Sonic Gems Collection

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Sonic Gems Collection
Sonic Gems Collection Coverart GCN.png
Developer(s) Sonic Team
Publisher(s) Sega
Series Sonic the Hedgehog
Platform(s) GameCube, PlayStation 2
ReleaseGameCube
  • JP: August 11, 2005
  • NA: August 16, 2005
  • EU: September 30, 2005
PlayStation 2
  • JP: August 11, 2005
  • EU: September 30, 2005
Genre(s) Compilation
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Sonic Gems Collection is a 2005 compilation of Sega video games, primarily those in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. The emulated games span multiple genres and consoles—from the Sega Genesis to the Sega Saturn—and retain the features and errors of their initial releases with minimal edits. Player progress is rewarded with demos of other Sonic games, videos, and promotional artwork spanning the history of the Sonic franchise. While its 2002 predecessor, Sonic Mega Collection , comprised the more popular Sonic games, Gems Collection focuses on more obscure games, such as Sonic CD and Sonic the Fighters . Other non-Sonic games are included, but some, such as the Streets of Rage trilogy, are omitted in the Western localization.

Contents

Developer Sonic Team conceived the compilation to introduce younger players to older Sonic games. One game they wished to include, SegaSonic the Hedgehog , was excluded due to emulation difficulties. Sega released Gems Collection for the GameCube and PlayStation 2 in August 2005. Reviews were mixed or average; critics were divided over whether the package would satisfy players. They preferred Sonic CD and Vectorman , but found Sonic the Fighters and Sonic R mediocre, and disliked the Game Gear games. Some were disappointed by the absence of the Streets of Rage games in the International version and other Sonic games like Knuckles' Chaotix and Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure .

Games

Sonic Gems Collection is a compilation of obscure video games published by Sega for various consoles, such as the Sega CD, Sega Saturn, and Game Gear. It primarily focuses on Sonic the Hedgehog games, such as Sonic CD (1993) [1] and Sonic the Fighters (1996). It also includes six of the twelve Sonic games released for the Game Gear. These games encompass various genres, such as platforming, fighting, pinball, and puzzle. [2] [3] Additionally, players can unlock several Sega Genesis games unrelated to Sonic, including the two Vectorman games (1995 and 1996). [1] [4] [2] Four games in the japanese version, Bonanza Bros. (1990) and the Streets of Rage trilogy (1991—1994), are not included in the international version. [3] [4] Each game is mostly identical to its initial release, but some were changed; for example, Sonic R runs at a higher frame rate. [3]

The compilation features an extensive museum section in which players can view content—such as promotional artwork, videos, screenshots, and music—unlocked after obtaining achievements. [2] [3] Time-limited demos of the original Genesis Sonic games and the other six Game Gear games [lower-alpha 1] can also be unlocked. In each demo the player begins in the respective game's final level and can play until the time limit is met. [5]

Games included in Sonic Gems Collection
Sonic games
TitleGenreOriginal platformOriginal releaseDeveloper
Sonic CD Platform Sega CD 1993 Sega
Sonic the Fighters Fighting Arcade 1996 Sega AM2
Sonic R Racing Saturn 1997 Traveller's Tales, Sonic Team
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Platform Game Gear 1992 Aspect
Sonic the Hedgehog Triple Trouble PlatformGame Gear1994Aspect
Sonic Spinball Pinball Game Gear1993 Sega Technical Institute
Sonic Drift 2 RacingGame Gear1995Sega
Tails' Skypatrol Puzzle Game Gear1995 SIMS
Tails Adventure PlatformGame Gear1995Aspect
Unlockable games
TitleGenreOriginal platformOriginal releaseDeveloper
Vectorman Platform, run-and-gun Genesis 1995 BlueSky Software
Vectorman 2 Platform, run-and-gunGenesis1996BlueSky Software
Bonanza Bros. [lower-roman 1] Shooter Genesis1990Sega
Streets of Rage [lower-roman 1] Beat 'em up Genesis1991Sega
Streets of Rage 2 [lower-roman 1] Beat 'em upGenesis1992Sega
Streets of Rage 3 [lower-roman 1] Beat 'em upGenesis1994Sega
  1. 1 2 3 4 Only available in the Japanese release. [3] [6]

Development

Sonic Gems Collection was developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega for the GameCube and PlayStation 2. [7] According to Sonic Team director Yojiro Ogawa, the compilation (and its 2002 predecessor Sonic Mega Collection ) was conceived to introduce young players to older games in the Sonic franchise. While Sonic Mega Collection focused on the original Genesis games to showcase what made the franchise a success, Sonic Gems Collection focused on games Sega considered rare and obscure. [8] Although Sonic Team was responsible for Sonic Gems Collection's creation, they had limited involvement in the development of the games included on the compilation; for example, Sega AM2 made Sonic the Fighters, and Sonic R was primarily developed by Traveller's Tales. [3] Most of the games included are emulated, [3] but Sonic the Fighters is a port. [5]

At the beginning of Gems Collection's development, Sonic Team made a list of the most wanted games for the compilation. The team considered the games they felt were high quality in graphics, gameplay, and overall nature. [8] Sonic CD and Vectorman were considered for inclusion in Mega Collection, but were deferred to Gems Collection. Producer Yuji Naka said storage constraints prevented Sonic CD from inclusion in Mega Collection. [8] [9] AM3's SegaSonic the Hedgehog (1993) was omitted due to problems emulating its trackball controls. [10] AM2 assisted in porting Sonic the Fighters, marking its first release on a home console. The Windows versions of Sonic CD and Sonic R were used in Sonic Gems Collection. [3] [11] Both games received visual upgrades: Sonic CD's opening sequence is presented in fullscreen and Sonic R has higher resolution textures. [12] :40

During development, Sonic Team hoped that each region's version of Sonic Gems Collection would be identical in content. However, the Streets of Rage games and Bonanza Bros. had to be omitted from the North American localization, due to fears of a "Teen" rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). [4] [13] The PAL release was impacted as well. The team also wished to include both the Japanese and North American Sonic CD soundtracks, but storage and licensing problems resulted in Japan only receiving its respective soundtrack and all other regions using the North American version. [8] [13] Sonic Gems Collection was announced in May 2005, [14] and was playable at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). [15] It was released on August 11, 2005 in Japan, August 16, 2005 in North America, and September 30, 2005 in Europe. [1] [7] [16] The PlayStation 2 version was not released in North America. [17] Those who ordered the game through Sega's online store Sega Direct received an exclusive Sonic-themed yo-yo. [18]

Reception

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic 64/100 (32 reviews) [19]
Review scores
PublicationScore
1Up.com C+ [17]
EGM 6.2/10 [20]
Eurogamer 7/10 [21]
GameSpot 6.3/10 [3]
GameSpy Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svg [2]
IGN 7.5/10 [1]
Jeuxvideo.com 9/20
Nintendo Power 8.5/10 [12]

According to Metacritic, a video game review aggregator, Sonic Gems Collection received "mixed or average" reviews. [19] By November 22, 2005, the compilation sold 200,000 copies outside Japan. [22] In 2006, the GameCube version was branded a Player's Choice game, [23] indicating it sold a million units. [24]

Reviewers considered Sonic CD the compilation's strongest feature, [1] [21] so much that Nintendo Power 's Steve T. and Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) said it was worth buying for Sonic CD alone. [12] :85 [20] Juan Castro ( IGN ) found that Sonic CD "still holds its own against modern platformers", praising its unique, time-travel oriented gameplay, level design, visuals, and sound. Castro called it one of the best games in the Sonic series and was no less fun than its original release. [1] Ryan Davis ( GameSpot ) found Sonic CD superior to the other games in the compilation, [3] and Tom Bramwell ( Eurogamer ) declared "rejoice for Sonic CD... Just don't rejoice for anything else, because it's mostly rubbish". [21] Many reviewers were also pleased by the inclusion of the Vectorman games. Castro called it "the pinnacle of 16-bit gaming", praising its melding of boss fights, action, and platforming and saying it aged well. [1] Bramwell and Phil Theobald ( GameSpy ) agreed. [21] [2]

Critics generally felt Sonic R and Sonic the Fighters were mediocre. [1] [2] [3] Castro, Theobald, and Davis compared Sonic the Fighters unfavorably to the Virtua Fighter games, [1] [2] with Davis calling it dated and simplistic. [3] Jeuxvideo.com 's Superpanda, in a negative review of the compilation, argued that Sonic the Fighters was too short and had control issues, but that Sonic R was on par with Sonic CD in terms of quality, praising the game's graphics and claiming that it was the compilation's most beautiful game. [25] Castro was less positive: he found its ideas clever and considered it an interesting departure from normal racing games, but thought the ideas were poorly implemented and the controls were awkward. However, he still thought the game was enjoyable and that its soundtrack was unique. [1] Theobald voiced a similar opinion, considering it "a concept that works better in theory than in practice". [2] Conversely, Davis said Sonic R's "laughably bad soundtrack" was its "only redeeming quality". [3] Bramwell considered it too odd and short to be worth the player's time. [21]

The six Game Gear Sonic games were criticized for their uneven quality and poor emulation. [2] [3] [21] Theobald liked that the games were available from the start, but was puzzled why the other six games were left out. He also considered the selection random ("why Sonic 2, but no Sonic?"). [2] Castro was intrigued that they were all on one disc, but thought their screen displays were bad and said "you'd probably be better off dusting your old [Game Gear] and finding those old games" rather than playing them on Sonic Gems Collection. [1] Of the Game Gear games, Davis preferred Sonic 2, Sonic Triple Trouble, and Tails Skypatrol, but disliked the rest. He heavily criticized their emulation quality, noting their frequent frame rate drops. [3] Bramwell joked they were present on the disc for "educational" purposes. He lambasted their resolutions and encouraged readers to ignore them entirely. [21]

Some reviewers found the compilation incomplete. [2] [3] [17] Davis and Theobald both criticized the exclusion of the Streets of Rage games in the North American version. Davis stated he preferred them over Vectorman and Theobald said Sega should have just let the compilation get a Teen rating from the ESRB. [2] [3] Theobald was also disappointed that the compilation lacked SegaSonic the Hedgehog, Knuckles' Chaotix , and the other Game Gear games. [2] Jeremy Parish ( 1UP.com ) said even combining Sonic Mega Collection and Sonic Gems Collection would provide players an incomplete Sonic collection, lambasting the exclusion of Knuckles' Chaotix and Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure and feeling the Master System Sonic games should have been included, not the Game Gear ones. [17] Superpanda said he would have preferred Knuckles' Chaotix over the Game Gear games and also considered its exclusion of the Saturn version of Sonic 3D Blast a disappointment. [25]

Reviewers were generally divided over whether Sonic Gems Collection would leave players satisfied. [1] [3] [21] EGM summed it up as a "woefully uneven mix", but one Sonic fans should check out if they wanted Sonic CD. [20] Castro said the compilation was "decent" and worth its price tag, but was not as solid as Sonic Mega Collection. [1] Theobald found it weak and that only Sonic CD and Vectorman would appeal to casual gamers. [2] Bramwell was sarcastic: "if this sort of thing matters to you, if you still can't bear to unplug your Dreamcast, and you do own Virtua Fighter 4 and all the others and think they're brilliant, this is for you". [21] When Famitsu named the best games of 2005, it ranked Sonic Gems Collection among the bottom of the PlayStation 2 and GameCube releases. [26]

Notes

Related Research Articles

<i>Sonic Mega Collection</i> 2002 video game

Sonic Mega Collection is a video game compilation developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega in 2002 for the GameCube. The compilation contains twelve to fourteen games originally released on the Sega Genesis. Ten of the included games are installments of the Sonic the Hedgehog series, while the remaining two to four games are only related to the series through its publisher, Sega.

<i>Sonic the Hedgehog</i> (1991 video game) 1991 video game

Sonic the Hedgehog is a platform game developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega for the Sega Genesis home video game console. It was released in North America in June 1991, and in PAL regions and Japan the following month. The game features an anthropomorphic hedgehog named Sonic in a quest to defeat Dr. Robotnik, a scientist who has imprisoned animals in robots and stolen the powerful Chaos Emeralds. The gameplay involves collecting rings as a form of health, and a simple control scheme, with jumping and attacking controlled by a single button.

<i>Sonic the Hedgehog</i> (8-bit video game) 8-bit 1991 platform video game

Sonic the Hedgehog is a 1991 side-scrolling platform game and companion to the 16-bit Sega Genesis game of the same name for the 8-bit Game Gear and Master System consoles. Ancient—a studio founded by composer Yuzo Koshiro for the project—developed the game and Sega published it to promote the handheld Game Gear. The 8-bit Sonic is similar in style to its Genesis predecessor, but reduced in complexity to fit the 8-bit systems. It was released for the Game Gear on December 28, 1991, and for the Master System around the same time. It was later released through Sonic game compilations and Nintendo's Virtual Console.

<i>Sonic CD</i> 1993 video game

Sonic the Hedgehog CD is a 1993 platform game for the Sega CD. The story follows Sonic the Hedgehog as he attempts to save an extraterrestrial body, Little Planet, from Doctor Robotnik. As a Sonic the Hedgehog series platformer, Sonic runs and jumps through several themed levels while collecting rings and defeating robots. Sonic CD is distinguished from other Sonic games by its time travel feature, a key aspect to the story and gameplay. By traveling through time, players can access different versions of stages, featuring alternative layouts, music, and graphics.

<i>Knuckles Chaotix</i> 1995 platform video game

Knuckles' Chaotix is a 1995 side-scrolling platform game developed by Sega for the 32X. A spin-off from the Sonic the Hedgehog series, it features Knuckles the Echidna and four other characters known as the Chaotix, who must prevent Doctor Robotnik and Metal Sonic from obtaining six magic rings and conquering a mysterious island. Gameplay is similar to previous Sonic games: players complete levels while collecting rings and defeating enemies. Knuckles' Chaotix introduces a partner system whereby the player is connected to another character via a tether; the tether behaves like a rubber band and must be used to maneuver the characters.

<i>Sonic the Fighters</i> 1996 fighting game

Sonic the Fighters, also known as Sonic Championship on arcade versions outside Japan, is a fighting video game developed by Sega AM2. First released in 1996 in arcades on Sega's Model 2 arcade system, Sonic the Fighters pits players in one-on-one battles with a roster of characters from the Sonic the Hedgehog series. The game was built on top of the 3D fighting engine for Fighting Vipers (1996), an earlier fighting game by Sega AM2, and it serves as the debut 3D game in the Sonic series. The idea for a Sonic the Hedgehog fighting game was hatched when a Sega AM2 programmer was dabbling with a Sonic the Hedgehog 3D model in Fighting Vipers. The smoothness of the character animations convinced Sonic Team to approve of the project and supervise over it.

<i>Dr. Robotniks Mean Bean Machine</i> 1993 video game

Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine is a falling block puzzle game developed by Compile and published by Sega. It was released for the Mega Drive in North America and Europe in November 1993, and was ported to the Game Gear and Master System in December 1993 and June 1994, respectively. The plot revolves around Sonic the Hedgehog series antagonist Doctor Robotnik kidnapping residents from Beanville and turning them into robots, with the purpose of removing all joy from the planet Mobius.

<i>Sonic Spinball</i> 1993 video game

Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball is a 1993 pinball video game developed by Sega Technical Institute and published by Sega. It is a spinoff of the Sonic the Hedgehog series set in the universe of the Sonic the Hedgehog animated series. Players control Sonic the Hedgehog, who must stop Doctor Robotnik from enslaving the population in a giant pinball-like mechanism. The game is set in a series of pinball machine-like environments, and Sonic acts as a pinball for the majority of the game.

<i>Sonic R</i> 1997 racing video game

Sonic R is a 1997 racing video game developed by Traveller's Tales and Sonic Team for the Sega Saturn. It is the third racing game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, and the first to feature 3D computer graphics. The player races one of ten Sonic characters in various Sonic-themed race tracks as they attempt to stop Doctor Robotnik from stealing the Chaos Emeralds and enslaving the world. Sonic R features single-player and multiplayer game modes, and while similar to kart racing games such as Mario Kart, it places an emphasis on jumping and exploration. By collecting items and completing objectives, players can unlock secret characters.

<i>Sonic Triple Trouble</i> 1994 platform game

Sonic the Hedgehog Triple Trouble is a platform game developed by Aspect and published by Sega for the Game Gear in 1994. It is the sequel to Sonic Chaos and features classic Sonic series gameplay. The player can choose to control either Sonic the Hedgehog or Tails as they venture to protect the powerful Chaos Emeralds from others. Sonic and Tails can use items strewn across the stages, and differences in their abilities make for different gameplay experiences when playing as each character.

<i>Sonic Chaos</i> 1993 video game

Sonic the Hedgehog Chaos is a 1993 side-scrolling platform video game published by Sega for the Master System and Game Gear. Players control Sonic the Hedgehog and his sidekick Miles "Tails" Prower in their quest to retrieve the Chaos Emeralds from Dr. Robotnik, who has stolen them to construct nuclear weapons. Gameplay involves running through stages, collecting rings, and defeating enemies. It is largely based on the Master System version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and is thus considered a follow-up to that game. Chaos also marks the debut of Tails as a playable character on the Game Gear.

<i>Tails Adventure</i> 1995 video game

Tails Adventure is a platform game developed by Aspect and published by Sega in 1995 for the Game Gear. The game stars Tails from the Sonic the Hedgehog series in a solo adventure, as he collects an array of items to help him explore Tails Island and defeat the enemies inhabiting it. The gameplay is more slow-paced than other Sonic games, with Tails only capable of walking and flying at a moderate speed. The stages are explored in a non-linear fashion, with newly collected items opening up pathways in previous areas.

<i>SegaSonic the Hedgehog</i> 1993 video game

SegaSonic the Hedgehog is a 1993 arcade game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series by Sega. Controlling Sonic the Hedgehog and his friends Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Flying Squirrel, the player must escape an island as quickly as possible after they are kidnapped by series antagonist Doctor Eggman. The game is presented from an isometric perspective and players use a trackball to move the characters while dodging obstacles and collecting rings. The game was developed by Sega's arcade division, Sega AM3; it is one of four Sonic games to bear the SegaSonic name and was inspired by the 1984 game Marble Madness.

<i>Sonic the Hedgehog 2</i> (8-bit video game) 1992 8-bit video game

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a 1992 platform game developed by Aspect and published by Sega for the Master System and Game Gear. The game is a sequel to the Master System/Game Gear title Sonic the Hedgehog, and follows the titular character Sonic as he attempts to rescue his friend Tails from the villainous Doctor Robotnik. The gameplay is based on traversing a number of levels while collecting gold rings and attacking enemies. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was met with critical acclaim, with reviewers praising the visuals and gameplay while criticizing the high difficulty. In 1993, a sequel, Sonic Chaos, was released.

<i>Sonic the Hedgehog</i> Sega video game series and media franchise

Sonic the Hedgehog is a Japanese video game series and media franchise created and owned by Sega. The franchise follows Sonic, an anthropomorphic blue hedgehog who battles the evil Doctor Eggman, a mad scientist. The main Sonic the Hedgehog games are platformers mostly developed by Sonic Team; other games, developed by various studios, include spin-offs in the racing, fighting, party and sports genres. The franchise also incorporates printed media, animations, a 2020 feature film, and merchandise.

<i>Sonic the Hedgehog 2</i> 1992 platform video game

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a 1992 platform game developed and published by Sega for the Sega Genesis. It is the second main entry in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, and introduced Sonic's sidekick, Miles "Tails" Prower, controllable by a second player. In the story, Sonic and Tails must stop series antagonist Dr. Ivo Robotnik from stealing the Chaos Emeralds to power his space station, the Death Egg.

<i>Sega Genesis Collection</i> 2006 compilation of video games

Sega Genesis Collection is a compilation of video games developed by Digital Eclipse and published by Sega for PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable. The collection includes twenty-eight Sega Genesis games from a variety of genres, as well as unlockable classic Sega arcade games, with different sets of arcade games for the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable versions. A sequel was released in 2009 called Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

<i>Sonics Ultimate Genesis Collection</i> compilation of video games

Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection is a compilation of video games developed by Backbone Entertainment and published by Sega for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The compilation features 48 Sega games which were previously released for the Sega Genesis, arcades and the Master System. It is the sequel to the Sega Genesis Collection released previously for the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable, but contains 16 more games.

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