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General Thoughts on SMC+


sonicDX
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Hello.

I'll be straight: Sonic Mega Collection Plus is not a too popular title in the franchise and it doesn't get the proper spotlight in my opinion, although it would deserve it. It was the first (official) Sonic 'game' I've played, and I happily take it out again even today. I thought to list my reasons why I think it's a really nice piece of the Sonic series, and I am interested in your opinion as well.

(Sonic Mega Collection Plus was released on Xbox, PS2 and Windows PC from 2004-2007. It is an update of Sonic Mega Collection for the GameCube.)

  • 20 Sonic titles ported from Genesis, Mega Drive and Sega Game Gear: of course, this is the main point of SMC+. Getting these classics couldn't be more easier, if you buy this compilation, you get most of the Sonic games from the classic era. It is especially useful for those who live in a cave, under a rock (just as myself), and don't use Steam or other digital platforms for buying games. You don't have to look for places you can buy these games, you get them all in one game, and it's even cheaper than buying them separately.
  • Great system: SMC+ has a nicely designed, easy to use system. With a total of 100 save slots, you can save and load your progress anytime, in game. This makes the game really comfortable and easily accessable.
  • Compatible, smooth port: I only tried the PC version, but I have no problem with the port of the games. They are comfortable to play on a keyboard, and also compatible with any gamepad, which is especially useful when playing in coop mode. The games run well, there are no lags or bugs while playing (for me at least). It's also not hard to run SMC+ on any computer: although the system recommendation says it only supports 32 bit sytsems, you can run it well on 64 bit ones with a few easy configurations.
  • Plus content: This is also a really strong point of SMC+. You can get lost for hours without playing: you can see lots of Archie Sonic comic covers, illustrations, read information about characters, see the developement of Sonic Heroes cutscenes (including storyboards), and read the manuals of the classic games. It's awesome they've put these content in the game, they are really interesting.

So, to sum it up I think Sonic Mega Collection Plus is one of the best and easiest ways to get to know the classic era of Sonic. Why is it less mentioned nowadays? Did you find it entertaining and useful as well?

 

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2 hours ago, Riseodvi said:

 

 

Posting a link to a song isn't enough to count as a proper post around here, so please try to say at least a few words about it next time, like what you think of the music in question, for example.

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Mega Collection isn't mentioned much because it's at least two console generations old and there exist plenty of other ways to play the Classics these days. It's like... Not relevant. The emulations are pretty good, and certainly better than some other attempts (like Classic Collection), but really who hasn't played the Classics to death already who doesn't already want to? SEGA quickly over did it with the compilations. 

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Mega Collection + wasn't too bad when I played it on the Xbox a few years back for some classic Sonic memories. I nearly beaten Sonic & Knuckles on it and was close, took a couple of years to beat it elsewhere. Emulation was mostly fine but did have a nasty sound bug at one point so I had to restart my game (a similar issue to that recent Mega Man collection). One major issue is that in the PAL regions for the console versions, it is stuck to 50hz even on the Xbox version with the 60Hz option on. What it means is that unless you have memories and prefer how it was played on the original PAL Mega Drives that not many do, it runs 17.5% slower than it should and for Sonic 1 it affects the sound too. That alone would put people off the collection. Another is that it only has half the Game Gear games so you would had to buy Gems Collection to get the other half that is not available both on the PC or the Xbox.

As for why MC+ is forgotten is mainly because there are other places to get the Genesis games and sometimes the better options even if this is a good collection. Sonic Jam has the additions such as difficulty modes, spindash in Sonic 1, the JP/US manuals and some minor bug fixes as well as the impressable Sonic World hub (also was the first time that the PAL regions got the Sonic games in full speed), it was the only one done by Sonic Team too. Mega Collection on the Gamecube was the first time that Nintendo fans got to play the classic Sonic games and perhaps some slightly better emulation but not as useful now. Mega Drive Classics on Steam and the Ultimate Collection on the PS3/360 had more games to choose from, not just the Sonic games but also many top games from the console and are considered bargains for their content even if emulation isn't great. These two are also the easiest currently accessible games to buy on the list. Plus you get like the Taxman remasters where they have more features and by many to be considered the best versions of the games or the 3D Classics. The only pluses is that it is one of the few legal places to get the Blue Sphere mode and Knuckles in Sonic 2 however a lot of fans don't bother with those (and Knuckles in Sonic 2 got replaced by the Sonic 2 Taxman remaster anyway).

As also mentioned, PS2 and the Xbox are currently in a stage that they aren't retro but they are also old and very hard to find new copies of games (the Xbox even more so) so for much of the library and sadly most in terms of the Xbox is forgotten and not desirable to many. They are also disc based consoles and some consoles (and games too!) are failing and no longer work. The PC version also has issues too such as not many computers have disc drives (but you can still get them, for how much longer is the question) and will have problems working on new computers over time. If it has copy protection of that era, it won't work on Windows 10. Yeah, I like to see some of the older PC Sonic games getting a re-release or a better port just for preservation.

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For a basic compilation with a good helping of old Megadrive games, it's a pretty nice deal on paper. The menus aren't lavish as the 3D ones in the original Mega Collection but they serve okay and it has all the same nice BGM. And the save option, while basic, is helpful. It even includes the Japanese exclusive games from the original this time.

The problem is more the quality of the games. It may just be the PS2 version I have, but the sound emulation is pretty poor. Some instruments sound screechier than the originals, while cases like Spinball and Mean Bean Machine actually chug and skip if too much is going on. The sound for some of the 8 bit games is outright unbearable.

It's worse for PAL gamers, since it lacks the 60hz option that the original Mega Collection had, and most of the extras are based on the US rather than European versions of the game. This was worsened for PAL Gems Collection, which didn't even at the right regional speed for most of the games, so sad SEGA cared so little about it's European market.

So basically a fun deal for those who just want a package of retro games, ruined by bad presentation and emulation quality.

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I absolutely loved Sonic Mega Collection Plus growing up, I had it on PC and it was my only way of accessing most of those classic games. Definitely stuffed with excellent content. The unlimited saving feature was appreciated by my younger self who was even worse at video games than my current self, though it could be a double-edged sword. I'll never forget my sister and I making it to Metropolis Zone and saving when we had over 9 minutes on the timer and one life left. x) Today I find the games more fun without saving, but it doesn't hurt to have it I suppose!

I would probably be playing it to this day if it wasn't for the unfortunate fact that sometimes it just decides it doesn't like a certain computer and refuses to run, including my current laptop. I seriously don't know why, but I know this has happened before on an older computer. I seem to recall that the problem may have fixed itself for some unknown reason that previous time, but I don't know. Thankfully, there are so many other ways to access the classic games these days, making SMC+ not necessary even though it would honestly be nice since some of the 8-bit games haven't been re-released quite as much. Because it's been so long, I have no idea about the emulation quality or any finer details like that.

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3 hours ago, King Koopone said:

The PC version also has issues too such as not many computers have disc drives (but you can still get them, for how much longer is the question) and will have problems working on new computers over time. If it has copy protection of that era, it won't work on Windows 10. Yeah, I like to see some of the older PC Sonic games getting a re-release or a better port just for preservation.

The PC version doesn't have copy protection and all the files are installed on the library of the computer, so the game runs without a CD. For new computers, I can't talk in general, but on a 64 bit Windows 8.1, it runs perfectly with simply changing the compatibility in the properties of the game file.

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Sonic Jam set the standard for a retro package. It was packed with all sorts of bonus material including commercials, manuals and a timeline. They actually used special compression techniques to fit all the content as it was too large for a single disc!

The games themselves were also enhanced with added save functionality plus extra easy modes. 

The collections that followed were nowhere up to the standard of Sonic Jam, despite being designed for superior hardware which had bigger disc space. (The original Mega Collection didn't even have a save mode). I think that's why they don't get much credit despite offering several games on one disc. 

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I dunno, I think Mega Collection/Plus is regarded as one of the most prominent Sonic game collections in the franchise, even above Jam. It helps that it got a follow-up in the form of Gems Collection, and left people waiting for a compilation of the really obscure stuff for years (which never panned out). 

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Mega Collection Plus is technically the superior game to Mega Collection in that it has more content and is available on a wider array of platforms.  But I feel like in terms of overall presentation, Mega Collection (original) blew me away when I first played it.  Everything from the music, to the menu screens, to the bonus content was an absolute gem.  Even though the PC versions on Steam are technically better (in that they support wide screen and play at a higher resolution), I still find myself going back to Mega Collection when I have a craving to play the classics.  It's just really good, okay?!

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