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Review: SEGA 3D Classics Collection (3DS)

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[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s of late, the 3DS has become THE system to own for retro SEGA games. Thanks to the team at M2, we basically have all the SEGA greats – arcade-perfect, portable, and even with some extra features.

Known to the world as SEGA 3D Classics, these ports/remakes started with Space Harrier & Super Hang-On, and just kept the ball rolling from there, quickly becoming a great way to experience SEGA greatness all over again.

Enter the cartridge

Originally digital only releases, now there is a way to experience them in cart form as well. Enter the SEGA 3D Classics Collection, a bundling of SEGA 3D Classics titles, all in one cart/game.

Originally released in Japan as the 3D Fukkoku Archives 2, just simple bundle of games this is not, there’s actually some exclusives here, that were not originally released on the Nintendo eShop. The list of 3D Classics games on offer is as follows: 3D Power Drift, 3D Puyo Puyo 2/Tsu, 3D Altered Beast, 3D Galaxy Force II, 3D Thunder Blade, 3D Sonic the Hedgehog and 3D Fantasy Zone II W.

And for an added bonus, there are also two SEGA Master System titles here as well,  in the form of 3D Maze Walker,  and the original Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa.  

I’d say that’s a pretty good roster here.  This is almost the perfect balance of new content and old content.  So, is this collection worth the $29.99 admission price?  Let’s take a look at some games and find out.

The review will continue after these short messages…

A good chunk of these games have been released on the eShop already,  and have been reviewed,  so I will be linking the previous reviews to save space of describing them all over again.

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A classical presentation

13023458_1014251531943233_1630178114_nAnd with that out of the way, on to the new games and features of the 3D Classics Collection! 

Presentation is a key aspect with the 3D Classics; you can just tell by the intro that plays when turning the game on, that a lot of care and effort was put into this one.

The art work done for this game is high-quality – Ken Sugomori (of GAME FREAK) did most of the character art and illustrations for this collection, and they all meld together into a great package. The main menu shows off the characters of each game while making a selection, as well as showing the 3D Classics-like intro screen when highlighting games. It’s pretty cool.

All in all, menu design is attractive, practical and works. The game selection screens look nice, and there is also an option to see the credits – letting you enjoy the great M2-brand outros without needing to finish the game.

Power Drift

3d-power-drift-titleFirst on the list is the legendary Yu Suzuki classic,  Power Drift. 

Originally released in 1988 on the SEGA Y-Board hardware, Power Drift was one visually stunning racer back in the day. Choosing between 12 drivers and 5 circuits, with about 25 courses in total, this game’s content and replay value was high. Add in the crazy rollercoaster like course design,  and amazing Hiro soundtrack,  and you have a match made in SEGA racer heaven.

This game was one to never see a port in the US, only Japanese systems, which is a shame. If you have a 3DS and this collection, this could be the only version you would need. It is an arcade-perfect port of the original Power Drift, with the classic M2 extras we’ve come to know and love. This was one that playing the Deluxe cabinet was the true way to experience the game, and the developers have brought that aspect to the handheld, with cabinet options like every other arcade game.

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Gameplay wise, Power Drift is simple at it’s core. Race one of five circuits (with five courses a piece), and get 1st, 2nd, or 3rd to advance between courses. Power Drift feels like a kart racer at times, with how fast and frenetic it can be, trying to keep up with the pack and staying on the course.

This 3DS version is one of the best ports I’ve seen, running at 60FPS, just like the arcade, and running in widescreen, thanks to M2 and the 3DS. Audibly, this game doesn’t lose anything either.

power-drift-f14-changeThe 3D can be a little disorienting at times, considering Power Drift’s graphical nature and speed, but it still makes the sprites ‘pop’ like never before. Controls are well done with all the configurations you could expect from a M2 title.

Altogether, this is a damn fun port. I haven’t found any of those awesome extra M2 modes, even after beating all five courses, but if I find them, I will write about them. Not many changes from the original arcade version either, minus the fact that they changed the Jet you race in the extra stage, which was originally from After Burner.

Puyo Puyo 2

puyo-titleNext up, Puyo Puyo 2/Tsu. I have to admit, I didn’t know much about this one. I do know of the Puyo series, but only through games such as Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, so I was eager to try another game in the series out, and boy, was it worth it.

Originally released to Japanese arcades and Mega Drives in 1994, Puyo Puyo 2/Tsu is only the second game in the legendary Puyo series,  but definitely brought some new stuff to the table, like countering attacks and such.

The core gameplay is simple, but hard to master.  Every time you clear a set of Puyos, a set of “Garbage Puyos” is sent to your opponent to fill their screen. If the third column on the left fills up, you or your opponent lose. It’s a questionable concept to say the least, but it works.

puyo-2The game is fun and certainly has that addiction-factor that most puzzle games do. Puyo Puyo 2/Tsu does include a local play multiplayer mode, so you can take on your friends.

The arcade mode and main game is also really challenging. There is an in-game story, but not translated whatsoever, so it’s all in Japanese and you have no clue what’s going on. It would have been nice to actually have a translated release, but this works for what it is.

The graphics are very detailed and bright,  as well as almost stunning in 3D,  oddly enough for a puzzle game.  The soundtrack is decent,  there are a couple of catchy themes here and there,  but nothing that is too memorable.

Altogether an awesome puzzle game worth playing.

…And now for the last two games,  the exclusive SEGA Master System titles.

Fantazy Zone II & Maze Walker

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As with the other 3D Classics collection to come out in Japan,  there are two extra Master System games included in 3D Classics Collection: 3D Maze Walker,  and Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa. 

Maze Walker is a decent early Master System title where you go from point A to point B, navigating mazes, killing enemies in your way, making sure to pick up keys to open the door at the end.

It is short, only having five areas, with four rounds each. The 3D effect is very prominent here, considering the game is from a top-down perspective.  I like it.  It is dated and definitely shows it’s age, but it is a cool little game.

Fantasy Zone II is the original game that Fantasy Zone II W was based on. There are a couple differences between this version and the System-16 version, mostly in graphics and gameplay.

Both games include a “Helper-Mode” to make the games easier and also have a couple of display settings to fine tune your experience. 3D functionality is included for Fantasy Zone II as well, along with the PSG/FM switch for the audio.

I am told that Fantasy Zone 1 is included here as well but, like the Japanese release,  you need play data from the first 3D Archives game. (SEGA 3D Classics Collection 2, anyone?)

Summary

3d-classics-collection-endI’d say, if you are a big fan of SEGA’s arcade games, and haven’t played the 3D Classics yet, you should get this collection. Heck, even people who have played the 3D Classics already should get it too!

M2 really knocked it out of the park with this one and I’d say any 3DS owner would be missing out from this collection, arcade fan or not.

$29.99 is the perfect price point for this collection, with just the right amount of content to keep you occupied.  This is especially worth it for people who don’t own them and are begging for some classic gaming action. This collection is available on both digital download through the 3DS eShop and as a physical cartridge available at most retailers.

PROS

  • A collection of the 3D Classics games, as opposed to buying them all separately
  • Power Drift and Puyo Puyo 2/Tsu are amazing 3DS ports
  • The addition of Master System games is pretty cool too

CONS

  • There could have at least been an extra mode or something for both Power Drift and Puyo Puyo
  • No English translation for Puyo Puyo kind of ruins the story aspect

5-SN-Excellent

Jayson Lamp

Resident SEGA racer expert of sorts,been playing them since OutRunners. Writer of the Forgotten Racers series,among other things. Favorite SEGA series is Hang-On,and my favorite console is the Saturn. "Welcome to our exciting circuit. Do your best,and good luck!!"-Power Drift,1988

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