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Reviewed: Sega Smash Pack, Sega Puzzle Pack
Publisher: Sega
Developer: Sega
Genre Type:Mixed
Required System: P133, 16MB, Win95+, SVGA (256 color)
Reviewer's System: K6-3 450mHz, 128MB, Riva 128ZX video, Win98
Related Games: Sonic CD, Sonic&Garfield Collection, Sonic 3 & Knuckles
Overall Rating:Sega Smash Pack:
Sega Puzzle Pack:
Author: Michael Ahlf       Date: August 31th 1999
Page: 1
Sega Smash Pack:

Sega Smash pack has 8 "classic" Sega Genesis games, and is the smaller install of the two game packs, weighing in at an astonishing 8MB of hard drive space. As a general comment on implementation, I was puzzled by the lack of visual interpolation, as the games seemed pretty pixelated on the conputer screen. Also, the sound in this pack was fuzzy at best. I'm not altogether surprised at some of this, since the game emulation uses DirectX 3 commands and the current version for sound is DirectX 5 code. Since each game has its own play style and controls, the best method is to go through them one at a time.

Altered Beast:

  • Altered Beast was the game which originally came with the Genesis console itself. You play a resurrected man, ordered by the wizard who resurrects him to go forth and rescue the wizard's daughter. In the course of doing so, you must kill mythical beasts, in particular the glowing white ones, in order to get powered up to beast forms to fight the boss of each level. The game's controls are fussy at best, but better than the arcade controls were. This is the perfect game for people who just want to sit and beat things up with little to no plotline to get in the way.

  • Columns:

  • Columns was a puzzle game, involving dropping columns of 3 differently colored stones (order from top to bottom in the column held was movable) to create lines of three or more similarly-colored stones and score points while removing them.While the game's controls don't suffer, the game itself probably won't hold anyone's attention too long, especially as the speed got insane quickly on my machine.

  • Golden Axe:

  • Golden Axe is one of the earliest beat-em-up games around, with the format made successful by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade games. This one's controls were extremely fluid and usable (better than the arcade again). The game itself is a bit on the short side, but fun nonetheless, at least for a while.

  • OutRun:

  • OutRun was another one of the classic Sega game hits: it's not much as standard racing fare goes today, but it is a lot of fun to sit down and play for a short while. The controls are pretty simplistic and respond well, and the rest of the game is as pleasant as it always was.

  • Phantasy Star II:

  • Phantasy Star II: another old classic. If you're a fan of old-style RPG's, then this is your game. The controls are... well, what you can expect for an RPG, with lots of menus and the typical "your turn, my turn" fight style. Just be aware, this is a time-consuming game, so those looking for a game they can play a little here and there won't be too pleased with it.

  • Super Shinobi:

  • Of all the Shinobi games they could have picked... nice to see one of this series get into the pack, but Super Shinobi just never held the same draw that earlier Shinobi games had. At issue here: slow control interface and messy jumping, as well as a "life bar" approach to character death when earlier games had made the player be much more careful in their approach to attacking.

  • Sonic Spinball:

  • Sonic Spinball stands as one of the most dubious of all the Sonic the Hedgehog line: players got very confused trying to play with Sonic in a pinball-type setting. The game's controls, however, were outstanding, and the game is the type that allows the younger players to just sit and go nuts without worrying over game mechanics. One wonders why the original Sonic, or another game of the like, wasn't in the pack, except that Sonic has been released in Sonic CD, Sonic&Knuckles Collection, Sonic 3D Blast, and Sonic&Garfield Collection for the PC already, leaving Spinball as the only game which HASN'T been released for PC featuring Sonic.

  • Vectorman:

  • Sega's final offering in this pack is Vectorman, one of the later classics for the Genesis system. This game has it all, beautifully preserved: smooth character animations, quick motion, precise controls. This is one to sit down and have fun with.

  • The Larger Picture:

    The point of the Smash Pack was to bring back classics... and Sega made some good choices. The only things missing were some visual smoothing (compared to games of today, the games in the pack were all pretty pixelated), windowed gameplay (for people who want to play a quick game while waiting for something), and savegame support: on the PC, players expect to be able to save almost anywhere, and not have to play through the games in one sitting. Ths is especially true when you consider the main competition for the Smash Pack, the other various "classic" releases from Williams and various other companies releasing their old arcade games for PC.

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    Added:  Tuesday, August 31, 1999
    Reviewer:  Michael Ahlf
    Page: 2/4

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