to far inferior consoles, software-wise. The compilation has four Drive games. Each of them has already been reviewed here at Sega-16, so I will therefore briefly explain the games and give my personal comments on how well they fit into the compilation.
Flicky was released one year before me and was therefore twelve years old when this compilation came out. They were originally planning to have the “SEGA!” sampling of the Sonic games when starting the three other games, but decided to have Flicky instead to save cartridge space. But let’s not be too pessimistic about the inclusion of this game. It has more more levels than the three other games together, it’s an arcade-perfect port (in your face, Virtua Fighter 2 for the Saturn!) and it later had its own spin-off Sonic game, in Sonic 3D Blast.
Your mission is to save six to eight chickens with sunglasses from Tiger and Iggy. I fail to understand why, since they are invulnerable to enemies, so Flicky should save himself instead. Take as many chickens as you can to the door, because more at a time gives more points, and more points give extra lives. Weapons can be found on the stages, and to use it you press the jump button (!). That means you can’t save your weapon when jumping. This makes me angry because you might really need it if you meet a cat or lizard up there. It was probably way too technical and expensive to create an arcade machine with two buttons doing two different things in the game back in 1984. When the port to the Mega Drive showed up seven years later, the programmers still hadn’t found a way to use the whopping three buttons of the controller to A: ONLY jump, B: toss a weapon and C: lay some bird poo.
So there you have it. A monotonic and irritating game from the same year people jumped but didn’t throw weapons to Van Halen. I wouldn’t call it a classic and cannot see its cult value, probably because I’m too young. This game is not good enough to be released on a 16-bit system (except the Intellivision), not even in a compilation.
Altered Beast, is an arcade/action game that tells of “the time of gods and myths and legends,” like people don’t go to church anymore. Any Mega Drive player who doesn’t know this game should be ashamed of him/herself. It was a pack-in game in the West and is more famous for its hilarious samplings rather than its not-so-perfect gameplay. It was promoted as “bringing the arcade experience at home,” which it almost does if you compare it to the original version.
The God of Thunder, Zeus, wants you to save his daughter from someone who looks like Uncle Fester from the Addam’s Family. Since you were dead, Zeus resurrects you and gives you the possibility to transform into a powerful beast if you collect three balls from Belgian Blues (or something). You can kick, punch and jump to defend yourself from enemies, and when you have turned into a beast, use two special moves. When you’ve turned into a beast, you may fight Fester, the boss of all levels. He is different on all levels though, unlike Bowser in Super Mario 64. I fail to understand why Zeus – who is a GOD – lets some dead guy save his daughter and why Fester doesn’t kill them off while they aren’t powerful beasts, since they don’t have any chance then.
The game lacks substance and is quite bad when compared to what was released later in the lifetime of the Mega Drive, but it has its own charm anyway. Playing together with a friend isn’t that bad, but playing alone makes you tire of it quickly. Because it is as bad as it is a cult classic, the inclusion of this game on this compilation is just perfect in a weird way.
Up next is Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle, which was released in 1989. It was one of the final Alex Kidd games and his only appearance on the Mega Drive. It plays pretty much exactly the same as Alex Kidd in Miracle World for the Master System, but the sprites are bigger and the levels fewer, somehow. You punch or jump-kick enemies to death, buy motorcycles and helicopters in the stores, and play Janken! It is another name for Rock, Paper, Scissors and may entertain you as much as it may make you angry. The game is nothing special and not too bad either, just average fun. And since it is the next-to-last game in a classic Sega franchise, it also makes a perfect choice for a compilation game.
The last game is Gunstar Heroes, released by Treasure in 1993. It is without a doubt a top ten Mega Drive game and a genre-defining timeless run-’n-gun classic. The variety of weapons, controls, and levels creates gameplay few can reach, and with only 8 MEGA POWER. You choose between eight-directional shooting/standing and five-directional shooting/running, one main weapon out of four, and the order of the first four levels. This makes it a perfect pick-up-and-play game for lone players, but testing your skills with a friend in hours on hard or expert difficulty is just awesomely fun. Gunstar Heroes is one of those games that makes full use of the Mega Drive’s capabilities. It is an unique experience, and I recommend all fans of the console to at least try the gameout. Chances are big that you will fall in love.
Graphically, this compilation doesn’t offer too much. The three first games look very old, but has some nice character design. There is certain lack of detail and colours. The bosses in Altered Beast look okay though. Gunstar Heroes is better. The overall design is original, albeit a little repetitive when it comes to enemies and backgrounds. The big multi-jointed bosses look very impressive and animation is very fluid.
Game music was a flower that had not fully bloomed out back in 1984, and Flicky can confirm that, so the cheery tunes are hardly worth mentioning. At least Altered Beast is remembered for its famous samplings, such as “Welcome to your doom!” It has also a special soundtrack, which sounds more depressing than emo/goth. It probably worked okay back in the ’80s. Alex Kidd, on the other hand, sounds happy. The popular theme from the Master System original is here, and it is quite memorable, but otherwise there isn’t anything special. It sounds like it’s prequel pretty much. Gunstar Heroes is best overall with a electronic and rocky soundtrack, with many driving, energetic and fast-paced tunes. The big boom-booms also make you feel good as you cause the destruction of your enemies.
As this is a compilation, it should last considerably longer than regular cartridges. You’ll be tired of Flicky quickly, but might pick it up once again later to see if it was as bad as you remembered it (and yes, it will be). Alex Kidd is pretty fun to play through, but after that you’ll probably not be too excited for replay. Altered Beast on the other hand could possibly be a game you’ll pick up with a friend just to feel the cultness of it, especially if you played it back then. And Gunstar Heroes will never die, with or without a friend. To sum things up, there is quite some fun to have with this compilation, even if it’s limited in parts of it.
You can probably get this compilation at the same price as the three last games for the Virtual Console. But here you’ll get Flicky too, which isn’t available for the Virtual Console yet. The compilation is cheaper than the original release of Gunstar Heroes, mainly because people are so dumb that they think they must have that one. I bought this collection mainly for that game of course, but I also wanted the two games that are more classic than they are good. They are best to have this way, on the original hardware in a compilation. Considering this includes one must have game, two average classics, and one crappy SG-1000 game, I’ll give it eight points. It is rated as a compilation, to increase logical sense to my thinking. I only think they should have replaced Flicky with some Master System game instead, like Psycho Fox.