With SEGA Forever providing a way for the former platform holder to re-release their back-catalogue, this weekâ€™s SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis Classics Collection reveal came as a surprise.
The fact that thereâ€™s no Switch version, less so. Weâ€™d wager this has something to do with the lucrative Virtual Console service hitting the Switch eventually, allowing SEGA to charge Â£4-Â£5 per title. Itâ€™s a shame. At least SEGA Forever allows us to play 16-bit classics on the go until then.
Anyway, despite featuring more games than 2009â€™s SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection â€“ 53 games, compared to 40 – SEGA Mega Drive Classicsâ€™ contents have come under scrutiny.
We can live with the fact that the Ecco the Dolphin trilogy (Ecco Jnr!) is no longer present, although the first in the series wouldâ€™ve been welcome. The fact that Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles are missing has left many gamers scratching their heads, however.
Their absence appears to be down to music licensing issues. The gameâ€™s soundtrack is a legal minefield, as both Michael Jackson and Brad Buxer directly sampled songs from their respective discographies. SEGA has found workarounds in the past, giving the PC re-release alternative music, but it seems theyâ€™ve opted to omit them completely.
The good news is that the new titles are all welcome additions. We have Alien Solider and Gunstar Heroes from Treasure, ToeJam & Earl and its lesser-liked side-scrolling sequel, The Revenge of Shinobi, Wonder Boy III and Wonder Boy in Monster World, Space Harrier II, Landstalker, Light Crusader, Galaxy Force II, Crackdown and Bio-Hazard Battle.
Oh, and Columns III. Joy.
Itâ€™s often mistakenly reported, or simply assumed, that SEGA owns the rights to ToeJam & Earl. This isnâ€™t the case – ToeJam & Earl Productions owns the characters, and so their inclusion suggests a deal was struck somewhere along the line. With a new TJ&E due out this year, both parties have clearly benefitted.
Sweetening the deal further, a double-sided poster is being thrown in. Marketing material reveals itâ€™ll feature iconic box art from Streets of Rage and Golden Axe.
Weâ€™re hoping SEGA will reveal a selection of â€˜bonusâ€™ games in the coming months â€“ even the PS2â€™s Mega Drive compilation featured the arcade iterations of Altered Beast and Zaxxon.