Genre: Compilation Developer: Sega of Japan Publisher: Sega of America Players: 1-2 Released: 1992
Picture it, Christmas 1992. You’ve just woken up and ran down the stairs to see what great goodies mom and dad got you this year. You see amidst all the presents one huge wrapped box, with a nice box on top. Well that wrapping paper is toast as you tear it apart to see…
A Sega CD! It’s Just what you wanted. Now you can show all those cool kids on the block who’s got the real deal. It even comes with two games! Sherlock Holmes and Sega Classics 4-in-1. Man, forget Sherlock Holmes, I don’t want to read a book. But Sega Classics 4-in-1, now that sounds like some fun right there! Let’s pop this sucker in!
Sega Classics 4-in-1 comes with four classic Sega games from the early days of the Genesis. You’ve got Golden Axe, Revenge of Shinobi, Streets of Rage, and Columns. Now for the time, this was a big deal; that’s about $200 worth of games right there. That is, if anyone was buying these games by the time the Sega CD came out.
Let’s think about it for a moment. Streets of Rage 2 had just come out that holiday season, which blew Streets of Rage 1 out of the water. Columns III had also come out, which made Columns look like a joke. Golden Axe 2 had already been out for a year, (Although personally I don’t think either game is really that good to begin with), and both Golden Axe and Golden Axe 2 pale in comparison to Streets of Rage 2, or even Streets of Rage 1 for that matter, which makes Golden Axe’s addition here pretty much useless. Why do we need two beat-‘em-ups? A platformer or even a sports game would have fit in much better here in place of Golden Axe. Not to mention that another six months from then, in July, Shinobi III would come out, making Revenge of Shinobi feel even more dated than it already was.
So aside from the fact that you could fit four games on one CD-ROM, this package isn’t impressing anyone. Really, couldn’t we get something to make these games a little bit nicer? Aside from Golden Axe getting the arcade soundtrack in the form of CD audio and Columns getting different title screen music, nothing gets changed. We don’t even get to see any cut scenes, what the Sega CD was known for at the time. Nope, this is just four games on one disc; that’s it. And they’re not even the best Sega games from this period. We could have seen Sonic 1, Herzog Zwei, Phantasy Star II, Castle of Illusion, Ghouls N’ Ghosts, Tommy Lasorda Baseball, or Joe Montana Football, to name a few games that could be considered Sega Classics from the time period. Heck, I would’ve even enjoyed Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker being on here. But nope, we just got four mediocre Sega games, the best of which on here is Streets of Rage, and all of which are very dated by the time this release came out. Ho-hum.
But let’s say you actually did enjoy these games. Even then, whoever programmed this compilation did a lazy job. For one, when you enter a game, you can’t exit out of it to choose another one. You have to turn off the Genesis, and wait for the CD to load. That’s just dumb. But that’s not even the biggest offense. It seems that SEGA figured your parents wouldn’t have enough money to get you a second controller that Christmas, so they decided Golden Axe didn’t need any second-player functionality. So any chance of you having some real fun and beating Golden Axe is significantly lowered. And to top it off, we get the late revision of Revenge of Shinobi that doesn’t have Batman, Rambo, or Godzilla. Very underwhelming to say the least. The voices in Streets of Rage and Golden Axe are also changed, and they sound dull to say the least. I prefer the original sounds, regardless of how scratchy they were. Why Sega decided to change these things, who knows. But the changes aren’t really for the better, which makes this collection even more of a waste.
So unfortunately, that little boy was disappointed that Christmas. Well, at least he was with this compilation. Hopefully his parents also got Lunar: The Silver Star that Christmas to go with his Sega CD.