Late last year, Sonic Team over at Sega released "Sonic Unleashed" which did have its problems, mind you, but didn't really do anything stellar the entire way through. Reviewers pointed out that Sonic's previous games were miles ahead better and I find nostalgia can help make a game's success. After all, that one game that critics hated at the time might've been one of your favorites but looking at it now you go "wow did that game have issues". Therein lies the major issue/fun with the Ultimate Genesis Collection: does the bulk of these games stand the test of time? Some definately do while others will probably get barely a few minutes before you decide it's awful but there's a lot of work to be done here if you get this.
One of the most important and influential game series that kickstarted the Sega Genesis was Sonic the Hedgehog, Sega's answer to Nintendo's Mario and included is a truckload of Sonic games: 1, 2, 3, Sonic and Knuckles, 3D Blast, Pinball and to a degree, Dr. Beatnik's Mean Bean Machine, a puzzle game akin to Dr. Wario, Yoshi's Cookie and Super Puzzle Fighter II. The first 4 are great and well worth the purchase while 3D Blast controls awkwardly, Pinball is decent but not stellar and Mean Bean Machine is good though later stages work a bit too damn fast for my tastes.
Another group featured is the side scroller platformer which run the gamut from Ristar to Kid Chameleon (woo!) to Decap Attack to E-Swat (big eh) to 2 Vectorman games. Beat-em-ups like Streets of Rage and Golden Axe are included and for RPG fans: all 4 Phantasy Stars. It's safe to say that nearly every kind of game is available on here from long drawn-out games to quicker arcade-y stuff but be warned: some of these games are...kind of hard. Not in that underpowered "everyone's better than you" way like a Ninja Gaiden but rather many times in the games you won't even get continues so if you die, boom, Game Over and you're sent back to the title screen which is really disheartening and I'm surprised I don't remember getting more furious when I was younger.
Now of course any collection from greatest hits to game collections is bound to have some stuff missing or curious additions. Fatal Labyrinth well...sucks, the Ecco games are familiar but playing through them, they're surprisingly boring and Super Thunder Blade is too easy to die in. But then, most likely because of dual releases on the Super Nintendo we're missing some other favorites: Battletoads, Toe Jam and Earl, the awesome WWF games, Maximum Carnage, any of the Road Rashes and to be honest, I quite liked the Aero the Acro-Bat games. Most of these games you probably wouldn't give the time of day too while other ones like Ristar and Comix Zone actually surprised me.
Naturally like all Xbox 360 games, there's achievements and these aren't just simply beat game, beat game kind but rather objective based so for example one of Golden Axe's achievements is to use magic a certain amount of times. Easy right? Every time you get a magic ability, use it and eventually, there we go. And thanks to the ability to save games anywhere you want but pressing the Back button, some achievements like the ones for Mean Bean Machine, Columns or Sonic Pinball can be done just by saving states after a certain time and loading save if you die. There's a couple like "Yatta!" that can potentially drive you crazy since it's more luck than anything while others are just simply "Turn to easy, max lives, play".
Another disappointing factor is that the games don't have online play, whether co-op for Golden Axe or Streets of Rage or leaderboards. Imagine competing against somebody to see who can get the highest score in Columns or taking on enemies with other buddies but sadly none of it are implemented and it's strictly offline co-op. But there's quite a few unlockables from videos of the games' developers to additional games (while unlocking Shinobi is cool, Congo Bongo flat out sucks) but it's the games that are important and for completionists, having so much games to beat will surely keep you busy.
The Ultimate Genesis Collection is tough to judge as a game because for every Sonic the Hedgehog or surprising gem like Ristar there's godawfulness from Fatal Labyrinth to Flicky to Bonanza Bros. However getting all Sonics, Phantasy Stars, Streets of Rage, and Golden Axes on one disc is reason enough to get it.