While the Sega name may not carry the same weight it did even a few years back, there's no denying that the company has a back catalog full of hits. With more and more companies releasing their old games back into the marketplace in the form of compilations, it was really only a matter of time before Sega jumped back on the bandwagon. Sega Classics Collection contains 10 classic Sega names, but zero classic Sega games. What gives, you ask? Well, these games have been, as the back of the box puts it, "remastered" to contain "enhanced graphics and sound." Though if you wanted to put it plainly and, well, honestly, you could just say that these are 10 awful remakes of old Sega games that will only serve to infuriate their intended audience.
This package contains all-new, polygonal versions of Outrun, Space Harrier, Virtua Racing, Monaco GP, Tant R, Golden Axe, Columns, Fantasy Zone, Bonanza Bros., and Alien Syndrome. These games comprise nine volumes of the Sega Ages series, which is a set of Japanese releases that puts one (or two, in the case of Tant R and Bonanza Bros.) game on a disc and sells it for a budget price. In Japan buying all those discs would run you around $200. But in the States, you'll gain access to this collection for the low, low price of just $19.99.
That would be a deal if any of these games were worth playing. In a twisted display of masochism, the original versions of Sega's classics aren't on this collection. Instead you just get the updated remakes, all of which have a graphical quality to them that looks like a slightly cleaned-up PlayStation 1 game. The music's been remixed, often with horrific results, and some of the games simply don't play properly. Golden Axe's weapon ranges and player movement are a mess, the driving games don't control very well, and even a basic shooter like Alien Syndrome manages to have very sluggish-feeling control. Additionally, a couple of extras have been thrown in. Space Harrier now has some lock-on targeting, which basically makes the game more like Panzer Dragoon, but it's the addition of a rapid-fire button that sucks all of the challenge and fun out of the game. Outrun gets an additional rival mode, but the control is so jacked up that it isn't worth playing. At least Outrun does the civil thing by offering both arranged and original versions of its music.
There's a pretty common trap that many game remakes fall into. People who remember the original games will hate all of the changes because they mess with the games' sense of nostalgia. People who don't remember the games will wonder how anyone could like the originals, because they've often been butchered beyond recognition. With Sega's atrociously bad remakes, both of these cases are as true as they've ever been. This compilation absolutely ruins the games it's trying to honor as "classic." With their pathetically outdated 3D performance, poor sound, and compromised gameplay, Sega Classics Collection is nearly impossible to enjoy.