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Sega Ages Vol. 1(PAL/Europe)- Sega

Editor's note: In Japan, Sega Ages was released as a set of individual games, in Europe, as a collection of games (on 1 CD). This is the review of the European version. As of writing (1/9/1997) Sega has not mentioned a US release.

by Mark Jones(mark_jones@ccgate.minerva-is.com)

Lowdown:

    Do you remember all those years ago, when everything seemed brighter, arcade games were cheap to play and queues were lengthy to play games using Sega's Super Scaler Technology? Well, here are three games which used the technology and what superb conversions they are.
If you were in your middle teens back in 1985 and you were into video games, you'll remember Super Scaler. It was a technology Sega used to give the impression of 3D. No polygons here my friends, just lovely sprites being expanded and reduced at high speeds. The effect at the time was quite literally jaw-dropping. It was used in many Sega games, and in this compilation you have access to three of the most famous. They are, in chronological order Space Harrier, Outrun and Afterburner II. I'll be looking at each one in this order.

Space Harrier - The first game to use the new technology. Basically, a fly into the screen shoot em'up. It was a big advance at the time, with very smooth, large and extremely colourful sprites. The sound is very average with forgettable tunes and feeble sound effects and the gameplay very simplistic i.e. move, shoot, move again, shoot, you get the picture. Nonetheless, a very challenging game. Far too difficult for a lot of todays gamers!

Outrun - This is probably one of the most widely known racing games of all time due to many things but probably mainly due to the endless home computer conversions that were written. You drive your Ferrari Testarossa through five stages (out of a choice of 15) through varied landscapes against a time limit. Many vehicles try to stop you from getting to the goal (including VW Beetles and large trucks) upon which you are treated to a unique animated sequence (depending on the route you take). This is quite easily the game of the whole compilation. Utterly superb music (Magical Sound Shower being quite superb), smooth graphics and hard gameplay (as long as you set it on hardest). I bought the compilation for this alone. You may do the same.

Afterburner II - Well, a fast version of Space Harrier with faster graphics, funkier music and Jet Fighter Planes (hence Afterburner). Personally I quite like this game although many people slated it due to it's simplistic gameplay when it was converted, in my opinion excellently, to the Sega 32X. The idea of the game is very much like Space Harrier, fly through different terrains shooting down enemies. Some levels are low flying terrains where you shoot ground based enemies which break up the monotony of the high flying shoot-outs. Again, a fast-paced game, difficult game but definitely fun.

I have not mentioned above how these compare with the Saturn versions. Well, no need, whatever you played in the arcade, you'll play on the Saturn. These ARE the machines on one CD. The Saturn (well known for its sprite capabilities) has no problems emulating the games (although they are not actually emulated, but written from scratch). All music is streamed from CD and each game is loaded in one go. But beware, if you are a young gamer, the lack of polygons and hard gameplay may put you off, but if you were there, queueing up for your go on Outrun, spend that cash of yours .... NOW!

Graphics: 7

  • + Super Smooth Scaling
  • + Very high frame rate (try playing Sega Rally after Outrun!)
  • - A bit dated (to be expected)
  • - A little blocky close up
  • - Bordered on UK/PAL release
Sound/Music: 8
  • + Outrun, ummmmmmm, it's soooo good.
  • - Space Harrier and Afterburner aren't up to much
Gameplay/Control: 9
  • + Outrun is AM2 at it's very best
  • +/- Gameplay on all is relentlessly difficult
Lasting Power: 9
  • + What? Three superb conversions, you'll play for Ages (no pun intended!)
  • - You'll have to remember the "good old days" to replay this one.
Overall: 8

I love this. I'd have given my left arm for Outrun in the home 10 years ago. Buy it and re-live the memories!

-Marky Mark




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