Sega Classics Collection Review (PS2)

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Back in 2005 Sega released the “Sega Classics Collection” in America for the PlayStation 2 (PS2); a compilation of arcade hits such as Space Harrier and OutRun, remade in 3D!

These were originally developed in Japan as individual releases as part of the “Sega Ages 2500” series. Unfortunately we didn’t receive all the games they worked on such as After Burner 2 and in Europe they even removed Alien Syndrome from the collection and we had to wait an extra year later for the privilege, but there’s still 8 games available to choose from. Are they any good? Well, let’s take a look, shall we?

Starting off with Golden Axe was a pretty bad decision. Excited by the idea of a “graphical upgrade” for this game, I stupidly jumped in with high expectations. I mean, how could you possibly screw up such a classic and simple game? Well… here is a perfect example.

The controls are clunkier than ever, the movement feels awkward and the graphics are drab, dull and just plain awful. There is the option for 2 player co-op, but frankly you won’t have any friends left if you invite them round to play this. No amount of nostalgia or love for the original can save this version of the game, so just don’t get your hopes up like I did.

Whilst we’re at it, let’s get all the dead weight out of the way; Bonanza Bros is a waste of time, Columns somehow looks a bit worse than the original and Monaco GP is not to be confused with Super Monaco GP. Yes, they went for a top-down perspective racing game and I don’t really understand the point of it when you have Virtua Racing on there. Monaco GP can be fun for short bursts, but ultimately it’s frustrating to play as it’s hard to avoid colliding with other cars and exploding.

Moving onto the mediocre we have the previously mentioned Virtua Racing. Whilst I was impressed by the technical achievement of this on the Sega Genesis and Mega Drive, it does little more than re-create the basic game with what appears to be a a few more polygons and slightly smoother frame rate. I found it borderline enjoyable for a few minutes, but I had just played the awful Golden Axe revamp, so make of that what you will.

Most Sega fans would have lost the will to live at this point, but you may have noticed I haven’t covered OutRun or Space Harrier yet. Well… we have just one more game to talk about first.

Fantasy Zone is a wonderful little arcade shoot-em-up which was ported to the Master System in the late 1980’s. A lot of old Sega fans will be quite familiar with this game and Opa-Opa (the little space ship) who was kind of an early mascot attempt before the likes of Alex Kidd and Sonic the Hedgehog.

I quite like what they did here with the 2.5D visuals. The graphics are still bright and cartoony and they’ve added in some nice little extra touches. I hadn’t played much of the original, but I did enjoy this and if you’re a fan of these games I’m sure you will enjoy this little remake.

Okay so now it’s time for OutRun which is one of my all time favourite arcade games. I’m definitely going to cover this in a “Gaming Memories” episode in the future.

So… I have mixed feelings about this “Classics Collection” remake. On one hand they’ve kept the controls and speed feeling very authentic. Infact it literally feels as though they’ve got 3D graphics slapped on over the original game engine, and I also enjoy the new “arranged” music tracks.

The main problem I have with this version of OutRun is that the graphics aren’t very good. Now I understand this is an old PS2 game, but that’s not really a valid excuse here. I know the PS2 can do a lot better than this and in some of the later tracks it can look really washed out and bare, making it really hard to see where the road is.

The 3D graphics also make the car look a little awkward when it moves. I guess it was a hard balance between keeping the original feel and making it look right, but they just didn’t do a great job of it here in my opinion.

Whilst this may sound negative, I did still get some enjoyment from playing this, but I think the original arcade version looks much better.. If you want to play OutRun in 3D, check out some of the games on the PS2 and original Xbox. Unfortunately the Xbox Live and PlayStation Network HD remasters aren’t available anymore, which is a shame as that was pretty damn good.

Phew, okay, so we’re onto our last game now… “Get Ready!”

Space Harrier is another classic game that I enjoyed playing in the arcades when I was younger. I also played it in Shenmue’s “You Arcade” on the Sega Dreamcast.

The promise of this, Golden Axe and OutRun are basically what got me to try out this collection and whilst most games on here have been fairly disappointing, I got a lot of enjoyment out of this! All the stages are here with bosses at the end and it feels familiar yet refreshing. The controls are solid enough and the graphics aren’t too bad. They’re not amazing, but they get the job done.

Again, the original arcade game wins over this for me, but it was still a pretty good remake. The Sega Classics Collection for the PlayStation 2 can be picked up fairly cheaply. My copy only cost me a few pounds and for that I’d say it was worth the price. Don’t get your hopes up like I did as you’re likely to be bitterly disappointed, but there are a few games that may keep a retro Sega fan happy.

 

Sega Classics Collection Review Summary

D Average
As I said earlier the US version includes an extra game that from what I've seen looks pretty good. It's hard for me to say "definitely pick this up" as I think you could get by just fine without ever experiencing it. I know I'll play through Space Harrier every now and then, but I guess I'm a little bit weird like that.

Okay, if you're weird too, definitely pick this up... there we go... otherwise... if your normal... go out there and play something fun! Haha

Matt has been hooked on games since he received his first console (a SEGA Mega Drive) for his 7th birthday. He now spends most of his time on the Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Nintendo 3DS, but will use any excuse for a retro gaming night.


Posted on February 15, 2016 | Last modified: 15th February 2016