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Sega Ages Memorial Selection Vol. 1

Reviewed by: Yashiro NankaseMedia: CD
Released by: SegaStatus: out of print
Platform: Sega SaturnNumber of games: 4
Year released: 1997Players: 1-2 (alternating)

Games included:
Head-OnPengoUp n' DownFlicky

The Sega Saturn is the console that Sega chose to chronicle their rich arcade and console history. They accomplished this by means of an extensive series of Saturn games all under the clever palindromic title Sega Ages. Think Namco Museum, only on a grander scale. More than 10 different discs. How many did we get in America? One. Sega of America gave the job to Working Designs and let them release Space Harrier, OutRun and After Burner II on one disc. Not a bad compilation (far from it!) but in Japan, each of those games got a seperate disc. A SEPERATE DISC!
Head-On: Dodge 'Em? Is that you?

Before I start a riot and cause the Sega of America building to be burnt to the ground, let me concentrate on this disc: Memorial Selection 1. Memorial Selection 1 collects 4 great classics together: Head-On (which may very well be Sega's first arcade game), Pengo (Sega's first mascot, and a damn fine game to boot), Up n' Down (another popular game), and Flicky (forgotten Sega platform/puzzler). Seems that the guys at Sega knew what they were doing, because there isn't a single fault in the emulation anywhere. Let me start by looking at the 2 earliest games: Head-On and Pengo. Head-On dates back to 1979 and is almost exactly like the Atari 2600 game Dodge 'Em. Actually, there was a flood of "avoid the collision" games in Japan's earliest video game days. Although interesting, Head-On doesn't hold my attention for long. However, Pengo ranks as one of Sega's best games from the 1980's (and that's saying a lot). 1982, to be exact. You're Pengo, a red penguin in a maze of ice blocks, on a mission to destroy the weird minty green blobs known as the "Sno-Bees". You do this by crushing them with well-timed ice block pushes. Sounds dopey, yes, but you'll be hooked. Pengo was a smash hit when it was released stateside on the Atari 5200, and for good reason.
Pengo: The Sno-Bees must die!

Now for the other two games, both from 1984. Up n' Down is much-beloved among the more serious classic arcade enthusiasts, because it is a charming pseudo-racing game where you must collect flags of different colors while avoiding other cars (with the aid of a jump button). It's great fun to drive around like a madman trying to get all the flags as fast as possible. It's like an offroad mission in Grand Theft Auto 3, only not nearly as frustrating. Up n' Down is just as addictive as...Flicky. I fell in love with this game after discovering the rare Genesis version. You play a little blue bird named Flicky, who has to recover all these little baby birds floating around, while at the same time avoiding cats, lizards, and other such things. Once you've rounded up all the chicks, you must head to the exit. Sound good? Yes, it is. Make sure to turn the music down though.
Up n' Down: Hmmm. Think this might be a distant relative of Bump 'N Jump?

Speaking of music, all the game's music (great stuff, by the way. From Pengo's fanfare to Up n' Down's Moon Patrol-like groove) is on the CD in the form of redbook tracks (a common theme in the Sega Ages series, and most Saturn games overall, actually) to add to the enjoyment. It's odd listening to 8-bit era music on a CD, but you'll get used to it. With the inclusion of 3 solid games, and the 23-year-old curio Head-On, this is a great disc for Sega fans, classic arcade fans, and Saturn enthusiasts, as it is one of the more addictive titles the system has to offer.
Flicky: Watch out, Flicky! *grumble* Stupid cats.

Worth the purchase: If you enjoyed playing any of these games way back when, you should already have this. If not, but you're a fan of games from the golden age of arcades, what are you waiting for?

Diversity: Four different genres are represented here. No repetition whatsoever.

Playability: You'd swear you were playing the original arcade machines.

Hidden gems: N/A