After months of speculation, we're happy to reveal that the Sega AGES range has finally launched on Switch in the west.
Sega of America has today announced that the first two titles of Sega AGES, Sonic the Hedgehog and Lightening Force: Quest for the Darkstar (also known as Thunder Force IV), are now available digitally on the Nintendo eShop for $7.99 each. For those of you in Europe, don't worry - we've checked the eShop and they're ready and waiting for you too at £5.99 a pop.
We already knew that the two titles were launching today in Japan, but it was unclear when they would make it to western shores. With the recent announcement of Sega Mega Drive Classics - which is also on the way this winter - the Switch will soon be completely flooded with Sega goodness.
Of course, we also know that other classics like Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Out Run, Space Harrier, Columns II, Thunder Force AC, and Phantasy Star are all on the way, too, but we're still waiting on the release dates for these. Sega promises us that specific timing details are "coming soon".
Will you be giving the blue blur a whirl on your Switch today? Or perhaps reliving the epic battle against the Ohn Empire? Let us know in the comments below.
I might just wait for the Mega Drive Classics
Another version of Sonic the Hedgehog to buy!
I’ll wait for the Genesis Collection.
Sega has really shot themselves in the foot with announcing the Collection, but I'm sure some will still buy them seperately instead of waiting.
A lot of love goes in to these M2 versions, so they're worth the money in my opinion. Already picked up Sonic and I'm already thinking of grabbing Thunderforce IV.
I'll wait to see what yer man Scullion has to say about Thunderforce IV, and then I'll wait for a sale.
Imma just get the genesis/mega drive collection when it releases.
@bluemujika That's exactly what I'm gonna do.
Can anyone tell me in what regard the AGES version of Sonic would be superior to the Genesis Collection one? As @Bunkerneath put it best, the Collection announcement should have been put on hold, Nintendo-style. But there's no need to cry over spilt milk at all.
Not that I need yet another Sonic 1 port that bad anyway - Sonic Mania on Switch got me covered in regard to all my Classic Sonic needs.
I played it about 1 hour.. I want to say that, sonic is very clean and flawless.. M2 did it.. Maybe genesis collection could be best collection of emulation but these are good enough..
Come on. Anyone else get a twitch in their eye when they see how they spelled Lightening?
Is it me?
I never complain about pricing around here, but this is too much for master system/genesis titles with only a few bells and whistles.
I'd rather stick with the 3DS port of Sonic, but I may try Thunder Force IV.
There are only one or two Genesis games I care to buy and play for the umpteenth time, so I'm thankful to be able to buy games solo instead of the collection.
Unless they add Sonic 3 and Knuckles to the lineup, I'll be giving the Ages series a hard passing favor of the Genesis collection.
Patiently waiting for OutRun and Phantasy Star... and praying to the retro gods for Streets of Rage 1-3 to be included in the AGES lineup!
Nothing remarkable about the arcade version - unless the game has a stage select, it's still very arcade-y to begin with. Challenge Mode, on the other hand, has me intrigued. What is it about?
@AlexSora89 The M2 version will be far better emulated. They are absolutely meticulous with these things.
Whether that's worth it really depends on how much an individual game means to you. For instance, M2's release of Gunstar Heroes on 3DS is the definitive version of the game — far superior to anything you'd get in a collection like this, and totally worth owning for fans of that game. (If we're lucky, we'll see it come to the Ages line on Switch, too)
But for games that you're less excited about, the emulation in the Genesis Collection might be good enough at the cheaper price.
@Medic_alert depends on how well you know how the game should sound and look and if you like extra features or not. That being said I'm pretty sure most Sega Ages titles they have planned are in the collection. Aside from Sonic.
I have no problem with the price. Of the 10 Ages titles announced so far only Sonic 1 and 2 are on the collection. The Sonic titles were obviously going to be part of the Ages line regardless of the compilation. It's Sonic! Plus only 3 of the 10 announced titles are Megadrive games, 2 Master System and the other 5 are arcade games. They could have priced them at various tiers like Wii VC but each title has had extra work put into it so it makes sense they're all priced the same. They are no more expensive than the Hamster releases which have titles from 1980 up to the late 90's. Should they all be priced differently too in line with their age?
don't bother re-releasing any of the original Master System & Genesis Sonic games unless you put 1-3, S&T and Knuckles as a bundle
Well Thunder Force IV is not on the Genesis/MD collection, so I gotta pick that up.
Sonic 1 and 2, I don't have any nostalgia for. But, if the urge does arise, I'll pick up the AGES versions just because it's the best bersion available. Though, I do have them on Wii VC, along with Sonic 2, 3, and S&K, for the lock-on functionality (which will probably never be replicated again).
Went head and used my gold coins to get Sega Ages Sonic the Hedgehog at a discount.
I'm all in on these! The collection coming out has some emulation issues that bug me. Also I don't think very many titles in the Sega Ages line are on the collection. I don't get the issue with price. There is a lot of effort going in to these releases to provide accurate emulation and extras. But to each their own.
@Medic_alert I hear you. Not a bad choice. But again I'm pretty sure they have different game lineups.
@masterLEON what's the point of the lock-on when they have been doing things like Bayonetta 1&2 and the Mega Man Legacies where the cart has one game and you download the other content? a habbit I hate, because I want to buy both Legacy game sets but because you can only use the free download code once, if you buy used, you only get half the game
@OorWullie We are of the same mind.
So you're telling me M2 - the ones behind the 3DS ports IIRC - are behind the AGES games, whereas the Collection is handled by other devs?
Wonder what these cost on the South African, Norwegian and Russian eShops...
Will check when I'm back home.
@Bunkerneath Sega understand that plenty of people like myself appreciate the supreme emulation from M2 and will buy sega ages titles regardless of the genesis collection
@AlexSora89 Yeah, the Genesis collection is just a bunch of ROMs dumped in a subpar emulator, it got awful reviews on other consoles. Hopefully they'll have fixed it up some for the Switch release.
@AlexSora89 M2 is doing the Ages releases, and fine-tunes each individual game for release.
The Genesis collection is just a big ROM dump with whatever emulator they decide to include.
In other words, the alternative would be a kind of ROM emulation so good, we've wanted it for AGES.
I'll see myself out.
Is Sega Ages supposed to be console games only, or does it include arcade games? because I'd love to have a port of any/all Outrun games, but only if it's the arcade games.
So I guess you're going for the AGES version, because I M2.
Again, I'll see myself out.
@nab1 I believe half of the announced games are arcade versions, including OutRun, Gain Ground and Space Harrier.
@BionicDodo @NintendoFan4Lyf Thank you very much for the info! This is now in my radar. I was confused between this and the other collection.
I will definately buy TFIV, one of the best shoot em ups ever in my opinion. Got it on jap original already. Nice to be able to play it in handheld mode
@nab1 I think it is going to confuse most people. Has anyone bought it and tried it yet? Does it seem like a vast improvement over previous versions?
I'll bite once Phantasy Star 1 releases. I think auto mapping and ingame item/weapon descrictions are enough to make the game actually playable for me.
So we can assume they... took a ROM dump?
I'm sorry, it's my third pun in a row... but puns are hard to resist!
Anyway, all my last three replies are puns but they're also all serious, provided they manage to address the fact that, yes, every reply I got was helpful and I want to thank you all for taking the time to write them down.
@AlexSora89 It didn’t take you ages to come up with those puns, but there is rom for improvement.
I might delete this post as it doesn’t work on various levels. It has been a busy day.
This is an outrage! Sega of America why do you have to use the the horrible Lightening Force instead of the proper title Thunder Force IV? That is unacceptable.
Based on everything I’ve heard, the emulation in the Sega Master Drive Collection is hot garbage on PS4 and PC, so I’ll be sticking with M2 as they are trusted masters of emulating old Sega games.
@presenttense I've bought Thunderforce IV and it's really well presented .There is a nice little animated loading screen. On the start menu, it let's you choose from Original mode and Kids Mode, as well as online ranking and play saved replays. Within the game it let's you select from the International or Japanese version. You can change the wallpaper and add scan line filter /smoothing filters. There's also 5 different display modes, Normal/ Dot by Dot/ Fit/ Fill and Vintage.Plus it has a really nice icon.
They've done a great job and I imagine Sonic has much of the same options along with its own unique features.
@OorWullie Thanks for that! That is extremely helpful - I’m very tempted now. Can you save the game mid play?
@LaytonPuzzle27 I agree. Lightening Force, even if it's the name the game was released in the west ages ago, just doesn't sound right. Thunder force IV would tie the series together better, especially since Thunder force AC is part of the collection too. Maybe Sega could update it with a patch, so that Thunderforce IV would be displayed in the logo with that Lightening Force written in small print...
How does Sonic play with the joy cons?
@madmatt213 Well they did a Genesis version of that called Dragon's Fury and it's Technosoft so maybe!
Are you kidding? I'll SEGA-ts are needed to come up with such a pun.
I'm looking to get the classic's collection as it's handy to have all the games together and I go physical wherever possible. But I'm put off by the rom dump comments and sub par emulation so will wait to read some reviews...
@BANJO I’d like to see comparisons between the two - I have the collection on Steam which also includes Sonic 3 & Knuckles
@jhewitt3476 Not sure I follow what you're saying here, I think we're talking about 2 different things. Lock-on adds a different way to play the original Sonic games (which was available on the Wii Virtual Console, as long as you own the other games). What you're saying is how companies are cutting costs by splitting a game collection up between a physical card and a download.
Having not played Thunderforce IV in some time, I was surprised how well the parallax scrolling works in the game, it looks almost 3D in handheld mode. The 3D depth is just as good many 3ds game with 3D.
@presenttense no doubt the M2 versions will be better. So they should be a £6 a pop. If the classic's collection reviews poorly it might be better to get the Ages versions of a few of the games when on sale... I hope not though.
I prefer Sonic on 3DS - the games just look stunningly gorgeous like they were made to be viewed that way.
Thunder Force IV I am probably going to have to nab though.
@AlexSora89 Good question. So in the classics collection, you get only the USA version of Sonic 1 with the spike death bug among other unrefined things. With this standalone version, you get exclusive leaderboards for time attack, Mega Play Mode, ring chain challenge overall better presentation and your choice of which version to play. I suggest Japanese over the international USA version. Furthermore, you get the spin dash and drop dash from Sonic Mania as options. And a ring-keep mode so you don't spill all your rings each time you take damage. So it's more for diehard fans who want a faithful release of a superior version with optional bells and whistles.
I'll get the Genesis Collection, for sure. Just because there's going to be games on there that don't come to Ages, and for $23.99 after GCU, how could I not. Especially on a cartridge.
But I don't really see myself spending much time with it compared to the Ages games. I'd much rather spend top dollar and have better quality versions of retro games to play. And ya, Sonic and Thunderforce IV are incredibly well done.
How utterly bizarre they’re going to sell the games individually (£6) and in a pack (~50p). Why would they do that? I was tempted to pick this up until I remembered that pack is approaching and from the looks of it there isn’t enough new content to justify the price.
What a shame.
@presenttense You're welcome. Yep you can save mid game. Just the one save file though.
@techdude You can choose from the International version which has the Lightening Force border art and the Japanese version with the Thunderforce IV art.
I forgot to add, it also let's you choose 'Reduce Processing delay' which reduces slowdown. I've tested it and the difference is very noticeable.
Oh baby!! Here we go Sega!! I will grab both today!! Can’t wait for outrun!! Keep em coming boys!!
Very pleased that the West is closely aligned with Japan for Aged. This bodes well for the future. Hopefully these sell like hot cakes so future releases continue
Meh. I'll wait for Phantasy Star and the Genesis Collection.
I'm seeing some confusion in the comments. Thunder Force IV won't be in the upcoming Genesis Collection port. The only way to play the game on Switch is via the Sega Ages port.
@faint I can see your view. It's all about perceived value. For me they are a great value simply do to superior emulation. I love the extras though.
@OorWullie That good to hear who do I do that? Do I have to buy import version?
You singlehandedly turned the AGES version into a must-buy.
Although given your username I guess you're pretty mad now that Sonic can keep some of his rings...
Lightening Force... I Could Cry Right Now !
@LaytonPuzzle27 I believe this game gives you the option to pick which region you want to play - so I think you can choose Japanese in the menu
@LaytonPuzzle27 I bought it from the US Eshop. The option to change version is within the game menu. I'm curious if the European version has that option though as it's called Thunderforce IV here. I actually wasn't even aware it was called Lightening Force IV in the States till I saw on the Eshop.
@masterLEON I liked the ability to expand a game (back then) just by popping on an accessory cart, but not really any reason to keep that now with dlc, what I was saying about hating was they purposefully leave out content like on games that can easily fit onto one cart, some DLC sure, came later like Sonic and Knuckles, what they are doing today is like keeping it from you until you are forced to update your system, like blackmale, but I have my reason for staying offline (I'm at the library and the library does not have wifi and won't let you hook up LAN and I can't/won't keep driving 90min. to my father's house to steal his wifi
@OorWullie Now that (Reduce Processing Delay) is a fabulous feature!
Well. Someone here said you could pick regions. What they didn’t mention is you can only pick between Japan and America. So those wanting to emulate their childhoods need to have been born in either those countries. Those in Europe, well there’s no chill AF 50hz version.
As a connoisseur of this type of thing please note that it hosts 60hz modes only.
50hz mode, where Starlight Zone is a gorgeous lullaby and Robotniks theme/final level songs are so so much more sinister.
Used to play a slower version of Starlight Zone on my guitar as a lullaby before bed. Now she’s a professor of computer sciences, astrophysics, and once upon made and sold off a very successful indie game. So, bear that in mind.
(Ps the interface is shoddy and reminds me of mobile phone games. Total clash with the NES emulator on Switch which is lightning fast, as we all know)
I downloaded Lightning Force and the icon and game display Thunder Force. (phew)
@presenttense @OorWullie Thank you very much for info you guys.
Too expensive for a game I've already bought multiple times.
@Mynameishello I totally agree with you on that, I still can’t get used to the Music in 60hz, Even Greenhill Zone to me sounds so much more chilled out in 50hz
Buying Sonic! It’ll be nicely with my Sonic Mania!
@Mynameishello I imported during the 16 and 32 bit days. 50Hz was horse manure. Come to think of it...I seem to be doing quite a bit of importing on Switch. Wow, the SNES days truly are back!
@bluemujika do we know how much that mega drive bundle will cost ? Trying to see if i should wait too.
@SDF_Macross77 : I agree about the price considering the amount of work put into this. I wonder what some folks want? Maybe a 99 cent price proposal? I'm not sure why the developer shouldn't be rewarded for their work.
This is great. So glad to have Thunderforce coming out! Now I wish they would release all the 3d games on 3ds in the U.S., please!
Why would you not want to experiment with the drop dash in Sonic 1? That’s a game changer for anyone who has been playing that game for decades!
@AlexSora89 Extras like a harder mode, not only the spin dash but the drop dash from Mania, online leaderboards, screen and background filters, etc.
The Collection as far as I know only has a mirror mode to play all game backwards. There is online multiplayer but from what I heard on the other systems, it was sucky.
Understand the AGES line are fine tuned and remastered but at $8 a piece I think I’d rather just get the original versions via the Sega Collections and save the $$$
@Supadav03 only a few games overlap, and sega collection probably has a ton of input lag if you look at their other releases, AGES does not
@GrailUK Well they're not wrong, the actual game title is called Lightening Force here, not Lightning Force. The error in the title is a trademark similar to title that also trademark error spelling like Phantasy Star, Lost Sphear, Samurai Shodown, and Mortal Kombat. You don't spell them correctly and if you happen to play a version that did spelled it correctly then that version is not a legit version.
@Megal0maniac very true but these types of games, like the nes classics, are things I play for 10 minute clips. So the value of the bundle makes more sense for me, all things considered.
Bought both in Mexican eShop for less than 5 euros. Great.
People should just stop saying it's redundant with Sega Mega Drive Classics. These ones are emulated by M2 and have extra features, and interesting ones at that. Sonic's Mega Play version gives us another way to play a game we already knew like the back of our hands.
@LaytonPuzzle27 Dude you can change the name/version of the game anytime. At the Start Menu, highlight Original Mode, press the X button for Setting and then in the Setting menu, put the cursor on Game Version and just set it to Japan instead of International for Thunder Force IV.
@Cyberbotv2 because gamers think developers don't actually do much work and instead they should release games as cheap as possible.
People should actually look @ the crazy hours developers put in. Ridiculous long days.
M2’s emulation any day of the week over the half arsed genesis collection for me.
I am just getting outrun, but I will also get the genesis collection.
Not bad, don't these add extra features like spindash in Sonic, etc?
@Supadav03 @Mynameishello @Matthewxcv @aznable @Bunkerneath @justin233 @Medic_alert @bluemujika
Thunder Force IV (Lightening Force) is NOT on the the Genesis Collection, and neither are multiple of the other ather announced AGES games.
While there might be some overlap, most games will not be shared between the Genesis Collection and AGES, so you should keep an eye on it even if you don't care about AGES' better quality and extra features.
R-Type Final is my schmup of choice, and Phantasy Star 1-4 are among my fav (ok maybe not 3 so much) RPG's of all time. So yeah. The Genesis collection will do it for me.
Still waiting for that Panzer Dragoon Saga remaster. ::he knows it ain't coming:: ::he fights back the tears::
Just bought the Ages verison of Sonic 1 a moment ago.
A Mirror Mode? Like, escaping from Eggman as the first level, and arriving at the first Motobug's location to finish Green Hill Zone and trigger the credits?
@AlexSora89 As in the image is reverse, so you're running right to left in all the games.
@EmirParkreiner great point. I’m sure i’ll pick up one or two favorites from the AGES collection. Games that I know I just REALLY love. Outside of those, whatever comes in the Genesis Collection will be fine.
Full disclosure: I’m not a “Sega guy” at all. Never was. So maybe that’s why my opinion is what it is on this topic.
I didn’t know a Nintendo system could handle Sega games. They were made with blast processing which Nintendon’t have.
This hopefully is the beginning of a beautiful thing with Segas tremendous back catalogue!!
@OorWullie I understand that Lightening Force was what it was released in the 90s. And in game, it adds to the authenticity. I had no problem with that. But they still could have renamed it Thunder force iv in the US eshop together with the corresponding icon. Thunder force name resonates more with gamers than Lightening Force, a name I actually forgot, even though I am an avid gamer in the 16-bit Era.
Patiently waiting for AGES versions of Saturn and Dreamcast games.
Wow, Gotta Go Fast! That's really funny, it's been a while since I last heard that. Really strange since that's Sonic's famous "to-go" phrase, it's literally in every game ever, even the ones without Sonic! It's in every piece of merch SEGA has ever thought of releasing onto the public, I am just happy I could be here to witness such a moment! It TRULY is written ALL OVER the character, in fact I think if you look real close into his design, you can actually read something along the lines of GOTTA GO FAST!!
Honestly I wish other properties 4Kids has ever had the pleasure of staining had such memorable lines; I know there's the One Piece rap but no one seems to actually acknowledge that one.
Downloaded Thunder Force IV last night, brilliant but so tough. Had to choose Kids mode to get past the first stages.
They delayed Sonic & it's still a buggy mess with an ugly interface. If M2's version is supposed to be the best I dread to see how bad D3T's version will be.
Tired of these old 16-bit games. It's time for Dreamcast games on the Switch.
Get me Jet Set Radio, Chu Chu Rocket, Skies of Arcadia, Power Stone, Space Channel 5 and Crazy Taxi
Ow, sucks to hear. The reversing platformer shtick was kinda done in Braid back in the day, but on such a scale is presumably unheard of. I can sense some indie game coming in that regard!
TF IV looks absolutely gorgeous on the Switch screen.
can anyone tell me what the Ring Keep mode is in Sonic please? I cannot find any info about it.
I love how Thunder Force IV AGES came out on the same day as the preorders going up for the Figmas for the Styx and Rynex.
@Platinumhobo oh man i can’t wait for Saturn & Dreamcast!! I hope it’s soon!
@Signosis yup still tough as nails from the day I brought home the original cart!! You’re not alone lol 😂
@mikegamer They do but this version add the drop dash from Sonic Mania as well. Spindash on Sonic 1 is old news now though as even the Sega Saturn version had that technique as well as the horrible GBA port.
Virtua Racing has appeared on the Sega Ages Archives Website
This is fantastic news, que Virtua Fighter, Daytona, Sega Rally.
I think I'll pass. To me, the superior version of Sonic 1 is on mobile devices.
@retro_player_22 Someone actually made a better GBA port as proof of concept, forgot the guy's name. But why are they releasing this and the Genesis Collection in winter?
@mikegamer I assume you meant the Sonic 1 demo made by Stealth. it's actually not a port, just a demo to prove to Sega that a proper port of Sonic 1 could be made had Sonic Team put in the effort. The Sega Genesis Classic Collection was probably release due to backlash Sega got from critics for ignoring the Switch when the collection was first introduced as many critics and YouTuber were bashing Sega for not bringing it to Switch as the Switch is the perfect platform for such a retro collection. It's the same backlash Sega got when they release the Ultimate Genesis collection last gen when they too ignored the Wii U.
Only difference between last gen and this gen was that not many people care about the Wii U enough for it to get a port of the collection whereas this gen it's vice-versa. Another difference is that this newer collection sucks compare to the Ultimate Genesis as this newer one lack the Sega Master and Arcade games that were included and only offer old Genesis games. It also lacks Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles as well making this a barebone collection compare to the Ultimate Genesis collection which had the legendary Eternal Champions plus those two games and it had emulation issues on some games. If I were Sega, I rather port the last collection or merge that with this newer one and just go all out with it for Switch. By not doing that they are pretty much treating the Switch more as an afterthoughts.
@retro_player_22 My prob with Ultimate Genesis on PS3 was the sound emulation was way off in many games, like the Streets of Rage 2 and 3's screams were way off and sounded like turkeys more than screams. among other issues.
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