SEGA Mega Drive Classics is a collection that you’ve probably already played before, and probably a collection you’ve sampled prior on the previous generation of consoles. Releasing almost every generation, these compilations give you a great way to satiate that nostalgia craving, even if it’s short lived. The most questionable aspect about these releases is their consistency, however, and while SEGA Mega Drive Classics feels like one of the most feature complete releases from the publisher, there’s some glaring omissions that keep it from being truly definitive.
Out of the box you’re getting over 50 games, and they represent a diverse range of experiences that were available on the Mega Drive all those years ago. Most of the classics you remember are here, including Alex Kidd, Sonic, Altered Beast, Streets of Rage, Phantasy Star, Wonder Boy, Golden Axe and even ToeJam & Earl for the first time in a long time. Other cult classics like GunStar Heroes and Space Harrier II have been added as well, which is great.Despite this, there’s some glaring omissions from the collection that have appeared in previous releases or on other digital platforms – namely Sonic 3, Sonic & Knuckles and the Ecco The Dolphin games. It’s not a huge deal breaker, but worth mentioning. Sega have added more games, including the ToeJam & Earl titles, but why does there have to be a trade-off? Why can’t we have Out Run with Chakan: The Forever Man with Sonic 3 alongside all three Golden Axe games? I’m not sure, but regardless it’s not happening with this release.
The most impressive aspect of this collection is just how many features have been packed in behind the scenes in the emulation software. At a system level, you’ll be able to track stats like high scores and kills, as well as create and load saves across every title. The ability to rewind and fast forward has been added too, which is bound to appeal to less patient and/or modern audiences. Sure, it kind of feels like cheating and diminishes some of the challenge these games present, but purists can easily just choose not to use the functionality too. Everybody wins.On the flip side, sometimes this collection gets a little bit too caught up in its presentation to the point where it can be cumbersome to get around. The idea is that you’re in a kid’s bedroom in the 90s, and you move from your cartridge collection to select a game, to a console to adjust settings, to a notepad to undertake achievement-style challenges. It’s a cool little “skin” to wrap around the experience, but I wish they’d have included a simple menu to get around things a bit more quickly.