Classic Sega Games On Switch Are Getting Cool New Features

When Sega announced the “Sega Ages” line of classic games for Switch back in April, it said that the new versions of its classics, like Sonic The Hedgehog and Phantasy Star, would get updated features but didn’t talk specifics. It’s now revealing some of the additional elements, and they’re pretty darn cool.

Broadly speaking, there are two different ways you can re-release older games on new hardware. You can simply emulate the game and add some basic features like save states, display options, or rewind, which is what Sega is doing with its Sega Genesis Classics release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam.

But for the Switch, it’s taking the road less travelled: Instead of a bundle of ROMs for one price, it’s releasing individual games for about $US10 ($14) each and making major improvements to each one that are specifically tailored to each game.

Today, Sega said that the 8-bit RPG Phantasy Star would arrive on the Switch in September in Japan. (While the games have been announced for the U.S. as well, Sega of America hasn’t provided any such specifics, nor is it clear if the Japanese release will include English-language support.) On its official website, Sega detailed some of the tweaks that this 1987 Master System game would get on the Switch, and they are extensive.

First, the game will now support auto-mapping. The original featured 3D dungeon crawling, which could get pretty confusing if you didn’t have a piece of graph paper by your side at all times.

The Switch version will automatically chart your progress (and you can turn it off, if you want). There’s also a bestiary to fill in, in-game lists of magic and items, and an easy mode.

In short, rather than simply present Phantasy Star as it was, warts and all, the Sega Ages version will have many quality-of-life upgrades that might convince some people who bounced off the original to finally sink some serious time into it.

Sega probably doesn’t need to do as much convincing to get people to play the original Sonic The Hedgehog, but that’s getting upgrades too when it comes out later this month.

Most impactfully, you’ll not only be able to use the Spin Dash move from Sonic 2, but also the Drop Dash from Sonic Mania. Like Phantasy Star’s auto-mapping, you can turn these off if you want a more authentic Sonic.

Sega is also adding the “Mega Play” version of the game, which is a tweaked, more difficult version that was used in Japanese arcades. There are two “challenge modes” with online leaderboards in which you can attempt to get the fastest possible time on the game’s first level or play the Mega Play version with only one life.

There’s also a stage select option, as well as the “Ring Keeper” mode first seen in the 3DS version of Sonic 2, in which you only lose half of your rings when you get hit by an enemy, making for a much more forgiving game.

You have a choice when it comes to playing Sega’s classics - well, unless you only own one platform, in which case the choice has been made for you. I’m not sure what the best option, is, honestly—inexpensive bundles full of ROMs have more games, of course, but expertly-crafted updates like Sega Ages add a lot of value to older games that simple bundles cannot.


Comments

    They had better be amazing updates because you can get 53 Sega classics for $48 on PS4. That's less than $1 each compared to the quoted $14 for one game with a few QoL improvements. It's an obvious business decision on SEGA's part. The Switch is popular and people are hungry for games so why not package each individually at a higher price rather than sell a bundle? Worked for Nintendo and we all know SEGA does what Ninten-- er do.

      Huh?

      “why not package each individually at a higher price rather than sell a bundle?”
      I think they are packaging them individually and selling them at a higher-price.

      “Worked for Nintendo”
      What worked for Nintendo? They sell their same games individually as crappy ports at a high price generation after generation. Unless you’re talking about the times Nintendo sold people $100 proprietary hardware that came bundled with games that would run on a microwaves clock.... but I don't think that business model really applies here.

        The "Why not" phrasing was meant to be rhetorical, like when you say something like "It's a fine day so why not spend it outside?"

        I did in fact mean Nintendo's VC model where they repackaged their older console games and sold them at slightly higher prices than were reasonable. The thing is, even though there were a lot of complaints, people were still willing to buy them at the higher price point and were desperate for it (The VC) to be on the Switch as well.

        In terms of the Classic Mini consoles, they are smart decisions as well because not only do you have nostalgia value to play on, you also are selling those same VC titles bundled at a slight discount so it makes it an attractive option.

        Basically my point is that Nintendo are very good at creating loyal fans who are willing to buy multiple copies of their games at higher prices than one would expect. Just look at the Switch library, many of the first party games are WiiU ports and during the Wii U generation there were several HD remasters of their older titles as well. Having such long tails on products is something most companies can only dream of.

    Yikes! that is hugely overpriced for ancient games. I'm sorry but that's a big fat nope from me.

    Of course sega will then turn around and say that people didn't want these upgrades because no-one bought them. but price is the real reason. 8$ tops in my book for a megadrive or earlier game, and even then $5 is where it needs to be for me to impulse buy like crazy.

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