Somebody far funnier than us once said life is about re-purchasing your favourite movies in higher definitions until you die. The same can also be said about Mega Drive compilations.
SEGA Mega Drive Collection – out on PS4 and Xbox One at the end of the month – is the fourth since the Japanese publishing giant departed the hardware biz.
2009’s SEGA Mega Drive: Ultimate Collection managed to live up to its name, containing all the renown hits ‘90s SEGA fans grew up with, alongside a handful of arcade obscurities such as Congo Bongo. FMV interviews rounded the package off nicely.
This latest iteration, however, has a few gaping holes in its library that the new additions (Wonder Boy, ToeJam & Earl, Landstalker, Bio-Hazard Battle, and more) can’t compensate for.
If you’re wondering where the following are, then you aren’t alone.
Ecco the Dolphin
Since the release of the PS2/PSP’s Mega Drive Collection we’ve gone from three Ecco games (yes, three – Ecco Jr. is an often-forgotten kid’s title, released in the US and Australia only) to zero.
Although the underwater adventure series is unquestionably a ‘Marmite’ affair it’s still an important part of the Mega Drive’s history, offering non-violent gameplay at a time when the industry was under fire for introducing increasingly adult themes.
Sonic 3/Sonic & Knuckles
There’s a reason Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles are both absent – Michael Jackson and Brad Buxer directly sampled songs from their respective discographies, resulting in a licensing nightmare. SEGA has found workarounds in the past, giving the PC re-release alternative music, but they’ve clearly decided to omit them completely here, perhaps for authenticity’s sake.
Greendog: The Beached Surfer Dude!
Greendog may not be fit enough to rub shoulders with the Mega Drive’s finest, but it was a big seller back in the day. As such, it’s bound to hit gamers of a certain age with a bout of nostalgia, despite numerous shortcomings.
It’s trash, but the best kind imaginable – quintessentially ‘90s trash. We’d happily take ol’ Greendog over Super Thunder Blade any day.
We can live with the fact that not a single sports title features on this compilation. The complete lack of racing games is inexcusable, however. Well, maybe not inexcusable – OutRun isn’t here because the Ferrari licensing deal expired decades ago. Super Monaco GP was also loaded with licenses, including billboards featuring Marlboro cigarettes, so that’s a no-no too.
As far as we’re aware though, all vehicles and tracks in Virtua Racing were entirely fictional. The only possible explanation for its absence could be emulation issues, as the cartridge included a dedicated 3D chip. But even then, that isn’t much of an excuse – Nintendo was able to include the Super FX 2 powered StarFox 2 on the SNES Classic Mini, after all.
While it’s great to see a few fresh faces on the new collection, a few more wouldn’t have gone amiss. The Ooze is something of a lost classic, released during the end of the Mega Drive’s life. It’s pretty hard to find, in fact, selling for between £50-£70 on eBay nowadays.
A very different experience to most Mega Drive games, it puts you in control of a slimy puddle of green goo that slithers across the ground while growing and shrinking in size. For the time, it was technically impressive. It’s more of a curio these days, but seeing many people overlooked it upon launch, it would have been a worthy addition.
Emulation can’t be an issue as it was included in a past collection – 2002’s Sonic Mega Collection Plus, where it was joined by Comix Zone in the bonus game section.