Sonic Gems Collection
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Whilst the first 2 compilations of Sonic games (Mega Collection) and (Mega Collection Plus) were both successes neither of them offered much to the die-hard Sonic The Hedgehog fan. In both collections cult favourite Sonic CD was omitted and the extra Sonic Index content delivered was poor compared to that of Sonic Jam released on the Saturn almost 10 Years earlier!

Sega now decide to release another compilation containing entitled Sonic Gems - to be aimed at the more sophisticated Sonic fan containing; Sonic CD, Sonic R and Sonic The Fighters also known as Sonic Championship.

In addition to these games will be several Game Gear titles that have previously been released with other compilations.

All this comes at a budget price to the gamer and available for both Game Cube and Playstation 2.

This page details the European Game Cube version.


As with the previous compilations Sonic Gems is essentially a menu system wrapping up the games on the disc. Gems sports a much more pleasant menu system following theversion in Sonic Mega Collection Plus with better fitting background music.

There are 4 main sections;

Main Menu
Games Menu Museuum

Games - Lists the games available to play. When a game is selected you will have an overview of the controls and a clip of history.

Museum - The collection of Extra Material for the discerning Sonic fan. More detail below.

Manuals Menu Extras Menu

Manuals - A collection of manuals for games in digital format. For Sonic CD and Sonic R both the console and PC versions of the manuals are included.

Extras - Has 2 options; Hints which is basically a collection of cheats for the games that are unlocked over a period of time and Credits for the compilation.

Like in Sonic Mega Collection Plus you can now save games at any point. Be warned that your memory card will fill up quickly after several saves. 27 Blocks are needed for a save state and each game in the collection also requires memory for saving settings.

The 3 main games in the collection are:

GAMEPLAY INFO

Sonic CD

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Sonic CD

Sonic's first and last outing on the Mega CD console originally released in 1993. You must save timeless Little Planet and thwart the plans of Dr Robotnik and save your girlfriend from Metal Sonic.

This is a port of the PC version that appeared in 1996 which is (in terms of gameplay) is identical to the Mega CD version.

The gameplay viewed from a more 'close-up' angle which is ok. The game plays almost perfectly and the special stages run much smoother.

In 'Gems' the US soundtrack has been implemented. There is much debate as to which sound track is better for this game. The Japanese an European version of Sonic CD had a totally different soundtrack. It's disappointing that Sega did not give the option of both of them.

The movies in the game have been upgraded to full screen versions with improved audio taken straight from Sonic Mega Collection no doubt. The ending movie does seem to be sluggish possibly elongated to fit the background tune. Additionally there are no credits to be seen scrolling up the screen.

Sonic CD does suffer from a graphical glitch in Tidal Tempest - the water is the wrong colour! The water is clear rather than the green you would normally see when Sonic is submerged.

Get the full overview of the original version of the game checkout the Sonic CD page.

Sonic The Fighters

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Sonic The Fighters

Fighting gods AM2 meet Sonic The Hedgehog. In 1996 came Sonic's first beat'em up game released in the arcades only. Ported from the arcades this is the first console version of the game to the delight of many Sonic fans.

Sonic and pals are in a fight to determine who is the strongest on the planet. That hero must then go on a mission to destroy the Death Egg II.

The port seems to have landed quite well in Gems. Whilst the graphics look dated they generally play well as does the sfx and music. During play a list of moves can be displayed for your character.

A Vs mode is now available from the title screen and there are a handful of options to tweak.

For the overview of the arcade version checkout the Sonic The Fighters page.

Sonic R

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Sonic R

The 3D Sonic Racer that was originally released on the Saturn in 1998 and on the PC sometime after.

Sonic and pals race in a grand prix that will make or break reputations and reap the glory of the Chaos Emeralds.

This version is a port of the PC version which on direct comparison with the Saturn version was the better of the two if not difficult to actually get to run.

Graphically the game has been enhanced including some extra water effects shading whilst overall benefiting from a higher framerate.

Unfortunately in Sonic R the appalling lyrics to the soundtrack have been included but thankfully these can be turned off.

For the complete feature checkout the Sonic R page.

As well as the full games the following Game Gear titles are also included provided via the art of emulation. These were originally included in Sonic Adventure DX on the Game Cube.

Sonic 2, Sonic Triple Trouble, Sonic Spinball, Sonic Drift 2, Tails Sky Patrol and Tails Adventures.

Sonic The Hedgehog 2

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Sonic Triple Trouble

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Sonic Drift 2
Sonic Spinball Tails Adventures Tails Sky Patrol

Extra unlockable in the compilation are: Vectorman and Vectorman 2.


Vectorman Vectorman 2

Vectorman

Vectorman 2

These are both platformers released on the Mega Drive in 1995 and 1996 by Blue Sky software. These games are famous for pushing the Mega Drive to it's absolute limits in terms of graphics showing some stunning features not thought possible on a 16-BIT system. The games themselves are worthy platformers with plenty of action.

Also included in the collection is all the Mega Drive games from Mega Collection Plus displayed as Demo Mode in the Museum. As annoying as this sounds to anyone who had already bought any of the Mega Collections, the catch is that they are only playable for 5 minutes starting you on the last level of each game. Bizarre!

Museum Unlockables

The museum section is where the extra content lies. In here is a total of 320 images, 3 movies and 12 remixed songs. Items become available when you complete certain tasks.

The image galleries are a collection of art from various Sonic games including Sonic Jam.

Gallery #1 - Sonic the Fighters

Open Gallery 1 - Play Sonic the Fighters for 60 minutes.

Open Gallery 2 - Play Sonic the Fighters for 120 minutes.

Open Gallery 3 - Play Sonic the Fighters five times.

Open Gallery 4 - Play Sonic the Fighters ten times.

Super Sonic Art - Complete Sonic the Fighters.

Gallery #2 - Sonic CD

Open Gallery 1 - Play Sonic CD for 60 minutes.

Open Gallery 2 - Play Sonic CD for 120 minutes.

Open Gallery 3 - Play Sonic CD five times.

Open Gallery 4 - Play Sonic CD ten times.

Open Sonic vs. Metal Sonic Image - Complete Sonic CD.

Gallery #3 - Sonic R and Sonic Jam

Open Gallery 1 - Play Sonic R for 60 minutes.

Open Gallery 2 - Play Sonic R for 120 minutes.

Open Gallery 3 - Play Sonic R five times.

Open Gallery 4 - Play Sonic R ten times.

Open Gallery 1 - Play Sonic R for 60 minutes.

Open Gallery 2 - Play Sonic R for 120 minutes.

Open Gallery 3 - Play Sonic R five times.

Open Gallery 4 - Play Sonic R ten times.

Open Additional Art - Complete Sonic R.

Gallery #4, #5, #6 and #7 - Sonic the Screensaver (various images)

NOTE: The Sonic Screensaver galleries are unlocked randomly for every 15 minutes you play the collection until you have played for four hours, when they are all unlocked.

Remixed tunes come from various games in the collection and are listened to whilst browsing the museum. A player is accessed in the museum section by pressing the Y button.

CHEATS AND TIPS

Click on the links for the respective pages above

You will have to perform some button translation depending on which machine you have.

Unlocking Vectorman

Vectorman becomes unlocked when you play Sonic Gems for 5 hours. Alternatively if you have a save file from Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, Sonic Mega Collection, Sonic Adventure DX, or Sonic Heroes the game will be unlocked instantly.

Cheats for Vectorman can be found here.

Unlocking Vectorman 2

Vectorman 2 is unlocked after you have played Vectorman or have played the entire collection for seven hours.

Cheats for Vectorman can be found here.

LINKS

Official Website (Japanese)

http://sonic.sega.co.jp/gems

SEGA Europe - Official Website

http://www.sega-europe.com/en/game/172.htm

Action Replay Codes at Sonic-Cult

http://www.sonic-cult.org

ROUND UP (AND RANT)

Sonic Gems to be the modern Sonic Jam? Sorry Sega but you've messed it up...again! Does Sega actually have a Sonic The Hedgehog fan in any of their testing or Q+A departments?

First up the game does NOT have a 60Hz option! It's found in all other modern Sonic games including the previous Mega Collections. What is this about?

The dropping of the Streets of Rage games is pretty damn mean. Loosing Bonanza Brothers is tolerable but still the question is why?

Onto Sonic CD. The game is easily the best in the package but is by no means the highest quality port. Did this game actually get a bug test? The glitch in Tidal Tempest is pretty good evidence it did not and sound effects are low quality and scratchy. The music for zones set in the past is pretty bad quality as well.

It's a good example of how lazy Sega have become. They could not even be bothered to give us the option for the 2 soundtracks much less the CORRECT one! I don't want to hear any bullshit about it not fitting on a GameCube disc which has a capacity of 1.5GB. A real opportunity was missed here for all Sonic fans to enjoy this game differently.

And why not give us the European manual? The US one does not even have the proper storyline!

I for one am more proud now to own an original Sonic CD on my Mega CD since they have screwed up the re-release so well.

About Sonic The Fighters. Whilst STF is not the best game or not without its problems, it probably the highest quality item of the collection. This crown could have easily been taken by Sonic CD but I credit STF for 2 reasons; 1) it is a much rarer Sonic game now playable (easily more rare than Sonic CD) and 2) model 2 conversions are apparently difficult and I imagined this port being worse than it actually is.

Touching on Sonic R. Very little has changed from the days of the Saturn and PC versions. If you didn't really want to play it then you won't want to play it now. The quality of the port is sound but nothing new added.

Game Gear emulation has neither anything added or taken away. It remains the same as with other compilations along with the same problems.

The extra material in the meseum is very 50/50. Plenty of pictures is fine but they are nothing special.

The remixes are not great by any means and do not appease for the lack in soundtrack for Sonic CD. Much better remixes can be found on the net.

For 20 or less Gems is a good package. For Sonic fans we get what we pay for and certainly not what we hoped for.

MISC INFO

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