If there is one thing Sega is good at, it’s releasing compilations of its classic titles. The latest series features a wide array for both XBLA and PSN, but weirdly divided up differently. On PSN you can purchase them all individually, while XBLA offers them up in packs of three. The most diverse of this bunch is definitely Alex Kidd and Co., which features three games that have nothing in common. This pack includes Alex Kidd in Miracle World, Super Hang-On and Revenge of Shinobi; not exactly bedfellows.
Sega collections are a dime-a-dozen nowadays, but this new vintage set does have some added perks. The most obvious are the enhancements made for the current high quality displays. If you have an HDTV, you can adjust the aspect ratios of each game, as well as scanlines, and even toss in 3D support if your TV has the gear. Playing Super Hang-On in 3D is a bit jarring at first, but otherwise a really cool addition. The menu system has also been streamlined to keep things clean and compact. You can access game difficulties and even go back to the game select screen at will.
Fans of the original Alex Kidd, and especially Shinobi, will certainly appreciate the ability to save anywhere in the game. This limits a lot of the frustration of these older titles and lets gamers play them at their own pace. We have become quite spoiled with checkpoints and save anywhere mentalities, and these punishing old-school titles would likely not be appreciated with our hectic schedules and such. It is also worth noting that each game features a trials portion that you can complete after finishing the game. These give you challenges above and beyond the original game and allow you to post scores to leaderboards.
That is the only online support for these compilations, which is not necessarily bad for the title at hand. Alex Kidd and Shinobi are pretty much solo experiences, and Super Hang-On can live without competitive play, but some of the other collections will feel a bit shallow without it. Still, for the price tag there is little room for too much complaining.
As for the games themselves, they all hold up surprisingly well. Alex Kidd was Sega’s original mascot before Sonic took over, and his whimsical platforming still puts a smile on my face. Revenge of Shinobi is probably one of the most ported classics in the Sega library, and it still manages to impress- if you drop the difficulty and up your shuriken count. Finally, Super Hang-On has probably aged the best. Taking the tight corners with an analog stick brings back memories of playing it in the arcade. Plus, crashing into those three frames of animation in 3D is somewhat jarring and cool.
Fans of Sega and their classic titles will no doubt find this oddball compilation more than worth the price of admission. The new HD features are nice, and the support for 3D is respectable. The lack of online really doesn’t hinder this experience too much, but be wary of it in some of the other collections. If you never had a chance to play Alex Kidd, that alone may be worth dropping the coin, although I’m not sure why Sega didn’t do the original Kidd collection, or sell them separately like on PSN. Regardless, this is one solid collection for $10, and if you enjoy these classics, it is worth the investment.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.