While far from perfect, Sonic Mega Collection Plus hits more than it misses.
For years, Japanese-based publisher Sega has tried to bring its blue-colored mascot to newer generations, but for several reasons it hasn’t been able to do it successfully. But at one point, Sega took the opposite approach and instead of doing something new, they tried to prove what made Sonic games so influential and entertaining in the first place, the result was a comprehensive collection called Sonic Mega Collection Plus and while far from perfect, this compilation of classic games hits more than it misses.
So anyone remotely interested in getting this collection wants to know the included games and luckily, you won’t be disappointed. There are seven classic Sonic games from the Genesis era, including Sonic the Hedgehog 1, 2 and 3, Sonic & Knucles, 3D Blast, Spinball and Dr. Robotniks Mean Bean Machine. Additionally, there are six additional Game Gear games and while a few of them haven’t aged gracefully, they are a nice addition to the package. Finally, it’s worth mentioning that there are some hidden games that you unlock as you progress, but to have access to them, you need to meet a specific criteria (more on this later.) The unlockable games are Flicky, Ristar, Comix Zone and The Ooze, as well as some of the Sonic & Knucles Lock-On Technology combinations.
Overall, the number of games is impressive and while not every single one is an immediate winner, it’s great to have all of them in the same disc. As the name suggests, the collection has Plus in the name which means that it’s been updated. This translates into additional games that weren’t in the previous version and a redesigned interface that’s easier to navigate and find the games you want to play. There are also some comics, illustrations and movies from Sonic Heroes, so fans of the blue hedgehog have extra reasons to get this collection.
All the fancy extras are nice and all, but what about the games? As I mentioned previously, the selection of games is terrific since all the Sonic games from the Genesis/Megadrive and Game Gear systems are included in the collection and playing most of them is still fun. Also, If you have a friend and an extra controller, you can play some of the games together.
Overall, there are 18 games as part of the collection and while most of them are available right off the bat, others can only be accessed if you have a save file of a specific Sonic game or you need to complete some specific requirements. To unlock most of them, you need to play specific games a certain number of times (which means that you need to boot up the menu of each game and exit to the main menu.) To put it mildly, this is a stupid way of handling the process of unlocking games because you’re punishing players who paid for the collection and you’re forcing them to play games a specific number of times just to unlock additional games.
Once you’re playing a specific game, you can pause and save in case you want to pick up right where you left off which is a welcome addition. The only issue with the emulator is that loading and saving takes more time than it should, but it’s nothing unbearable. Also, some of the games have black bars around the screen. This isn’t necessarily bad, but it would have been nice to be able to zoom in to remove them.
For anyone who played these games back in the day, Sonic Mega Collection Plus will certainly bring back some memories and the fact that so many classic titles come bundled in the same disc is definitely a Plus (pun not intended.) Some Sonic games have aged better than others and ultimately that’s the reason why this compilation works so well, but if you’re into Sonic and you’re looking for a comprehensive collection, Sonic Mega Collection Plus is your game.