Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection

Ultimate Indeed

Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection is, true to its title, the single best compilation we've ever seen. Find out why inside.
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: February 23, 2009
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I'm now utterly convinced that Backbone Entertainment will never go out of business ever again. They've effectively cornered the market on taking software from old hardware and emulating it -- officially, mind you -- on apparently every future bit of hardware known to man. They literally are making money off of other people's work. The catch, of course, is that they're also making money for the people that made those original bits of software -- or at the very least for the companies they were working for at the time.

They've also managed to earn a solid reputation for emulating that hardware and the games running on it quite well, to say nothing of the little historical tidbits like original sell sheets, interviews and marketing material they manage to pack in with all those games. In the case of their latest -- which is in large part a very slight retooling of what they did with the SEGA Genesis Collection on the PS2 and the PSP -- they've skimped a bit on all that bonus material and instead have left it to the games to actually sell the package and, provided you didn't already dip on the PS2 version, there's more than enough reason to give it a go this time around.

There is one thing the PS3 version has that the PS2/PSP ones didn't: Trophies. In fact, they're some of the easiest ones I've ever seen, giving me my third Platinum in the span of about a day's work max. Trophy whores, take note; this is probably the quickest way to a full level up (and then some depending on how many you have now) out there, and while it wasn't the most enjoyable (that honor still goes to Uncharted thankyouverymuch), it was rather rewarding.

In the end, though, little digital hunks of metal aren't going to justify dropping the cash on what is largely the same collection of the games that was already seen before on multiple platforms. No, that's going to have to come down to the games themselves, and fortunately what's here is the best smattering of genres, play styles and eras I've ever come across. If I'm being truly honest, though, I would have eventually broken and picked this up for one game alone, and it's one that wasn't in the last Genesis Collection: Shining Force.

Actually, it's Shining Force and Shining Force II that's got me all hot and bothered, seeing as they're easily my favorite strategy RPGs of all time, and helped put developer Camelot (who would later go on to develop the first Hot Shots Golf on the original PlayStation and the Golden Sun series on the DS). I really can't recommend the games enough, and (at least for me) their inclusion this time around along with Trophies is reason enough to pick up the Collection (for those curious, the far less-played origin, Shining in the Darkness, is also included, though it wasn't a Camelot-developed effort and doesn't have the sequels' strategy-forward focus).

The move to the PS3 has also brought with it a bump in resolution, though the box's claims of the games actually running in HD are a little misleading. Yes, you can stretch the video to full-screen 16:9 to fill the 720p output, but it's not truly rendering all those pixels at that resolution. I would have loved to have seen pixel-sharp representations in 4:3, but what's here isn't half bad -- at least not as long as you don't turn on the smoothing filter, which makes everything look like Photoshop's Crystalize filter was barfed across the screen.
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