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Sonic Gems Collection (GameCube) Review

Review for Sonic Gems Collection on GameCube - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Sonic Mega Collection was an excellent package for Sonic fans and avid gamers alike. It contained almost all the classic titles that you're likely to remember and want to play again, however it was far from a complete collection. Cue Sonic Gems Collection to fill in some of the gaps, but does it fill the right ones?

Before we get started then let's take a quick look at exactly what is included in Sega's latest compilation title. First up is Sonic CD, the one title that caused the most disappointment amongst gamers when it wasn't included in the original Mega Collection. Next we have Sonic R from the Saturn and later the PC as well as Sonic Fighters the cult arcade classic. From here on in things get a little more obscure in terms of familiarity; all of the remaining titles are Game Gear games. They are as follows: Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic Drift Racing 2, Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble, Sonic Spinball, Tails Sky Patrol and Tails' Adventure. Being totally honest then, how many of you have heard of all those? Surely the most hardcore of Sonic fans know most of them.

Rejoice! Sonic CD is finally available on a console that isn't as hard to come across as the Mega-CD. Sure its been released on the PC, but as those of you who deal in the sinister art of emulation will no doubt be aware, Sonic with a keyboard just doesn't feel quite right. Sonic CD takes the perfected gameplay-formula from the ever popular early Mega Drive titles and combines it with new features to create one of the most enjoyable experiences the blue 'Hog has ever provided. One such feature is the ability to visit different levels (or Zones to use the correct term) during the present era as well as the past and future. The idea of the game is to travel back in time and destroy a machine (created by Dr. Robotnik, of course) that will allow a joyous and prosperous future to exist as opposed to the 'current' wasteland created by the 'Eggman's' machine.

Screenshot for Sonic Gems Collection on GameCube - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Signposts marked with 'Future' and 'Past' are scattered throughout the various zones. The moment Sonic runs past one it is possible to warp to that particular era by building up enough speed without stopping. Everything else you would expect from a top-class Sonic game is present; a plethora of enemies; rings and powerups to collect as well as Emeralds to hunt down and bosses to deface. What more could you want? Perhaps the awesome soundtrack will help entice you or maybe that fact you can save your progress meaning no more frustrating deaths on the final level to put you off playing through. In all honesty this is the one title that most warrants a purchase even if you're not a die-hard Sonic fan. That's not to say there is nothing else of any value on the disc, far from it; as we will discuss now!

Sonic Racing, Rally, Riot; whatever you want the R to stand for is as you might have guessed, a racing title. However unlike Sonic Drift Racing (discussed later); Sonic R pits the best known characters from the Sonic universe against each other without the help of vehicles (for the most part, anyway). None of that Kart business then, if Sonic's so fast surely he doesn't need one anyway? This way of approaching the game allows for some variation in abilities for different characters, Tails for example can hover briefly and Sonic is just generally faster, etc. The gameplay is pretty damn fun if a tad simplistic but at least Sonic Team has cleared up previous frame-rate issues allowing for smoother races. Each of the 5 courses contains a multitude of different routes, most of which will contain hidden goodies such as Golden Tokens and even Chaos Emeralds! It's unlikely to take you long to whip through and win all the races, or even to unlock the hidden characters and find the emeralds but its good fun whilst it lasts.

Screenshot for Sonic Gems Collection on GameCube - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

In essence, Sonic Fighters is the bare bones of Virtua Fighter masked by fairly jagged hairy animals. Along with usual roster of characters (Sonic, Tails, etc.) there a few new inclusions such as Bean the Dynamite and Bark the Polar Bear. Each of these can use some default attacks such as punch and kick as well a selection of special moves, some more powerful than others. There isn't a great deal of depth to proceedings, and your best bet for winning is repeatedly pulling off the same couple of moves once your stuck in a rut. As was the case with Sonic R it probably won't take long to finish the basic Arcade mode, after which there isn't really a great deal to come back for apart from the mildly entertaining multiplayer mode. Once again though, it's a moderately enjoyable experience while it lasts and you can of course of kick the crap out of any characters that don't tickle your fancy (Tails is a popular choice).

As for the Game Gear titles; the general consensus with these is that they are awful and that they bring the overall quality of 'Gems Collection' down and aren't worth your time. Well we think that's more than a tad harsh, as there is certainly some fun to be had with them. These titles aren't as fun and fast-paced as the original Mega Drive entries - they feature a little more jumping around rather than zipping to the right, in order to collect rings. Some gliding and mine-carting is even in order, offering a little variety, too. The Game Gear games certainly don't offer the thrill of the Mega Drive hits, but they hold their own respectably and should be worth trying for any Sonic fan.

Screenshot for Sonic Gems Collection on GameCube - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

We have now covered the best and worst of what's on offer, but there are two games left that are somewhere in between. (Not yet mentioning the unlockable Vector Man titles). We'll start with Tails' Adventure, the one game that couldn't really be less like the other games on the compilation. In this game you take control of the two-tailed fox and lead him around a series of islands destroying enemies and collecting items in an attempt to rid the world of an army of robots with only one function: Conquer and Destroy. The game is at heart a platformer, everything from the 2D scrolling environments to the leaps of faith across chasms filled with spikes are here. The only crucial difference is that the goal of each area is based around exploration rather than getting from A-B. This of course results in a less linear title then you would expect from the genre, even if there are only a set number of routes to take; there are a host of decisions to be made along the way. Tails can run, jump and fly as well as harness a whole variety of different items and weapons from bombs and mines to hammers and remote control robots. Again this is a title that is often overlooked but we beg you not too, there is more here than meets the eye!

We come now to the final Hedgehog-related inclusion; Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble; another 'classic' title in terms of gameplay and presentation. In our opinion this is also one of the most under-rated titles on the compilation. Sure its quality isn't quite up to the excellent standards of early Sonic titles on the Mega Drive; but it's a damn enjoyable romp that's pretty hard to fault. The bonus levels are really quite irritating and the level design isn't quite as exquisite as could be but otherwise Sonic fans will lap this up (whether for the first time or otherwise). Finally then (yes we're almost done people, hold on for a little longer!) we have the unlockable titles: Vectorman 1+2. These are thankfully excellent games, a real credit to the 2D platforming era; epic bosses, excellent graphics and flowing level design. Although their inclusion in a Sonic-compilation is somewhat odd to say the least we're certainly not complaining, and neither should you!

Screenshot for Sonic Gems Collection on GameCube- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review


With so many different games on one compilation it's extremely hard to give them all an overall score for anything, least of gameplay. Regardless we will try, Sonic CD has the classic Sonic formula, Sonic R is simple but highly enjoyable racing action, Tails' Adventure even has some slower Mario-esque platforming action to offer, there's a bit of everything here.


A bit of a mix here, we have some Game Gear titles that don't look particularly great on a TV screen next to the excellent Sonic CD that easily holds it own against modern 2D visuals. Of course with a retro compilation you can't really expect much more, can you?


Sonic CD and Sonic R have excellent (if slightly corny for the latter) soundtracks that are very listenable. For the rest, we have another mixed bag; ranging from the mediocre up to the catchy and down to the outright annoying.


With so many games this title will really keep even the most intense gamers going for quite a while, plus of course there is a whole host of things to unlock including the two Vectorman games and an extensive image gallery as well!

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 6 out of 10


About this score

Let's summarise then; Sonic CD will appeal to anyone that likes the gameplay at the heart of the most famous Sonic games on the Mega Drive. Sonic R will entertain you for brief periods with its easy to handle controls and the rest are interesting to check out if only for curiosity's sake. Are you a major Sonic fan? Then you probably want to buy this, if only to have all the above games in one place. Not a major fan? Try it out at someone's house or rent it out first to see what's on offer.

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C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (2 Votes)

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i've been having problems getting in since monday. tonight seems to be really bad for some reason, took me about 10mins and several hundred refreshs to get in.

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We'll be back and running full steam soon enough! :Smilie

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