‘Sega 3D Classics Collection’ Review Roundup: Is The Compilation A Bang For Your Buck? – Tech Times
Sega 3D Classics Collection will be hitting the shelved this April 26, but advanced copies have been obtained by reviewers, sharing their insights.
The game pack includes nine classics from Sega, including four titles that have not been released on the Nintendo 3DS and never released outside of Japan until now.
The games feature an arcade gameplay, overhauled graphic designs, customizable levels, and configurable game mechanics. Players can jump through various stages in the games without needing to complete a previous stage or fully optimize the button hotkeys and display sizes to fit their gaming needs.
According to Ron Duwell from TechnoBuffalo, M2 did a marvelous job in porting the game’s late 80s and early 90s graphic design, as well as its individual game-style, to fully utilize the capabilities of a Nintendo 3DS system. They added new layers of gameplay, like infinite lives, to maximize game replayability.
“This is a team that will recreate glitches, flicker, screen reflections that players saw on the old arcade decks,” Duwell writes.
One of the major draws to the collection, according to Shawn Long from Nintendo Enthusiast, is the “3D” effect. A lot of effort was given to this aspect as can be seen from the two options available.
“You can choose two different types of 3D, one that pops out towards you, or one that goes more into the screen for a deeper effect,” Long writes, adding that “it’s all very well done and shows that a lot of time and effort went into the creation of this compilation and it’s not just a quick cash-in port.”
Sonic The Hedgehog
Of course, Sega’s classic Sonic the Hedgehog will be included in the bundle and there are either people who will always love the Sonic series, those who’ve basically played the series way too much, or people who have never played the game before.
Marcus Estrada from Hardcore Gamer comments that while the 3D design gives the game a fresh look, making levels much more eye-appealing, “this can lead to a lot of problems as opposed to simply playing the game as it was originally intended.”
Kevin Schaller from GameRevolution thinks the game is still great after 25 years, calling it a “near-perfect” title, and admiring the “pretty” 3D look.
Chris Carter from Destructoid just can’t seem to get excited about the game as he’s played it countless times on every platform, “despite the fact that it’s a great platformer that has withstood the test of time.”
“Sega has released a few of these so many times that I’ve become numb to them,” he adds.
Duwell hints that its inclusion is more of a marketing move than anything else, saying that “Sega needs to sell this bundle.” Nostalgic players may want to revisit their fond memories playing Sonic, either that or Sega is targeting newer generation players.
Power Drift is a Yu Suzuki-designed sprite-based game that borrows design from other Suzuki games like Out Run and Space Harrier. The difference from the other titles is that race tracks are more vertical and shorter, thus making it comparable to Mario Kart, making it “a ton of fun to play,” according to Duwell.
Power Drift is one of the games never released outside of Japan and Long writes that its kart-like racing mechanics is “incredible.” He is “really impressed” with the tons of tracks to race on and its “really tight handling.”
Steve Bowling from Nintendo Life notes that the game’s similarities to Mario Kart are only “skin-deep” as the game randomly assigns characters to players that have no discernable differences. The absence of a multiplayer option leaves much to be desired and its “parallax scrolling effect” is a bit disorienting when combined with the 3D effect. He, however, adds that the game’s built-in game engine “is impressive to behold” for a classic title.
Tyler Treese from We Got This Covered writes that while the game will not be replacing Mario Kart 7 as the “best racing game on the 3DS” soon, it’s still “a fun retro alternative for sure.”
Puyo Puyo 2
Puyo Puyo 2 is a simple but highly addictive challenging puzzle game where players can play against a computer AI or other players as well. It will be ported with the original Japanese language but an English digital manual comes with the collection explaining the game’s mechanics.
In it, players align four slimes, or puyo, of the same color to produce “colorless husks” that will block an opponent’s progress. Whoever completely fills an opponent’s screen wins the round.
The 3D effect is “excellent” and “lends a real sense of depth to this classic,” according to Bowling.
Most, if not all, of the reviews note that the Puyo Puyo 2 is reason enough to buy the complete collection, calling it the strongest of the bunch and standing out as one of the greats in the bundle.
Maze Walker features a maze exploration gameplay where players have to avoid danger as they look for the exit. It was originally called Maze Hunter when it was released in the West and was built for the SegaScope 3D glasses, meaning it has a 3D design already built in. This is noticeable when the player’s character jumps and pops out of the screen.
Its simplistic design, however, makes it look more like a promotional game that advertises a 3D system rather than standing alone as a fully realized game, according to Bowling. “The mazes are simple, the enemies aren’t all that tough, and let’s face it – you’re playing as a generic blonde guy hitting things with an iron bar,” he explains.
Carter says that the game mechanics reminds him of previous X-Men NES game and while it’s “cool” to play something, he “never really knew existed for sure,” he adds that “that feeling is fleeting, and the definition of ‘classic’ for this one is a stretch.”
Fantasy Zone II: The Tears Of Opa-Opa
Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa is the very same version that released before on the Master System, featuring a classic scrolling shooter gameplay. The maps are “cylindrical,” and players can either go left or right to combat enemies.
Unlike Fantasy Zone II W, this version has warp locations that teleport players to another part of the stage where the next batch of enemies await them. Defeating enemies earn players cash used in the cash shop, available at any level, where they can upgrade parts of their ship.
A boss fight will ensue once all levels are cleared.
Treese compares this title with the one below and comments that this game is the “weaker of the pair.”
“It’s still fun, but feels [stiffer] and intentionally difficult from its lack of up- or downward-scrolling screen,” writes Schaller.
On why Sega decided to put both titles in the collection, Estrada presumes that the company might’ve wanted to offer current gen players a piece of gaming history, letting them compare an arcade title, below, with this console-ported one.
“Fantasy Zone II just doesn’t feel as snappy or feature nearly as gorgeous graphics,” he adds.
Fantasy Zone II W
Fantasy Zone II W is the System 16 arcade version of the above title, featuring newly added content and takes its graphic design to the next level.
In addition to game mechanics featured above, “boss fights require an inhuman level of observation and reaction skills,” according to Duwell, adding that it’s a “wonderful game from a bygone age.”
There’s also an option to play an endless loop stage, which can be accessed through the main menu called, Link Loop Land. This is a score attack mode “with multiple power-ups already on [a player’s] craft and one life to spend destroying everything in sight,” writes Schaller, noting that its “different enough experience” warrants the need to have it mentioned as well.
“The arcade version of Fantasy Zone II is the one most players will want, as it’s superior in every way, but nostalgic Sega fans will find plenty of reasons to love [the 8-bit version] as well,” Bowling comments on both versions.
Both Fantasy Zone titles “were, and will always be, classic[s],” Carter adds.
Thunder Blade features helicopters, guns and missiles in an overhead shooter gameplay where players bomb enemies on the landscape below.
The game plays part-Tiger Heli and part-Galaxy Force II without the fuel constraint according to Schaller, commenting that the game is still not very interesting despite “the 3D effect weaving around buildings and [its] little mindless fun.”
Carter notes that the game is a “decent action game” but has “nothing special” running for it, adding that the title is also already available on the 3DS eShop.
Most reviewers weren’t fond of the overhead shooter gameplay style before and still aren’t fond of it now, hence, the game’s seemingly lack of decent reviews.
Estrada, however, gives the game much more color, stating that the game’s buildings were originally intended to be 3D but somehow came off “blocky” and more “hindering” than challenging before, with an emphasis on the helicopter’s perspective.
Its full realization with modern 3D upgrades today gives its initial design more sense as buildings scale with the perspective, allowing players to weave through the buildings much more easily. Estrada notes that “while the gameplay is still fairly simple as far as shooters are concerned, it brings enough to the table to be a surprisingly exciting time.”
Galaxy Force II
In this title, players man a spaceship to battle stages across the galaxy. It features a “faux-3D sprite-scaling” design and takes inspiration from Space Harrier, offering a “stereoscopic 3D effect look.”
“One really cool addition here is the ability to play the game as if you were in the arcade cabinet,” notes Treese, adding that while this may not be the most “practical” way to play the game, “it’s [still] definitely worth checking out.”
As players make sure they do not hit obstacles, alongside avoiding enemy gunfire, they also have to watch their fuel levels crash and die unexpectedly, making the game quite challenging.
Galaxy Force II “goes all-out with elaborate levels, massive armies of ships, and just an unbelievable amount of business occurring on the screen at once,” Duwell describes gameplay, calling it an “excellent title.”
Allegedly Michael Jackson’s favorite arcade gameplay, according to Carter, the game “gives the original Star Fox a run for its money when it comes to the space shooter genre” as the game’s environments are “insanely detailed,” making it a “joy to play for the first time.”
Most reviews also note that Galaxy Force II offers players a little history background on how Sega’s own Panzer Dragoon series were influenced by the game’s play style, like its lock-on feature.
The last game of the bunch, Altered Beast, offers local co-op gameplay and features side-scrolling stages where players fight against foes and can shapeshift through power-ups for more versatile combat mechanics.
This is the Genesis version of the game ported to the 3DS system, which leaves much to be desired as reviewers noted, Long specifying that the arcade version was preferred.
Schaller comments that this is the game “that everyone remembers as being a classic, but few remember actually being good,” only liking the new multiplayer option available.
While Altered Beast may have been one of the “most well-known” Sega titles aside from Sonic, “played today, it’s really apparent just how simplistic this beat ’em up truly is,” notes Estrada, suggesting that players “keep [their] nostalgia safe and secure by not tearing right into Altered Beast in the modern era.”
Overall, the 3D design gives the game depth on the exterior level, but not much can be said about its internal structure.
Sega 3D Classics Collection currently has an average score of 72/100 on Metacritic, based on eight critics, with three positive reviews and five mixed reactions.
“The rest of the titles just aren’t up to snuff, and haven’t aged well at all,” according to Treese, commenting on Altered Beast, Thunder Blade and Sonic the Hedgehog.
“Altered Beast and Thunder Blade just don’t feel as enjoyable as they once did,” according to Long, who on a personal note still “loved this compilation of games as it brought [him] back to [his] childhood,” making him look forward to next arcade volume.
“This is a tough bundle to give a solid ‘Yes’ [to] because, as much as I loved most of the individual games and lost classics, I’m wondering how much I will be going back to it,” Duwell writes, who is more of an RPG gamer but a nostalgic fan, nonetheless, looking forward to future RPG releases such as Phantasy Star, Shining Force, Beyond Oasis, and Landstalker.
“Few games are heralded as true classics. Even fewer earn the distinction of defining a … generation,” Bowling elaborates, adding that “Sega 3D Classics Collection has a handful of these games gathered on a single cart” as its “robust” 3D implementation and added functionality makes it more than just a re-release of well-loved games.
The Sega 3D Classics Collection will sell for $29.99 once it hits the shelves this April 26, which according to Carter, isn’t a “raw deal” as this ships with a physical box and “some extras” while other 3DS titles are already priced at about $6 each.
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