It wasn?t all that long ago that Sonic Mega Collection came out, and it contained all the most beloved Sonic the Hedgehog games from the Sega Genesis available. Many, however, were disappointed by the absence of Sonic CD, which is arguably the best of all the original 2d Sonic titles. Well, to please all the fans of the classic, Sega has put out Sonic Gems Collection, which thankfully includes Sonic CD. But, Sonic CD brought friends. Bad, bad friends.
Compilations are all the rage these days between the Street Fighter Anniversary Collections and the Mega Man X Collections. Both veterans to these series and newcomers have an ample opportunity to catch up with almost any long-running series they have an interest in. Sega made Sonic a very large series, though. It has many smaller installments that were overlooked by the general public. Thanks to Sonic Gems Collection, everyone can figure out why nobody really cared about these games. Gems Collection has many games packed into it, being Sonic CD, Sonic 2 (the Game Gear version), Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble, Tails Adventures, Tails? Sky Patrol, Sonic R, Sonic: The Fighters, Sonic Drift 2, Sonic Spinball (Game Gear version, as well), and Vector Man 1 and 2.
To put it bluntly, outside of Sonic CD, all of these games flat-out suck. Sonic 2 and Sonic Spinball both have cripplingly horrible frame rate issues that take all the speed, and all the fun out of these titles. Triple Trouble is simply unimpressive compared to the fun found in any of the main Sonic installments. Tails Adventures is some sort of side-scrolling RPG in the same vein as Legend of Zelda II?but worse. Tails? Sky Patrol is a flat-out awful game where Tails must glide inaccurately through all kinds of flying maces with a boomerang-type attack ring. Sonic R is an on-foot Sonic racing game that isn?t particularly bad, but has only a handful of courses and a pathetic Grand Prix mode that simply can?t hold a gamer?s interest past an hour. Sonic: The Fighters is a horribly remedial 3d fighting game with clunky controls and a limited move set that isn?t worth bothering with. Sonic Drift is a blatant, blatant rip off of the Atari classic Pole Position that is absolutely horrid. Lastly, Vector Man is an unimpressive run-and-gun side-scroller that offers mild amusement, but holds little lasting appeal. That leaves Sonic CD. Sonic CD is certainly one of the best Sonic games ever, and having it finally end up on a current generation console is nice, but that is pretty much all this game is good for.
Graphically, Gems Collection is one of the worst looking games available on the Cube. Outside of Sonic CD, which looks pretty much the same as the original Sonic, every single game looks absolutely awful, whether it has 2d sprites or atrociously simplistic 3d models. The songs in some of the games are quite good, though. Sonic R, Sonic CD, and Sonic: The Fighters have unique and quite catchy soundtracks that are just about the only redeeming factor for most of those games.
These games may be more of a victim of the times, however. After three Sonic titles on the GBA that looked great and felt like they were actually fast, these ported Game Gear titles from the mid-90s just seem deficient in comparison. That isn?t to say that older games are bad. It?s just to say that these games simply ward off newcomers because they?re just that bad.
This compilation really is quite disappointing. Though Sonic CD is quite nice, and it is worthy of a play-through, that?s the one and only game worth looking at in this. As such, this game isn?t really worth looking at for anyone other than committed Sonic fans who want to complete their collection. If this game holds little beyond nostalgia value, look towards Sonic Mega Collection on the Gamecube (or Mega Collection Plus on the Xbox and PS2), as they include Sonic 1, 2, 3, 3d, Sonic and Knuckles, Comix Zone, among others, or even the Sonic Advance titles on the GBA or Sonic Rush on the DS. Otherwise, it might be worth renting for Sonic CD, but until this title drops down to the ten-and-under bin, don?t consider putting out the money for this game.