Review: Sega 3D Classics Collection (3DS)

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The Sega 3D Classics Collection is an amalgamation of Sega games primarily released in arcades from the 80s and 90s, and it also includes a few games from the Master System and Genesis. This collection varies from kart racing and puzzle games to adventure and shooters. Some of the games even mimic the old arcade cabinets that housed them. Is it worth the price, though? Is it a fair selection from all the 3D Classics Sega and M2 have released on the 3DS? Let’s take a trip down memory lane to the arcades of yore. Don’t mind that smell, and yes- that was once a pizza…

I first thought of the 360/PS3 release of Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection when I heard that this collection was being released. I was also very excited to hear that the US was receiving some games on the collection that had not been released individually outside of Japan. Couple these facts with the M2 interviews that Sega posted on their blog, and I became very excited for this release.

M2 has always done a great job with ports from the Sega Vintage Collections on Xbox 360 and PS3, to even a collection back on the PS2/PSP. They continue to wow me in this set of games as well. From the beginning, you are treated to a fun splash screen introduction that screams late 80s or early 90s. I don’t normally mention the credits for any game, but the ones for this collection are adorable. They have scenes from each game with characters from the other games, or elements from the other games invading them. Alex Kidd makes an appearance in nearly every scene as well. It makes for entertaining scenes and cross-overs that I wouldn’t mind seeing, even if they did some sort of crazy debug mode for this collection or another in the future.

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The collection itself has 7 games on the main stage, with 2 bonus titles residing in their own side stage focused around the Master System. All together the games include Power Drift, Puyo Puyo 2, Sonic The Hedgehog, Galaxy Force 2, Thunder Blade, Fantasy Zone 2 W, Altered Beast, Maze Walker, and Fantasy Zone 2: Tears of Opa Opa. The Fantasy Zone titles are actually 2 different games. Tears of Opa Opa was the original Master System game, and Fantasy Zone 2 W is a 16-bit reimagining of Tears that was initially released in a PS2 collection, which involves an all-new Dark World, different level structures, and 3 separate endings.

Interestingly enough, there is only one game of the main 7 that did not appear in arcades at one point in time: Sonic The Hedgehog. This port of Sonic received a lot of love with the effects they put forth in the 3D layering to the point that you can choose 2 different styles of 3D in the settings. There is also a level-select mode from the start, and the ability to toggle Sonic’s spindash on or off.

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Each of the games have their own “Settings,” ranging from arcade cabinet viewpoints, to environmental sounds, to the use of the 3DS Circle Pad Pro, touch controls, and other varying game modes or audio modifications. Owning one of the original model 3DS’s myself, this was the most use my Circle Pad Pro has ever seen. I can also confirm that the games compatible with the CCP can also take advantage of those additional functions on the “New” 3DS models. All this in mind, using the CCP on games such as Galaxy Force 2 and Thunder Blade actually felt more natural and I definitely recommend it for anyone able to do so.

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As someone who grew up in the 90s when arcades were still somewhat relevant, I greatly appreciate the “environment SFX” that can be activated in Power Drift, Galaxy Force 2, and Thunder Blade. To record these sounds, M2 actually set microphones next to the arcade cabinets to get the sounds of the throttle, gear shift, or any other clicks and clunks the machines would make during gameplay. It’s sad to say, but those sounds may be the closest some of us ever get to experiencing these games in their original setting. However, it is these amazing little additions that show the amount of love put in to these re-releases. And speaking of small touches, Professor Asobin, a well-dressed white rabbit, gives players hints and tips before beginning each game. For those unaware, Professor Asobin was SEGA’s unofficial mascot before Sonic or even Alex Kidd appeared. In more recent Sega-related media, Professor Asobin can actually be seen in a pixelated form as a sensei of Sehagaga Academy in the anime Sega Hard Girls.

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My only true complaint about this collection is the lack of variation amongst the titles. Thunder Blade and Galaxy Force 2 are very similar in concept and execution aside from control variations, but they have a similar feel to Power Drift in that you are constantly moving straight ahead while avoiding obstacles. I mainly bring this complaint to light because Sega has released 16 other 3D Classics on the 3DS, of which Gunstar Heroes and Streets of Rage 1 or 2 would have rounded out the genre selection nicely. On the topic of diversity, however, I did enjoy Maze Walker as the style reminded me of Zillion if it were in a top-down view, but I can also sometimes be a sucker for rogue-like games.

Overall, Sega 3D Classics Collection is a reminder of simpler times composed of colorful environments and fun characters. This selection would fit nicely into any Sega, arcade, or retro fan’s library whether they play their 3DS routinely or not. Future collections of this nature are more than welcome in my book, and I look forward to what M2 and Sega may have in store for us.

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SEGA 3D Classics Collection is better than Sega Genesis Collection (PSP/PS2) but worse than Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection.

If you get Addicted to this, you should try any of the other 3D Classics releases on the Nintendo eShop, or Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection.

A better name for this game would be “Lost Arcade Gems and Other Obscure Retro Games”

Buy/Rent/Avoid: Each of the 7 main games individually go for $5.99 on the eShop. (meaning you are getting $42 worth of games) Add to this the 2 bonus games and you definitely have a collection worth its asking price of $30. These games are all great for quick bursts of gameplay, long road trips, or a reminder of simpler times when arcades ruled the streets.

With so many add-ons to each game, as well as one of the only ways to legitimately play Puyo Puyo 2 against friends in local play, this is a great time capsule of when Sega ruled so many different aspects of the gaming world. I can’t recommend this game enough to anyone who remembers turning their allowance entirely into quarters for the weekend, and also for anyone who has yet to experience an arcade atmosphere. SEGA 3D Classics Collection is a set of games that all deserve your attention whether or not you earn a slap bracelet, Koosh ball, or Chinese finger trap after playing them for so long.

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