Vintage Collections are an interesting type of software to review, because you have to decide how you want to review the software in question. Monster World comes to us from SEGA, who also provided Alex Kidd & Co. on Xbox LIVE Arcade and PSN this past week. The SEGA Vintage Collection: Monster World combines three games into one and, for the first time outside of Japan, we get Monster World IV. The new collection features achievements, leaderboards, and recordable/downloadable game sessions. It’s an interesting collection of RPG titles that brings back the classic days of SEGA gaming. Though, how do these games shape up in today’s high-tech world?
Wonder Boy in Monster Land is played inside the arcade cabinet machine of the three set ups you’ll see when you boot up the game. It is a sequel to the original Wonder Boy that originally launched back in 1986, and takes place 11 years after the first game. Wonder Boy in Monster Land is a classic RPG that isn’t complicated and doesn’t have an overly-cluttered menu system. It’s a fast-paced action game and doesn’t provide you with much storytelling simply because it doesn’t have time too.
The game is quick on its feet and therefore you don’t have much time to chat with NPCs or stop to heal at the local potion shop. The game is on a timer, so unless you’re familiar with timed games, you’ll more than likely find yourself at the “Continue?” screen more often than not. It can also be a difficult game when you reach the bosses as they can take you out within the first few seconds of a battle. You’ll have to plan your strategy carefully and will need to stock up on potions. Other than that, it’s a very well-made title that can keep you coming back for multiple play-throughs.
Wonder Boy in Monster World is much of the same concept as Monster Land, but is much more slow-paced than its predecessor. This game concentrates on the adventure of its nature. If you remember the Final Fantasy days, you’ll be able to save your game at the inn and talk to NPCs in different towns.
The game controls fairly well, though keep in mind that you won’t need quick reflexes to keep on time with the pace of the game. For those modern gamers out there, the controls might seem a bit simplistic when compared to what you’re used. However, it’s important to remember that this is a retro collection that will hold more appeal to those with nostalgic feelings of the past.
I’d say the bright spot of the collection is Monster World IV, which is getting its first localization in the US after being an exclusive release in Japan. It feels great and controls very well. It’s also an adventure game with a heavy focus on platforming, and has you fighting a variety of monsters and bosses.
This time around, you are in control of Asha who is on a journey to find and help the spirits after hearing their whisper for help. As you control Asha, you’ll also earn the opportunity to utilize Pepe’s abilities to fight your way through to the spirits. Since the collection is based off the SEGA Genesis version of the game, your controller formats to that control scheme. As a result, it might seem awkward when you are going through the menu, trying to select your items or attempting to talk to different characters.
SEGA has managed to put together a great presentation that’s like a blast from the past. When you boot up the game, you are greeted with the opening logo and a tune that sounds like a classic rock version of the old SEGA Genesis songs. When you head into to the main menu of the game, it’s your like you’re in your own arcade room.
There are three different stations, with the left-hand one featuring an arcade cabinet, while its peers show as mini SEGA Genesis consoles. The game is fitted to play on a standard definition television so those of you with HD sets out there will be disappointed. It is a retro game after all, so you’ll see some decorated game art on the sides of the mini screen when you pick out of the collection. When it comes to other features in the collection, you’ll have leaderboards to keep track of progress.
Having the option to record and download game sessions is also a nice feature, especially when you want to show off to your friends. The music is also a nice mix of various midi tunes that are very well orchestrated and are uplifting.
In the options menu, you can play with the different settings to change resolutions and graphical filters if you’re looking for a different look during your session. The games look great overall and the 16-buit graphics really pop. The colors are vibrant and have very detailed environments and backgrounds. I think Monster World IV looks the best out of the three, and it certainly shows the amount of effort that was put into porting the game.
Overall, SEGA Vintage Collection: Monster World is a great pick up for anyone looking for three very well-made action RPGs from years gone by. Monster World IV is a nice addition to the group, and it’s a shame that it never made it to North America in cartridge form.
This review is based on a copy of the game that was provided to us for review purposes.