Since the Game Boy Advance first launched, it has often been criticised for serving primarily as a platform for old 16-bit console conversions. Being technically very similar to a SNES, this was only to be expected. Well now it's the Megadrive's turn to raise from its grave, with the release of Sega Smashpack - a compilation of three classic MD games, wonderfully recreated for ex-rival Nintendo's pocket games machine.
First up we have the original Ecco the Dolphin, the well-received 2D, sub-aquatic adventure that originally showcased both a novel gaming concept as well as some great animation. As the story goes, there's trouble in paradise, so players take on the role of the world's second most famous dolphin and make use of its speed, sonar and mammalian instincts in the quest to save the world.
Now if ever a game exemplified perfectly Sega's take on the platform/beat-em-up it was Golden Axe. The game that spawned countless imitations with its well balanced combination of hacking, slashing, combos, magic, and platform jumping (let's not forget riding on dinosaurs), Golden Axe was the cause of many empty pockets when the System 16 machine first hit arcades. It subsequently went on to be released for just about every home console and computer known to man.
Lastly, Sonic Spinball kind of takes the pinball elements of the original Sonic games (you know, the bits where you're bouncing around for ages) and makes a full game out of them. The premise follows that of all Sonic's outings in the fact that the evil Dr. Robotnik is up to no good and everyone's favourite blue, spiky insectivore is responsible for sorting things out. This time around though he's got to do it pinball style.
All in all, developer Codefire has done a great job in bringing these classic games back on to the shelves. Obviously, not everyone will be happy with the idea of 16-bit conversions but, if you're old enough to remember them first time around, you'll find it difficult to escape their nostalgic magnetism. Besides, Sega Smashpack is worth it for Golden Axe alone.