Sunday, 15 March 2009

Play unported Sega games on the ZX Spectrum

Some Sega games were never ported over to the ZX Spectrum, either because they came out before the computer or too late in its life. Others were started but never finished. But now, thanks to the internet, some coders have decided to port those games themselves.

Up first is Columns. This has seen numerous unofficial ports to the Spectrum, the best of these coming from Computer Emuzone. The gameplay has been transferred brilliantly, and even has a nice rendition of Clotho. You'll also notice the title screen has the angels present from the original version.

A less successful port of a Sega game is Daytona USA, coded entirely in Basic. Oh dear. The game is top-down, and features all the tracks from the arcade (which are identical). My verdict? Stick to the Saturn version!

Next up is Deep Scan. The arcade version was released in 1979, too early for the Spectrum. It has since been ported, and is almost arcade-perfect! For those of you that haven't heard of Deep Scan, you are a boat that must bomb submarines. I'm sure you've played it on your mobile phones under a different name.

Perhaps the most infamous Sega game never ported to the Spectrum (or Commodore machines) is Sonic the Hedgehog. The game was apparently started by US Gold, who handled most of Sega's licenses. Unfortunately the game was never finished, allegedly due to the 16-bit version increasing the Mega Drive's popularity. Other versions may have taken away from this success, so the project was abandoned.

Sorry for the terrible '90s-compression quality!

Instead, coders began their own version based on the Master System port. This was to be the "fastest game on the Spectrum", featuring scrolling in all directions. The game eventually went the way of Sonic X-Treme and hasn't been touched since 2001. Perhaps one day the game will finally make its way over to home micros!

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