Growing up in the late 80’s and early 90’s, most kids who played video games owned either Nintendo or SEGA consoles. Personally, I owned Nintendo consoles, but my uncle owned a SEGA genesis. It was there that I was introduced to Sonic the Hedgehog and Altered Beast. As much as I loved Nintendo (and still do), I quickly became a fan of both Sonic and Altered Beast. The challenge and entertainment that I and countless other children experienced playing Sega titles back in the day is exactly what Sega aimed to recreate with their latest release, SEGA 3D Classics Collection, and they did. Classics Collection is a compilation of 9 classic SEGA titles including favorites such as, (surprise, surprise) Sonic the Hedgehog, Altered Beast, Puyo Puyo 2, and more. These titles were each recreated, not emulated, so that options unavailable at the original time of release could now be implemented, specifically 3D effects.
The titles included in this release are Power Drift, Puyo Puyo 2, Sonic the Hedgehog, Galaxy Force 2, Thunder Blade, Fantasy Zone 2 W, Altered Beast, and 2 Extra titles – Maze Walker and Fantazy Zone 2 The Tears of Opa Opa.
Power Drift is a basic racing game with some crazy parallax scrolling and impressive 3D effects. Players can choose one of 5 circuits containing 5 tracks to race through. You can shift between low gear and high gear in an effort to get in the top 3 for each track in order to progress to the next race. It’s a bit barebones, but overall it’s a fun experience and visually impressive.
Puyo Puyo 2 is similar to Tetris or Dr. Mario in the sense that you piece together like items to clear them off the board, but it’s played against an opponent – either CPU or local play, and it’s played with slimes instead of blocks or pills. Every time you clear a collection of slimes, your points increase and a new hazard is created on your opponent’s board. Your goal is to defeat the opponent as quickly as possible, achieving a higher score and progressing you to the next level. This title is quirky, but certainly fun. This title stands out to be one of my favorites in the collection.
Sonic the Hedgehog is a classic and needs no explanation. The 3D effects are done well and it’s a fun game to play time and time again.
Galaxy Force 2 is a sprite-scaling rail shooter that has you piloting a ship through various space scenes, blasting away numerous enemies all in an effort to garner the high score. As you fly, take fire or hit objects, the energy of your ship depletes. Once the energy counter hits 0, it’s game over and your ship explodes. The 3D effect in this particular title is so strong and so well done, I actually had to turn down the slider a bit in order to not become overwhelmed. Galaxy Force 2 is a fast paced action title full of challenge and it deserves to be part of this collection.
Thunder Blade is fun and plays similar to Galaxy Force 2. Essentially, it is a vertical shoot ‘em up in which you pilot a helicopter and you take on enemies at various altitudes. The perspective will also change from top down to forward facing during missions which keeps you alert and on edge oftentimes. Again, this is another high score game so there isn’t much depth to it. But the gameplay is strong and so are the visuals and sound effects.
Fantasy Zone 2 W and Fantasy Zone 2 The Tears of Opa Opa are, well I’m not sure what to say about them. They are both horizontal shoot ‘em ups with the quirkiest art style. Both games are actually really fun to play, but it’s hard to describe them (or maybe I’m just being lazy). Either way , trust me when I say they are fun and quirky. You can even switch to endless mode in which you just keep destroying and avoiding enemies and amassing a small fortune in coins.
Altered Beast is a classic from my childhood. You play as some half dressed dead dude who is told to “rise from the grave” and go rescue some guy’s daughter. You are immediately thrown into battle against one horrid creature after another. You have a simple move set to help you defeat the enemies. At your disposal are your fists and your feet. You can kick, punch, and also kick up into the air when you duck. You’re actually really weak in the beginning, but thankfully you can obtain power ups when you kill blue ox or bulls that come prancing across the screen. Sound weird? No, just me? Okay then, moving on….Seriously, blue bulls! So here is where it gets interesting. Once you obtain 3 powerups you transform into a predetermined creature with some very strong moves, such as wolf that flies across the screen and hurts whatever he flies into and can throw flaming projectiles. At the end of each level you face off against a larger than life boss and that’s it. The game is actually quite short and if I recall correctly, it can be completed in under an hour.
Maze Walker is the final game and while visually impressive regarding the 3D effect, it really lacks depth, so it’s not much fun to play. It’s a top down game starring some generic guy who picks up a pipe in each stage and whacks the bad guys. You can jump and this is where you really get to see how impressive the 3D depth is, since it looks as though the guy is jumping right up at you. There isn’t much more to say about this one, except that it’s worth playing for a few minutes.
So what can you take away from this review? Well if nothing else, remember this. SEGA Classics Collection 3D is a great collection of classic SEGA games from yesteryear. If you like arcade style games that are all about the points and challenge, then add this game to your library. It’s a worthy product.