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Sonic Gems Collection
  opened by paleface at 05:43:25 08/21/05  
  last modified by paleface at 12:25:50 03/05/24  
  paleface [sys=GC; cat=Action_Variety; reg=JPN]
I generally don't like Sonic games--not a big fan of the stuff on Sonic Mega Collection (see entry 254), for instance. Sonic Gems Collection has a bunch of Sonic games, and I don't like them much, either. However, the Japanese version of this collection has Bare Knuckle (Streets of Rage) I-III as unlockables. So, that's why I got it.
The three other unlockables are Vectorman, Vectorman 2, and Bonanza Bros. I don't like them much, but you have to unlock them first. Unlocking these games involves either leaving any game running for a long time, or selecting a bunch of games. So after leaving the GC on for about two days, and starting over 100 games, I got all the Bare Knuckle games unlocked. Fwee.
The games on this collection fall into three categories, based on the system on which they originally appeared: Game Gear, Mega-Drive, and Other.
  paleface 05:51:23 08/21/05 [relations updated]
Sonic the Fighters
Plays sort of like Sega AM2's "Fighting Vipers" series, with 3D fighting matches held inside a square ring (there's an interesting oxymoron for you). I've never played the arcade version, but the controls here seem sluggish. You get three buttons--Punch, Kick, and Barrier, although Barrier (block, essentially) is limited--and some button combo moves and chain combos, juggles, and so forth. I like Sega's more recent Virtua Fighter games (see entry 821), but not the older ones, and this one feels like the older ones to me somehow. The buttons sometimes just don't respond when pressed, or else I'm crazy. Graphics, at least, are sharp, but do the characters really have to scatter rings when hit? I hate that enough when it actually means something.
Anyway, I can't see anyone except rabid Sonic fans wanting to play this over, say, any other halfway-decent 3D fighting game.
  paleface 05:56:43 08/21/05 [relations updated]
Oops! Wrong linko. Try this.
  paleface 06:00:19 08/21/05
Download added: 02_sonic_cd.gif (67020 bytes)
  "Sonic CD: Look, Sonic is in a big pinball table! Again!"
Sonic CD
Port of the Mega-CD game. I don't like Sonic platformers, and this is one of them. It doesn't even have particularly outstanding music, which seems odd to me.
  paleface 06:06:18 08/21/05
Download added: 03_sonic_r.gif (91069 bytes)
  "Sonic R: I am totally smokin' that...creature in my awesome buggy."
Sonic R
3D racing game from the Saturn, with Sonic characters. The girl has a car, the others just run along the track. The tracks have a nice curvy form to them, but the racers control like bricks. The soundtrack, composed of techno/pop songs with full vocals, is quite impressive, but the game's sound effects stink. There are the usual Mario Kart-style gimmicks like boost pads, powerups, and weapons.
Oh, about the "OTHER" category games: the emulation seems spot-on, which is really rather impressive I suppose. These games must have taken far and away the most time to port of all the games here. One tiny knock against the port job is that there isn't a uniform interface for quitting the game--they have the option tucked away somewhere on the Options screen, and the UI for it is rather sketchy.
  paleface 06:08:13 08/21/05
Download added: 04_sonic_the_hedgehog_2.gif (48386 bytes)
  "Sonic the Hedgehog 2: Catching a crab."
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
This must be a port from whatever home console the game first appeared on, I suppose. Don't care for Sonic platformers and this one is no exception. Really hurts on the Game Gear's dinky resolution, as you have very little screen space and tend to smack into everything that comes along, since there's almost no look-ahead distance on the screen.
  paleface 06:10:07 08/21/05
Download added: 05_sonic_spinball.gif (40343 bytes)
  "Sonic Spinball: Make the hurting stop."
Sonic Spinball
The console version was bad enough (see the Sonic Mega Collection, entry 254), but this one manages to be even worse, with washed-out graphics, a tinier view field, and even nastier slowdown. It can't really be called slowdown, in fact, since that implies that sometimes the framerate is higher. It's just jerky everywhere.
  paleface 06:12:21 08/21/05
Download added: 06_sonic_and_tails_2.gif (76962 bytes)
  "Sonic & Tails 2: Tails looks like a big yellow butt."
Sonic & Tails 2
Sega added a second playable character in a desperate bid to keep people buying horrible Sonic games. You could pick Sonic at the beginning of your game; but wait, you could pick Tails, instead! Wowzers! It's like a whole new game now, somehow! Except that it isn't.
  paleface 06:16:29 08/21/05
Download added: 07_sonic_drift_2.gif (67542 bytes)
  "Sonic Drift 2: Look ma! No hands!"
Sonic Drift 2
An overly ambitious game for the Game Gear. The road-view takes up a darn dinky part of the actual screen, and gives you so little look-ahead time that you'll pretty much always wipe out on a corner, unless you develop another set of eyes to watch the map view up above at all times. One of the buttons sort of makes you "power slide," but with the limited animation of the sprites and the usual mediocre Game Gear framerate, it doesn't really feel anything like "drifting." There are traps and powerups, but with so little look-ahead time, you can hardly see them coming. Not a great effort.
  paleface 06:18:56 08/21/05
Download added: 08_tails_sky_patrol.gif (56333 bytes)
  "Tails' Sky Patrol: Oops, knicked into something yet again."
Tails' Sky Patrol
It looks like a Sonic platformer, but it really wants to be an arcade-style horizontal shooter. I just can't get used to the slightest touch of a wall killing my character, who looks like he should be right at home bouncing off walls an so forth. Plus, the ring thing that Tails has to shoot with just feels squidgy and unsatisfying. Does it power up later? I'll probably never know.
  paleface 06:21:10 08/21/05
Download added: 09_tails_adventures.gif (83605 bytes)
  "Tails Adventures: That's it, boy! Shove that rock! Good job!"
Tails Adventures
Yet another platformer with Tails. Why, God? Why? The emphasis here falls more on regular platformer-style jumping and puzzle-solving than on zooming through levels at top speed as in a regular Sonic game, but that doesn't really make it any more fun. (And I got stuck almost right away. Stupid ugly lava level...)
  paleface 06:26:00 08/21/05
Oh, forgot to mention when I got to the GAME GEAR category: all the Game Gear and Mega-Drive games have a handy Z-button menu you can call up at any time. In this menu you can restart the ROM, exit back to the main menu, Quicksave (I think this save only lasts as long as you keep the system on), save the current game state to a file on your memory card, or load a previous save. Very nice--excellent port job.
Also, tapping the C-stick toggles between the game's native resolution, and filling up the whole GC screen. The Game Gear games, with their tiny native resolution, default to an enlarged screen-filling size, while the Mega-Dive games, whose resolution was just a hair less than normal GC resolution, default to their native res. The annoying thing here, of course, is that if you're playing from an arcade stick, you need a second controller (pad) plugged in to toggle this.
  paleface 06:28:25 08/21/05 [relations updated]
Download added: 10_vectorman.gif (52303 bytes)
  "Vectorman: Dodging a boss plane with wrecking balls on its wingtips. Now that's clever."
I wasn't impressed with this on the Sega Smash Pack (see entry 664), and I'm still not really keen on it, though I gave it a bit more play here than I did on DC. The animation is very smooth, but the abstract, pre-rendered characters don't have much personality, and the control feels kinda stiff.
  paleface 06:30:37 08/21/05
Download added: 11_vectorman_2.gif (24579 bytes)
  "Vectorman 2: Is this a laser gun, or a flashlight? Eh, who cares."
Vectorman 2
More of the pre-rendered phenom in platformer action. The first stages here start out incredibly dark. Was this so they could show their simulated dynamic lighting effects when Vectorman shoots down a dark corridor? I can't friggin' see! The FX here are a little more impressive, but otherwise it's simply more Vectorman.
  paleface 06:33:26 08/21/05 [relations updated]
Download added: 12_bonanza_bros.gif (55045 bytes)
  "Bonanza Bros: Some split-screen inaction."
Bonanza Bros
I suppose this is better than the recent Sega Ages re-release on PS2 (see entry 431), simply because it's the original full 2D graphics, looking very nice in their smoothshaded style, but I'm still not into the game itself. Darn stealth games...
  paleface 06:36:07 08/21/05
Download added: 13_bare_knuckle.gif (95899 bytes)
  "Bare Knuckle: Dig my meat on a stick."
Bare Knuckle
Aka "Streets of Rage." You have got to love a good 2D co-op beat-em-up. This one, on the other hand, isn't fantastic, in large part because the control is a bit sluggy.
  paleface 06:43:23 08/21/05
Download added: 14_bare_knuckle_ii.gif (77080 bytes)
  "Bare Knuckle II: Max makes another new friend."
Bare Knuckle II
Was also in the Sega Smash Pack for DC (see entry 664). This is a keen game, and you should play it, preferably with a partner in destruction. Speaking of which, it has a fighting-game-style "Battle" mode, which sticks both players in a tiny single-screen level, with weapons scattered on the ground, and friendly fire enabled. Since there are only four characters and not so many special moves, batle mode probably won't last long.
Oh, that reminds me: they switched the special move scheme in this game. In Bare Knuckle, you had a limited number of specials, and they did big screen-wide effects like calling a squad car to fire napalm all around you. Starting in this sequel, though, you can use more melee-oriented special moves as much as you want, except that they take off a tiny chunk of your life meter if they land.
Also, for some reason, in this and III you can't change the button configuration as you can in the port of I on this same disk. Doh!
  paleface 06:47:17 08/21/05
Download added: 15_bare_knuckle_iii.gif (69474 bytes)
  "Bare Knuckle III: Zan the old robo-pimp disciplines his pack of ho's."
Bare Knuckle III
Haven't played too far in this yet, but feels like a continuation of II, maybe with slightly better presentation. The new guy, a big lanky robot, doesn't really fit in too well--heck, he can't even use weapons normally; they just give him a big glowy hand--but that probably won't matter much to you as you back your way through with a comrade.
  paleface 06:47:39 08/21/05
The Gems Collection supports progressive scan, happily.
  paleface 15:08:29 08/21/05
Unhappily, all the games, even when running at their native resolution, have a blurry filter applied to them--so Bare Knuckle II here, for instance, looks nowhere near as bright and crisp as it does in the Sega Smash Pack on DC.
  paleface 02:36:57 08/28/05
I've read that Sonic R here is actually a port of the PC version, rather than the Saturn version. The large draw distance would seem to corroborate this.
· Sega Ages 2500 Series Vol.6: Ichini no Tant-R + Bonanza Bros. (PS2)
· Sega Smash Pack Volume 1 (DC)
· Sonic Adventure 2: Trial (PS3)
· Sonic CD Trial (PS3)
· Sonic Generations (PC)
· Sonic Mania (PC)
· Sonic Mega Collection (GC)
· Sonic Mega Collection Plus (PS2)
· Sonic Origins (PC)
· Sonic the Fighters (PS3)
· Sonic the Hedgehog: Pocket Adventure (NGPC)
· Virtua Fighter 4: Evolution (PS2)
· Water Margin: A Tale of Clouds and Wind (MD)

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