Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection

So, a while back Sega announced Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection for the Xbox 360 and PS3 (lol no Wii). Here's the list of games (not counting unlockables) appearing on the disc:

Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
Alien Storm
Altered Beast
Beyond Oasis
Bonanza Bros.
Comix Zone
Decap Attack starring Chuck D. Head
Dr. Robotnik's MBM
Dynamite Headdy
Ecco the Dolphin
Ecco II: The Tides of Time
Fatal Labyrinth
Gain Ground
Golden Axe I
Golden Axe II
Golden Axe III
Kid Chameleon
Phantasy Star II
Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom
Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
Shining in the Darkness
Shining Force
Shining Force 2
Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master
Sonic 3D Blast
Sonic and Knuckles
Sonic Spinball
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Sonic the Hedgehog 3
Streets of Rage
Streets of Rage 2
Streets of Rage 3
Super Thunder Blade
Vectorman 2

So, overall...I'd have to say that this is probably the BEST COLLECTION EVAR OMG!!1!11

But...there's something about this collection that scares me...I'm afraid the only achievements will be for the 5 games (totaling 1000 gamerpoints) already released on XBLA (Sonic 1, Sonic 2, Streets of Rage 2, Ecco the Dolphin, Golden Axe). This is EXACTLY what Namco did with their Namco Museum on 360; the xbla games counted as the 1000 points and all the actual straight-up ports got the shaft.

All is not lost however. If this WAS just a simple port job (and one would assume that it probably is...Backbone is handling it after all), it's not scheduled to release until after Christmas this year, so that means they're actually putting at least a little effort into the release. The press release also mentions " MASSIVE MULTIPLAYER OPTIONS. Play these classics together with a friend from the same console at home." Now, this would normally be disheartening (Xbox Live /PSN play would truly make this one of the BEST CONSOLE RELEASES OF ALL TIME), but it provides a little insight into this achievement problem. The 5 games I mentioned earlier have online play (well, except Sonic 1 or Ecco the Dolphin), so that tells me that this may indeed be an original release, actually removing functionality from the xbla releases. Of course, from a marketing standpoint I can see why they wouldn't mention the online functionality of just 3 games on a compilation with more than 40. Still, one has to hope that out of this disappointing tidbit might actually point to this release having a full 1000 points to earn across the 40+ games (I'm totally freaking out about the possibility of earning achievements in Phantasy Star 4).

Also, it's worth mentioning that the press release actually says "UNLOCKABLE CONTENT. Unlock arcade games and interviews with the original game developers as you earn Achievements on the Xbox 360® and Trophies on the PLAYSTATION®3." Now, it's obvious that this could be referring simply to the current XBLA achievements...but that would mean that unlocking the new ones would have to be retroactive. I've already earned nearly all the achievements from the 5 XBLA games, and although I admit it would be convenient to simply unlock every game before even playing the collection, I would MUCH rather replay them (for the umpteenth time) if that meant new achievements for the rest of the collection. I'm also encouraged by the mention of trophies, since adding them to PS3 releases isn't exactly the thing to do (yet). By the way Sega...if for some crazy reason the Achievements and Trophies differed, even in the slightest way, I would buy both versions since I'm a total tool.

One last thing...given the 5 already released XBLA games, it also saddens me that, chances are, there aren't any leaderboards per individual game. Think about that...a speedrun/highscore leaderboard for EVERY game on that makes me tear up.

On that note, Sega better not be thinking about just forgetting about potential XBLA releases of games on this particular Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine aka Puyo Pop...which leads me to my next GAMES THAT NEED TO BE ON XBLA!

Puyo Pop is in my personal opinion the BEST competitive puzzler ever. After all, it was designed to be a competitive game from the beginning. Puyo Pop is one of the rare puzzlers where the standard "last as long as you can before you finally mess up and die" mode ISN'T the main mode, so that tells you something.

Imagine...Xbox Live Puyo Pop multiplayer...I'm practically sweating just thinking about it. The adrenaline rush accompanied by intense battles would only be intensified (for me at least) while playing complete strangers.

Puyo Pop is just so perfectly suited for an XBLA release, I have trouble imagining why it hasn't happened already...except that Puyo Pop Fever is available as an Xbox Original title on the Japanese Xbox Marketplace.

On that note, Columns is another game I'd like...but not necessarily NEED to appear on XBLA. A leaderboard and achievements are the only things that excite me about that...the multiplayer in Columns isn't ideal puzzle gaming bliss.

And while we're on the subject of puzzle games needing to be on XBLA, Taito's Puzzle Bobble. I freaking love Puzzle Bobble/Bust-a-Move. If you don't know what game I'm talking about...Snood. Snood is the bastard freeware turned commercial ripoff of Puzzle Bobble...that for some stupid reason, is more recognizable among the American gaming crowd than the OG.

Puzzle Bobble is sweet for a number of reasons. Firstly, it's awesome multiplayer. The back and forth battles of Puzzle Bobble are so freaking intense I don't even know how to properly explain it. The way the board drops on you or your opponent depending on how well you're doing is just so crazy, you don't even know.

The single player experience is also a fun time. You've got a puzzle mode where you only get a certain number of shots before the board collapses, and a "choose your path" style battle mode where you fight different AI opponents. And of course there's the standard endless mode. A game worth having even if you didn't have any friends.

The only thing I hate about Puzzle Bobble is its myriad releases. Puzzle Bobble 2 is the pinical of the franchise, and any entry past that sucks for one reason or another. The major problem with future releases is the addition of multiple multiplayer characters, each with his or her (or its) own unique advantages and disadvantages. On paper, this sounds cool...and works in other games, Super Puzzle Fighter comes to mind. However, it just doesn't work in Puzzle Bobble. There are certain characters that are just better than others, creating a tier list that isn't necessary in a game like Puzzle Bobble. The only cool thing about it is that players that suck can pick them against players of higher skill...a reverse handicap mode of sorts...of course this is only fun when both players agree on their choices, and it has no place on Xbox Live.

Now if you're up on your ESRB listings, you might be wondering why I even bothered writing this up. "Ultra Bust a Move" is listed as a downloadable Xbox release...the problem with this is that it could be an Xbox Original...although that wouldn't require a new ESRB listing...but I for one don't really trust the ESRB's listings enough to put a lot of faith in this being an honest to goodness XBLA release. Also, part of the charm of Puzzle Bobble is it's Neo Geo style character sprites...Ultra Bust a Move is full 3D and ugly as sin...I'm sometimes accused of wearing my nostalgia goggles too often, but most gamers would agree that Puzzle Bobble is a game that should stay sprite based.

I'll save these for later, but while we're on the subject I'll just mention that Taito should release Bubble Bobble on XBLA too...and to a lesser extent Rainbow Islands. Good times were had with both titles.

Well, that certainly was a big writeup. Sorry about the final hour blog yesterday. I was pretty busy, but I figured I wouldn't break my promise of a daily blog on day one. Maybe someday I'll elaborate why I hate PSP so much, even though I own two of them (a 1000 and 2000 model). On that note, I'm outta here. See you tomorrow!

Full of nerd anxiety.

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