Anyone who has ever owned a Mega Drive will have fond memories of that 16-bit SEGA console. Its standard-bearer, ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’, was just one of the many Japanese company classics that are fondly remembered from that era of the 1990s. Although not all have had the same luck.

At least, in terms of its impact, being relegated to a less media. Because we should all sound titles like ‘Fantasy Zone’ or ‘Power Drift’, but have not had the same strength as the saga ‘Puyo Puyo’ (which has even flirted with the ‘Tetris’) or Sonic himself. On this occasion, perhaps, SEGA wanted to pay tribute to them under the ‘SEGA 3D Classics Collection’.

With a significant delay with respect to the United States or Japan, today it has been released on Nintendo 3DS, both in physical and digital format, so we’re going to tell you what we thought of this edition and if it is up to the usual SEGA collections, such as ‘SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection’.

SEGA 3D Classics Collection and the attractive arcade

Let’s make it clear from the start: the ‘SEGA 3D Classics Collection’ is not notable for the much smaller number of games (nine SEGA classics), but rather for including certain arcade games that had not been seen in these parts on SEGA consoles, such as the aforementioned ‘Power Drift’.

The list, so that there is no doubt, is as follows:

  • Altered Beast (Mega Drive, 1988)
  • Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa (Master System, 1987)
  • Fantasy Zone II W (Arcade, 2008)
  • Galaxy Force II (Arcade, 1988)
  • Maze Walker (Master System, 1987)
  • Power Drift (Arcade, 1988)
  • Puyo Puyo 2 (Arcade, 1994)
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Mega Drive, 1991)
  • Thunder Blade (Arcade, 1987)

In the case of the ‘Puyo Puyo 2’, we are dealing with its Japanese version, since its recreational never crossed the pond. That’s why the texts of the story mode are in Japanese, while the menus and others are in English. This is the exception.

With the rest, we can choose both the international and the Japanese version. And this is not the only aspect we can modify. Each game has a totally customizable and unique menu that goes from the basics, such as varying the appearance of the screen (enlarge the image, simulate a CRT screen or an arcade cabin, etc), listening comfortably to its soundtrack, track by track, or putting tricks.

So, we can choose any level of ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ from the beginning, or make the beast in ‘Altered Beast’ random (we can get a dragon in the first phase, with which the boss is a walk), or increase at will the number of lives in almost any game or even modify its difficulty.

But there are others, like ‘Galaxy Force II’, that go a step further, by being able to increase the base energy of the ship or its shields. In short, adding all this and the fact of being able to save game at any time (only one slot per game, watch out), we are going to have things very easy here. However, when we apply an important change, we will have to reset the game.

A collection with small timeless jewels

A factor that is forgotten in Nintendo 3DS games and that works particularly well is the 3D mode in each of SEGA’s classics. In fact, some have been modernized to include support for the Circle Pad Pro (standard on the New Nintendo 3DS, don’t forget), such as ‘Galaxy Force II’ and ‘Thunder Blade’. Although I must say that its control in such cases is lousy.

Here works better the control of all the life. And if we are not comfortable with any particular game, we can also remap the buttons. In addition, as an anecdote, Professor Asobin will be telling us curiosities (or secrets) of each game between each loading screen (these only occur when changing games or returning to the menu and last a sigh, fortunately).

Although if there is something attractive about this ‘SEGA 3D Classics Collection’, in spite of offering a very poor number of SEGA classics, it is because of what has already been commented of rescuing certain forgotten games or those that did not have the recognition they deserved, as it is the case of the ‘Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa’, that here comes for double game: the original of Master System and its remake of arcades.

The differences between the original 1987 and the 2008 update are notorious. In the SEGA console each phase was divided in three segments, to which we accessed with the different portals that were unlocked when the bases were destroyed, while in the arcade everything is unified. Or also the bosses, where they change their attack patterns: the tree in the beginning only threw logs in a straight line in the Master System, while in its remake these are turning around the screen. Without forgetting that in the Master System there were many slowdowns.

As if that weren’t enough, the ‘Fantasy Zone II’ of arcade games includes an Infinity mode to be unlocked when the story passes, and several extras that are also unlocked based on the money accumulated, such as being able to locate the hidden stores for each phase. A highly playable treat and the best of the lot.

Our opinion

However, it is inevitable to think that this collection will remain lame, especially taking into account others already published by SEGA itself. At least titles such as ‘Galaxy Force II’, ‘Power Drift’ or ‘Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa’ have been rescued, and now they deserve a second chance.

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