Review: SEGA Genesis Classics (PS4)

Review: SEGA Genesis Classics (PS4)


  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PC, Mac, Linux

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV


  • PlayStation VR Optional
  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
  • PS VR Aim Controller None
Title: SEGA Genesis Classics
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (2.92 GB)
Release Date: May 29, 2018
Publisher: SEGA
Developer: SEGA
Original MSRP: $29.99 (US), £24.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: T
PEGI: 12
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Audio Review:
The audio review for this game is available on Episode 585 of the podcast at 53:35.
PS Nation Podcast Episode 588 - Get Your Warface On

The SEGA Genesis Collection, or SEGA Mega Drive Classics as it’s known in Europe, is the latest compilation of games from SEGA’s heyday in the mid-90s.

Counting on both the nostalgia of older gamers and the curiosity of the younger crowd, this collection of fifty-three games does what it can in putting together a decent mix of titles from the Genesis/Mega Drive generation.

Mainstays like Sonic the Hedgehog, Gunstar Heroes, Phantasy Star IV, and Streets of Rage II are here alongside a handful of lesser known titles.

A few glaring omissions however are Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, two massive titles in the history of the Genesis. Their exclusion here is even more baffling since both were included in Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection on the PlayStation 3.

It’s a pretty good mix overall, though understandably lacking in sports titles and other highly regarded games from other publishers. Just be prepared for a lot of side-scrollers and you’ll be fine.

The emphasis on nostalgia can be seen right off the bat as the main menu is a kid’s room from the 90s. Each of the menu selection options are cleverly disguised as items in the room and turning off the labels helps to complete the illusion. You can browse the selection of games on a nearby shelf and then choose one to play.

Review: SEGA Genesis Classics (PS4) Review: SEGA Genesis Classics (PS4)

The original Model 1 Genesis and controllers sit under an old 4:3 TV and you’re able to play the games in a full screen mode. Because these were originally built for a 4:3 screen, you’re given the option to have black bars or any of a number of set patterns based on a few games to fill the space on either side of the screen.

Whatever you choose will be there for every single game until you change it, but it would have been nice to have your selections set on a per game basis rather than having to keep changing them. It’s just one of many missed opportunities in this collection.

You’re given a ton of options in terms of controller button layout, pixel scaling, emulation, and scanlines. You can even take a step back from the full screen option and play as if you were looking at the small TV in the room. It’s a nice touch, but if you have PlayStation VR you can take things much further.

Optional PlayStation VR Content
The addition of an optional VR mode is a stroke of genius and it’s handled really well here. The room itself is essentially the same basic layout and all the options are still available. What makes this so cool is that you can really look around the space and, if you choose, you can play the game directly on the small TV in the room as you (virtually) sit close to it on the floor.

Review: SEGA Genesis Classics (PS4) Review: SEGA Genesis Classics (PS4)

One minor issue here is that the games default to a virtual screen mode, as if you’re playing a regular PS4 game in VR. This means you’ll have a small window for the game floating in a large blank space in front of you. It took me a minute to find the options and change it so it looked like I was sitting in the room playing and really, this should have been the default setting.

The feelings this stirred up in me were a bit unexpected because it really did a great job of recreating the feeling of sitting in front of an old TV playing games on the Genesis. Just make sure you move your camera a bit closer or lean in a little. The resolution in VR can make the small TV screen too blurry for reading, an issue I ran into with ToeJam & Earl.

While scrolling through the entire selection of games to get to that one you want can be a pain, you have the option to mark any games as favorites, moving them up to the beginning of the top shelf in a nice graphical touch.

The ability to save games at any point or have each game automatically pause whenever you switch to a new one is fantastic. It’s something many of us would have killed for in the 90s since often the only other option was leaving the console on for days.

Everything I tried felt just like it did years ago and it’s nice having the option to rewind when you make a mistake or fast forward through screens of text.

Review: SEGA Genesis Classics (PS4) Review: SEGA Genesis Classics (PS4)

The emulation is pixel perfect but options like the ability to add scanlines for a little more authenticity or the option to dynamically add four times more pixels are great to have. The bedroom is well thought out as well with VHS tapes on the floor and game posters on the walls, helping to set the mood.

The resolution takes a hit in VR and you really have to find that sweet spot with your distance to the TV to be able to see things clearly, but once you get there the immersion is fantastic.

Full List of Games
 Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle   Alien Soldier 
 Alien Storm   Altered Beast 
 Beyond Oasis   Bio-Hazard Battle 
 Bonanza Bros.   Columns 
 Columns III: Revenge of Columns   Comix Zone 
 Crack Down   Decap Attack 
 Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine   Dynamite Headdy 
 ESWAT: City Under Siege   Fatal Labyrinth 
 Flicky   Gain Ground 
 Galaxy Force II   Golden Axe 
 Golden Axe II   Golden Axe III 
 Gunstar Heroes   Kid Chameleon 
 Landstalker   Light Crusader 
 Phantasy Star II   Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom 
 Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millenium   Ristar 
 Shadow Dancer: The Secret of Shinobi   Shining in the Darkness 
 Shining Force   Shining Force II 
 Shinobi III: Return of the Ninja Master   Sonic the Hedgehog 
 Sonic the Hedgehog 2   Sonic 3D Blast 
 Sonic Spinball   Space Harrier II 
 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   Vectorman 2 
 Virtua Fighter 2   Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair 
 Wonder Boy in Monster World    

16-bit sound effects and chiptunes have a very unique flavor, especially on the Genesis and everything sounds perfect here.

Local multiplayer is really the only reliable way to go here. Online functionality is available and you can search for a match by filtering down to specific titles or for any available online enabled title. The thing is, there’s next to nobody online at this point. Online Leaderboards are also available for a handful of games.

Review: SEGA Genesis Classics (PS4) Review: SEGA Genesis Classics (PS4)

While SEGA Genesis Classics contains more games overall than Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection, dropping Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles is really difficult to understand. SEGA also missed the mark with all that could have been added in terms of game history or full box art.

There’s definitely a lot of great stuff here, and the optional VR mode is even better than I expected. If you’re a fan of the 16-bit era in general or the SEGA Genesis in particular, this is a good, though not quite great, collection of games to have at your fingertips.


* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.




Written by Josh Langford

Josh Langford

Josh has been gaming since 1977 starting with the Atari 2600.
He currently owns 26 different consoles and 6 different handhelds (all hooked up and in working condition) including all consoles from the current generation.

Josh is currently the US PR & Marketing Manager for Fountain Digital Labs and has recused himself from any involvement on PS Nation arising from posting or editing any news or reviews stemming from FDL.

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