Sonic Gems Collection

The first two compilations of Sonic games for the generation (Sonic Mega Collection and Sonic Mega Collection Plus) were both successes even though neither of them offered much to the die-hard Sonic The Hedgehog fan.

In both, cult favourite Sonic The Hedgehog CD (Sonic CD) was omitted and the extra content delivered was poor compared to that of the first compilation Sonic Jam released on the Saturn almost 10 Years earlier!

SEGA now decide to release another compilation entitled Sonic Gems Collection (Gems) aimed at the more sophisticated Sonic fan containing three Sonic games that had the smallest exposure at time of their original release. These being Sonic CD, Sonic R and Sonic The Fighters (STF) also known as Sonic Championship.

In addition there are several Game Gear titles that have previously been released in SMC+ compilations (finally including Sonic 2) and the Japanese version of Gems has Bonanza Brothers and all three Streets of Rage games to be unlocked.

All this comes at a budget price to the gamer and is available for both Gamecube and Playstation 2.

This page details the European Gamecube version since I do not own the PS2 version.


Click for larger


As with the previous compilations, Gems is essentially a menu system wrapping up the emulators and the ports of the games on the disc. Gems sports a different menu style (graphics and music) compared to SMC/SMC+ and has less loading.

The majority of games are playable by default and there just a few more to be unlocked, and these differ between the release in different regions.

Like in SMC+ you can now save games at any point. Be warned that your memory card will fill up quickly after several saves as 27 Blocks are needed for each save state and each game in the collection also requires memory for saving settings.

Unlike SMC/SMC+ there is no 60hz mode for video.

Games Games Manuals Manuals Extras Museum - Illustrations

Default Games

The main three games are:

Sonic The Hedgehog CD

Sonic The Hedgehog CD (Sonic CD)

Sonic's only outing on the Mega-CD/SEGA-CD console originally released in 1993. Sonic must save timeless Little Planet and thwart the plans of Dr. Robotnik and save the girlfriend from Metal Sonic.

This is a port of the PC version that appeared in 1996 which is (in terms of gameplay) identical to the console version.

The gameplay is viewed from a tighter more 'close-up' angle which is ok. It plays superbly with the special stages running much smoother. The graphics are feel filtered giving the colours a smoother look.

In Gems the US soundtrack has been implemented. There is much debate as to which soundtrack is better for this game. The one used in the Japanese and European version of Sonic CD is totally different. It's disappointing that SEGA did not give the option of both of them.

The movies in the game have been upgraded to full screen versions with improved audio taken straight from SMC no doubt. The ending movie does seem to be sluggish possibly elongated to fit the background tune. Being full screen, there are no credits to be seen scrolling up the screen.

Sonic CD does suffer from a graphical glitch in Tidal Tempest - the water is the wrong colour! The water is clear rather than the green you would normally see when Sonic is submerged.

Get the full overview of the original version of the game and download both soundtracks checkout the Sonic CD feature.

Sonic R

Sonic R

The 3D Sonic Racer that was originally released on the Saturn in 1997 and on the PC sometime after.

Sonic and pals race in a grand prix that will make or break reputations and reap the glory of the Chaos Emeralds.

This is a port of the PC version which on direct comparison with the Saturn version was the better of the two albeit difficult to actually get running.

Graphically the game has been enhanced including some extra water effects and shading whilst overall benefiting from a higher frame rate.

Unfortunately the appalling lyrics to the soundtrack have been included but thankfully these can be turned off.

For a complete run through, checkout the Sonic R feature.

Sonic The Fighters

Sonic The Fighters / Sonic Championship

The lords of realistic fighting sims AM2 meet Sonic The Hedgehog. In 1996 came Sonic's first beat'em up game released in the arcades only. It is an impressive effort as the port is very faithful to the arcade original.

It is the first time on a console to the delight of many Sonic fans. The graphics look dated so does the sfx and music but it plays well.

Sonic and pals are in a fight to determine who is the strongest on the planet. That hero must then go on a mission to destroy the Death Egg II.

A Vs mode is available from the title screen when more than one controller is plugged in and there during play a list of moves can be displayed for your character.

A variety of options are available to tweak including a soundtest.

For the overview of the arcade version checkout the Sonic The Fighters feature.

All Game Gear games are playable by default. These were originally included in Sonic Adventure DX on the Gamecube and SMC+ on Xbox and PS2.

Sonic Gems Collection Contents

Default Games - Game Gear

Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (8-Bit)

Sonic The Hedgehog 2

Having being omitted in previous compilations it is finally here to play.

Being totally different from the 16-Bit version, Sonic must rescue tails from the clutches of Dr. Robotnik.

Sonic Triple Trouble (Game Gear)

Sonic Triple Trouble

In the last traditional Sonic game for SEGA's handheld, a new foe Nack the Weasel enters the mix as Sonic and Tails take on Dr. Robotnik and Knuckles.

Sonic Spinball (Game Gear)

Sonic Spinball

An 8-Bit port of the pinball classic. Sonic must escape the Veg-o-Fortress.

Sonic Drift Racing (Sonic Drift 2)(Game Gear)

Sonic Drift Racing (Sonic Drift 2)

Sonic and pals take to their karts through several zones again in this unlikely sequel.

The original Sonic Drift was never released outside of Japan but you can find more about that game on the Sonic Drift Feature.

Tails' Sky Patrol

Tails' Sky Patrol

A vibrant horizontal evading platformer of sorts.

Tails must fly non-stop through stages littered with enemies and filled with all sorts of contraptions.

This game was not seen outside of Japan until 2003.

Tails' Adventure

Tails' Adventure

Tails' first solo adventure is a puzzle-based platformer with a strong emphasis on item collecting and backtracking, like a side-scrolling adventure RPG. It sports some excellent sprite animation for the system.

Unlockable Games

Vectorman (Mega Drive/Genesis)
Vectorman (Mega Drive/Genesis)


One of the Mega Drive/Genesis's most impressive titles released in 1995 by Blue Sky Software. It pushed the system to its absolute limits with some stunning features not thought possible on a 16-Bit system.

It is a run 'n' gun platformer set in the future where Earth has been overrun by waste.

Click on the title screen for the full feature.

Vectorman 2 (Mega Drive/Genesis)
Vectorman 2 (Mega Drive/Genesis)

Vectorman 2

One of the systems final releases and surprise sequel released in 1996.

It is more of the same with Vectorman having a new array of weapons and being able to transform into insect forms.

Bare Knuckle (Streets of Rage) (Mega Drive/Genesis)

Bare Knuckle (also known as Streets of Rage) Japanese version only.

The classic beat'em up and the beginning of a staple franchise of the Mega Drive/Genesis.

You choose from 3 characters; Axel, Adam and Blaze and take on the scourge of the streets to rid the city from the grips of "The Syndicate" led by the foreboding Mr X.

You simply to kick the crap out of any enemies on the screen. Use your fists, kicks, throws and any weapons you can get. To assist you is a special attack from the police which will wipe out all smaller enemies on the screen.

Whilst a great game on its own the game is best experienced in 2-Player Co-Op Mode where you can perform some damaging attacks with your partner.

Bare Knuckle 2 (Streets of Rage 2) (Mega Drive/Genesis)

Bare Knuckle 2 (also known as Streets of Rage 2) Japanese version only.

Regarded as one of the best Mega Drive/Genesis games ever made (if not THE best), the sequel to SEGA's street-brawler is superior the first game in all areas.

Mr X is back and putting his plans back into action and dishing out some revenge as well. As before you clean up the streets and rid the city of "The Syndicate". There are now 4 playable characters; Axel, Blaze, newcomers Skate and Max.

Gameplay remains mostly the same with a few new touches. Gone is the police assistance and each character has 2 power moves. There is also the addition of 1 on 1 duel combat mode.

Bare Knuckle 3 (Streets of Rage 3) (Mega Drive/Genesis)

Bare Knuckle 3 (also known as Streets of Rage 3) Japanese version only.

The third and final instalment in the classic series.

Receiving less coverage than the first two, this is a technically better game and one of the systems latest and finest.

It expands on the established gameplay with extra speed, new characters and abilities. The games plot can be affected slightly by the players actions.

The syndicate is back intending to take control of the city and have already enacted their plan to replace top-ranking officials with robots under the control of Mr. X -s what's left of him.

Bonanza Bros (Mega Drive/Genesis)

Bonanza Bros.

This is a port of one of SEGA's early arcade games.

These two mismatched thieves are intending on pulling off a heist. Several objects must be found within the levels whilst avoiding security guards with skills of stealth or hindering them using parts of the scenery.

Two players can team up to achieve this together using the split-screen of the game.

Click on the links above to the taken to their respective features.

Each game plays very well and is well suited on the Gamecube's controller and any games with two player modes work also.

When playing games that use emulation and pressing the BUTTON Z at any time will display a menu containing:

Resume - Back to the game.
Reset Game - Reset the game back to its title screen.
Quick Save - Save at the current point in the game.
Quick Load - Load a previously saved point.
Save Game Data - Save at the current point in the game to a separate file.
Load Game Data - Load a previously saved point from a file.
Controller Configuration - View the current controller configuration and select between two others.
View Hints - Any hints (cheat codes) that have been unlocked can be viewed.
Exit - Return to the main game menu.

A push of BUTTON C (Gamecube) will toggle the border around the gameplay window on and off.

Also included in the collection are all the Mega Drive/Genesis games from SMC+ displayed as Demo Mode in the Museum. As annoying as this sounds to anyone having already bought any of the Mega Collections, the catch is that they are only playable for 5 minutes starting you on the last level of each game. Bizarre!

The collection has very few options open to the player. These are the usual stereo/mono switch, controller configuration, language and being able to view the credits.

Instruction manuals for each game are the US versions in digital format and can be moved about and zoomed in on screen if you really want to. These can be accessed by pressing BUTTON X when selecting a game to play.

Museum (Extra's)

The museum section is where the extra content lies. In here are a total of 320 images, 3 movies and 12 remixed songs. Items become available (unlocked) after completing certain tasks.


These image galleries are a collection of art from various Sonic games. The criteria to unlock each image is detailed at the bottom of the screen when highlighting any particular image.

Sonic Gems Museum


As you can see in the shot above, some will take a while though as they require playing the game 150 times!

When all 16 pages are unlocked, they will have the following contents.

Museum - Illustrations



Gallery 1

Sonic The Fighters

Gallery 2

Sonic CD

Gallery 3

Sonic R and Sonic Jam

Gallery 4,5,6 and 7

Sonic Screensaver images. Art from all previous Sonc games.

Gallery 8

Knuckles' Chaotix

Gallery 9

Sonic Adventure

Gallery 10

Sonic Adventure 2

Gallery 11, 12, 13 and 14

Sonic Heroes

Gallery 15

Christmas Illustrations

Gallery 16

Game Data Play and Movies; Sonic Adventure Intro, Sonic Heroes Trailer and Sonic's History Video.

NOTE: The Sonic Screensaver galleries are unlocked randomly for every 15 minutes you play the collection until having played for four hours, when they are all unlocked.

The numbers to the left of the galley number indicates how many images have been viewed from how many images available.


Remixed tunes come from various games in the collection and are listened to whilst browsing the museum. A music player can be accessed in the museum section by pressing the BUTTON Y. Tunes are unlocked after meeting certain criteria. They are:

Museum - Tunes



Gems Museum (Theme) (Sonic Icon)

Available by default.

Are You Brave? (StF theme) (Tails Icon)

Collect all of the StF artwork except the Super Sonic illustration.

Sonic 6290 Mix (From Sonic CD) (Amy Icon)

Play Sonic CD 5 times.

Sonic Boom D'mb Mix (Robo Knuckles Icon)

Play Sonic CD 5 times.

Sonic Boom D'mb Mix (Robo Knuckles Icon)

Play Sonic CD 10 times.

Can You Feel the Sunshine? ACID Mix (Resort Island Theme Remix) (Robo Robotnik Icon)

Come in first place on Radiant Emerald in Sonic R.

Living in the City LTN Mix (Radical City Theme Remix) (From Sonic R) (Metal Sonic Icon)

Collect all of the Sonic R artwork except the "Clear Game" illustration.

Fairy of A.I.F

Complete page 1 in the museum.

Open Your Heart MJZ Mix

Complete page 10 in the museum.

Sonic 3 MegaD Mix

Complete page 8 in the museum.

Sonic Goes UG Mix

Complete page 15 in the museum.

Sonic Heroes No-GTR Mix

Unlock everything in the Museum.


Old Skool Codes

Click on the links above for the respective pages containing cheats for the games. Note you will have to perform some button translation depending on which machine you have.

Unlocking Vectorman

Vectorman becomes unlocked after playing the entire collection for 5 hours in total.

Alternatively if you have a save file from Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, Sonic Mega Collection, Sonic Adventure DX, or Sonic Heroes the game will be unlocked instantly.

A full feature on the game including cheats can be found on the Vectorman Feature.

Unlocking Vectorman 2

Vectorman 2 is unlocked after you have played Vectorman or have played the entire collection for seven hours in total.

Cheats for Vectorman 2 can be found here.


Is Gems a modern Sonic Jam? Sorry SEGA but you've messed it up...again! The recent releases make me ask: does SEGA actually have a Sonic The Hedgehog fan in any of their testing or Q+A departments?

First up the collection does NOT have a 60Hz option! It's found in all other modern Sonic games including the previous Mega Collections. What is this about?

And why the Game Gear version of Sonic 2 rather than the Master System version with a more console friendly aspect. This is semi-explainable as the Game Gear versions of those games used more colours and in theory they should look better. Game Gear emulation has neither anything added or taken away. It remains the same as with other compilations along with the same problems.

The dropping of the Streets of Rage games is pretty damn mean. Loosing Bonanza Brothers is tolerable but still the question is why? Is the inclusion of these random 16-Bit titles a feeler for an upcoming larger compilation?

About Sonic CD

The game is easily the best in the package but is by no means the highest quality port. It is a bare port from the PC - nothing improved.

Did this game actually get a bug test? The glitch in Tidal Tempest is pretty good evidence it did not and sound effects are low quality and scratchy. The music for zones set in the past is pretty bad quality as well. I read somewhere that this version uses 256 colours but I have been unable to confirm that as of writing.

It's a good example of how lazy SEGA have become. They could not even be bothered to give us the option for the two soundtracks much less the CORRECT one! I don't want to hear any bullshit about it not fitting on a Gamecube disc which has a capacity of 1.5GB. A real opportunity was missed here for all Sonic fans to enjoy this game differently.

And why not give us the European manual? The US one does not even have the proper storyline!

I for one am more proud now to own an original Sonic CD on my Mega-CD since they have screwed up the re-release so well.

About Sonic R

Touching on Sonic R. Very little has changed from the days of the Saturn and PC versions. If you didn't really want to play it then you won't want to play it now. The quality of the port is sound but nothing new added.

About Sonic The Fighters

Whilst STF is not the best game or not without its problems, it probably the highest quality item of the collection. This crown could have easily been taken by Sonic CD but I credit STF for two reasons: 1) it is a much rarer Sonic game now playable (easily more rare than Sonic CD) and 2) Model 2 conversions are apparently difficult and I imagined this port being worse than it actually is.

Extra Material

The extra material in the museum is a little weak. Plenty of pictures are fine but they are nothing special and most of which can be found with a search engine.

The remixes are not great by any means and do not appease for the lack in soundtrack for Sonic CD. Much better remixes can be found on the net.

For £20 or less Gems is a good package. For Sonic fans we get what we pay for and certainly not what we hoped for.



Sonic Mega Collection (Gamecube)

Sonic Mega Collection Plus (Xbox, PS2)

Mega Drive/Genesis Console Feature

Game Gear Console Feature

Streets of Rage Feature (Mega Drive/Genesis)


SEGA Europe - Official Website

SEGA of America - Official Website

Action Replay Codes at Sonic-Cult

Sonic Index
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