Sega Smash Pack: Volume One
System: Dreamcast
Publisher: Sega
Developer: Various
Released: 2001
Genre: Collection
Capabilities: VMU, VGA Cord, and Light Gun Compatible

Review Written: February 24, 2002


Sega Smash Pack was released by Sega for the Dreamcast in 2001. It has twelve games from Sega’s past, mostly hit Genesis games with a few other newer titles like Virtua Cop 2 and Sega Swirl. Since I am reviewing twelve games, I am going to make all the reviews shorter than my usual offering so I don’t go over the word limit. With that, let’s get onto reviewing game #1.

Altered Beast

This is one of the many side scrolling action games you saw in arcades in the 1980's. In it, you are set in the BC ages, where you are summoned by Zeus to defeat the evil Neff. The graphics are very simple. Backgrounds consist of mostly roman architecture. The detail on the characters are nothing too special, but get the job done. The background music for this game is just horrible, and whenever that annoying voice sample of “power up” occurs, I feel the urge to turn off my Dreamcast rising. When you play the game, you start off as a weak human, but can collect several power ups by defeating foes to transform you into a flying beast, with special powers. With only five levels of play, and bosses that are easy to beat, you will find yourself getting bored of this game within an hour. It’s also funny how you see a two player mode in the demo, but no such available option for you to choose from.

Graphics: 6.8
Sound: 2.7
Game play: 5.5
Replay Value: 3.2

Overall: 4.5


Columns is Sega’s answer to Tetris, for Genesis fans dying for a good puzzler. In Columns, three random jewels, combined as one piece, fall into a drop box. You place them and form combos so you can match three or more of the same colors to knock them out of the drop box. The faster you clear the drop box the more points you get. Simple, and addictive, just like Tetris. The graphics are nothing special, with just a checkered board for your background, and the highlight being the different colored jewels used during game play. You get a variety of background tunes that play, and they all sound great. Sega was nice enough to throw us in a two player mode so we can play against a friend.

Graphics: 7.0
Sound: 6.3
Game play: 9.0
Replay Value: 6.7

Overall: 7.7

Golden Axe

This is another side scrolling action game, which plays almost exactly like Altered Beast. The story for this game is you are in the land of Yuria, and you control one of three warriors to destroy Death Addar. The graphics are designed a lot like the ones seen in Altered Beast, but with different heroes and villains. The sound is slightly better than Altered Beast, with a better background music tune, but in return we get the worst sounding death groans to grace any video game. The game plays out just like Altered Beast where you gather power ups by defeating various foes, but in here we pick from one of three warriors: Ax, Tyris, and Gilius. You can go through the game’s main mode, or pick duel mode. It’s a tournament fighting mode of sorts where it’s just you and one (or multiple) computer opponent going at it, with each next opponent getting harder in difficulty. Sega remembered to give us a two player mode in this game, where you and a buddy can team up through the story or compete against each other in duel mode. So at least there is a little extra here for us to tinker with after we beat the game.

Graphics: 6.8
Sound: 4.8
Game play: 6.1
Replay Value: 6.3

Overall: 6.0

Phantasy Star 2

Phantasy Star 2 is the sequel to hit RPG that debuted on the Master System. Now the second is on the Genesis, and features more characters, bigger worlds to explore, and better graphics. In PS2, you find the star Mota in trouble again, being attacked by an unknown evil. The graphics in the game were top of the line for Genesis at the time. You had your regular overhead view, complete with lots of characters, buildings, and various other environments. The battle engine looked great with all characters having there own animations. The game plays like most other RPG’s at the time where you wander around a world, gather a party of characters, get in battles to level up everyone, and upgrade your weapons and armor throughout the game. With PS2 being the RPG that it is, you’ll find yourself investing dozens of hours to complete it, and yes, you can create your own VMU save to keep progress for the game.

Graphics: 8.8
Sound: 6.5
Game play: 8.5
Replay Value: 8.0

Overall: 7.9

Revenge of Shinobi

Yes, another side scrolling action game by Sega, but it actually plays different from Altered Beast and Golden Axe. In RoS, you control Joe Musash, a deadly ninja who has the power of Ninjitsu. You are out to destroy the Neo Zeed, and rescue the kidnaped Naoko. The graphics aren’t nothing too great, but when you compare them to Altered Beast and Golden Axe, they look a hell of a lot better, with more animations and a better looking environment. You play it as you do most other side scrolling action games, but you have special attacks you can use like your throwing stars. The game is several levels long, and once you complete it, there is really nothing else to look forward to in the game.

Graphics: 6.5
Sound: 5.1
Game play: 7.2
Replay Value: 3.2

Overall: 5.5

Sega Swirl

This game debuted on the Dreamcast in 2000. Sega Swirl is just a simple puzzler, but really addicting. It plays out a lot like Columns, but with different colored swirls, instead of jewels. However, the drop box is already completely filled up with dozens of random colored swirls, and you make as many combos as you can. The game has several modes of play like Single Challenge, Level Challenge, and even an online mode where you play through email. The game has very simple graphics, but they get the job done, and are polished up enough to give it that new age kind of feel. Same goes with the music for the game. Astonishingly enough, Sega had the guts to give us a four player mode vs. and co-op modes. If you’re a sucker for puzzlers, you’ll fall hook, line, and sinker for this one.

Graphics: 6.3
Sound: 5.9
Game play: 8.7
Replay Value: 8.2

Overall: 7.2

Sonic the Hedgehog

The very first Sonic game that surprised the gaming industry, and kept Sega alive is included in this bundle. The game featured top of the line graphics for 1991, which featured the game moving at a very fast frame rate, but wait, how come there’s slow done in this version, when there wasn’t any in the Genesis game? Well that’s because Sega did a poor job emulating the game onto the Dreamcast. Why would Sega screw up emulating one of their best games? Don’t ask me. But in the game, Sonic gathers rings as he zooms through the levels, which also acts as his life force. When you get hit by an enemy, Sonic loses his rings, and if he gets hit and doesn’t have any rings at the time, then he is defeated. Your quest in Sonic the Hedgehog is to meet Dr. Robatnick/Egg Man in the final battle. The game isn’t that lengthy, and you’ll find yourself completing it in no time.

Graphics: 8.0 (Genesis Version: 9.5)
Sound: 8.0
Game play: 9.0
Replay Value: 6.2

Overall: 7.8

Shining Force

This is the first of a great line of RPG’s produced by Sega that found itself on many other Sega platforms such as the Game Gear, Sega CD, and Saturn. In Shining Force, your homeland has been taken over after a long period of peace, and you are out to stop the invaders. Shining Force featured some the best graphics to host any RPG on the Genesis. All the characters, levels, and other environments are huge and vastly detailed. Ditto for the audio in the game, which is complete some great background music. The game plays out similar to Phantasy Star 2 where you assemble a party and level up your fighters as you go through your quest. Shining Force has more hours of play involved then PS2, and it also has the feature of having its on VMU save so you can continue playing later.

Graphics: 9.3
Sound: 8.4
Game play: 9.1
Replay Value: 8.8

Overall: 8.9

Streets of Rage 2

I loved the original Streets of Rage, and the sequel is just as good. Axel and Blaze are the main heroes of the last game, and they’re back for this one too, along with newcomers Max Thunder and Skate. This wasn’t just your average side scrolling game. The characters looked eons better than the one’s featured in the other action games in the Smash Pack. Lots more detail has been crammed into all the characters and environments, so we get the best looking we could get at the time. The game was a brawler, just like the classic NES Double Dragon games, where you pick up weapons, and combine them with your own set of moves against a slew of villains. Each stage had it’s own boss, and the game only had several levels. But Sega tossed in co-op mode to lengthen game play, and even gave us a duel mode for us battle each other in.

Graphics: 7.7
Sound: 6.8
Game play: 9.0
Replay Value: 8.2

Overall: 7.9


When earth’s robots are ordered to massacre the returning humans, you take control the sole robot not effected by the virus, Vectorman. This game was released in the last years of the 16-bit console wars, and it featured some of the best graphics found on the Genesis. All the characters and levels are bright, and look great. The game reminds me a lot of the original Rayman in terms of graphics, and both games featured great graphics and sound. Vectorman was just your average side scrolling game, where you gather the power ups, knock out your enemies, and so on, but something was just there that kept me hooked to this game for a while. This is the second best action game on the Smash Pack, next to Streets of Rage 2.

Graphics: 8.8
Sound: 7.3
Game play: 7.7
Replay Value: 6.8

Overall: 6.8

Virtua Cop 2

Well look at this, Sega decided to throw in one of my favorite light gun games on the Smash Pack. This game comes from the Saturn, and the graphics are actually improved upon the original. The first game featured ugly polygons for most of the characters and levels, but in here, everything is more polished off and has a way better feel to it. This is classic light gun action (yes, it is compatible with the light guns for the Dreamcast) as you make your way through several levels, gather gun and health power ups, and meet the boss in the final bout against the returning EVIL Inc. The game can be two players, and it has it’s own VMU save so you can save your high scores. It’s a great addition to the light gun library of games for the Dreamcast, with it’s only shortcoming is beating the game in under 45 minutes.

Graphics: 9.2
Sound: 8.0
Game play: 6.7
Replay Value: 2.8

Overall: 6.6

Wrestle War

This wrestling game was released in the arcades, but never on console, and after playing it, I can see why. The wrestlers in the game are huge, and detailed well so you can see their muscles and facial expressions. One annoying feature of the graphics is that whenever a big move occurs, there’s a long pause, and the camera angle changes. It messes up game play in a bad way. You sort of have an announcer for the game, and he calls the pins and introduces the game with the usual “Welcome to Wrestle War,” but he just sounds plain out awful. The game uses a grapple meter of sorts to determines who gets a move out of a grapple, just like in the 16-bit WWF games. It works well, but the skipping interferes a bit. In the game’s main story, you wrestle your way around the USA (the map of the country in the game barely resembles the actual thing), facing several opponents, then you go against the boss in the last bout. The only extra you get is a two player mode, but I’m sure your friend won’t want to play this horrible excuse for a wrestling game.

Graphics: 5.3
Sound: 3.7
Game play: 5.8
Replay Value: 1.5

Overall: 4.0


Altered Beast: 4.5
Columns: 7.7
Golden Axe: 6.0
Phantasy Star 2: 7.9
Revenge of Shinobi: 5.5
Sega Swirl: 7.2
Sonic the Hedgehog: 7.8
Shining Force: 8.9
Streets of Rage 2: 7.9
Vectorman: 6.8
Virtua Cop 2: 6.6
Wrestle War: 4.0

Combined Overall Score: 6.7

Rounded to fit GameFAQs Score: 7


Wow! This collecton took me forever to review. It’s great to see all the Genesis classics on the Dreamcast. Phantasy Star 2 and Shining Force will provides plenty of hours of game play, and Virtua Cop 2 is a welcomed entry into the Dreamcast light gun library. There are several emulation problems, but I got past that, and if you’re willing to shill out the money to play these greats (discounted to around $10 or $20 by now) once again, than go out and add this title to your Dreamcast library right now.

Back to Gruel's GameFAQs Review Page