Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
Defunct Games Vs.
Defunct Games vs. Sega Vintage Collection
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on May 29, 2012   |   Episode 14 (Show Archive)  


Whatever you say, Sega!
Suddenly Sega decided to get serious about supporting their 8- and 16-bit games on the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation 3. While Sega had dabbled in Genesis releases in the past, this past week saw the Tokyo-based company open up the floodgates. We have racing games (Super Hang-On), ninja games (Revenge of Shinobi), 2D brawlers (the Streets of Rage trilogy), 2D adventure games (Wonder Boy in Monster Land),even more brawlers (the Golden Axe trilogy) and even previously unreleased Genesis games (Monster World IV). I'm telling you, it's a good time to be a fan of old Sega games.

But with four packs to choose from, which collections are worth picking up? Sega has decided to split the twelve games into four different packages, each retailing for 800 Microsoft points. It's also worth pointing out that the PlayStation Network only gets six of the games: Wonder Boy in Monster Land, Wonder Boy in Monster World, Monster World IV, Super Hang-On, The Revenge of Shinobi and Alex Kidd in Miracle World. These games retail for $4.99 each.

Below you will find reviews for all four Xbox Live Arcade collections, as well as capsule reviews of each individual game. See if you agree with our assessment of all twelve games when we go head-to-head in Defunct Games vs. Sega's Vintage Collection!

Alex Kidd & Co. Collection
[ System: Xbox Live Arcade | Price: 800 Points | Genre: Various ]
Before we dig into the quality of this collection, I want to stop and question why this pack even exists. It's not that these are bad games, but rather how random it is to see Super Hang-On next to Alex Kidd and Revenge of Shinobi. Why not release the much more exciting Shinobi Collection (featuring Shinobi, Revenge of Shinobi and Shinobi III)? Or, if Sega insists on packaging Shinobi with Alex Kidd, why not swap out Super Hang-On with the significantly more appropriate Alex Kidd in Shinobi World? It makes no sense.

The good news is that all three of these games are worth owning. While Revenge of Shinobi may not be the best installment in the series, it's a damn good action game that will fit perfectly in your Xbox Live Arcade library. On the other hand, fans of Shinobi and Alex Kidd may be thrown off by Super Hang-On. If you're one of those people who love all genres, then this is the perfect collection for you. Everybody else should probably take note of what's in the pack before spending ten bucks.

Super Hang-On (Arcade)
[ System: Xbox Live Arcade/PSN | Price: 800 Points/$4.99 | Genre: Racing ]
Super Hang-On (Arcade)
This motorcycle racing game has players speeding their way all around the globe. From the rolling hills of the United States to the rickety roads of Europe. With 48 different stages, players will eventually see every inch of this world. Much like OutRun, Super Hang-On isn't about coming in first. There are other racers on the course, but they act mostly as obstacles to avoid. Your job is to go as fast as you can and complete each stage in less than 40 seconds. I'm impressed that Sega chose to release the arcade original and not the first-generation Genesis port. Super Hang-On remains an addictive little racing game, even if there's nothing even remotely realistic about the experience.

The Revenge of Shinobi (Genesis)
[ System: Xbox Live Arcade/PSN | Price: 800 Points/$4.99 | Genre: Action ]
The Revenge of Shinobi, Sega's first 16-bit Shinobi outing, feels like the forgotten game in the franchise. This sequel plays a lot like a slower-paced version of Shinobi III. You walk from left to right throwing shurikens and casting magic. You'll fight the same types of enemies over and over, battling through all sorts of generic backgrounds. The game feels dated, especially for those who are more used to playing Sega's other two 16-bit sequels. You don't have a lot of techniques at your disposal and each level plays out exactly like the last. Still, I had a lot of fun reliving this slightly dated installment. This game is nowhere near as good as Shadow Dancer and Return of the Ninja Master, but that shouldn't stop you from having a good time with this Xbox Live Arcade and PSN release.

Alex Kidd in Miracle World (Master System)
[ System: Xbox Live Arcade/PSN | Price: 800 Points/$4.99 | Genre: Action ]
Before Sonic the Hedgehog there was Wonderboy. Before Wonderboy there was Alex Kidd. He was Sega's first mascot to compete with Nintendo's famous plumber. First the good news: Alex doesn't look like a hippy in his first adventure. If his surname wasn't "Kidd" I would have sworn he was a little monkey without a tail. He is a nice little fellow with an enormous fist to defend himself from fearful enemies like parrots, fish, frogs and scorpions. However he is also able to pick up or buy additional weapons like magic rings, a shooting helicopter or a deadly tricycle. For an early Master System title Alex Kidd in Miracle World is inspiring for how well this game aged. The graphics are bright and colorful; the sound effects are excellent and even the music is still catchy. It isn't the best game in the collection, but you won't be sorry for picking it up.

Monster World Collection
[ System: Xbox Live Arcade | Price: 800 Points | Genre: Adventure ]
Think Wonder Boy is nothing but a poorly dressed kid jumping from one tropical island to the next looking for skateboards? Think again, because Sega took this beloved character in some dark directions. This is the Monster World Collection, featuring three games you probably haven't played before. Each title tries its hardest to balance action and adventure, making for some very interesting releases.

First up we have Wonder Boy in Monster Land, the arcade hit that proved the series was about more than tropical islands. Believe it or not, this 8-bit classic is best compared to Zelda II, Nintendo's 2D side-scrolling adventure. From there we check in with Wonder Boy in Monster World on the Sega Genesis. This builds on the theme, adding role-playing elements and a bunch of cool bosses. The final game in the collection is Monster World IV, a real gem that most gamers haven't played. Even though you probably haven't played most of these releases, the Monster World Collection is a real treat you shouldn't ignore.

Wonder Boy in Monster Land (Arcade)
[ System: Xbox Live Arcade/PSN | Price: 800 Points/$4.99 | Genre: Adventure ]
Prehistoric Isle in 1930
Proving yet again that you never know what you're going to get with a Wonder Boy game, this 8-bit classic manages to be a compelling 2D platformer with just the right mix of role-playing goodness. Wonder Boy in Monster Land is the sequel to 1986 original, and while it shares the name that's pretty much where the similarities end. In this game you play a young soldier-like character, ready to do battle with his sword and armor. In a lot of ways the game feels like one of those classic Capcom arcade games, you walk from left to right hacking and slashing your way, all while picking up coins and trying to find the key to get out of the levels. Although Wonder Boy in Monster Land flirts with Zelda II and Wanderers of Ys, it never quite matches the competition. Still, it's a fun little adventure that is a million miles away from the tropical island hopping boy in the first Wonder Boy.

Wonder Boy in Monster World (Genesis)
[ System: Xbox Live Arcade/PSN | Price: 800 Points/$4.99 | Genre: Adventure ]
Known as Wonder Boy V Monster World III in Japan, Wonder Boy in Monster World is the Genesis answer to Dragon's Curse. With vibrant graphics, a fun combat system and plenty of variety, this Wonder Boy game is a real treat. When I think Wonder Boy I tend to get flashbacks to Hudson's Adventure Island. Thankfully this game is nothing like that flawed platformer, this is an exploration action game that allows you to run around an open world and find items and kill plenty of weird enemies. I was surprised at how relevant this game feels. Sure the controls are a little stiff and the game play is very basic, but I couldn't help but be reminded of recent Castlevania and Metroid games. With its cute art style and RPG elements I had a real easy time falling in love with this game, making this yet another worthwhile release on the Xbox Live Arcade and PSN.

Monster World IV (Genesis)
[ System: Xbox Live Arcade/PSN | Price: 800 Points/$4.99 | Genre: Adventure ]
Monster World IV is secretly the best game in any of the recent Sega collections. Released only a few days ago for the first time in the United States (on Nintendo's Virtual Console), Monster World IV is a masterpiece that defines why people love the Sega Genesis. Set a long, long time after the earlier installments, Monster World IV features a green-haired girl on a quest to save Monster World from total destruction. But it won't be an easy quest, because Asha must traverse an open world full of traps, tricks and, you guessed it, monsters. She's added by Pepe, an adorable little pepelougoo creature who can pull off all kinds of useful tricks. For example, Pepe's has large ears that allow him to fly towards hard to reach ledges. Together the two must travel the 2D landscape and save the day. It's a 2D adventure you probably haven't experienced, just one of the many reasons why Monster World IV is a must-download title.



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