CO/GAMER Review: SEGA 3D Classics Collection

Being a gamer in the late 80’s and throughout the 90’s I was privy to some truly classic games from both Nintendo and Sega. While the Nintendo vs SEGA argument fueled many debates, SEGA fans enjoyed many amazing games during those years that others missed out on. Now that the war between Nintendo and SEGA is over, gamers all over are in for treat.

The SEGA 3D Classics Collection from the wizards at M2 is here on the Nintendo 3DS and is more than a bundle of your favourite SEGA games. Containing 9 games spanning from the SEGA Master System, SEGA Genesis, and arcade machines—these classics are rebuilt from the ground up to utilize every ounce of processing power the Nintendo 3DS has to offer.

Whether this is your first time playing these classic games, or it’s a trip down memory lane be prepared to be amazed at how well most of these games have aged.

The classic collection

Up booting up SEGA 3D Classics Collection you’re greeted with a colourful animation that shows images from the games included in the collection. Being a SEGA fan from the 80’s and 90’s I instantly recognized all nine games, and I was reminded of all the good times my friends and I had with these games. Nostalgia aside, after the intro you are brought to a game selection screen where you can choose which game you want to play.

  • Power Drift: The first time this SEGA Arcade Y-board classic has been released outside Japan, it’s one of the very first kart racers. Imagine Out Run or Super Hang-On, but on a circuit with drifting.
  • Altered Beast: The Genesis brawler returns, morph into a wide variety of beasts and wreak havoc. Rise from your grave!
  • Puyo Puyo 2: Another SEGA game that’s being released outside of Japan for the first time. This mind-bending competitive puzzle is extremely addicting.
  • Maze Walker: Originally for the SegaScope 3D glasses, this game was one of the first novel uses of combining 3D depth of field in an interactive environment.
  • Fantasy Zone II W: This is the System-16 remake port courtesy of M2, enhanced with a brand new “endless playthrough” mode. Two Games in one!
  • Fantasy Zone II: The Master System original that became a huge hit!
  • Galaxy Force II: A SEGA Arcade Y-board original from 1988! A fully actuated rail shooter, which actually contains recorded sounds of the arcade machine that you can turn on and off.
  • Thunder Blade: An arcade shooter that switches between top-down and third-person shooting depending on the section you were in.
  • Sonic The Hedgehog: The original SEGA Genesis classic, Sonic The Hedgehog features the blue blur rescuing all manner of forest creatures from the evil Dr. Robotnik in fast-paced, blast processed 3D!

Rebuilt and ready to go on the Nintendo 3DS

As you can see, SEGA did an excellent job of including games that come from various different genres. Everything that you love and remember from the original Sonic the Hedgehog is here. This well-crafted platformer is still fun to play today, and the 3D effects make it as if you are watching an animated diorama. Many forget that Sonic’s famous spin dash wasn’t part of the first Sonic game, however, M2 have incorporated Sonic’s signature move into this game and it makes much more fun plowing through your enemies.

Power Drift dazzles with impressive sprite scaling, which translates into an amazing 3D effect on the Nintendo 3DS. With five circuits to choose from, each featuring five racetracks, every course is full of hairpin turns, and track elevation that is constantly changing. Fans of Out Run and arcade racers in general will enjoy the smooth 60 frames per second 3D graphics, pumping music, and nail biting races to the finish.

The original SEGA Genesis pack in Altered Beast has been faithfully reproduced including the spin tingling “Rise from your grave” sound byte. As much as I was excited for this, Altered Beast does not age well. It’s a game you can beat in an hour and has little to no replay value.

As a puzzle fan, the inclusion of Puyo Puyo 2 is a welcome sight to SEGA 3D Classics Collection. In the 90s, Puyo Puyo games usually were altered for Western release to features graphics and characters from other franchises. Remember Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine or Dr. Mario? I am happy to say that Puyo Puyo 2 is the original Japanese version completely intact. There is a single player mode where you play against AI opponents with increasing difficulty, and there is wireless local play multiplayer where friends who also own a copy of Sega 3D Classics Collection can join in. One of my favourite games in the SEGA 3D Classics Collection, I could not put this one down as the gameplay is so darn addicting.

Galaxy Force II and Thunder Blade push a crazy number of pixels that for the time created some breathtaking 3D worlds. The 3D effect for both games on the Nintendo 3DS enhances each game creating a wonderful depth of field effect that is rarely replicated. Both games offer an exhilarating ride from start to finish and will keep you on the edge of your seat.

The sequel to Fantasy Zone originally debuted on the SEGA Master System. In 2008, M2 decided to remake Fantasy Zone II using the arcade hardware that had powered the first Fantasy Zone. Taking place in a whimsical and colorful 2D world, you must shoot down enemy bases scattered throughout the levels, and you can upgrade your spaceship at various shops. While the arcade mode alone is plenty challenging and enjoyable, Fantasy Zone II W also adds a new mode called Link Loop Land, which transforms the game into an endless shooter. Link Loop Land is very addicting, and will challenge those who love beating their high score.

Finally, Maze Walker is unique in that it was originally released for the SegaScope 3D, a pair of 3D glasses that worked by using a shutter system to create an effect similar to that seen on the Nintendo 3DS. In Maze Walker, you walk through a maze while fending off enemies with an iron bar, which can be found at the start of each level. Maze Walker’s 3D effect is at its best when your character jumps and pops out of the screen at you. Unfortunately, after the wow factor wears off, you are left with a game that contains simple mazes, unchallenging enemies, and a generic blonde guy hitting things with an iron bar.

Final thoughts

SEGA 3D Classics Collection brought back many fond memories, it also showed that even today many of its games still hold up. Marking the first home releases of Power Drift and Puyo Puyo 2 in North America, M2 has done a phenomenal job of creating a very polished compilation of some of SEGA’s best games. All of the games are easy to play, and most will keep you playing for hours on end.

If there is one feature missing that I would have loved to see included is online multiplayer. Though some games do have wireless local play, there is nothing like the thrill of playing online against legions of gamers. If you are looking to take a trip down memory lane, or looking to play these great classics for the first time you won’t be disappointed.

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

Developer: SEGA

Publisher: SEGA

Genre: Arcade

ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)

Final score: 80/100