Author Archive for

30
Sep
09

Gran Turismo PSP. Will it be a compliment to the franchise?

Gran Turismo…now there’s a game I haven’t played in a long time.  The last time I had the joy of playing it was back in 2002 round my next door neighbour’s. It wasn’t my first racing game (Mario kart 64, a game that will live in infamy!) but it was the first one that really grabbed my attention and said “Look at me; I’m a beautiful sexy racing game! Play me big boy…you know you want to…” which is to say I wanted it bad. But, being the poor kid that I was, getting a copy for myself was off the cards. Now as a student…things haven’t changed so much. But! Now I get to look forward to its next incarnation: Gran Turismo PSP.

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Now, the poor lads over at Polyphony Digital have been working hard to get GT’s next incarnation working well. After GT4 was released way back in 2005, there were problems with actually getting the damn thing to play, even if you had the shiny new slimline PS2. So, nearly 5 years on, several new and sexy cars later, what does the next instalment of the franchise have to offer the petrol heads and the Morris minors?

On first impressions it looks like…well…a PSP racer. Of course, there’s only so much you can do with the graphical capability of this little hand held. I think if this had been released a few years earlier it wouldn’t look as solid as it does, especially with the number of cars on the road. So, with that taken into account, the visuals are very good, only taking a slight downgrade from GT2. So I think Polyphony Digital have done a good job that front.

gtpsp2

Perhaps the most interesting and potentially enjoyable feature on offer is the Ad-hoc multiplayer races.  With up to four players this could be an excellent uses of the PSP’s networking capability for gaming on the go. The pop in, pop out, race game play is something I can see myself getting into. Like many PSP titles the game looks to be the sort that is enjoyed in brief bursts rather than prolonged game play. But wait! Dredging up some memories from my past reminds me of the fun that was had racing a geared up mini. So surely this next incarnation of GT will have plenty of things to tinker with and tune up, right?

Well…no, not really. It seems that particular part of the classic GT games has been left out of its PSP incarnation…oh dear, so no nitro powered mini. But! We do have the largest number of vehicles in a GT game, 800 to be precise. From your average banger to the beautiful Bugatti, you’d be hard pressed not to be impressed with the sheer number of cars for you to put round the track.

So no modifications, but more cars than you can shake a gear stick at. A mixed bag so far, but what else can we look forward to? Well, you have a standard 45 tracks for you to get stuck into, a decent number for you to try your multitude of cars and mates mettle on.  The staple time trial, single race and drift race are there but no career mode for some reason. I have to say, reading up on this has given me more than a few reservations about this title. But, all in all, it looks to be a very competent game, but not one which is going to grab casual or hardcore gamers by the scruff of the neck and make them play it.

– That Bloke In The Beanie

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23
Sep
09

Empire Total War (PC)

I’ve been a fan of Creative Assembly’s Total war series since the first instalment Shogun graced computer screen at the turn of the century. The graphics were pretty (for the time), the score was ambient, the little assassination cut scenes gave it real character, the A.I was able and the strategy was near perfect. It created a new brand of strategy game, combining both turned based and real time into a beautiful unity. However it wasn’t until Rome Total war arrived on the scene in 2005 that the Creative assembly really grabbed the wider gaming nation’s attention. A fully 3D map with dozens of beautifully modelled 3D units made battles on a large scale such a joy to behold. Now we are entering the next phase of CA’s series development into 18th centaury warfare, a great departing from their previous work. How well do they pull it off? Well…the results are mixed…

The Bad

The initial version of the game had more than its fair share of bug, even after pushing the release date back by a few months for tinkering time. While these bugs didn’t make the game unplayable it did add a lot of frustration for players (cannons refusing to fire or failing to deploy properly, units stuck in tree’s etc). This is such a pity because CA has usually been so good with realising a very competent game with only the occasional minor bugs that only detracted slightly instead of being a real annoyance.

Also the balancing of the sides especially when the difficulty level is changed is enormous. Factions like the Netherlands, Russia and the Ottomans become infuriatingly tough to play as their neighbours turn on them at the drop of a hat and their early economies rely either on poorly funded and producing towns and farms that failed to contribute as much as the more developed nations in Europe and in India.

Another problem is the sheer number of factions involved not including the main playable ones. This means when you finish your turns you’re waiting a good two and a half minutes minimum and sometimes even longer before you have control again, even with following all units off! I play a game of how much stuff I can get done before it’s my go again which isn’t something that endears the game to you if you’re so bored you seek out other means to keep you occupied.

The Different

Diplomacy is also another difficult area for the game. It’s nice that you no longer have to rely on diplomats running all over the map to make a deal. You only need concern yourself with either the Rake (a spy, saboteur and assassin) or Thugee and the gentleman (a researcher and duellist with either other gents or the wicked Rake) or eastern teachers (their non-violent counterparts). But core problems still remain. The A.I can be incredibly unpredictable, declaring war despite having a trade agreement and their government being friendly towards you.

Not only that, but on normal and higher difficulties making a deal is harder than haggling with Apu on a bad day! They literally expect you to empty double your coffers for a trade deal or Alliance (which they may never honour) and expect you to part with your best money making province for a handful of peanuts and some as yet un-researched technology.

Now the navel battles, the first time CA have enters this arena. Again the result is mixed. On the one hand the sea and ships are beautifully realised (though a large sea battle will slow all but the best rigs down). It’s incredibly detailed: every movement of the crew, the cannon shot, the explosion as a lucky shot hits the powder magazine and the entire ship is engulfed in flames and the way they list and sink beneath the waves after one too many broad sides. Unfortunately, this also initially suffered from way too many bugs, including crew suicide on attempting to board a vessel and clipping issues with waves and other ships detracting from the immersion.

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Even after the fixes were made, there were still aspects of navel combat that made it fall short of being a potential show stopper. The fact that other nations were somehow able to field more and better ships than you was a common problem. There was also the lack to tactical depth, if you had the bigger and better ships or just enough to make your firepower count, you could win by simple strategy. While it’s fair to say that due to the manner of the combat we can’t expect it to be as complex as it is on land and so is limited in its appeal; I still believe that more balancing could have been done to make it more engaging.

Finally, the new technology system and agent spawning.  In previous games you enhanced your army by upgrading your various barracks, shipyards and armouries to get an edge over your enemy.  Now this is replaced with universities and new technologies. You evolve new ways of dealing with cavalry charges by researching square or new farming methods by crop rotation. So planning on building a lot of professors to get in there first? Not going to happen, the geniuses that come up with these ideas can’t just be plucked from obscurity, they appear as and when they’re recognised. The better the buildings, the more likely they will spawn and the more able they will be. Again, this is a nice idea and works fairly well if a bit unevenly. Almost everyone is one step ahead with more agents and techs than you putting the pressure on and pissing you off. And why should you need to ‘research’ the idea of forming a square? Shouldn’t you just be able to make your men do that?

The Good

First and foremost in my mind is a small feature that makes the real time battles better for its implementation, the slow down button. Reducing the action to roughly a third of its actual speed allows you time not only to admire your armada and army in their beautiful detail, but to set orders and react to enemy manoeuvres without needing to pause the action to do so.

The land battles have always been the staple of the Total War’s series strength, especially after Rome. Empire is no exception. You must acclimatise to the new style of warfare and do so quickly. Luckily the historical campaign, ‘America’s road to independence’, is a good option, not only into bringing new players to the series but showing the old guard the new way that combat works. That said, the battle for Bunker Hill was fairly hardcore and as about as accurate as ‘The Patriot’ in what really happened and how, but hey in the grand scheme of things it’s forgivable.

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Hand to hand combat has never been more messy or costly than it has here. Getting in close should only be done to finish off a weakened or wavering unit; else you’re in for a long and bloody struggle. The tension as your men line up and prepare to fire volley after an approaching enemy, hoping to make the most of stopping before they did to get the first  shot in is something that still get me every time I play. Artillery and cavalry have also changed with the revolution of gunpowder. Especially after the first few military technologies researched do you realise how cut throat and quick you have to be to make a shot or cavalry charge work. A single screw up can cost you a good portion of your regiments as they’re decimated by grape shot or a surprise charge in their flank.

Not only that but choosing your battlefield has never been as crucial. A built up area with plenty of buildings for infantry to hide in is going to cause a lot of problems if you’re fighting with a army largely comprised of cavalry or even cannon will take time to get though the cover to your troops. Similarly with woods or hilly areas diminishing your artillery’s ability to hit targets accurately.

Empire has changed the game completely, from new trading avenues and navel combat to the way in which you manage your government, not to mention the new arenas of India and America to do battle in.

While this is a game with its problems and let downs, there is still a rich and immersive work with beautifully rendered battles, a decent soundtrack, a reasonable yet punishing A.I (either punishingly stupid or just brutal) and several small yet delightful details showing some creative flair still burns in the heart of my beloved Creative Assembly. I highly recommended this to any strategy fan.

– Theat Bloke in the Beanie

23
Sep
09

Guitar Hero 5 It's Better In The Dark…And You Won’t Be Disappointed (X360)

Well the moment I have been waiting for all year has finally come, drum roll please (all be it a virtual one) GUITAR HERO 5 IS HERE.

Now I know for most people this probably wont be as big a deal, but for me guitar hero releases are the highlight of my year and I’m pleased to say this new addition is no disappointment. With a set-list of over 80 songs and stunning graphics this is a must buy for any fan of the Guitar Hero series. After Guitar Hero Metallica (mainly for Metallica fans) and Guitar hero greatest hits (lets face it a cop out really) this is a real breath of fresh air. The set-list is diverse with a good mix of modern hits such as ‘Sex on fire’ by Kings Of Leon and classics like Nirvana’s ‘Smells like teen spirit’ making this a game exciting and fresh throughout. I must admit I also got very excited when I found out they had included ‘Plug in Baby’ by Muse. One of my all time favorite bands so I had to mention it somewhere.

Now a bit about the gameplay. I have a theory about Guitar Hero. In my opinion with every GH release the note streams get more complicated but the reaction time of the game speeds up allowing you to keep up. In effect the games are slowly getting as fast as the people who play them, and to me this is no exception. The notes come thick and fast from the onset, but due to the slick programming this is not a problem, in fact it’s a joy to play. The difficulty level is in keeping with that of GH Metallica, with tricky solo’s and the promise of some really challenging levels nearer the end. A nice addition to the game is the opportunity to complete additional challenges within each song. These challenges are instrument specific and set you a range of different tasks to gain additional stars. The tasks range from whammying the most notes to getting the longest note streak or hitting the most notes of one color. I find these challenges really bring out my extremely competitive nature and so add great replay value to the game.

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And now for a quick moan, skip this paragraph if you want a happy read.

Only one thing is annoying me about this game, and it’s a big problem. When you create a band and start your solo career it only displays the overall best star rating you have achieved for all instruments you have played. For example, when I started my guitar career and went through the songs it was easy to keep track of my place within the game, I just looked at my star ratings. However when I repeated my career with the drums the fact that I was a drummer this time and not a guitarist was not obvious from the song selection screen. This made it extremely hard to track how I was progressing within my drum career. GH Metallica had the same problem and I would have hoped they would have spotted it before this game was released, sadly no luck.

That’s it, Moan over!

Onto the Visual stuff. The character movements have been improved and you can now play in a band comprised entirely of Traditional GH characters which is a novelty. All of our favorite characters are still there, even if Judy nails is looking a bit skinny for my liking (I wonder if she is eating enough) alongside the opportunity to create your own characters much the same as in GH World tour. I feel that Guitar hero has the edge when it comes to character customization and this game is no different. I have always been able to create a good likeness using the GH rock-star creator, something I have never managed to fully achieve with RockBand. In this game you can create the real you as well as many other random creations which in itself leads to hours of fun. Alternatively if real life doesn’t float your boat, why not take a step back and let your XBox 360 Avatar play for you? A quirky feature more than anything but fun nonetheless. One way this game differs greatly from its predecessors is that the screen layout has been cleaned up, with all of the information such as the star power bar and score bar consolidated around the fret board area. At first I found this a little odd, but once I had become used to it I began to appreciate how much of the screen this frees up for the graphics.

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As for the graphics themselves, they are stunning. In fact I am now lusting over a larger TV as I feel it would be really worth having to fully appreciate this game (at least that’s what I keep telling myself). The menu screens have the usual doodled rock theme which I have always loved and the layout of the set lists in career mode is clearer and more exciting than in world tour giving the game a clearer, more structured feel. The game graphics themselves are still cartoonish and exaggerated in style, but with a more electric, dramatic feel which I love. The fret board is less fussy but has a new texture, and I love the way that blue lights sweep across the board when star power is activated instead of the usual electricity. It is for this reason I would urge everyone to play this game in the dark. The bold colors and use of blue light within the game really lend themselves to the real gig experience when set against a dark background, it is darkness makes this game truly great and I promise…you won’t be disappointed.

I’m off now to dim the lights, close all the doors, slip into something a little more comfortable, pick up my beloved plastic guitar and rock out.

Until next time.

GuitarGirl24

20
Sep
09

Another Look At Beatles Rockband And The Big Questions In Life…

Well after a long postal delay (thanks a bunch royal mail!) I am now the proud owner of my very own copy of the Beatles Rockband. Some of you may remember my previous taster review about the game, and I am pleased to say that so far it has lived up to my high expectations. Overall it is an extremely uplifting and very well put together game. The game tells the history of the Beatles through a mixture of chronologically ordered music choices, photography, and animations which resemble a kind of living scrap book. The game characters also age throughout the games progression making you feel like you are really taking a journey through time with the band. I found the gameplay enjoyable, much the same as Rockband 2, however unlike Rockband 2 you do not have as much control over the drum solo’s and the whammy bar seems to have little or no effect on the note you are playing. I feel this is a shame as this freedom to experiment was a nice touch in the previous games, and without these features I find myself distanced from the gameplay. There are however a few nice features to the game which go some way to making up for this. One of these is the opportunity to unlock bonus photographs and create an album of the beetles history for exceptional performances during the career mode. Though these are probably only of interest to true beetles enthusiasts, it does give you a reason to challenge yourself which I feel gives the game a greater replay value.

One thing about the game however, is really bothering me. Unlike previous Rockband games, in this game to play the singing career you need a proper microphone, the normal x-box live headsets don’t work. Now usually this would not be a problem (seeing as most people with the band kits have a mic) but with the addition of 2 and 3 player harmonies this becomes very frustrating. I can’t even try out this new feature without buying a second mic (which I probably won’t use outside this game anyway) and seeing as i usually play alone or with a full band and not 2 singers I cannot justify buying a second mic. This has made me wonder why Harmonix has decided to stop the use of the live headsets. Is it because they are not as effective, or simply a scheme to make people shed out for the extra microphones? With this thought, my mind begins to ask the higher question, are official Rockband Mic’s really necessary to complete the game? Or is it possible to equal or beat your score using an X-box live headset instead. Also, and perhaps more importantly, are singers without the proper microphones truly at a disadvantage, or are they just using this as an excuse for their poor singing? I decided to conduct a short experiment to find out once and for all.

The experiment went as thus. Using Rockband 2 on expert mode I sang a 3 song setlist with the official Rockband Mic and noted down the scores. I then sang exactly the same songs with the X-box live headset and compared these scores with the original set. The results were quite conclusive-

Blondie-One way or another
Rockband Mic- 128,332 (I put this down to having no warm up!) 5*
X-box live headset- 130,863 5*

Kansas- Carry on my wayward son
Rockband Mic- 106,613 4*
X-box live headset- 91,056 4*

Tenacious D- Master exploder
Rockband Mic- 38,230 4*
X-box live headset- 34,486 4*

It looks to me that though the scores are consistently higher with the Rockband mic, it is possible to get the same *rating with a score almost as high with a live headset. Overall this experiment has taught me three things.

That it is more fun to sing with the Rockband mic
The Rockband Mic gives slightly better results than the Live mic
The same star level can be achieved with the Rockband mic and the Live headset.

To conclude, though the Rockband mic gives slightly better scores, in my opinion the scores are not different enough to warrant scrapping the Live headset altogether. This tells me that Harmonix have scrapped the live headsets in the Beatles game either to try to improve the gaming experience, or simply to sell more microphones and make more prophet. I am sad to say that I believe it is the latter, sorry Harmonix, your busted!

– GuitarGirl24

14
Sep
09

Rockband drum kits! (I know I’m banging on again but hear me out…)

rblogo

I have finally taken the plunge and ‘upgraded’ to a traditional stand alone Rockband drum kit today. It may seem odd to be telling you guys this but it has made me think, which is better, the stand alone or portable drum kit? Seeing as I am now part of the probably very exclusive (and slightly sad) group of people who now have both, I thought I would rate them to find out once and for all which one is truly worth investing in and which is soon to be retired to the cupboard under the stairs.

I must at this point confess that I am not going to be including the Guitar hero drum set in this review. Why!?! You ask? Well the answer is simple. I don’t own a Gh Kit! So thats the end of that.

Rockband Stand alone kit

Pros

  • It is the much loved original drum set and will always have a place in our hearts/bedrooms
  • The layout is easy to play and has a nice angle
  • It is height adjustable
  • It comes with wooden sticks
  • The pedal is durable
  • The buttons are easy to reach
  • It has a stick holder

Cons

  • Its costs a bit more
  • It takes up A LOT of space
  • You cant move the drum pads around
  • It takes longer to assemble
  • The sticks although wooden are still flimsy (I think they will last about 3 days)

rbdrum1

Rockband portable Kit madcatz

Pros

  • Its portable baby!!!
  • It costs less
  • It packs away into a very small space
  • The drum pads can be spaced out any way you like
  • It has a nice design on the drum pads (prettier)
  • It is durable
  • It is quick to assemble

Cons

  • The drum pads have a habit of moving when you play, I have to tape mine to the table
  • The Buttons are quite hard to reach at times
  • The pedal is smaller than the one supplied with the original edition and tends to move A LOT while you play
  • When it is placed on a high table the angle makes it hard to play
  • It comes with plastic sticks (mine broke about a week into using it) 😦

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So there you have it. They rank equally (though only on paper). If you ask me they both have their good and bad points. The portable kit has been my loyal companion for a year now and though I don’t think the makers really researched how many people keep waist high tables smack bang in front of their TV’s (here’s a hint, it’s not many!) it has always been reliable and great fun at parties. The new kit I consider a little treat to myself for serious high score building, it’s bulky, but without the annoying distraction of a constantly moving foot pedal. It’s really just about finding the right kit for you, or if you’re like me throwing sanity out of the window and buying both!

Sorry this has all just been a load of noise…. Hopefully it will be GH5 next time!

– GuitarGirl24

06
Sep
09

Beatles Rock Band Hands On Preview

Hi everyone, I’m GuitarGirl24 and this is my first post for Plusxp.com.

As you’ve probably guessed by the name, I’m a big fan of music based gaming. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t say that I’m the undefeated champion of these games or anything, but most people who have seen me play (sometimes for 6 solid hours or more) would tell you that I truly am a Rock-Hero addict. Over the last few years I have grown addicted to both the Rock Band and Guitar hero series, and am here to give you all the news and updates on the new additions to this loud and proud gaming revolution.

A sneak peek at The Beatles: Rock Band

Though I have an unprecedented love of the music based gaming genre, I have never been as excited by the band specific releases as I have been about the compilation based games. Needless to say with Guitar hero 5 just around the corner the Beatles Rock Band had not been at the top of my gaming wish list. However when I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak at the game earlier this week I was pleasantly surprised.

The graphics have certainly improved (though I was playing it on on a massive HD TV so what can I say) with great attention to detail being played to the atmosphere created within the game. The likenesses of the characters was great, and the new retro fret bored patterns were a nice touch. I also really enjoyed the innovative use of graphics within the recording studio levels. The session begins in a standard recording studio, but as the song builds your characters are taken on on a journey into a surreal, extremely colorful, fantasy land before being gently transported back into real life. Its a bit like stepping into a hippy dream, and though Paul McCartney and John Lennon skipping in circles can be a little distracting at times its a nice touch.

Now to the gameplay, the important bit! I sampled both the drum and guitar modes, and though I didn’t get to play all of the songs I did pick up on a few changes. The guitar mode is basically the same as it was in Rock Band 2, however the  first  few songs I played seemed far easier than those in the previous titles. I soon selected a song which claimed to be more difficult, but though it was a little harder it still failed to really challenge me. At a guess, I would say that the difficult songs come quite far towards the end of the game, making this a good choice for newbies and parties, but perhaps not the most challenging addition to the series. There is also the option to add a second singer to the band, which makes this game even more of a party favorite. As for the drum setting, there were some changes here; the biggest thing I noticed was that the overdrive activation method had changed. The large solo bar (previously used to activate overdrive) has gone, and has been replaced by a smaller strip with a double note at the end. This set up leaves less freedom for the drummer to solo, but is helpful if like me you don’t like missing out on the programed solo’s when the overdrive bar comes at an inconvenient time.

Overall I would say that this game is a lighthearted, fun edition to the Rock Band series. The choice of songs looks good, the gameplay is up to scratch and the graphics certainly won’t disappoint. As for me, not a lot can beat Guitar hero 3 and Rockband 2, but for Beatles fans its a must.


– GuitarGirl24

28
Aug
09

SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection

Sega

Whilst waiting for all those games on the horizon I stumbled across the Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection which instantly took me back to my childhood. I grew up in what we call the ‘console wars’ today, the great 16-bit battle between the Sega Mega Drive and the Super Nintendo and playing both I felt I had some input here. The Sega Mega Drive was released in Japan in 1988, North America in 1989 and Europe in 1990. When the console was released in North America Sega couldn’t get legal use of the Mega Drive name and renamed it the Genesis. The Sega Mega Drivewas the most popular console of its generation and even outsold its rival competitor the SNES selling 29 million units worldwide. Later the Mega Drive II was released which was a smarter version of the Sega and the European version had Sega’s very first mascot Alex Kidd built in.

The collection contains the classic essentials as well as a few classic series such as golden axe 1-3, the likes of streets of rage 1-3 and not forgetting Sega’s mascot which lives on today, Sonic the hedgehog. There are seven Sonic titles in total including Sonic and Knuckles but sadly you can’t play the Sonic 2 and 3 combination games like you could by slotting them into the Sonic and Knuckles cartridge. I read in a few places that if this was the case there wouldn’t havebeen so many titles on the ultimate collection.

The game features titles released over the consoles life from the early games such as Altered Beast and Golden Axe to the later games such as Sonic 3 and Shinobi 3. The game consists of 49 games in total with 40 playable from the start and the others unlocked as you progress through the game. Playing these games again made me realise how much harder gaming used to be and how we’ve grown soft in our old age (22), but the game does offer some nice features such as the ability to save progress to the Xbox hard drive, any game and anywhere in the game, so there’s no need to fear those nasty bosses or those skin of the teeth jumps! You can access the menu any point during the game by pressing the back button which is a nice touch so you’re completely in control at any point. The game also features a rendering option to smooth out and slightly updates the graphics although I find this takes away some of the detail, and these games should be played in all their original glory. The ultimate collection features a simple rating system so when scrolling up and down through the games you can simply press left or right and give the game a rating from one to five which I thought was a nice touch.

This title gives gamers of all generations the chance to either re-live their past or experience the forefathers of gaming and appreciate what we have today. Some titles feature a nice co-op mode such as the Streets of Rage series and the Golden Axe series to name a few. The Streets of Rage series has always been a favourite of mine; the only downside is we still have the European versions which means in Streets of Rage 3 we miss out on a extra boss/playable character and we don’t have the characters original colours – but the game itself still stands as a classic fighter. We also have the Golden Axe series which includes the rare Golden Axe 3

The Sega ultimate collection also features unlockables, such as other Sega classics, interviews with some of the Sega team and also earlier arcade and Sega Master System versions of some of the games from the original roster.  The interviews are in japanese with english subtitles and give an insight to what its like working for Sega and bit more of an insight to some of the games.  There are 9 games in total to unlock – Alien Syndrome, Altered Beast, Shinobi, Phantasy Star 1, Tip Top, Space Harrier, Golden Axe Warrior, Fantasy Zone and Zaxoon. They are simply unlocked by playing through the games and earning various achievements which aren’t too hard to pick up and quite enjoyable.

Here is a list of the contents of Segas Ultimate Collection:

Streets of rage 1-3
Golden axe 1-3
Sonic 1-3
Sonic Spinball
Sonic and Knuckles
Dr Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
Sonic 3D
Comix Zone
Alex Kidd
Alien Storm
Altered Beast
Bonanza Bros
Columns
Decap Attack
Dynamite Headdy
E-swat
Ecco the Dolphin  1-2
Fatal Labyrinth
Flicky
Gain Ground
Kid Chameleon
Phantasy Star 2-4
Ristar
Shining Force 1-2
Shining in the Darkness
Shinobi 3

Streets of Rage 3

The Streets of Rage series is about the evil Mr X who has taken over the city with his evil crime organization. His vicious syndicate has the president and even the police force under their control and it’s up to Axel and co, who are ex police officers to clean up the streets and put an end to Mr X once and for all. Mr X somehow finds ways back through the series but Axel and friends are never far away. There are new characters in each game and they just get better and better. Streets of rage 3 is my fave boasting more moves, characters and better visuals.

Sonic 2

Sonic the Hedgehog is Sega’s biggest hero and involves him and his sidekick Tails saving the day from the evil Dr Robotnik.  Sonic 2 and 3 offer co-op play allowing an extra person to play as Tails to aid you in your quest through hills, volcanic mountains, over ice caps and into space to put an end to Robotnik’s madness. My youth came straight back after playing these games and I couldn’t put Sonic down like I couldn’t fifteen years ago. I’m a huge fan of the series and own nearly all the original cartridges as part of my collection, my most prized being the Sonic and Knuckles cartridge.

Comix Zone

Comix Zone is one of Sega’s most impressive titles, playing the role of Sketch Turner, a comic book artist who gets sucked into his comic book as a bolt of lightning strikes New York city – releasing and giving life to the evil villain of Sketch’s comic who now has control of the comic world and wants Sketch out of the picture. Aided by his trusty rat sidekick, Sketch must escape the comic book and stop his evil creation from taking over the world. This game is visually amazing, very clever and well thought out. A little hard but thanks to the save function some of the stress can be taken out.

Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection is a nostalgic treat; enjoy!

-Ray