In an attempt to appeal to the slightly older generation of gamers who grew up with the now legendary Dreamcast, Sega have brought us the Dreamcast Collection. The collection features four DC games: Sonic Adventure, Crazy Taxi, Space Channel 5 part 2 and Sega Bass Fishing on the single disc. Sonic Adventure and Crazy Taxi are already available separately via Xbox Live and Steam, with the other two games soon to get a stand-alone digital re-release. If you want to relive the Dreamcast era without downloading the games separately the DC collection is a nice window into a particular segment of the past but, with some questionable design choices and its mediocre selection of games, the collection is not at all representative of the Dreamcast’s eclectic and unique game library.
Sonic Adventure is the first game to show up when you pop the disc into your console, and what a bad note it is to start on. The version seen on the disc is exactly the same as the stand-alone re-release we saw back in September last year, and you can see a detailed review of that version here. For those who just want a quick summary, know this: Sonic Adventure is not the same game you enjoyed in your youth. The game has aged terribly with bugs, frame rate issues and poor camera angles plaguing this port to death. The additional support characters and poorly designed hub levels are also much more frustrating than I remember them being, rendering Sonic Adventure as little more than wasted disc space for the Dreamcast Collection. Why they didn’t select the superior Sonic Adventure 2 is beyond me. The fact that they also still haven’t properly ported the game to support wide-screen displays is also just extremely lazy. Bad times all around.
Crazy Taxi has also recently seen a re-release last November, but is included as part of the Dreamcast Collection. Check out the full review of the November re-release here. In short, Crazy Taxi is just as it was nearly a decade ago. This is a double-edged sword though as, whilst the game retains its zany attitude and addictive gameplay, it also keeps the out-dated visuals and potentially shallow driving mechanics. The port has, however, lost the original’s killer soundtrack. You wouldn’t think this was such a big deal, but you really do notice it.
Starting off the two properly new re-releases is Space Channel 5 part 2. Having spent minimal time with SC5 back in the day, this was more a new experience for me than a retrospective nostalgia trip. The game sees you control journalist and reporter Ulala, as she combats the aptly named rhythm rogues through various locales in space. The gameplay revolves around you mimicking your opponents moves with the correct timing and generally feels like a very crazy and wacky game of simon says. Think Bop-it on acid and you’re about halfway there. SC5 is enjoyable in just how unique it is. It defines Sega at its weirdest and best, and is best described as a total assault on the senses. I honestly found myself having to take breaks from the game every half hour for fear my mind would explode. Though the gameplay is quite shallow, Space Channel 5 part 2 is one of the more memorable and interesting gaming experiences I’ve had in a while. It’s extremely camp and bizarre, but it’s almost so bad it’s good. This is often seen as the weaker sequel to the original Space Channel 5, but it is still entertaining and a solid addition to the DC collection. Whilst the port is generally translucent, the FMVs have been left with an ugly blur filter that makes them seem washed out and imprecise. It’s a small thing to pick up on, but it denotes the laziness with which Sega has handled some of these ports.
Sega Bass Fishing is the fourth and final title in the DC Collection and is honestly a better port than you might think. The idea of playing a fishing game without a rod peripheral (no euphemism intended) seemed ridiculous at first, but SBF’s dual analogue stick control method is simple and satisfying. Pulling the rod is dedicated to the left analogue stick, and reeling is done with circular motions on the right analogue stick. You use the A button to cast. It really is that simple and brings the “easy to pick up, tough to master” quality of the game to the fore. With its cheesy voice acting and classic gameplay, SBF was the only game on the compilation that genuinely gave me that fuzzy, warm feeling of nostalgia; and I liked it.
On the whole the DC Collection isn’t bad, but it is rather disappointing. For achievement fans, you’ll only find 800 Gamerscore you can obtain through the four games, as they are classed as four separate arcade games. This begs the question of why there weren’t any more games on the disc? Would it have been that hard to give us five or six titles instead of four? And, of the games they did include, who the hell decided these games were an accurate representation of the Dreamcast’s incredible back catalogue? Why Sonic Adventure instead of its superior sequel? Why Space Channel 5 part 2 instead of its better prequel? Where is Jet Grind Radio, Chu Chu Rocket, Phantasy Star Online, Samba Di Amigo and either Shenmue title? Any of these games are more deserving of a place on the collection than the four provided.
If you really have a hankering for all four games on the disc then the value isn’t horrendously bad. At its partially reduced RRP, the DC Collection might be worth your hard earned cash. If you want a proper indication of the Dreamcast era however, I’d strongly recommend you just go and buy a Dreamcast. Hell, you could probably pick up the hardware and all of its significant releases for about the same price as the Dreamcast Collection.
Sega haven’t committed any major sins with the DC Collection, but the Dreamcast honestly deserves better. Make sure you vote with your wallets and leave the Dreamcast Collection on the shelves.
This game was reviewed on the PC.
Crazy Taxi and Sega Bass Fishing provide a nice nostalgia, Space Channel 5 is still mind-bogglingly weird, Sega Bass Fishing is well converted to use the 360 controller
Sonic Adventure is pure turd, Some poorly ported elements, The collection doesn't offer good value for money, There were many better Dreamcast games that were more deserving of a place in this collection
Sega's Dreamcast collection attempts to return Dreamcast fans to their glory days but, with some dodgy ports, questionable value, and a disappointing selection of games, the Dreamcast Collection is not indicative of the quality of the Dreamcast's game library