Title: Sega 3D Classics Collection
System: Nintendo 3DS
Release date: 04/26/2016
The main game/story
Since this is a review of a compilation title, one with a wide variety of games included with their own stories, I’m just going to use this section to explain the key elements of this collection and list the games. Unlike Tap Tap Aracde, I haven’t reviewed a single one of these games individually for the site, and I’m not going to give each of them a separate grade. Rather, I’ll mention briefly below what each of the games are, and the review will mostly focus on accuracy and replay value of the total collection instead of the quality of each of the individual titles.
POWER DRIFT: An arcade racing game where you must reach the finish line, and every mistake counts! (EXCLUSIVE to the collection)
Puyo Puyo 2: A competitive puzzler with a heavy focus on combos and strategy. (EXCLUSIVE to the collection)
Sonic the Hedgehog: Unfortunately not the superior Game Gear/Master System port. Pretty self explanatory what this iconic title is.
Altered Beast: For some reason, not the superior Arcade version, but it’s a decent game to play with a friend. Rather lackluster when playing solo though.
Thunder Blade: The first port of the famous Helicopter adventure game that doesn’t suck. Finally, an excellent version of Thunder Blade that controls well, plays fine, looks great in 3D and even adds an ending for the first time!
Galaxy Force II: Like with Thunder Blade, they chose the superior Arcade version, and this is yet another great port, based off of some elements from the Japanese Playstation 2 port from a few years back.
Fantasy Zone II W: The Arcade Demake of the Sega Master System original, released back in 2008 as a PS2 game and now remade on the Nintendo 3DS, this time with a bonus minigame added that’s a lot of fun!
Maze Walker: A 3D Master System game ported over with all of its 3D effects intact! Plays very similar to The Legend of Zelda. (EXCLUSIVE to the collection)
Fantasy Zone II The Tears of Opa-Opa: The Master System game that inspired the amazing Fantasy Zone II W, play the original to see the drastic differences! (EXCLUSIVE to the collection)
Fantasy Zone: A secret game that you can find out how to unlock here, which is pretty much a faithful home port of the Arcade version, if a bit easier than the original. (EXCLUSIVE to the collection)
Overall, the menus in the Sega 3D Classic titles are nice and simple, allowing you to change a wide variety of settings on the fly to fit your needs. The Vehicle games offer an environmental cabinet setting that moves as you control the games, which while looking rather gimmicky is a nice touch as all the details from the original cabinets are accounted for. The Genesis games on the other hand don’t offer anything interesting to speak of at all, with some interesting 3D effects added on but no fancy borders like those found in the vehicle or Master System games, save for a rather bland CRT visual style that adds lines all over the screen and makes the image look fat.
Speaking of the Master System games, I actually found these to have the most faithful conversion to 3D, from Maze Walker’s 3D effect being a near-perfect copy of the Segascope original, to the Fantasy Zone duo having added 3D depth that look really nice and help make the colorful duo look even more impressive. There’s even three cool borders to pick from for these games, one of which is a border of the Sega Mark III (Japanese Sega Master System), another is the SMS we know and love, while the third is the Japanese Master System boot-up screen, all which fit the games nicely and add a bit of extra charm to playing these old games.
That just leaves Puyo Puyo 2 and Fantasy Zone II W, both of which are neither Genesis, Vehicle, or Master System games. Unfortunately, barely anything was added to Puyo Puyo 2 to make it look fancy, with the Japanese text not even translated due to the difficulty of editing hard-coded text. Thankfully the game is so fun that you’ll likely forget all about wanting the arcade cabinet as a border anyway. As for Fantasy Zone II W, the fact that it’s a game from 2008 should be all the reason you need on why there’s no extra borders, which is makes up for with its phenomenal 3D effect.
Music and Sound
In terms of music and sound, each and every game is faithfully recreated in terms of sound, from the Genesis titles offering both Model 1 and Model 2 emulation, to the Master System games offering an FM sound/PSG toggle option. The Vehicle games also offer extra sounds in the form of environmental sound effects from the original machines, meaning every single button press and movement will sound just like it did in the arcades. (Except Puyo Puyo 2. Apparently they didn’t feel like adding the press of the buttons or movement of the joystick to that port.) Overall, a pretty much perfect conversion of the original sound quality.
In terms of gameplay, the games included in the Sega 3D Classics Collection all play as you would expect them to, with no major omissions or errors to be seen. That being said, there are a few minor features I should mention for certain games. In most of the games, there’s an added “Extra” feature of sorts that helps make the 3D Classics version stand out, such as Galaxy Force II’s PS2 upgrade, Thunder Blade getting an actual ending and final boss, and the Master System games getting a “Helper Mode” which lowers the difficulty (And in the case of SMS Fantasy Zone, it makes it nearly impossible to lose once you have the funds for extra ships). Unfortunately, it seems that neither Power Drift or Puyo Puyo 2 added any of these unique bonuses, which is a shame as I was eager to see what secret they would throw into those two exclusive titles.
As for the other three games, Fantasy Zone II W’s entire existence is already a special bonus, while Sonic the Hedgehog just adds the spindash and a stage select without requiring a button combo. While it’s nice to see Sonic 1 with the spindash, it unfortunately doesn’t seem to work too well, with the levels being built without it in mind causing the spindash to feel very out of place, not to mention it occasionally suffers from wonky collision detection. Altered Beast is even more disappointing as it just gives you a random assortment of transformations for each of the stages, while blocking access to the secret menu that lets you choose the forms as a result. Honestly, I couldn’t help but feel that Altered Beast should have been swapped out for one of the other 3D Genesis games like Gunstar Heroes or Streets of Rage 2 due to how lackluster it is as a whole. But hey, at least it being apart of the collection means you won’t need to buy it individually anymore.
In conclusion, M2 did a great job compiling some of its best work from over the past few years onto a nice single package, while adding a few cool exclusives to boot! From a nice assortment of highscore chasers to the famous Genesis pack-in titles, along with other gems like the SMS games and Fantasy Zone II W, there’s a lot of great games to choose from in this collection, and definitely worth the purchase if you don’t own any of these titles already, even more so if you have a New 3DS and can enjoy the 3D effect much more. As for folks like myself who bought or are considering purchasing the game for the five exclusives, I honestly think it’s only barely worth the price at best, since the SMS titles can be beaten fairly quickly while Power Drift loses its charm really fast. Puyo Puyo 2 is by far the best game in the collection and the biggest reason current and new owners should pick up the collection. I give Sega 3D Classics Collection a 7 out of 10, and strongly recommend it to all high-score chasers who have yet to check out these amazing ports, and only recommend it to those who already own the eShop versions for the exclusive Puyo Puyo 2.