Sonic Mega Collection Plus review

PSM2 explores the 'hog-shaped compendium of retro memories

Another year, another retroganza of repackaged hits and spin-offs.

But whereas the likes of Midway Arcade Treasures and Activision Anthology are retro atrocities (retrocities?) that bosh together bilge that only bespectacled men in M&S jumpers, still living at home with their mum, would ever want to play, Sonic Mega Collection Plus resurrects a handful of titles that are actually very good.

The three main Sonic the Hedgehog games for example; good design will always be good design and they're still as irresistibly playable as they were ten years ago.

You're given a handful of lives with which to navigate treacherous environments so rife with danger it'll make you weep, but the controls have been tightened to a degree that makes every error entirely your fault.

All three games combine the lithe gracefulness of a ballerina with the hard-nosed toughness of a football hooligan. A magical concoction.

Then there's Dr Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, a colour-linking puzzle game in the vein of Puyo Puyo that remains savagely addictive thanks to the timeless nature of its basic-but-brilliant game dynamic.

But, alas, it's not all sweetness and light. There's a cartridge-load of bilge to drudge through, including a cluster of god-awful Game Gear games that probably worked well at the time, but now reek like a farmer's knapsack after a day with the pigs.

Sonic Dash is particularly cringeworthy, adding weight to the notion that retro games are mostly rubbish and for wazzos.

Bizarrely, there are a couple of games in here that aren't directly linked to the Sonic series, namely Ristar and Comix Zone.

Ristar is a platformer featuring the titular hero who's basically a yellow, star-shaped Sonic (fact fans: Sega used animations and features in Ristar that were taken out of Sonic 2 at the last minute, namely the character's stretching arm powers).

The other game, Comix Zone, is a surprisingly novel side-scrolling beat-'em-up that takes place inside the frames of a graphic novel. It's visually very strong and technically quite interesting, but the action is too limited to make it a highlight.

The truth is, Sonic Mega Collection Plus is almost impossible to score. The first two Sonics are excellent, but can they really be taken seriously alongside the likes of Ratchet 3?

The price tag helps - twenty quid for over twenty games - but you'd have to be mad keen on Sonic to fully appreciate it.

Despite foaming at the tip with games, it's the Joanna Lumley of titles - beautifully presented, yet ultimately showing its age.

Sonic Mega Collection Plus is out for PS2 and Xbox now

More Info