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Sonic Classic Collection
4 New from
Sonic Classic Collection... well then. It's essentially a collection of the four main Sonic games released in the Megadrive era.
I'm not going to review the actual games themselves, we all know how they play, and they are available easily as part of various compilations. The problem is, you can get these compilations and play the games the way they were meant to, via Xbox Live, PSN, and the Sonic/Megadrive collections on PS2/Xbox, etc.
The games play well on the DS. They do their job and by and large are faithful to the originals. This is classic Sonic through and through. The graphics too are pretty much ok. The thing is, these versions of the games are emulated, rather than carbon copies. They have been shoe-horned to fit on the tiny DS screen, and this is evident with frequent scrolling bugs. There are weird scrolling effects on boss fights, because the bosses don't fit onto the screen, and these scrolling effects are present at the start and end of each act. Particularly with the Act summary once you beat it, with all the scores, rings, and collectibles you have amassed, all the information should stay on the centre of the screen, and it actually doesn't. It's a poor implementation of a scrolling system that shows that this was probably rushed out.
There are bugs too, both physical and graphical. In Sonic 1, in the Labyrinth Zone, the Grounders that burst from the floor often end up wandering through walls, while enemies that force Sonic to recoil in pain often end up pushing him behind physical objects such as item boxes and rocks, instead of in front of them. It's a poor show really and blemishes like these really tarnish an otherwise decent product. Oh, and the sub-boss music in Sonic and Knuckles uses the Sonic 3 music rather than the much better Megadrive version of S+K.
Because these games are emulated, you get the feel that much of the cartridge is empty. This should have been used to put in the Master System versions of the Sonic games. Granted, Sonic CD is probably too big, and Sonic 3D wouldn't work too well on the DS, but why not a couple of Game Gear bonuses too? Tails Adventure, perhaps, or possibly even Knuckles Chaotix, a great game that has been strangely absent, and overlooked from every single compilation since its 32x release?
Perhaps I'm being a little greedy asking for more, but the Master System versions at least would be doable and make this worth the original asking price. The games included, however, are classics, despite their slightly shoddy implementation, but they're also all quite easy, and there are no unlockables to earn. Once you've played the lot, there's nothing more to look forward to. Even the cheats don't work, including the famous debug mode in Sonic 1, so could play about in an effective sandbox environment.
Overall, if you liked the original four Megadrive adventures and want a nice portable reminder, by all means get this at its current price (around 10 pounds) but just be aware that this is ALL you get.
Grand Theft Auto 4: The Complete Edition
9 New from
First up, the guy below has got his reasoning wrong for the lack of planes. The REAL reason why there are no planes is because the game takes place in a city, and there is no reason at all for a city to have multiple airports. Hence the helicopters!
The game itself is brilliant fun, and is a departure from the previous GTAs. Your protagonist has come to America to experience the American dream, but it is not as he envisioned, having been given the wrong impression by his troubled cousin. But this storyline sets the way for great gameplay and graphics that are perhaps slightly dated now, but were great for their time.
The car handling is far more realistic this time, and you can see their suspension bob up and down when cornering, or driving on kerbs.
Along the way Niko can acquire several girlfriends, or meet up with friends for an evening out. To be honest this social aspect of Nikos life is probably the games flaw. It gets frustrating when you get constant phonecalls throughout the day asking if you fancy "doing something this evening", although initially it's a novelty worth exploring.
GTA 4 is gritty. Far more serious than the previous games - unless you play the "Ballad of Gay Tony" expansion, where the missions can be deemed, at best, as "somewhat unrealistic".
The Lost and Damned expansion is a bit boring to me. Biker gang warfare doesn't really interest me, and I hardly played this portion of the game.
Serious issues? Well, the frame-rate hiccups sometimes, and there are visual discrepancies, but overall GTA4 is a fantastic game. And, if you haven't got it already, this, along with the included expansions, is an absolute bargain at a penny shy of 18 pounds.
Scrabble: 2007 Edition
3 New from
This game works well on DS and is perfect for holidays and the like. Essentially it plays like the real game, although it seems easier to input seemingly made-up words (ie, I entered the letters "IP" and it registered as a word") so younger players could cheat themselves if they don't understand the meaning.
Also, the music, while fairly nice to listen to initially, can start to grate after a while.
The touch screen is used to great effect for this game and really, the DS is the perfect platform for Scrabble. It's a game I recommend :)