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Old 10-30-2005, 10:36 PM   #109
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Nem's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: EU
Posts: 10,053
Review: Videogame

Genre: Platform, fighting & racing

Platform: PS2 (also on GC)

Sonic Gems Collection

Last year's "Sonic mega collection +" was a sucess! A great classics collection that only fell short from perfect cause it was missing the mythical "Sonic CD". Sega decided to make up for it by making a new collection including sonic CD and some additional sonic games. And so, they called the new game - Sonic Gems collection.
The premise looked decent enough, but the end result was disastrous!

Sonic Gems Collection includes 11 games unlike the 12 in the japanese version wich included the Streets of Rage Trilogy instead of Vecorman 1 & 2 . These games are:

Sonic the Fighers
Sonic CD
Sonic R
Sonic 2 (GG)
sonic Triple Trouble (GG)
Sonic Drift 2 (GG)
Tails sky patrol (GG)
Tails adventures (GG)
Sonic Spinball (GG)
Vectorman 2

Sonic the fighters
So lets start with "Sonic the fighters". This game might be the only pleasent surprise in this collection since it was never released outside the arcades. This game is nevertheless a port of a saturn era title and has such the graphics belong to that era.
This fighter is actually a bit of fun. If it had been released for the saturn it wouldve been a hit on the same ammount "virtua fighter kids" and "Fighting vipers" were on the day. Its actually a fun interpretation of the sonic world in a 3D fighter. The musics are enjoyable and the stages are inspired in many of the stages present in past 2D sonic titles. The fighters have a somewhat limited array of moves but its always fun to play. Obviously though, one wont be playing this much at all since in terms of what fighters are today, this game doesnt come even close. So, this game is good for the occasinal "arcade" game where you play once and are done with it. You might return another day, but not very often...

Hmm... a favorable position for Sonic I'd say

Sonic R
This old Saturn classic is the title that benefited the most for having left the saturn hardware. Actually Sega made some slight new options. The graphics in this game are now better given the polygons dont disappear in the distance like in the saturn version and without all the polygon and texture mess one can finally see that the game has some really pretty 2D backgrounds. You now can choose the weather effects from the options menu ( Clean sky, rainy or snowy ) something that was time/clock triggered on the saturn. The soundtrack is unaltered but the old Saturn sound chip plagues the conversition and it sounds really weird given todays sound standards. Sega could really have done something about it...
Unfortunely the control in this game is has bad or worse than its Saturn counterpart wich makes it unplayable unless you use the "O" button to accelerate instead of pulling the left analog stick up.
Durability also plagues this title. 5 tracks are all you have. In less than 2 hours you will have done everything there is to be done in this title. I dont understand how sega expects anyone to unlock the extra artwork for this game by playing more than 120 minutes. Its impossible unless you are only playing it till you achieve that.

Sonic CD
Sonic CD is the big letdown of this collection. What was to be the core of the collection ended up making it a helpless title. All because the great soundtrack was violated and replaced by a new one. Also some minor changes were made to the title wich i will adress soon.
Has you may have guessed, this is a 2D platformer in the old Sonic style that was released on the Mega CD/Sega CD and sees Sonic travel in time to the past or the future. Making each stage in reality a whooping 4 stages in one (past, present, good future, bad future) each with its own soundtrack.
I am actually a happy owner of a Mega CD and a copy of the PAL version of Sonic CD. In that version of the game, the so called "japanese soundtrack" was present. It wasnt till this year that i discovered that the poor souls in the american market got that soundtrack almost completely raped and replaced by a new one.
Sega of Europe decided to follow the example of Sega of America and both included the past american version into the gems collection. And what a mistake that was...!
The american soundtrack, despite all, includes 1/4th of the japanese in it since all the "past" stages are common to both soundtracks. But the rest of the 3/4ths of the japanese soundtrack's fast paced upbeat musics were removed in favor of several slow paced and even tribal tunes. These tunes arent completely bad by themselves but they are boring and make the game a complete yawn fest.
Without the original soundtrack this game really aint worth playing. Actually anyone playing it will only do it cause he/she has never completed the game before and it will always come to the fatal question "What was all the fuss about this game anyways?!". And its a correct analisys of the situation. Theres nothing special about the American version of Sonic CD. Its nothing but a yawn fest. The japanese version is where the myth of the great Sonic CD lives. Obviously the guys at Sega are so brain dead these days that they cant tell what made their past games so good...
Theres more though. Some changes were made to the game in this american version for better or for worse. First, the ammount of countinuous running needed to travel in time is slightly shorter in this version and the normal game is actually slower than the original japanese/european version. Oddly enough the opposite happens in the special stages where the speed increased and a new blue UFO that when detroyed awards you extra seconds to complete the stage was added. Honestly i found both changes unecessary more than anything...
At the end of the day, all this collection did for "Sonic CD" was make me Turn on my Mega CD and have a taste at the real deal.

The memories... you went "WTH?!" when Amy first clinged to you and when Metal Sonic kidnapped her here you went "good grief!! Keep her!!". Ah, the memories...

GG games and Vectorman
The game gear games are the messes you'd expect but they are worthy additions to the collection. Actually the titles present here beat the line-up present in Sonic Mega collection easily.
"Sonic 2", "Sonic Triple trouble" and "Tails adventure" are the cream of the crop. All of these are the usual 2D sonic platforms you are used to see in the Game Gear.
"Tails Sky patrol" is what id call a surprise and something different since it doesnt follow the usual formula and has talis flying non-stop with the screen moving always at a fixed pace. "Sonic spinball" is an adaptation of the mega drive/genesis original to the Game Gear. Surprisingly enough its not only a dumbed down port but the levels are also different even if inspired by its elder brother's design.
"Sonic Drift 2" is the game you will want to stay very far away from. This racer is very "Outrun" but without the large roads. You will probably get off track in every turn. Not fun!
The "Vectorman" titles are not only a pain to unlock has they are useless. The graphics are decent no doubt, but you cant help but see a dumbed down version of Capcom's "Megaman" series in it. Except it lacks a decent main character. Really?!... What was Sega thinking when they created this main character?! Do they realise they used another version of this same character has a punching bag in the practice mode of "Fighters Megamix" ?! Honestly... Sega doent look like the company where he smart guys are...
Anyways... these Vectorman titles are also plagued by the shadow of the "Streets of Rage" titles that were included in the Japanese version since it cant possibly compete with them in quality.

Wait! No polygons threatening to pop outta of your TV?! Its actually disappointing for a Saturn game...

Well, you guessed it. A collection where some Game Gear games are the highlight isnt a good accomplishment. Actually theres a serious lack of quality compared to the great presentation the past "Sonic Mega Collection +" debuted. Theres some extra art pieces to be unlocked but they require you to play some games extensively wich in some cases isnt doable unless you leave your console on or you develop a serious case of masoquism.
So, its now also proven that Sonic CD aint worth half of its value without the japanese soundtrack and that Sega's decision making processes are still questionable in terms of intellegence (we already knew that when they included Dr. Robotniks mean bean machine's GG version in the same collection has its MD/G counterpart).
Theres really not much to say about this collection really. There just isnt a title to make the money you pay for it worth it. Actually when people complain about the non-inclusion of the "Streets of Rage" games is not only cause they are better additions than the "Vectorman" games... its cause those were the only titles that could've given this collection some worth! I knew this collection wasnt going to be good and i even advertised caution for it in past threads, but i decided to take my chances since it included some game gear games i missed and i dared hope the US soundtrack in Sonic CD wouldnt actually be that bad... BIG mistake!
Stay away from this one! Actually... dont come even close! Run when you see it on shop shelves or you might be fooled like i was... by the mirage of a good collection.
Honestly, i hope Sega makes up for this with a "Sonic Gems collection +" and decides not only to include the "Streets of Rage" trilogy and the japanese "Sonic CD" soundtrack in the game, but also include Knuckles Chaotix and Sonic 3D Blast (Saturn version) to make up for this mess they did. Sonic doesnt deserve to be humiliated like this!
For SHAME Sega, for shame!!

Rating 2/10
"Only those with narrow minds fail to see that the definition of Impossible is "Lack of imagination and incentive"" - DUNE:BJ

Last edited by Nem; 11-07-2005 at 01:42 AM.
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