Sonic Classic Collection Review

Sonic's first four adventures in the palm of your hand

Sonic Classic Collection Review
29th April, 2010 By Ian Morris
Game Info // Sonic Classic Collection
Sonic Classic Collection Boxart
Publisher: SEGA
Developer: SEGA
Players: 1
Available On: DS
Genre: Platform (2D)

Bundling the first four games from Sonic's back catalogue onto one DS cartridge (Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and Sonic and Knuckles), the Sonic Classic Collection is something of a "greatest hits" for the unusually speedy hedgehog. Letting you play through some of the spiky blue one's best outings from the early 90s, without the hassle of swapping cartridges - or even finding a copy of the originals, there's certainly a lot of game to go around here, as you're effectively getting four games in one.

Of course, the idea of a "greatest hits" collection is nothing new. Bands have been doing it for years, because it's a great way of earning more money for the same material - the only difference is, Take That don't usually release an greatest hits that costs more than the sum of its parts.

Sonic Classic Collection Screenshot

Classic platforming. Run along the travellator, dodge the spiky ball. Love it.

If you'll excuse the dodgy metaphor, what we're trying to say is that, for what it is, the Sonic Classic Collection seems a little overpriced. With an RRP of £24.99 - only slightly less than the standard cost of a DS game, for exact copies of four old games, it all seems a bit pricey - and while the quality of the games included is certainly above par, when you take into account that each of these games is available on the Xbox Live Arcade for £3.40 - meaning, if you were to buy them all, you'd have paid less than £15 in total - you'll be expecting the DS cartridge to be made of solid gold.

But that's not to say there's not still a lot to like here. The games are all classics, and are still every bit as enjoyable today as they were in their heyday close to 20 years ago. Speedy platformers, that ask you to collect rings and destroy "badniks", whilst whizzing through loops, flying through the air, and spinning down tunnels at blistering speeds in an attempt to thwart the crazy plans of the evil Dr. Robotnik, each game is every bit as good and as entertaining as the last - and the fact they're still enjoyable today is testament to just how good these games really are.

Sonic Classic Collection Screenshot

Boss fights feature regularly too, but luckily, they're usually not too bad. Just jump on whatever contraption Robotnik tries to poke you with this time.

Of course, it's not all based around speed, as there's also a large requirement for pixel perfect jumping here, as you leap from platform to platform, hoping that you've given yourself enough of a run up to make the gap. And although it can certainly get frustrating at times, it never really feels unfair - you'll always feel that it was you that was in the wrong - if only you'd have pressed that button sooner, and the difficulty keeps you coming back for more.

However, this brings us nicely to our second disappointment with the Sonic Classic Collection. In light of the games' notorious difficulties, it would have been nice to have seen some sort of an upgrade to the save system - such as giving you the ability to save at any point, so you could retry any part of the level over and over again, without having to restart from the beginning of the level whenever you get a game over. Instead, the games are all just straight copies of the originals - complete with dodgy framerates, which in itself is something of an achievement when you consider that the DS is around 20 times faster than the consoles the games originally appeared on.

Sonic Classic Collection Screenshot

Sonic, Knuckles, and Tails, apparently having a picnic.

But despite the problems, and despite the fact it's effectively just four old games shoved onto a cartridge with some shiny new packaging, there's something about the Sonic Classic Collection we just can't help liking. It isn't just rose tinted spectacles either, as the people we tried it on, who'd never played the original Sonic games back in 1992 agreed - if these games were brand new, they'd at least be nipping at the heels of the best platformers on the DS - which speaks volumes about just how far ahead of their time the Sonic games were. It's just a shame they really haven't been done the justice they deserve.

If you're looking for a platformer with simple controls, we'd advise you pick this one up from somewhere fairly cheap - at the time of writing, for example, Amazon have it listed at £17.99  - for that price, it's well worth a flutter. For anything approaching the RRP, though, we'd have to advise against it.

Format Reviewed: Nintendo DS

StarStarStarEmpty starEmpty star
Four great games that sadly haven't been done justice on the DS.
  • +
    Four full games on one cartridge means this one'll last you a while.
  • +
    Platforming at its finest.
  • +
    A bit of a nostalgia trip for anyone who's played the originals.
  • -
    No function that lets you save anywhere, mid-level.
  • -
    A dodgy, jittery framerate, on a 20 year old game.
  • -
    Seems a tad overpriced. Some more extras would have been nice.
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