Opinion

“A Hopeful And Hyperactive Discussion About the Sega Ages Collection”

Alright break it up, you two! Oh, hang on. This isn’t an argument. Gadzooks! It’s a wholesome conversation between two intellects on the subject of gaming and Sega. Imagine that. Checkmate internet.

Today is, as I’ve mentioned in the preceding article, Sega Day here at The Well-Red Mage since we’re featuring a duality of textual magic about our favorite cobalt company. Here to escort you, dear reader, through the hallowed halls of Sega’s… interesting history and their potential future, especially where it involves the Sega Ages Collection, are the Hopeful Sega Mage and the Hyperactive Coffee Mage. Yes, the latter’s avatar is blurry on purpose: tremors and palpitations.

I give you, the Hopeful and the Hyperactive with their predictions, prestidigitations, and prognostications…

-Red

 

 

coffeemage Despite never really owning a Mega Drive (or Genesis on our side of the pond), I’ve grown up with Sega games, specifically Sonic the Hedgehog and its many sequels. I have, however, owned a Game Gear, so it’s not like my own home was Sega-free! Growing up,  I used to play all sorts of games from Sega’s massive library, such as Space Harrier, Shinobi III, Ristar, Phantasy Star II and Gunstar Heroes, to name a few at the homes of relatives and friends. However, with this new Sega Ages initiative, I’m intrigued at what other games I’ve missed out on over the years. So, I turn to you, O Hopeful Maestro of the Mega Drive, to explain to myself and our captive audience, just what exactly is Sega Ages?

Did someone say Sega? Sorry…my Sega sense was tingling… HandheldMage

Sega Ages is a group of Sega games that are being ported to the Switch and released this summer. They’re being developed by the excellent M2, who did some great 3D remasters of Sega IPs for the 3DS.

coffeemage According to the announcement, it seems that Sonic 1, Alex Kidd in Miracle World, Phantasy Star, Thunder Force 4 and Gain Ground are slated for release in summer. The only game I’ve played in that list was Sonic 1, the rest will be all new (or moderately new, considering that I’ve played Phantasy Star II) to me! Though I hope that there will be new ways to play these games? Or fun game modes? Imagine playing Sonic 1 in Mirror Mode?

M2’s remaster for Sonic 1 on the 3DS was well regarded. HandheldMage
It added the Spin Dash to the game, which always makes Sonic more fun! Mirror Mode would be a good idea actually, be worth trying!

To be honest, I can’t see M2 doing much with the other games on the list. Thunder Force IV might get a graphical update, but that’s all it needs – it’s the first release it has had so it’s still a novelty. Miracle World is fine as is in my opinion and bar a graphical tidy up and an option to remove random battles, I would leave Phantasy Star too.

Nothing in the world can make Gain Ground fun. It’s scientific fact that it is a dull, dull game.

coffeemage Beyond those, I wonder what other games will be released? I’m fairly certain that we’ll see a bunch of Sonic releases, like Sonic 2, Sonic 3, Sonic and Knuckles, etc.

Sega reissues these Sonic games every generation…HandheldMage
following the success of Sonic Mania, it makes sense but surely everyone owns them by now?

coffeemage That’s true, but here’s a thought: what if the original games were remastered or possibly remixed, like the new X-Challenge mode in the upcoming Mega Man X Legacy Collection series? Given that Sonic Mania did just that with the second acts of each Zone via adding in new gameplay elements or reusing elements found in other Zones from the series, I don’t see why this couldn’t be done for the original games? In fact, there have been a few romhacks that have done an excellent job in this regard, like Sonic Megamix or Sonic Before the sequel. Also, if M2 was to introduce a new time attack mode for each game with online leaderboards, that would be awesome! That’s my honest opinion.

It’s a good opinion! I’ve played a few of M2’s 3DS remasters HandheldMage
(Outrun and Super Hang On) and they’re superb. You have the ability to switch the controls around, a scoreboard, graphical effects and in Super Hang On’s case, you can even use tilt controls like the arcade machine! Sega couldn’t have got anyone better than M2 to develop these games, they have both the technical ability and the respect for Sega’s past that makes the games shine!

coffeemage So, continuing on the list, I see Alex Kidd in Miracle World… Alex Kidd was the mascot before Sonic, right? What other games could we expect from the series?

Ah, Alex Kidd, Sega’s redheaded stepchild…HandheldMage
in terms of the Alex Kidd series, I can see Miracle World doing well – it’s easily Alex’s best game and a decent Mario-inspired platformer. The rest….urgh. Hi-Tech World is a weird, awkward game that’s not even originally an Alex Kidd game, Lost Stars looks too kiddy and Enchanted Castle is awful, like someone trying to reprogram Miracle World but missing the point. Alex Kidd in Shinobi World would be fun actually, it’s Alex’s last game and even though it’s another game that wasn’t intended to be a Alex Kidd game, it’s good fun, if a bit short from all accounts. I can’t see Shinobi World getting a release though. We’ll just get Miracle World and Enchanted Castle.

coffeemage I’ll be honest: I’ve never ever played Alex Kidd, so I think adding some of the best the mascot has to offer would be a great addition to the series, at least for those who missed out.

Definitely! Sega treat Alex like dirt, HandheldMage
but people forget that he had some good games. Alex was Sega’s mascot from 1985 – 1990 and should feature on a collection covering Sega’s history. Just use the Master System games instead of the Mega Drive game!

coffeemage Speaking of the Master System, do you think we’ll see more games from that system featured in the Ages compilations?

Don’t wind me up! I’ve wanted a ‘Master System Ages’ HandheldMage
or a ‘Master System mini’ for year. Give me a cartridge slot and USB screen shot saving and I’m all in. There are lots of games I would love to play again, but not many that I can see getting a release in 2018. The one I would both love and is a realistic option is Fantasy Zone. M2 have gone a great job with the 3D remaster on the 3DS, so an improved Master System port would be no problem for them.

Shinobi would also be a good choice, if just to give the compilation the original game and the sequels.

coffeemage Again, the Master System is slightly foreign to me (I owned a Game Gear though), but I’d like to see some Game Gear versions of Master System titles be available to play, as a way to compare between the two games?

I’m the opposite – had a Master System and only read about the Game Gear. HandheldMage
I don’t think the Game Gear games are that different from the Master System releases, apart from the screen ratio. However, the Game Gear does have some unique Sonic games (Sonic Triple Trouble, Tails Adventure, Sonic Drift, Sonic Labyrinth) that would be nice extras for any Sonic release.

coffeemage I loved Triple Trouble. It’s one of my favourite Game Gear games! And Tails Adventure is also a pretty good game too.

Oh hey! I just realized you mentioned Shinobi! It’s a favourite of mine, so I’d be disappointed if anything from that series wasn’t released. Hopefully they will be, with the cheats intact no less!

You’ll get all three of these, no worries. HandheldMage
We’ll get Revenge of Shinobi version 4 (the one that doesn’t rip off Spider-Man, Godzilla and Rambo as bosses), Shadow Dancer (a game that sometimes gets left off compilations for some random censorship reason), and Shinobi 3. I reckon Sega should throw the arcade original of Shinobi in too, it makes sense to complete the original series. Failing that, the Master System version of Shinobi is decent.

coffeemage I think it would make the most sense for the arcade version of Shinobi to be released first, seeing as the compilation focuses on the arcade releases.It would be interesting if Shinobi was remastered as well, given M2’s track record.

I’d love an M2 remaster of the original ShinobiHandheldMage
it’s a fine game and a bit of M2’s polish would really add to Shinobi. I agree too with thought of releasing the arcade version of Shinobi first, surely if you are going to release a series, you should release the first game first?

coffeemage Indeed. Moving on, if there’s another series that we need to consider for release, it would have to be Golden Axe. It’s funny because it was through you, Hopeful Sega Mage, that I was introduced to the series in the first place. I surmise it would look similar to the Sega Forever version, right?

It’s good to know I’m spreading the Sega word! HandheldMage
I hope M2 do something with Golden Axe, it’s definitely a game that could do with a bit of depth. If I was M2, I would maybe package the trilogy together, like the recent Double Dragon Trilogy that came out on Steam. That would be a better deal for Switch owners. Oh and Sega…please release Revenge of Death Adder as well, that would be the icing on the cake for any Golden Axe compilation!

Regardless, I guarantee we will get all three of these at some point, like Sonic they get a release on every console. The first one is worth your time, but you can probably ignore the other two.

coffeemage Here’s another series that should be considered: Vectorman! I really liked Vectorman! I hope they give the game some special treatment, in terms of new challenge modes and the like.

I’ve only played Vectorman for an hour or so, HandheldMage
but I did quite enjoy it. I don’t know if Sega will release it as they only focus on the popular franchises, but if they do it will take some time to make it to the Switch. If so, I’m sure M2 will add some new modes and effects to the game. They could even package it with the sequel too.

coffeemage Back to the list of releases, do you think we’ll see the entire Phantasy Star lineup as a collection? As I recall, Phantasy Star III wasn’t as popular as II and IV?

I think we will see all four games individually. HandheldMage
There are pretty big games and I can see Sega charging more for them, so they will probably issue them individually to make more money.  I’m no Phantasy Star expert (I’m a complete RPG novice) but III, despite it’s status, is probably still a decent game, just not as good as II and IV.

coffeemage Alright, so let’s talk outside of the first party games and into third-party/cross-platform releases. Like Mortal Kombat for instance?

Mortal Kombat? Not sure on that one nowadays, HandheldMage
not sure who owns the rights. A good idea might be to get the Master System version of Rampage on – there has just been a major motion picture release after all!

coffeemage Oh yeah, that’s a great point! Tying the game to the movie would definitely help it sell to the public! Back to Mortal Kombat, the game was, I think, one of the driving reasons to own a Genesis/Mega Drive back in the day, since they kept the blood and gore the SNES version censored. Likely, third party licensing will be a huge issue, so I’m guessing adding this and other third party games to the Ages collection will be a stretch.

Agreed – it’s extra work and trouble for minimal payoff. HandheldMage
Would Mortal Kombat 1 make much difference to a Sega Compilation? I doubt it.

coffeemage Alright, let’s talk features and additional content! It’d be cool to have a retro room in game where characters can interact with stuff like galleries, music players and the like. Also, incorporating in-game feats to unlock content would give players incentive to play over and over again, I think?

Yeah, some good unlockables would really get people replaying these games. HandheldMage
Let people unlock the arcade version of Altered Beast if they beat Mega Drive Altered Beast for example.

Regardless, it depends if Sega have any new stuff to add. I could see a lot of the Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection’s (PS3/Xbox360) material being recycled though. There were lots of interviews and art work there that would be cool to see again.

coffeemage You know what would be neat to see? Some history or trivia on the game. I think that would be really interesting, from a historical point of view.

Again, I could see some recycled stuff but I think M2 HandheldMage
will focus on making the game feel more modern than dating it with old information.

coffeemage If M2 does focus on modernising the game, would it be a stretch for them to include what changes they made? Like commentary for instance?

I think that’s a good idea. HandheldMage
Maybe the extra features could be the unlockables? Say if you get 100,000 points in Sonic, you can use the spin dash, for example?

coffeemage Another feature we touched on was a music player option. That is something I definitely feel should be included.

I could see this happening, HandheldMage
especially if M2 remaster the soundtracks for the games. I’m just gutted than Super Hang On and Outrun (my favourite Sega soundtracks) wouldn’t get released again, solely for this reason. It’s not impossible, but I think Outrun creates issues due to it’s Ferrari license, so doubt we’ll see it.

coffeemage I read somewhere that there’s a chance that Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles may not see releases due to licensing issues. Since it was found out that Michael Jackson had a hand in making the music for the games, Sega has veered away from remaking/re-releasing the games, strictly due to copyright and licensing issues. It’s a shame really, because those are my favourite games for the system.

That’s correct – it’s the reason Sonic 3 and HandheldMage
Sonic and Knuckles weren’t included on the recent Sega Mega Drive collection released on PS4/Xbox. A shame really..
.

coffeemage In terms of graphics, I’m sure we’ll definitely see some options to incorporate scanlines, maybe smoothening as well. It seems pretty standard fare for these retro re-releases. Additional features to add would be the ability to rewind and fast-forward through games, multiplayer support for local and online matches, the ability to switch between PAL and NTSC versions and maybe a mirror mode, as I mentioned earlier, for an additional challenge.

I’m liking this mirror mode idea, HandheldMage
could really add some life to some of the older games (i.e. Sonic).

coffeemage Alright, so let’s look beyond the Mega Drive and Master System; what about games from systems like Sega CD, Saturn, Dreamcast, etc?

Sega fans have been clamouring for these games for some time! HandheldMage
I personally think the Mega CD won’t be touched upon – Sonic CD (arguably the Mega CD’s best and most commercially viable game) has already been released a few times over the years and I can’t see Sega releasing anything else from that system.

Any Sega Saturn remasters would be a big thing for Sega fans. Sega rarely touch on the system and tend to overlook it, but there is no doubting it has some games that would a) sell well due to rarity and quality and b) benefit from a remaster. I never had a Saturn growing up (something I find myself regretting in 2018) but off the top of my head Sega could release remasters of Burning Rangers, Panzer Dragoon Saga (if they ever find the source code!), Virtual On, Nights (which has been released a few times, but I reckon it would really suit the Switch) and Guardian Heroes to acclaim.

Dreamcast games would do well too, in my opinion. The console is well regarded and has some notable software and I’m surprised Sega haven’t planned to port a few Dreamcast games to the Switch already. Games like Crazy Taxi and Jet Set Radio are ready made for the Switch and I reckon a remastered Skies Of Arcadia could do very well. Sega might even try and wheel out Sonic Adventure again…I’ve only played bits of it, but for me it’s a game that really hasn’t aged well…

coffeemage With the announcement of Shenmue 3, having the original two re-released would be a huge boon, both to Sega and to the fans. The Saturn was a system I missed out on, but I was intrigued by Nights, so it would be great if it was re-released.

I agree with you on the Sega CD (Mega CD) releases. The only game that’s well-known for the system was Sonic CD. The sequel for the first Ecco the Dolphin game was released for the system as well. Other than that, well, not much else comes to mind?

I’d like to see Knuckles Chaotix be released, finally. It’s like the Zelda II of Sonic games. It’s a fun game to play and it wouldn’t be so much of a problem to be released, let alone remade?

I’m sure Sonic Adventure and Adventure 2 may make this list, especially for the Switch considering they were remastered for the GameCube. Definitely Crazy Taxi and Jet Set Radio should make the cut as well. Finally, (and this will be HUGE stretch) I’d like to see the Dreamcast port of SoulCaliber. It’s arguably the best game on the system and the reason why the Dreamcast was so revered back in the day, but seeing that it’s a third party game, I don’t think that will happen at all…

Ah, SoulCalibur is Namco. HandheldMage
Namco were one of the first publishers to get irritated by Nintendo’s monopoly in the late 80’s/early 90’s and would end up publishing mainly for Sony during the mid-90’s. They’re happily multiformat publishers these days, so I can’t see them remastering an old game exclusively for Nintendo. At best, you’ll probably see a multiformat re-master.

coffeemage OK, let’s wrap this up: What do you suppose the ideal cost for each game would be?

It depends on the game, truthfully. HandheldMage
I’d say most Mega Drive games are worth around £2.99 these days, though I can see (and understand) the denser RPGs being more expensive.

It may be worth packaging some of the….games of less quality together, to avoid customers being ripped off. A Golden Axe trilogy would be good as it would let you play the decent original and have a bash at the other two, lesser games in the series. Maybe package a few Alex Kidd games together? You get Miracle World at least that way…

coffeemage I agree. On the other side of the pond, I’d say around $4.99 for some of the games and maybe $9.99 for later generation games? Packaging games together in a compilation would also be beneficial, but we’ll see what lies ahead. Care to sign us out?

It would be my pleasure, Mage of Coffee and Hyperactivity… HandheldMage

I’m hoping Sega and M2 really use this opportunity to show us why these Sega games were so popular back in the day and how they can still appeal to modern gamers. Hopefully, we’ll see rarer fare amongst the usual suspects. As long as Sega are still releasing games and letting us dream of ‘blue skies gaming’ then everything is right with the world.

Till next time…same Sega time, same Sega channel…

 

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10 replies »

  1. Great work on this collaborative article, you two! I’m *sniff* so proud… mages grow up so fast *sniff sniff*

    Anyway! I WOULD FREAKING LOVE A SATURN COLLECTION OF DIGITAL GAMES! I nearly lost it when you mentioned Guardian Heroes. I loved that game at a friend’s house and that’s a system I never got enough of.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t have a Switch, so am unlikely to even see what’s in the Ages collection, but … I own several copies of the Mega Drive collection on different systems. What I’d really like is to see similar for the Master System, GameGear, 32X & CD, Saturn and Dreamcast. The core systems all had some great titles, and the 32X & CD seem to be sadly swept under the carpet. Honestly, with the recent resurgence for Sonic, I half expected some sort of new collection with Knuckles: Chaotix to turn up.

    Liked by 3 people

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