Playback: Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection

[boxout]Scientists have proved that in 99.95% of all cases of nostalgia, the reality is a massive disappointment. This begs the question, why on earth am I recommending the Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection?

Well it’s cheap and you do get an awful lot of games for your money – despite some real stinkers there are a good few hours of gaming gold hidden away.

Now don’t tell Kris (as I regularly mock his love for the original Sonic) but I do enjoy the occasional dabble on the Mega Drive version of Sonic. Sonic 2 and 3 are also included in the pack and both still hold up well, in fact I would argue they are better than any of the new fangled Sonics that have followed.


The music is bright and chirpy, and turning on the ‘smoothing’ option irons out a lot of the graphical blockiness.

Next up is Altered Beast, a game I remember fondly from the past and one that still holds up quite well, even though it is ridiculously hard on the later levels. Any title that turns you in to a fire breathing, ninja kicking furball of bear-shaped death is a win in my books.

[drop2]A game that passed me by on the Mega Drive was the curious Comix Zone, a story of the artist Sketch Turner who gets zapped into his own comic which is then redrawn by the evil villain as you play. It has some wonderful ideas such as moving between panels on the comic and everything is punctuated with superbly cheesy voice bubbles.

Another gem that I overlooked on its first release is Sonic Spinball, a pinball game that uses Sonic as the ball –  a ball who can walk around the pinball table. I’ve probably spent more time of this game than any other in the collection and it’s just begging for a cheap as chips PSN/XBLA reboot.

Puzzle fans will enjoy many hours playing Columns and Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, and those who like their RPGs all twee and pixelated will lap up Phantasy Star I, II, III and IV alongside Fatal Labyrinth and the Story Of Thor.

Time has not been kind to a number of titles, specifically Golden Axe and its many clones. Run from left to right and punch things – that’s it for the three Golden Axes, Alien Storm and the Streets Of Rage trilogy. Yes, I know, shoot me, but it’s true: there is very little gameplay in these games.

[drop]Load times for all the titles are almost instantaneous and you can save the game at almost any point, a huge bonus when some of the games are so hard that Ken Levine called them “tough bastards” when creating the 1999 mode for Bioshock Infinite.

Alongside the games there are a number of videos featuring the original creators of the games and a couple of creaky Sega Master System titles. Although the Mega Drive games are obviously the star of the show, it’s nice to have these small bonuses thrown in as well.

The Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection has sold over 3 million units worldwide and has a very respectable score of 82% on Metacritic. You can now pay less than £12 for the disc, making it an average of about thirty pence per title.

That is an utter bargain, and well worth the money.



  1. Ahhh I remember it well. I got this for the trophies, so wasn’t fussed about the nostalgia. This worked in my favour. Ended up playing games on it that had no trophies to do with it.

    Bonanza Bros. was easily the best. Have amazing memories of that and it didn’t let me down.

  2. I’ma afraid you were a bit too hard for the brawlers. I’m a massive Streets of Rage fan, so probably a bit biased, but there’s quite some gameplay in those (less in Golden Axe and Alien Storm isn’t very good), you have your combo, specia

  3. I’ma afraid you were a bit too hard for the brawlers. I’m a massive Streets of Rage fan, so probably a bit biased, but there’s quite some gameplay in those (less in Golden Axe and Alien Storm isn’t very good), you have your combo, two or three special moves, lots of possibilities when you grab an opponent (throwing, punching, headbutting, backbreaking), two different jump attacks, combo attacks in coop,…

    I’d love a HD remake or a SoR4 in the style they redid Street Fighter.

    • I grew up on Final Fight, Double Dragon, Streets of Rage and Golden Axe. The PSN/Live Arcade are crying out for true sequels and maybe even the odd HD touch up.

      Nobody makes these games anymore, I can’t be the only one missing the genre. The releases on the network store help fill the hole, but there are so many classic arcade games crying out for a release. WWF Royal Rumble, Spiderman Arcade, Mutant Fighter, Captain Commando, Knights of the Round and Sunset Riders to name a few personal favourites. Some of them are on the Capcom PSP collections which can be fun, but local Multiplayer is what made these games great.

      • What about Scott Pilgrim and castle crashers?

      • yeah they’re nice but they have nothing on Final Fight or Captain Commando.. Imo

      • The PSN needs a lote more of those.

        There are just so much arcade classics that are still unreleased; I mean the beat’m’up was the FPS of the nineties.

        Castle Crashers & Scott Pilgrim were ok, but we need one in the style of SoR/FF, a bit more serious with punches & kicks & throws that make you go “ouch..”.

  4. I’ve got this collection. My son and I play it every now and then. It certainly shows how things have moved on.

  5. Yeah, I’ll give you Castle Crashers, had a lot of fun on that with my friends. Couldn’t get away with Scott Pilgrim.

    There are some stonking games on the networks and long may they continue. I feel though, that Nintendo have proved with the success of the Virtual Console, there is a Market out there to be exploited.

  6. i don’t know how i haven’t managed to pick this up yet.

    some absolutely awesome games.

    the original Sonic games, the Phantasy Star series, and my favourite scrolling beatemups of all time the Streets of Rage series.

    and i don’t even wanna think how long i spent playing Columns on MegaCD.

  7. Worth it for the raging streets alone…..

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