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Sega Genesis Classics (Switch) Review

December 12, 2018 | Posted by Mark Salmela
Sega Genesis Classics
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Sega Genesis Classics (Switch) Review  


Title: Sega Genesis Classics
Publisher: Sega
Developer: Sega
Genre: Collection
Players: 1 – 2
Rated: T for Teen

Retro games have never been more in style. Due to the success of “mini consoles” like the NES Classic and the SNES Classic, it seems like everyone in the video game industry has been dusting off their old collections, trying to find ways to sell old games again. Sony is out there with their PS1 Classic. SNK put out a 40th anniversary collection. Capcom has been re-releasing their arcade brawlers and Mega Man games in loving collections. It was only a matter of time until Sega got into the mix with something. Selling nostalgia is nothing new for Sega. They were selling bundled Sega Genesis games back in the Sega Dreamcast era. But for all the re-packaging Sega has done over the years, they have continued to find new ways to bring their old games back to life. And with the Sega Genesis Classics on Switch, they’ve put together their most impressive package yet.

Gunstar Heroes

Sega Genesis Classics brings over 50 Sega Genesis games to the Nintendo Switch, and besides an eshop version of Sonic the Hedgehog 1, this is the only way to play these games on the Switch. And considering the increasing unlikeliness of a true Virtual Console on the Switch, this may be the only way to play most of these games on your shinny Nintendo handheld hybrid console. This is a shame, since many of these Genesis games hold up extremely well, and even the ones that don’t are typically well-known games that will provide a quick nostalgia fix for any former or current Sega fan. The full list of Genesis games are as follows:

Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle
Alien Soldier
Alien Storm
Altered Beast
Beyond Oasis
Bio-Hazard Battle
Bonanza Bros.
Columns 3: Revenge of Columns
Comix Zone
Crack Down
Decap Attack
Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
Dynamite Headdy
ESWAT: City Under Siege
Fatal Labyrinth
Gain Ground
Galaxy Force 2
Golden Axe
Golden Axe 2
Golden Axe 3
Gunstar Heroes
Kid Chameleon
Light Crusader
Phantasy Star 2
Phantasy Star 3: Generations of Doom
Phantasy Star 4: The End of the Millenium
Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi
Shining in the Darkness
Shining Force
Shining Force 2
Shinobi 3: Return of the Ninja Master
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Sonic 3D Blast
Sonic Spinball
Space Harrier 2
Streets of Rage
Streets of Rage 2
Streets of Rage 3
Super Thunder Blade
Sword of Vermilion
The Revenge of Shinobi
ToeJam & Earl
ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron
VectorMan 2
Virtua Fighter 2


One thing that’s become apparent across the various Classic consoles and old game bundles released today is the need for variety. It’s become obvious that there are no 20 games that define the PlayStation 1. Ask SNES fans to name their favorite 20 SNES games and you’ll get very different lists depending on the person. It’s impossible to make everyone happy. The same goes for the Genesis. Even though the Genesis Classics collection boosts 50 games, there are still obvious favorites missing from the collection. A lot of them are likely missing due to music or other licensing issues, but they’re still missing. So, the best course of action is to simply have variety. If you’re a fan of puzzle games, you can sink your teeth into Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine and Columns. If you want some beat-em-ups the Streets of Rage and Golden Axe games are some of the best the genre has to offer. RPG fans will get their fill in Phantasy Star, while action game fans will get their fill in Vectorman and Gunstar Heroes. And last but not least the Platformer genre is well represented with Sonic 1 and 2, Kid Chameleon, and Ristar. Even the bad games on the Genesis collection such as Virtual Fighter 2 and Altered Beast are remembered fondly and associated with the Genesis by classic Sega fans.

While most of those games have been released before in other Sega collections, this is by far the most feature-rich and stylish package yet. Not only is the emulation of the old Genesis games great, but the amount of ways to tweak the emulation is really impressive. There are all sorts of options for stretching the screen, choosing different borders and backgrounds, and adding old fashioned CRT scan lines. There’s something off about the scan lines that don’t accurately emulate how they looked in the 90s on actual CRT TVs, but it’s a welcome addition for those who want to mess around with different looks. Even better are the more modern emulation options not previously seen in other Genesis collections. Sure, there are save states, but now you can re-wind and even fast forward the emulation. This is crucial and a welcome addition for those trying to beat some of these more difficult Genesis games. Unfairly fall to your death in Golden Axe? Simply rewind and be back in the action in seconds. Online multiplayer is also available, which is a welcome addition for those who are tired of beating their friends in Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine for the 1000th time.


Sega Genesis Classics is wrapped up in a real nice-looking package, with the home “hub” menu being a recreation of a child’s bedroom in the 90s. Nostalgia is dripping all over as you select a Genesis game from a shelf, pop them into a Genesis, and watch them load up on a retro CRT TV before becoming full screen on the Switch. You’ll play multiplayer by selecting the old-fashioned telephone, mess with a stereo for audio options, and get VCR style wobbling effects as you rewind or fast forward time. It’s a small thing, but it goes a long way while playing a collection built on nostalgia. Classic challenges, basically in game achievements, also add replay value for the old games as well.

There really aren’t any major suggestions I could make regarding the emulation itself. The games run fantastic in both handheld and docked mode, the online multiplayer works great, and the ability to rewind and fast forward in game makes old games feel new again. The only criticism with the collection itself are the games that aren’t here. Previous Genesis collections included Sonic the Hedgehog 3. It appears to be a music licensing issue, but how can you release a Genesis collection without Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles? It’s not surprising to see Virtual Fighter 2 on here, but that port is trash. Why not put a little effort into getting some 3rd party games on there? It’s not like EA is doing anything with the Road Rash or General Chaos IPs, why not put those old games on there? Or Contra Hard Corpse or Castlevania from Konami? Just as puzzling is that some games from the Xbox One and PS4 ports have been removed and aren’t going to be added back later. Why did 2 of the Wonder Boy games get removed for seemingly no reason? The PS4 and Xbox One collections were just released earlier in 2018.

Streets of Rage 2

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Most of the 50+ games in the Sega Genesis Classics Collection have been re-released many times before. But due to the outstanding emulation and modern features such as rewinding time and online multiplayer, this is by far the best way to play old Genesis games. There aren’t the museum and concept art options like Capcom has in their collections, and there isn’t a little Genesis to put on your shelf like in the Sony and Nintendo offerings. However, there are way more games in this collection then available in those other collections, even if there are still some notable omissions. There’s something for everyone here, and many of these games hold up extremely well. Even if you’ve picked up a collection of Genesis games in the past, the new emulator options make this a must have for old Sega fans. Mini consoles and collections have never been more popular, and you can’t go wrong with the Sega Genesis Classics.