Sega Mega Drive Collection

SEGA Mega Drive Collection

Normally with a retro compilation the first thing you want to do is rant about how rubbish everything is. There's bound to be something wrong with the graphics - they'll be flickering, slowed, stretched, bordered, upside down, whatever - and the menus will be awful, too. The controls will be mapped to the wrong buttons, or the disc will be the wrong colour, and sometimes when you stand on the 50th pixel from the left the collision detection's different to how it was 48 years ago. And of course that's only half the legitimate stuff (and only half legitimate stuff, as you'll note).

So from my perspective this new SEGA Mega Drive Collection is a complete disaster. I really have no idea what to complain about. You can play games at the original size, stretch the 4:3 image to fit the screen or blur them across a 16:9 fill if you prefer. You can eliminate borders, and play at 50 or 60Hz, and in prog-scan. Everything's full-speed. You can use the analogue or the d-pad, and play around with the buttons. You can save and load anywhere you are, which is so completely alien to 16-bit that I sort of genetically disapprove of it even though it's excellent. You can switch back to the game-select menu easily, too - the menus themselves are sturdy, logical and inconspicuous - and there's even ad-hoc wireless multiplayer fun to be had on the PSP.

Things start to look up when you analyse the list of games. There may 30 or so, but there's still quite a lot of fluff. Does anyone really care about Golden Axe 3? Can't we just please forget about Alex Kidd? Surely his insipid brand of sub-Sonic one-hit-kill platforming hasn't just had its day, but needs to have an actual day appointed so that we can all gather together and beat sticks on the floor to drive remnants out into the open where they can be thoroughly stamped upon? And while I admire the resolve of the programmers who converted Virtua Fighter 2 to the Mega Drive, isn't its inclusion here just a matter of reliving their irrelevance? Like putting highlights of a Man United reserve team game on the TV would be? (Or, come to think of it, is?)

Read more