Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Sonic Classic Collection

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            Recently released on the Nintendo DS, SEGA’s Sonic Classic Collection features the first four 16-bit Platform titles in the Sonic The Hedgehog series. As four of the most famous Sonic The Hedgehog games, Sonic Classic Collection’s line-up will certainly attract the attention of both long time fans and younger gamers who have become invested in the series through its’ more recent outings. But the Nintendo DS is known for its’ groundbreaking 2D Platform releases, and so a question remains over whether the aging series can achieve anything greater than inducing nostalgia.

            Sonic The Hedgehog, Sonic The Hedgehog 2, Sonic The Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles are all featured within the Sonic Classic Collection, and as the originalElectronic Theatre Image bloodline of the Sonic The Hedgehog franchise will surely need little introduction. Any twenty-something gamer worth their salt spent far too much of their youth on a quest to defeat the evil Dr. Robotnik (who later became known as Eggman) though few would argue those hours were wasted. And of course, the same could be said now, as these Nintendo DS conversions are near-identical to the original titles, and just as rewarding an experience because of it.

            The changes that have been implemented include adding a save function to Sonic The Hedgehog and Sonic The Hedgehog 2, allowing players to continue from the beginning of the level they were engaged in. Although this is of course a very welcome addition, players should note that even passing a mid-level Lampost or Starpost will not affect having to restart the level when loading a previous save game. Of course, Sonic The Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles included a save function in their original releases, which performs identically here as on the 16-bit Cartridge. Sonic Classic Collection also includes a number of illustrationsElectronic Theatre Image of Sonic and other characters that were used to promote the Sonic The Hedgehog titles of the time, but it seems a strange decision to have these images available from the main menu even before having begun playing, rather than offering them up as unlockable rewards.

            Wonderfully, the lock-on options Sonic & Knuckles bought to Sonic The Hedgehog 2 and Sonic The Hedgehog 3 have been included on the Game Card, enabling players to venture through both games meeting rearranged challenges and bonuses as Knuckles. This often overlooked feature is a very welcome addition to the package, as it was back in the early 1990’s.

            Of course, the art direction of the Sonic The Hedgehog franchise has always been remarkable, but here in these titles is arguably at it’s finest. While every inch of the Genesis originals (the game notes that the games included are recreations of the North American releases, rather than the European Mega-Drive versions) may be accurately portrayed – down to the occasional spots of dropping frame rates and colouring glitches – it seems the developmentElectronic Theatre Image team has taken it upon themselves to use the Nintendo DS’ high resolution screens to sharpen-up the image a little, and have been met with fantastic results.

            While there’s no denying the quality of the four titles included within Sonic Classic Collection, nor the quality of their reproduction on Nintendo’s portable hardware, it would’ve been nice to see some other titles from the franchises’ legacy considered for inclusion. Sonic 3D and Sonic CD are far too easily overlooked, and considering the game features promotional artwork from Sonic Drift, it could easily be thought that the racing title may well have been looked upon in the development process, but for some reason was not selected for a revisit on Nintendo DS. Sonic Classic Collection is a fantastic reproduction of four classic titles from gaming’s past, and whether or not those titles deserve revisiting on your Nintendo DS really depends on how many compilation packages featuring the speed freak hedgehog you’ve already purchased.Electronic Theatre Image

















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