The title of the game, SEGA Mega Drive Ultimate Collection, is misleading. “Ultimate” implies the pinnacle. The forty or so games collected here, while some of SEGA’s best Mega Drive games, don’t encompass the term ultimate. Rather, what you have is most of SEGA’s software output on the Mega Drive plus a few arcade and Master System titles thrown in for good measure, omitting many awesome third-party titles, like Konami’s Rocket Knight Adventures, Treasure’s Gunstar Heroes, Electronic Art’s Road Rash series, and many more.
That said, this is a fantastic collection of classic Mega Drive games, from arcade favourites, such as Golden Axe, Shinobi, Altered Beast, and Streets of Rage, to the role-playing stalwart series, Shining Force and Phantasy Star, and, of course, every Mega Drive Sonic the Hedgehog game, except the lock-on capabilities of Sonic & Knuckles, which is strange, given it only takes a line of code to access the lock-on titles from the Sonic & Knuckles ROM.
So what you have here is an excellent, rather than ultimate, collection of games. All are presented in 720p and they look amazing for games that are now over twenty years old. For the most part, the games sound as good as they did back in the early 90s and they play just as well. Players are given an onslaught of options, from saving games mid game, improving the graphical capabilities through some simple graphics filters and stretching algorithms, and customisable controls. There is a slew of unlockable extras, from games, to interviews with the developers, and it’s all presented in a very slick package. It loses points for not including enough games to earn it the title of “ultimate”, but what’s here is so good you will hardly notice. Highly recommended for 80s and early 90s retro gamers.