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Vintage Variety- Sonic Ultimate Genesis Collection Reviewed

                                            Ok, Mr. Dragon, I think our microwave popcorn is done, now.

As gamers witnessed the proliferation of retro titles on the Virtual Console and Xbox Live, many (including us) worried that the end of compilation disks was near. When publishers began offering single games for a five to eight dollar investment, cramming a multitude of tiles into a budget-priced disk no longer seemed economically prudent. Fortunately, this piece-meal approach to classic gaming hasn’t been fully realized, as a large number of consoles haven’t made the jump online. Thank you, casual gamers for preserving the retro anthology.

As the latest example of a compilation disk, the Sonic Ultimate Genesis Collection doesn’t disappoint in both diversity and value.  A great majority of the collection’s titles are available on the Virtual Console- for eight dollars a pop. Gamers thinking about buying a title or three from Nintendo’s store would find a much better value with this assemblage. Additionally, unlike the single game approach, the collection brings the games together via a unified system, which loosely recreates the feeling of playing a system.

                                                 Have you met Rayman’s estranged brother, Vectorman?

When players first insert the disk, they are treated to a front-end inspired by the design aesthetics of the original Genesis hardware. Players can sort from the available titles by alphabetically, by release date, or by a customizable user rating; be enjoyed this iTunes-like flexibility. Once a game is chosen, the player is shown a control screen, and the game is instantly playable. The entire collection appears to be stored in internal memory, as there is a noticeable lack of any load times. Additionally, players can unlock additional arcade games and designer interviews, as well as view box and cartridge art.


When images of the Sonic collection first appeared, our chief concern was the integrity of the emulation. Screenshots showed a graphical filter that blurred the delightfully pixilated charm of the older games. Luckily, this filter is completely optional, and for non-purists, adds an interesting Photoshop-like smear to the games. By pressing the back button during gameplay, players can conveniently play the collection’s titles is their original 4×3 mode, or in a widescreen 16×9 mode. Due to the Genesis’ proprietary screen size, most of the games look quite respectable in widescreen mode. Game emulation is handed expertly- from game speed to the recreation of Genesis’ sound chip. We didn’t see or hear any deviance from the gameplay found while playing the same title on Sega hardware; developer Backbone entertainment should be commended.

                                  Just make sure the sheets are clean, Ewok. The last room reeked of wild wookie.

Our criticisms of the compilation are few.  When the original Sonic and Knuckles game appeared, it allowed both Sonic 2 and Sonic 3 to be piggy-backed on top of the game, adding content to the previous titles. No such option exists in this collection. Some of the more obscure, but rewarding, Sega titles like Ranger X, Devilish, and Subterrainia are omitted. We would have liked to have seen more of these lesser known titles. Still, with the high number of high-profile games on this collection, this is a minor admonition.

Overall, the Sonic Ultimate Genesis Collection is a must-own title for any gamer with the slightest interest in retro gaming. The forty titles on this compilation represent one of the best gaming values for contemporary players. Unlike other collections who’ve had spotty emulation (SNK Arcade Classics Vol 1 for PS2 and PSP, we’re looking at you), SUGC offers a near-perfect recreation of our beloved favorites.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.


  1. I need to pick this up!!!

  2. How about a list of the Genesis games on it?

  3. I noticed that many of the games were on the PS2 collection, which i still have and play from time to time. Not different enough for the money.

  4. What everyone’s favorite games on this collection?

    I’m loving the PS collection.

  5. As requested:

    Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
    Alien Storm
    Altered Beast
    Beyond Oasis
    Bonanza Bros.
    Comix Zone
    Decap Attack starring Chuck D. Head
    Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
    Dynamite Headdy
    Ecco the Dolphin
    Ecco II: The Tides of Time
    Fatal Labyrinth
    Gain Ground
    Golden Axe I
    Golden Axe II
    Golden Axe III
    Kid Chameleon
    Phantasy Star II
    Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom
    Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
    Shining in the Darkness
    Shining Force
    Shining Force 2
    Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
    Sonic 3D Blast
    Sonic and Knuckles
    Sonic Spinball
    Sonic the Hedgehog
    Sonic the Hedgehog 2
    Sonic the Hedgehog 3
    Streets of Rage
    Streets of Rage 2
    Streets of Rage 3
    Super Thunder Blade
    Vectorman 2

  6. Any difference between the PS3 and 360 versions?

  7. Are there achievements and/or trophies?

  8. How does the 360’s dpad’s translate to the old school games?

  9. Dynamite Headdy and Ristar kick ass.

  10. Oh, yeah, great review, guys!

  11. No way can I play 15 year old games anymore. They are just to simple.

  12. Beyond oasis seals the deal. Everything else is GRAVY.

  13. Cheetos- God of Cheese

    Where the hell is the NHL series? Those games kicked ass!!!!

  14. Can’t you use the analog stick?!?!

  15. I bet the new Street Fighter Sticks and pads would go great with this.

  16. Those were made by EA, not by Sega. Only Sega games are on this disk.

  17. Captions are back! Yep, yep!

  18. I’m sure you can.

  19. I’m not so crazy about the filter. Is there more than one option for it?

  20. Gamestop got 2 copies per store, just enough for preorders. I went to four damn stores today looking for a copy!

  21. Just go to Best Buy. mine had in rows of them today.

  22. Good thinking. I plan on picking up a pad.

  23. Streets of Rage 1
    Streets of Rage 2
    Streets of Rage 3

    That’s why I’m buying the game.

  24. Target Earth should have been on this disk, along with General Chaos.

  25. Hey. I’m almost in the game- Kid Chameleon.

    But I’m Ka-Melon!

  26. I read you can turn it on or off. That’s probably it.

  27. Sounds like great fun. I was that this was only $30 which makes it perfectly priced.

  28. What was wrong with the SNK collection?

  29. Next on my to buy list.

  30. Long live the compilation disk! I hope this sells well, so other companies follow (Capcom)

  31. Gamers need to show support for these things, otherwise they wont make them anymore. I plan to pick this today this weekend.

    My Valentine’s gift to myself.

  32. Why is it called Sonic if there are only six Sonic games on it?

  33. Nice assortment of genesis games

  34. Slowdown, and mid-load times in Metal Slug