Review: Sonic Mega Collection

In the early 90's two major games companies were neck and neck for the title of the number 1 games and console manufacturer. These were of course Sega and Nintendo. While Sony was still tinkering with its latest Hi-Fi, the games market was seeing in my opinion the best games ever created (with a few exceptions). Of these two prominent characters emerged, which were Sonic and Mario. Mario offered some detailed platform action while Sonic was the fastest game ever created at the time. Two very different games, two very different companies. Nintendo won the console war of the early 90's, by a very slight margin, but this was a turning point for Sega. They released some horrid add-ons including the 32x and Sega CD. Both failed miserably, and never again would Sega be able to challenge another company on console Sales alone. However, back to the point, which is Sega's finest games ever released on a disk in the form of the Sonic Mega Collection. Fears of the fact that these games are around 10 years old are quickly diminished upon playing one of these classics and despite a poor game or two; the overall package is top class.

First of all the collections contents. These are (deep breath) Sonic 1, 2, 3, 3D, Sonic and Knuckles, Sonic Spinball and Dr. Robotniks Mean Bean Machine not to mention a healthy dose of secret games, including one of the finest 2D platformers ever made, Ristar. There is bundles of extra stuff on the disk, including illustrations, movies, and manuals for every single game, which I must say is very impressive. What I particularly liked was the "History of Sonic" movie and Sonic Advance 2 preview. You will probably only watch or look at the extras once or twice, but it shows Sega is leaning away from rushed conversions, such as Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, and is really putting more effort into converting some of their best titles.


Well most of you have probably seen what the old Sonic games looked like, and sure its outdated and sprite friendly, but you cant really compare it with today's graphics, its like it's a different style. The animation on the characters is pretty good, and the backgrounds are generally well detailed. People could moan that they didn't upgrade the graphics because they were lazy, but it adds to the feeling of nostalgia that a person (like myself) would get, who played them when they first came out. I don't like the look of Sonic 3, mainly because it looks fuzzy and blurred, I think the graphics used in Sonic 2 were better, because they were clear and looked basically much more crisp. Obviously, Sonic 3D gets good marks for graphics for its attempt at 2 ½ D. The levels are pretty detailed, and although animation is kept to a bare minimum due to hardware restrictions, it comes out pretty good graphically. S&K looks exactly like Sonic 3, and Sonic Spinball is slightly like Sonic 3 also. Mean Bean Machine looks like Puyo-Puyo, which looks okay.


The sound effects are extremely out dated, and all effects used you could probably recreate using a spoon and some half full glasses of water. The familiar "ping" of collecting rings remains, as does that odd sound that is heard upon hitting a boss or enemy. However, where these games really excel in is in music (for Sonic 1, 2, 3 and Knuckles anyway). The music that was designed for the old Sonic games was top class. For the Final Zone boss fights it created fierce tension, which made completing one the games even more enjoyable. Various levels such as Aquatic Ruin Zone from Sonic 2 and Flying Battery Zone from S&K really make the game a joy to go through due not only to great level design, but excellent music. It's a bit disappointing to hear such uninspired and downright poor music in Sonic's GBA outings (Sonic Advance 1 particularly).


This is the shining point of the Sonic Mega Collection. Let's start off with the bad, which are Sonic 3D, Sonic Spinball and to a lesser extent, Mean Bean Machine. Sonic 3D is horrendously boring and extremely slow moving, which are two things the Sonic series is known for avoiding. The levels are poor rip-offs of the original series levels, and it is very clear from first play that it's a cash cow. Sonic Spinball is better than 3D, but that's not saying much. It's an ok idea, but like 3D, is too slow and boring to be entertaining for more than 10 minutes. Mean Bean Machine is a rip-off of a rip-off of Tetris, except that Mean Bean Machine is much more like Tetris (or Sega's Columns) than the direction Puyo-Puyo took. Its good fun, but only in multiplayer.

So that leaves Sonic's 1, 2, 3 and Knuckles left, and these are the only reason you should need to buy this collection. Sonic 1, obviously, started it all, and needs little introduction, as I am sure that almost everybody has played the first Sonic. It's the only one of the Sonic platformers to really show its age, as it's slower and shorter than all of the other games. Despite having a crap last boss, this is still an excellent game, and if you've gone through it a hundred times, there's no reason not to try it again. Overall 7/10

This is in my opinion, one of the best games ever created. It is of course Sonic 2. Sonic 2 is superior to Sonic 1, and in some places its sequels, in almost every way. It's longer, faster, better looking and has the best music in any Sonic game also. Sure it only takes about 1-2 hours to complete but so what? It is still one of the best and one of my favourite games ever. Whether you're cruising through Hill Top Zone or hanging on for survival in the Sky Fortress Zone, every level is a joy to play, and they never feel as though they were rushed like Sonic 3D or Spinball. Further challenge is also provided for in collecting all of the chaos emeralds, which is much harder than it was in the original Sonic. It you haven't played this before, or just want to go on a nostalgia trip, this is one game I don't think anyone should miss. Overall 10/10

Now we reach Sonic 3. Sonic 3 was the fastest Sonic to date, and was the first Sonic game to include battery-back up, a save-option, which was until then unheard of in a Sonic game. Although a technically good game, Sonic 3 would have been a chore to play through in one sitting (which is precisely what S&K is), which makes the save option a saviour. It didn't feel right because of this feature I thought, and I still think so. Sonic Team had essentially set themselves a trap by being too ambitious with the size of the game, and clearly didn't realise that, as good as Sonic is, its not the kind of game you want to spend more than two and a half hours playing. The games music was nicely done too, following the trend set by Sonic 2. Overall 7/10

Finally we reach Sonic and Knuckles, which is probably the second best Sonic game. It is identical to Sonic 3 graphically, so it's basically just an all-new adventure in the Sonic 3 mould, but is overall a better game than its predecessor. This was I think the biggest Sonic game ever released on the Mega Drive, taking me about 2 and three quarter hours to finish non-stop. The levels were massive, with classics like the Flying Battery Zone and the Sandopolis Zone giving many challenges through their intricate level design. It had one of the hardest end bosses that the Sonic series ever saw, which was good considering the sham of an end boss that appeared at the end of Sonic 3. It also brought Knuckles in as a playable character, and if you play all the games enough times, you can play Sonic 2 and 3 as Knuckles, which is a pretty lame excuse for a game, but still a nice feature. The unlockable games are pretty good, especially Ristar and Flicky, but some of them don't even count as games. A prime example being the Blue Sphere game that is just the Chaos Emerald collecting stage in Sonic 3 and Knuckles, which I think is really cheap. Also the "games" that enable you to play through Sonic 2 and 3 as Knuckles are poor excuses too. This shouldn't diminish the fact that you are getting at least 9 "real" games for the price of one, which is a deal that should not be turned down.


The controls in all of the games are pretty self explanatory, but the major problem is the crap D-pad on the Gamecube that makes using it really uncomfortable. Using the analogue feels wrong and is wrong considering these are not analogue games. It easier for Sonic 3D sure, but you're not going to be playing that much anyway! Overall the controls are good, and the faults are the Gamecube controller, not the games themselves.

3D Stick

- MD's D-Pad
D-Pad- MD's D-Pad
A-Button- MD's B-button
B-Button- MD's A-Button
X- Button- MD's C-Button
Y-Button- No use
L-Button- No use
R-Button- No use
Z- Button- Return to Title Screen/Quit

Final say:

Sonic Mega Collection is one particular collection that's not to be missed. There are a couple of duds in there, but the majority of material is very good. Even though the lack of Sonic CD in the collection, which was one of Sonic's finest moments, is nearly unforgivable, the other classics like Sonic's 2 and Knuckles make you quickly forget any omissions from the package. Sure it looks primitive now, but you have to realise that everything started somewhere, and this beginning in particular, was one of the finest ever attempted. A retro classic.

N-Europe Final Verdict

Some excellent games Nostalgia Fantastic music

  • Gameplay5
  • Playability4
  • Visuals4
  • Audio4
  • Lifespan5
Final Score



Some excellent games
Fantastic music


Some pretty dire games
Shows age
Graphically outdated

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