Monday, 27 October 2014

Sega Ages 2500 Series Vol. 2: Monaco GP

The Sega Ages series started out as a bunch of 3D remakes of old Sega games, later turning into compilations of often rarer, high-quality emulated titles with generous extras. Obviously, being only volume number 2, Monaco GP is of the first variety. These early titles were almost universally lambasted by all and sundry when they came out, with the remakes of Golden Axe and Space Harrier drawing particular ire. Monaco GP was mostly ignored, though, probably because the original is a lot older than most of the other games, and was only previously ported to a home system once, to the SG-1000 all the way back in 1983.

The original (or rather, the SG1000 port, since the original is not yet emulated in MAME, so I haven't been able to play it) is a pretty great game: the player drives down an endless road avoiding other cars, scoring more points the faster they go. The Sega Ages 2500 remakes has three different modes: arcade classic, arcade original and grand prix.

Arcade classic is pretty much just like the orignal game: go fast and survive as long as you can. Arcade original takes that concept, with several additions: a selection of different tracks, corners (which are tackled with the shoulder buttons), power-ups that offer things like speed boosts, a temporarily giant car, temporary invincibility and so on, and lines of stars on the track that, when collected, give the player points and extra speed. Grand Prix takes the extra elements from arcade original mode, and removes the endless score-run structure (and with it, limited lives), instead having the player race against time around sets of five tracks.

Arcade original is the worst of the three, since it eschews the one-hit kills of classic mode, it takes ages to actually die, taking the player long past the point at which the game stops being fun. Grand Prix is a lot better, though, taking the updated mechanics and putting them in a structure that never lasts longer than 15-20 minutes, though the time limits are a little too generous on the easy and normal courses. An interesting thing that's shared by both the arcade modes is that the player doesn't start any lives, though extra lives are dealt out at every 20000 points scored, and during the first 60 seconds of a run, the player can die as many times as they like without penalty, allowing players to build up at least one or two lives before the game begins proper.

This game was relased in the west along with a bunch of other early Sega Ages 2500 entries on a single disc as "Sega Classics Collection", which is something I definitely recommend getting hold of.

1 comment:

  1. the original will never be emulated in MAME as it's a pre-cpu architecture. something with logic gates. in any case it's one of the flavor of coin ops from the late 700s to early 80s that is just too much work for too little payoff for emulation purposes, sort of like single title handhelds from before gameboy