Opinion: Not-So-Mega Collection?

Dear me. Deary, deary me. Sonic Team are all over the shop about this one. Let’s start where it all began… a few months ago, Sonic Team announced (along with Sonic Advance 2) that they would be making a Sonic the Hedgehog compilation game for the Nintendo Gamecube. Fans of the blue hedgehog jumped for joy – and rightly so.

Sonic Team, attempting another ‘Sonic Jam’? Sign us up! This time, imagine how many games they could fit on one Gamecube DVD! If Sonic Team tried, they could fit every single Sonic game known to man (excluding the Dreamcast Sonic games) onto one single 3″ DVD. At least, they could if they didn’t put any other features in, like Sonic Jam had.

No-one really cared for extras anyway – they helped pad out Sonic Jam, but even if it came with no movies and just the games (some were even contemplating the appearance of Sonic X-Treme and Sonic Championship/Sonic the Fighters on the DVD) that would make any Sonic fan cry in delight.

However. Later on, there were rumours that Sonic Team had ‘announced’ the tentative list of games to be included on the ‘Mega Collection’. These were:

Sonic the Hedgehog – Mega Drive
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – Mega Drive
Sonic the Hedgehog CD – Mega CD
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 – Mega Drive
Sonic & Knuckles – Mega Drive
Sonic 3D Blast – Sega Saturn
Sonic R – Sega Saturn
Sonic Shuffle – Sega Dreamcast
Sonic Drift – Game Gear [Unconfirmed]

It was a bizarre list of Sonic titles, sure, but at least the public would have been satisfied if the compilation did come out with those games as well as a list of extras (like movies). As long as the sodding loading times in Sonic Shuffle were removed entirely, that is.

A little while later, Sonic Team launched their official website… and a quick translation reveals that the developer were clearly not planning to consider any post-Mega-Drive games at all! The confirmed list featured:

Sonic the Hedgehog – Mega Drive
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – Mega Drive
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 – Mega Drive
Sonic & Knuckles – Mega Drive
Sonic 3D Blast – Mega Drive
Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine – Mega Drive
Sonic Spinball – Mega Drive

It later occurred to me that the reason for Sonic ‘Mega’ Collection not having more than this was in the title – Mega Collection. As in, all the games featured were at one point released on SEGA’s 16-bit console. A few weeks later, some other Sonic sites thought they’d cracked the ‘mystery’ of the pretty obvious name pun… I just couldn’t be bothered to tell anyone, I thought they all knew in the first place. 😉

Anyway, the sudden drop in game volume and the focus on Mega Drive made us fans mad, it did. We complained like mad fish being eaten by ferrets in heat (erm… yeah). And, I guess we’re still complaining.

Is it all doom and gloom though? Not quite… A revelation came, in the form of an American Electronics Boutique (EB’s changed to GAME again in the UK… EB only exists in the US now) website, and a page description of the game.

This page not only filled us all with confusion that EB somehow knows more about Sonic Team’s own games than the developers themselves, but it also proved a vital information source that got us all excited again. Here’s the exact EB description, as it was displayed:

Produced by the team that created Sonic The Hedgehog, Mega Collection brings the definitive Sonic experience to the Nintendo GameCube. All the pin-point controls, upbeat music, and vibrant graphics return untouched. The compilation also contains unique museum elements housing the history of Sonic, including rare artwork, TV commercials, and exciting animations. An elegant streamlined interface allows users to easily navigate the collection’s huge variety of games and extras.

All the classic fast, frenetic arcade action that made Sonic a star!

Sonic Mega Collection is the definitive “gold-standard” Sonic collection for all game enthusiasts. For newcomers, Sonic Mega Collection offers an opportunity for new Sonic fans to experience the appeal of the original Sonic. Bundle Includes:

Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Sonic the Hedgehog 3
Sonic & Knuckles
Sonic 3D Blast
Sonic Spinball
Dr.Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
Two unlockable bonus games Flicky and Ristar the Shooting Star

Key Features:

Developed by Sonic Team / State of the Art emulator / Comes with Lock-on technology to allow players to play as Knuckles in Sonic 1, 2, and 3 / 7 games in 1 / Hidden secrets and unlockable Sonic material / Customizable controls / Sonic brand and history

You hear that? Ristar. No? Again? OK. Ristar. Maybe I’m not getting through to you. RISTAR!!! Although it seems weird games like Ristar and Flicky are hidden additions to the game list, they’re more than worthy additions. Also, before we heard of any of this Sonic Jam style extra goodies, Sonic Team only mentioned Box-Art and Archie Comic Scans as extras. So, this has come as a surprise to us all.

So. What have we learned? That this isn’t exactly the ground-breaking Sonic compilation that many fans had hoped it would. But, given Yuji Naka’s intentions to present the collection to people who are new to Sonic the Hedgehog, it is admirable of Naka-san to add exclusive features like Sonic Jam once did to entertain us hardcore fans too. I was a little upset about all the confusion, but now that the fog is clear, I’m well behind it. Go Yuji!

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Founder of The Sonic Stadium and creator/co-organiser of the Summer of Sonic convention. Loves talking about Sonic the Hedgehog in his spare time. Likes Sonic Colours a little too much for his own good, apparently.