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Coleco Sonic Handheld: 20 entire games!

The rather vaguely labeled Coleco device is actually the Coleco Sonic Handheld which was originally available in 2006 exclusively thru Target stores in North America. It earns it’s name with the inclusion of two Sonic the Hedgehog games along with 18 other ‘classic’ 8 bit Sega Games. The games are a selection of Game Gear and Master System Games, not the much more desirable Genesis games. The game selection includes several familiar faces while not really including familiar games. As an example, I’d be willing to wager that though the majority of readers have played at least one Sonic game, very few have played the Game Gear Sonic Triple Trouble. Sonic Triple Trouble is surprisingly decent on the Coleco Sonic Handheld. The speed of the game is not quite Sonic fast and the graphics look chunky and low res however the gameplay is solid and the screen has minimal enough ghosting. Gameplay wise it is a very middling Sonic game, paling in comparison to Sonic 1, Sonic CD, or Sonic Advance but outshining games such as Sonic Riders or the other Sonic games on the Game Gear.

The biggest deficit of the system is the fact that it has the 20 games built in. For every Sonic Triple Trouble there is a Sonic Drift. You get Alex Kidd in High Tech world and Alex Kidd in Miracle World which is cool however the inclusion of Columns and Columns 2 is just befuddling since they are nearly identical games. With such a small library of games it is quite easy to review in brief all of them.

Sonic Drift 2:

Sonic Drift 2 is a shitty Mario Kart rip off that looks and plays like an 8 bit version of Mario Kart… because it is. It may have been cool in the era of Road Rash or Outrun but it has not aged at all gracefully.

Sonic Triple Trouble:

Quite decent as noted above.

Alex Kidd in High Tech World:

Alex Kidd in High Tech World is a rather RPGish affair. It has a nonsensical plot that has to do with Alex Kidd trying to get to the video arcade however he is eventually stopped by Ninja.

Quoting directly from Wikapedia since the article does it far more justice than I possibly could,

Alex Kidd is contacted by one of his friends, who tells him a new arcade has opened in town. Alex has a map to its location, but it has been torn into 8 pieces of notebook paper. Without the map, Kidd would not be able to find the arcade in time before it closes. Alex must solve puzzles, answer questions, run errands, and do housework in order to find all of the pieces of the lost map. The house itself holds many ways to delay Alex's quest, among a set of broken stairs, a defective computer, or a rusty suit of armor. Alex's father does not take kindly to have his son loitering about in their oversized mansion. Furthermore, the main gate is closed, so Alex has to find another way to leave his house. When he finally finds the map and leave successfully, there are ninjas who are determined to end him once and for all. The arcade closes at 5:00 PM sharp.”

Alex Kidd in Miracle World

Miracle World was the first of the Alex Kidd games and is a fun nonsensical little game that was high enough quality to spawn a whole series of games that were only tied together by the main character. The video bellow shows off the varied game-play of the game but not the lower resolution of the Coleco Sonic Handheld.

Altered Beast:

If you are my age you probably remember this as one of the most awesome games ever where you turn into a fireball throwing werewolf and beat the shit out of a bunch of supernatural baddies while Boston’s eponymous album blasts from your 8 track player. All of this is possible except for the part about it being awesome and the 8 track player. Altered Beast has not aged well and the version is not even as good as the Genesis version.

Assault City:

Assault City is a crummy light gun type game played without a light gun.

Astro Warrior:

Astro Warrior is a fun little shmup. A shump is a term for a shoot them up game where the player generally flies a spaceship, robot or, airplane horizontally or vertically across a flat plain blasting enemies. I optimistically googled “hump that shump” in hopes of finding a piece of house music. Alas it has not yet been recorded. Where are C + C Music Factory when you need them?

Aztec Adventure:

Aztec Adventure: The Golden Road to Paradise has all the excitement of the Spanish conquest of South America in video game form… I don’t really get it. There is no button to spread small pox and most of the characters appear to be humans that were turned into animals.

Bomber Raid:

More shumpage only the bullets that fire from the planes are difficult to see making the whole experience a bit frustrating, unlike the Boom Chik Boom Chik of the dope drum line of the non existent Number One Summer Jam “Hump that Shump”

One of my coworkers tipped me off to the back of the box text from the Master System, "Who has Mach 6 speed, helabad weapons, and a love for wastin' dweebs in tanks? You do. It's the gnarliest fighter-bomber game ever. So hot it feels like a coin-op. Why? Two-mega power means we cram a lot more game in the cartridge. So you get more action for your money. "

Man, I totally want to play that game.

Columns:

Columns is an excellent little puzzler much like Tetris. I’ll always enjoy these casual games like Columns. Well worth playing.

Ecco II: The Tides of Time:

A game with dolphins!

Fantasy Zone

Fantasy Zone is another classic shump in the vein of Defender. Seriously though imagine the following song with “Everybody Dance Now” replaced with “Hump a Shumpy Shump Now”. Best song or greatest song?

Fantasy Zone: The Maze:

The Maze is actually not a shump at all but is a Pac Man clone. Fun Fact: Did you know that Pac Man was originally going to be called Puck Man but when it was realized just how easily the name could be altered by vandals on arcade cabinets to be quite naughty the name was changed?

Global Defense:

Back onto familiar territory Global Defense is another shump. This is actually a bit original and has a somewhat similar feel to Robotron (Geometry Wars for the kids). C + C Music Factory producer David Cole would have undoubtedly found this game inspirational had he played it.

Kung Fu Kid:

Kung Fu Kid is the first of the games included specifically to bring the total number of games up to 20. 14 games seems like such a low number I guess. Couldn’t they find 85 crummy games to include for the awesome sounding 99 games in one unit? Now that many games sounds totally awesome!

The Ninja:

The Ninja has a very exciting name. Did you know that July is National Ninja Month? Remember when you get attacked by Ninja that you heard it here first. The Ninja is not as exciting as real ninja and fortunately, far less deadly.

Penguin Land:

Penguin Land could be fun, I don’t know. I am entering the dark part of the games where fluff meets desperation and I just dropped the penguin’s egg down a very deep hole where it exploded. I don’t think I was supposed to do that and I’m getting sleepy.

Quartet:

I have promised myself that I will both write my reviews earlier and not decide to write little blurbs about all the games on a unit when I know that I won’t be able to actually force myself to play more than a couple minutes of each one. The title screen shows only two characters and I am already expecting the worse. The game is not good but is not terrible either. I keep telling myself that at least because I know that the last game is called “Snail Maze” and I am dreading it. What would C + C Music Factory do? I ask myself and push on.

Snail Maze:

Snail Maze is exactly what it promises, the player controls a snail in a maze. Fortunately it is a really fast snail since game-play is timed. Though literally the bottom of the barrel of all the possibilities that could have been included on the unit the game is enjoyable in a up after midnight on a Sunday/Monday writing a blog about video games sort of way. The cheerful music could use more backbeat and some vocals. It has actually been reviewed on You Tube. I should have spent more time looking on You Tube for game reviews and less time looking for C + C Music Factory videos.

Super Columns:

Super Columns is an excellent little puzzler much like Tetris. I’ll always enjoy these casual games like Columns. Well worth… wait one assing moment! I already played this game! Oh I see Columns and Super Columns… The last game blurb has written itself!

Scores:

Screen: 8/10 Screen is bright and crisp but resolution looks crapped up for about half the games.

Sound: 7/10 System has a headphone jack and what looks like 2 speakers however one side is fake! One point deducted for being a faking faker who fakes.

Controls: 8/10. Controls are solid

Availability: 5/10 It is quite possible to find online thru Amazon or E-bay.

Price: 7/10 Anywhere between $35 up to $99 new makes this a bit expensive for a device that has 20 and only 20 games.

Library: 5/10 20 games come built in to this unit. A few are decent many are complete trash.

Overall: 6/10 This is a somewhat decent system that is hampered by the lack of games. If you are a Alex Kidd, Shump, or Sonic fan this may be worth the price however I would recommend getting your fix elsewhere.

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