Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Sonic Gems Collection

From the hayday of video games gaining popularity, there were about two brand names that people knew of. Nintendo and Sega. Along with these brands came two main characters. Mario, as we know, is the red-hatted plumber that took on the evil Bowser in many Nintendo systems. Sega, however, gave us a blue hedgehog known simply as: Sonic the Hedgehog.

Sonic was created around 1990 by Yuji Naka after brainstorming for a character that can curl into a ball and hit enemies while going at high-speed. In 1991, Sonic the Hedgehog was given to us on the Sega Genesis, giving us a new way to play. Fast, fast, fast. We know Sonic mostly by how fast the gameplay was for the player. Ever since then, Sega has released many Sonic games.

One in particular was considered one of the best. It was in 1993 that the ill-fated Sega CD was released. There was but one Sonic game on that console. This game was Sonic CD, considered by many to be the best dang Sonic game ever. With the unique ability to use Sonic's speed to go through time and change the past for the future, it offered unique gameplay, as well as the goodness we all expect from the Sonic francise. It's one of those rare games you need to buy on eBay nowadays to have.


How neat it was...in a way.


Around November 2002, Sonic was already a hit on the GCN, with Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, making it the first time a Sonic game was released on a Nintendo console. After the increasing popularity of Sonic on GCN, Sega and Sonic Team decide to release Sonic Mega Collection to the GCN. This anthology of Sonic classics include Sonic 1-3, Sonic and Knuckles, Sonic 3D Blast, Sonic Spinball, and Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine. However, Sonic fans were disappointed to see that Sonic CD was not a part of the collection. It still was incomplete, and many new Sonic fans were missing one of the best games in the Sonic franchise.

But now....Sega has come back to give us a Sonic collection that has 3 games we've wanted for a while...and lo and behold, Sonic CD is one of them. This game is Sonic Gems Collection. But are these games still shining gems, or are they just glittering pebbles? Let's find out.


Story

Alright, first off, I'll give you the storyline of the 3 main games in the collection.
  • Sonic CD: Dr. Robotnik has chained a strange planet onto the planet Mobius. This small planet contains the Time Stones, which allow the holder to control the flow of time. Robotnik decides to use the stones to help him conquer the world, but just in time for the party, Sonic appears to thwart the evil doctor's intentions. However, Sonic will have the toughest time yet, with an attack against Dr. Robotnik's latest creation...Metal Sonic!
  • Sonic the Fighters: BRAWL! Fight against many characters of the Sonic universe to gain the 8 emeralds needed to get to the Death Egg II and fight against Dr. Robotnik and Metal Sonic.
  • Sonic R: Sonic and company have to compete against Dr. Robotnik in the Grand Prix. Not much story in it, but....that's to be expected in a racing game.


I'd go through the Game Gear ones, but they're basically the same story...stop/compete against some evil force to save something. I'd also go into the secret games, but...hey, unless you read NP, I shouldn't spoil it for you.

Basically, the story of a lot of them are the same thing....Sonic must stop Dr. Robotnik before something bad happens. That kind of thing.

Storyline: 8/10

First one to the chili-dog stand chooses Sonic's next food craze! GO!


Gameplay


Sonic speed, HO! Heh....that's what I can tell you about the gameplay.

Sonic CD no longer lags, like how the original did. That means you can expect super-speed without interruptions [besides the occasional spike in the middle of the road.] A few graphical enhancements here and there to give a clean port of the game, and they succeeded. The gameplay is still the same as a regular Sonic game. Jump, Spin Dash, do that cool loop-de-loop that he does...the usual.

Sonic the Fighters has appeared for the first time on a console. The first time we saw this was in the arcade, and the game looks great. You can use A to punch, X to kick, and B to use a barrier. Like any fighting game, you can use different button combinations to perform different moves. You can use different moves for different characters, as well....Tails can fly up and slam enemies onto the ground, Knuckles can glide and hit enemies hard, and Sonic can make other fighters dizzy.

Sonic R is one of those Sonic games that some people can say "How could anyone like this game? It sucks!" and others can say "How could anyone hate this game? It doesn't suck!". It's definitely not a regular racer. You don't use a go-cart like in the Sonic Drift games on the Game Gear. It's just Sonic being Sonic, running around. Each character has different abilities. Sonic can double-jump in the air, Tails can fly, Knuckles can glide, Amy can float over water, and Dr. Robotnik can shoot missles. The game had a unique charm as far as racing games go, and that's what Sonic is....unique.

The Game Gear games had the same style of gameplay. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 had the original Sonic jumping and running gameplay, as did Sonic Triple Trouble. Sonic Spinball is the pinball Sonic game, but can't be confused with the console's edition. Sonic Drift 2 is a racing game, as well, but with karts and not as fun. Tail's Skypatrol is basically Tails flying around and Tails Adventure is also with the jumping charm...but not as fast gameplay as the regular Sonic games...more on items in this game.

Overall, the gameplay package they've given us is a very wide package....many forms of Sonic fans will be happy from this. Speed fans, 2D fans...even 3D fans will enjoy this package.

Gameplay: 9/10

Knocking the sense out of you....or in this case, rings.


Graphics


This game can't really be judged fully by graphics, because they're outdated. However, the look is great nonetheless, and it retains the true form of the games, which is good.

However, there's one ruining point on the graphics...and that's in the Game Gear games. When you play them, it automatically resizes the game screen to make it fit the TV. This ruins the look of the games. Think of a Game Boy game resized to fit a TV screen [without the use of the Game Boy Player], and you've got what I get. A bad-quality image.

You can resize the screen using the C Stick to fit the Game Gear proportions, but even then, it's not as good on TV.

Besides this, the game's graphics are still the same as before, with minor tweaks. As it should be....we don't want games to be completely redone. We want the original.

Graphics: 8/10

Corkin'!


Control


Control was run smoothly to the GCN controller. Sonic CD still has the regular controls we all know about from Mega Collection, Sonic the Fighters was also transistioned nicely, and Sonic R still, unfortunately, has the same bad controls.

It's not that Sonic R is BAD with controls....it's just hard to get used to controlling Sonic. However, you shouldn't have too many problems once you get the hang of it.

Overall, the controls were transitions rather nicely, and although I wished they gave a little better control to Sonic R, I don't want them to change it too much from the original.

Control: 9/10

Just wait...Sonic'll drop from that crane, and Robotnik will pay another dollar. That's how it always works.


Replay Value


It's a Sonic collection...the whole reason you buy it is because you want to play it again.

Okay, in all seriousness, the game is definitely worth playing over and over again. Sega knew this and has a special feature in the game.

One of the parts of the main menu is "Museum". In this, you can see a lot of images. The catch is, you have to play the game in a certain way to get something. For instance, playing Sonic CD 5 times may unlock something, and playing Sonic R for 120 minutes can unlock something else. You can find movies, images, and many other goodies in the museum. All you have to do is play a game a certain number of times.

And, of course, you get a few hidden games by completing objectives, too. The main thing here, though, is that this game DESERVES playing again. The games are just that fun.

Replay Value: 10/10

Euphoric....so many cool colors...



Overall


This game has so many "buy me" reasons, I can't count them all. I'll give you one cool thing about this game.

This is the game that can make a cool gift. The pricetag is $29.99, and Player's Choice Sonic Mega Collection is only $19.99. That makes it near $49.99 [plus tax], the same price as a regular game.

With this in mind, you can get a lot of Sonic's greatest hits for the price of one new game for GCN. A very cool thing. However, this isn't just for a gift idea...

This game takes you on a game-playing trip down memory lane. Sonic CD is the biggest reason why you definitely need to get this game. This collection fills the gap Mega Collection had. If you loved the 3D Sonic games, you should pick this up.

Final Scores
Story: 8/10
Gameplay: 9/10
Graphics: 8/10
Control: 9/10
Replay: 10/10


The final score:
9/10

Gem Get!

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