SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection
Call me a cynic, but I’ve always been slightly sceptical as to the motives behind compilation releases, particularly those of SEGA, who seemingly churn out these Classics/Mega/Ultimate collections at the drop of a hat. Is their release a genuine celebration of games of old, giving the classic titles back to the gamers who adore them, or are they instead simple cash-injection exploitations; a product that does nothing but play on our sense of nostalgia in order to make a quick and easy buck?
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly which category SEGA’s Mega Drive Ultimate Collection falls into. We have, after all, played through these same titles on similar compilations more times than you can shake a stick at, with SEGA’s recent PSP collection offering a more convenient (and legitimate) option to popular homebrew alternatives. Although Ultimate Collection throws a handful of new titles into the mix – the excellent Dynamite Headdy and Alien Storm proving to be the two most sterling additions – for the most part you’ll be replaying those same games that you’d already replayed in SEGA’s previous packages.
This raises questions for the Ultimate Collection’s relevance, something that the Japanese giants have seemingly attempted to deal with through the power of HD. However, while the box’s claim of being able to play these classic titles in high definition is certainly alluring, in reality the assertion is far from the truth. Unlike Backbone’s recent Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, none of the forty-odd titles on offer have been redrawn, re-rendered or optimised for the HD generation. Instead, they’ve merely been bundled onto the disc, upscaled to an HD resolution (complete with a screen-zooming 16:9 option) and smeared with an optional coat of Vaseline.
You shouldn’t necessarily take that as a complaint – the 3D remakes crafted for the PS2’s SEGA Classics Collection proved that artificially modernising retro classics isn’t always the greatest idea – but labelling them as HD ports seems a pretty audacious claim. Outside of simply sharing a passion for all things SEGA, Ultimate Collection leaves you with very little reason to return to the titles on offer if you’ve already revisited them in previous compilations. Ignoring the game’s undemanding Achievements, if you’re looking for a viable excuse to replay Ecco The Dolphin & co., you won’t find it here.
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