I must admit I’m one of those people who simply has to play entire video game franchises and what better way to collect them that by getting them as part of a collection, compilation or anthology? Out there, you’ll probably find hundreds of video game compilations and curating all that stuff has always been extremely difficult, which is why I bring you a list with some of the best video game collections out there. Of course, while feeling nostalgic about certain games is great, I prioritized those compilations that went the extra mile and did something special, so additional features and extras were definitely taken into account. If you feel like I missed anything, make sure to mention it in the comments.
10. Halo: The Master Chief Collection (Xbox One)
Halo: The Master Chief Collection for the Xbox One includes the first four entries in the popular first-person shooter, as well as Halo 3: ODST which is available as DLC. The games have a graphical upgrade and Halo 2 also received a high definition visual and sound re-master treatment. Note that the multiplayer portion of this compilation is notorious for bugs and a poor matchmaking experience, so while the single-player campaigns are fantastic, the multiplayer is completely busted.
9. Metal Slug Anthology (PS2, PSP, Nintendo Wii)
As far as side-scrolling platformers go, it doesn’t get better than Metal Slug and this anthology features every game from the series, including Metal Slug 1 through 6, as well as Metal Slug X. Take into account that apart from improved visuals (the games run at 480i resolution instead of the original 240p,) the games haven’t been altered in any way, so purists will be glad with this collection. Additional features include art and sound galleries, wallpapers (only on the PSP), game options and interviews.
8. Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Known as Sega’s Ultimate Mega Drive Collection in Pal regions, this compilation features 48 Sega games. If you needed a reminder of why Sega was such a popular company back in the 90s, this compilation explains that in a convincing manner, since pretty much every genre is represented here, including platformers, fighters, beat ’em ups, shooters and RPGs. Of course, not every single game in the collection has stood the test of time, but if you wanted a curated and inexpensive way of playing Sega games from the Genesis era, it doesn’t get better than this.
7. Legend of Zelda Collector’s Edition (Nintendo GameCube)
Unlike most collector’s editions out there, this Legend of Zelda is actually collectible, since it’s rare and expensive. The collection features emulated versions of The Legend of Zelda, The Adventure of Link, Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, as well ass some promotional material, a playable demo of Twilight Princess, videos and a Player’s Guide. Legend of Zelda Collector’s Edition came out in North America as a promotional gift when people bought a new GameCube, so good luck finding a copy.
6. Metal Gear Solid HD Collection (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
This compilation features remastered ports of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, as well as the MSX versions of Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake. The games are in 720p resolution and run at 60 fps, they also have achievement/trophy support and Peace Walker has improved controls. Unfortunately, the original Metal Gear Solid wasn’t included in the American release, which is a shame because that makes this collection feel incomplete. It’s worth mentioning that there’s a PlayStation Vita version that I didn’t include because it lacks Peace Walker and the graphics aren’t in HD.
5. Mega Man: Anniversary Collection (PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox)
The Mega Man X Collection was also a strong contender, but Anniversary Collection features the original adventures of the Blue Bomber, so if you’re into Mega Man, you should start with this compilation and then move on to the Mega Man X games. Anniversary Collection features Mega Man 1 through 8, as well as two unlockable fighting games: Mega Man: The Power Battle and Mega Man: The Power Fighters. There’s remixed music, art gallery and even a hint system. If I were you, I’d stay as far away as possible from the GameCube version because, for whatever reason, the developers decided to reverse the fire and jump controls from the original NES configuration.
4. Metroid Prime: Trilogy (Nintendo Wii)
Retro Studios’ Metroid Prime series was praised back in the day, but if you wanted to play the games, you had to track down a GameCube and copies of each game. That is until Nintendo decided to publish Metroid Prime: Trilogy, a collection that has updated versions of Metroid Prime, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. Updates include a new control scheme that supports the Wii Remote, shorter load times, improved visuals, 16:9 widescreen support. Also, the award system from the third game was included in the first two games. Good luck finding Metroid Prime: Trilogy because this collection is highly sought after by collectors and fans of the first-person shooter.
3. Super Mario All-Stars Limited Edition (Nintendo Wii)
First of all, let’s point out the obvious and say that the limited edition of Super Mario All-Stars is hard to find and when you do find it, it’s quite expensive. But there’s a reasons why this Nintendo Wii reissue is so expensive: the packaging and presentation are fantastic, since this version comes with a 32-page history booklet and an audio CD. In terms of games, this collection features Super Mario Bros 1, 2 and 3, as well as Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels.
2. Rare Replay (Xbox One)
Rare has always been one of the most beloved video game developers and that’s because they have released some truly seminal titles. As part of Rare Replay, you get 30 games, including classics like Killer Instinct Gold, Banjo-Kazooie, Perfect Dark, Conker’s Bad Fur Day and Viva Piñata, among many others. The compilation also features cheat codes, interviews with developers and behind-the-scenes footage. Xbox One owners will be hard pressed to find a collection that features as many great titles as Rare Replay.
1. The Orange Box (PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Mac, Linux)
Usually considered one of the best collections ever released, The Orange Box truly gives you the best bang for your buck. Not only does The Orange Box included Half-Life 2 and its first episode, but the package also threw in three new games, the second stand-alone episode for Half-life 2, the now free-to-play Team Fortress 2 and the fantastic first-person puzzler Portal. The Orange Box was supposed to be called The Black Box and was only going to include the new material, but was cancelled due to its high requirements. Nevertheless, The Orange Box set a new standard for video game collections and no Half-Life fan should be without it.
Other noteworthy collections that were taken into account include: Activision Anthology, Bayonetta 2, Capcom Classics Collection, SNK Arcade Classics, Midway Arcade Treasures, Samurai Shodown Anthology, Kirby’s Dream Collection, Mega Man: Zero Collection, The Sly Collection, God of War Collection, The King of Fighters Collection: The Orochi Saga, Street Fighter Anniversary Collection, Street Fighter Alpha Anthology and Mega Man X Collection.