SEGA Mega Drive Classics (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Neil Flynn 24.12.2018

Review for SEGA Mega Drive Classics on Nintendo Switch

Retro 8- and 16-bit nostalgia is perhaps beginning to reach a saturation point by the close of 2018, with numerous collections now available on every platform that hark back to when times were simpler. The Switch is already home to classic retro content, whether that be through the NES games of the Nintendo Switch Online Service, the SNK 40th Anniversary Collection or a number of NeoGeo and Arcade Archives titles on the eShop. SEGA is no stranger to releasing content from its Mega Drive/Genesis back catalogue, but this is the first time that such a collection has graced a Nintendo machine. Can SEGA still claim to say that the Genesis can do what Nintendon't?

Despite healthy competition in the gaming landscape, many enthusiasts during 1980s and early '90s primarily gravitated to either SEGA or Nintendo. Two Japanese giants duking it out for market share and public acceptance. Both Nintendo and SEGA often ran marketing campaigns to disparage the other and inflate their own capabilities, and this tactic was largely successful for SEGA, who often dominated sales figures outside of Japan. SEGA often felt that Nintendo had not catered for older teen audiences and capitalised on this sector through their direction of games and marketing. This is highly reflective when comparing the SNES Classic with the SEGA Mega Drive Classics collection, as there would be a number of edgy run-and-gun classics or sports related titles.

Screenshot for SEGA Mega Drive Classics on Nintendo Switch

Nintendo initially benefited when SEGA decided to ultimately pull out of the hardware race in 2001 to become a third party software publisher, as many stand-up franchises made the leap over to the Nintendo GameCube and Game Boy Advance at the time. Interestingly enough, SEGA released the SEGA Mega Drive Collection for the PS2, and the SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection for the Xbox 360 and PS3, but not the Nintendo consoles, instead electing to use Nintendo's Virtual Console service. It's not like Nintendo has been a complete stranger to SEGA's greatest games, as the 3DS and even the Switch have seen some revamped Mega Drive classics hit the eShop, but not a compilation collection with a huge wealth of quality.

Unsurprisingly, SEGA Mega Drive Classics is utterly and absolutely brilliant value for money, offering over 50 titles for under £30. Those looking for physical copies should rest assured that all titles are present on the cart, which is a lesson that many other developers could learn from. Strangely, SEGA has decided to remove both Wonder Boy in Monster World and Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair, and no reason has been officially given as to why these are present in the Xbox One and PS4 versions - meaning that Nintendo Switch owners are slightly short-changed.

Screenshot for SEGA Mega Drive Classics on Nintendo Switch

Unfortunately, there are other omissions from SEGA's past that are highly questionable, such as Ecco the Dolphin, Sonic 3, Sonic and Knuckles, Out Run and Virtua Racing - in fact, there are no racing games whatsoever on the collection. Nonetheless, despite these downfalls, this is a solid collection that will keep new and old fans very busy, whether it is going back to classic match-three puzzles in Columns, 'kapowing' through the rather unique Comix Zone, raising hell in run-and-gun classic Gunstar Heroes or scrapping in Virtua Fighter 2. The presentation is identical to the PS4 and Xbox One iterations, with the menu system being based in a well presented '90s-looking bedroom, which changes its ambiance depending on the time of day.

There are some excellent visual pixel scaling settings available for those who care to tinker with the visual fidelity, such as smoothing diagonal lines, anti-aliasing, interpolation, or simply blurring pixels together. Additionally, there are options to stretch from the native 4:3 to widescreen, or alternatively flick through a number of borders to fill the void, and, better yet, there is an option to play entirely in mirror mode, which can flip very familiar titles on their heads. Furthermore, there is online for 20 games, including Golden Axe, Sonic 2 and Streets of Rage, with matchmaking happening in the background similar to what Nintendo Switch Online does.

Screenshot for SEGA Mega Drive Classics on Nintendo Switch

On top of all this are a number of added extras, such as challenges, achievements and leaderboards, all of which add a certain level of charm and value into this collection. It is a little disappointing that, despite all of these options to edit a large number of variables, SEGA omitted the option to remap buttons, and although this isn't the end of the world, there are instances where it might not feel as comfortable to control as it could.

Previous collections have been known for their poor emulation and audio; however, during the review process of SEGA Mega Drive Classics there were no gleaming errors in either of these performance criteria. On the odd occasion there did happen to be a little bit of input lag, but this didn't happen frequently enough to cause any harm to the ebb and flow of the play session, and even if it did the shoulder buttons act as automatic rewind and fast forward features, essentially allowing players to get through some tougher stages with a little bit of help. However, the ultimate incentive to purchase the Nintendo Switch version is the fact that this collection plays so perfectly in handheld mode, meaning that Nintendo owners now have their own personal SEGA 16-bit portable available to them at all times.

Screenshot for SEGA Mega Drive Classics on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Unlike the recently released PlayStation Classic, SEGA Mega Drive Classics has had the effort put in to ensure that there is enough depth and optimisation to keep all players happy. The huge range of popular titles at such a low price is hard to pass up - a budget option for fans to sink their teeth into. Those very particular about their emulation may want to consider buying the newer line of SEGA AGES titles available on the eShop, but anyone who wants some classic '80s and '90s throwbacks should look no further.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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