It’s nice to see the Xbox Live Arcade getting classic Sonic the Hedgehog games in succession. On the other hand, people have been complaining of the high prices of these individual downloads. In our current market these games can be found in cheap compilation and collection disks with many more classics included…such as the recently-released Sonic Ultimate Genesis Collection (now for 20$) for the PS3 and Xbox 360.
Enter Sonic & Knuckles. To be released on September 9th on the XBLA, this final Genesis entry of the Sonic Anthology (which some fans claim to be the last exceptional Sonic game released) will actually include the infamous “lock-on” technology in its emulation code. For those who lived under a rock back in the day, Sonic & Knuckles had an extremely unique property; acting as an expansion to other Genesis Sonic titles when inserting them on top of the cart’s “hatch”. While Sonic 2’s bonus was limited to playing as Knuckles through the same levels, Sonic 3’s additions are a dream come true to many fans. Sonic 3 + Knuckles is the greatest Sonic game ever in my opinion because of how different and expansive it feels compared to playing each title individually…as if it’s a completely different game all-together.
For the past couple of years we’ve yearned for this lock-on technology to be “emulated” perfectly in compilations, only to be denied time after time. The last collection that got it right was Sonic Jam for the Sega Saturn. All the ones after that sadly failed. With Sonic Mega Collection for the GameCube, PS2, and Xbox…the material was there, but the catch was that you had to unlock the bonuses individually by completing mundane achievements like “playing Sonic 3 10 times” and whatnot. Of course, Sonic Ultimate Genesis Collection removed lock-on support all together with a cheap excuse; that including them will ultimately lead to removing other classic titles.
With the XBLA release of Sonic & Knuckles, it seems that there are no obstacles to using “lock-on” except for the obvious fact that you must own Sonic 3 and Sonic 2 on your 360. If I’m not mistaken, it’s 5 bucks (400 points) per Sonic title thus far so Sonic & Knuckles should have the same price. For the value of 10$, I’ll gladly download both Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic 3 and experience one of the best Genesis titles ever. Of course, XBLA Sonic ports have certain enhancements not found in the originals: leaderboard support, Xbox Live multiplayer (no co-op sadly), save anywhere, achievements, and slightly optimized graphics for HDTV displays. Good stuff indeed.
Let’s hope Sega gives us Knuckles Chaotix soon after this release. None of the compilations have this 32X classic so it would be great to finally experience it again after all these years. I’m sure none of us feel like tediously setting up a 32X just to play one good game, right?
Source: Shacknews (via 1up)