Well, I guess……….
Ever since SOMETHING went wrong with my account, I don’t what happened; I think it’s a good idea to just do a quick re-review of Sonic the Hedgehog. Guess it’s time to once again, review Sonic the Hedgehog, for the Sega Genesis.
I think we all can remember this game. This was the game that welcomed us to the Next Level, the one who Blast Processed through our hearts, and showed us What Nintendon’t. Just had to ;)
With that said a little history. We have the NES. An 8-Bit juggernaut that single handedly revive the franchise with hits like Super Mario Bros. How is this related to our story? Well, its rival, is the Sega Master System. Now, I think we understand each other. Sega saw Nintendo’s pool of cash, and was totally down for the money, and they whipped up the Sega Master System. It was technologically superior, but lack of third party support, and their mascot just sucking ass; it doesn’t need a Dick Tracey to figure out why the SMS was a failure of a rival.
However, Sega saw the fortune they could make in the home console market. Now, we have the Sega Genesis. Followed with heavy marketing campaigns, the Genesis’s sleek, sexy black model made Sega fans proud of themselves, and those who stuck with that gray block essentially fell to Envy.
Despite the initial success Sega had, Nintendo just was going to be what the Genesisn’t. The Super Nintendo Entertainment System, a console about TWICE as powerful as Sega’s offering, it was also announced to have Super Mario World, and two newcomers, F-Zero and Pilot Wings, as LAUNCH TITLES. Who did Sega have? Um, Altered Beast maybe? I know SOME of you guys liked……… um, yeah. Not a lot of great games..
Sega saw what was wrong; a lack of a mascot. So designers pitched ideas left and right, and in the end, a spiky blue hedgehog was selected.
HIS FUR, MADE BLUE TO MATCH THE SEGA LOGO…..
HIS SHOES, INSPIRED BY MICHAEL JACKSON…….
HIS INABILITY TO SWIM, GIVEN TO HIM WHEN YUJI NAKA HAD AN IDIOT MOMENT AND THOUGHT HEDGEHOGS COULDN’T SWIM….
Mr. Needlmouse. ? Oh, sorry,
HIS NAME, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG
And thus, a legend was born. Sonic the Hedgehog was a massive hit, and eventually replaced Altered Beast as the bundle for the Sega Genesis. This, alongside ACTUAL QUALITY titles sped the Genesis above the SNES, and before long, Sega had a 65% lead in market share.
Well, that was a VERY LONG history lesson, and I promise, it’ll never be that long again. But with all this history, does the game hold up? It’s around 23 years old, so let’s dive right in!
Act 1: Simplicity is better than being dark. Duh.
The story is rather simple, as most games were at the point. Your once good rival, Dr. Eggm- WHOOPS! Sorry, it’s Dr. Ivo Robotnik, has kidnapped your furry little friends and is transforming them into robots to take over THE WORLD!!! Sonic, being the most capable of the bunch, has survived and is now on a rescue mission to save his friends, drive Robotnik out of his homeland, and crush him! Not too bad, for a 16-Bit game.
Act 2: Music, Visuals, and all that…
Let’s get the small stuff put first. Back then, many game characters were comprised of a few dozen pixels, given unique colors and traits, and the rest is left to imagination. With the jump to 16-Bits, Sega wanted to capitalize that while not on par to the SNES, the Genesis here is still very capable. BOY DID THEY PROVE THAT! Ok, let’s begin with the basics.
The character model for Sonic is simply ASTOUNDING. His body was well constructed, and the mere sight of his feet entering the trademark circle animation, or the spin attack shearing through alloy, gives you this feel of power. And I don’t even have to mention the waiting animation. For the first time, our hero is given an attitude not from text, but from his own actions. He provided a cocky, brash, and arrogant hero, who sharpened up (get it?) when action was needed.
The model itself, however, is NOTHING to the gorgeous backgrounds. From the lush, tropical, and instantly recognizable Green Hill, the gloomy, fear invoking Marble, or the urban, starry Starlight zone, this game is a whirl from beginning to end. Every set piece is distinct from the previous, giving the player a WORLD to explore.
And of course, how can we forget the soundtrack? We just can’t. The composer stated that he was composing the music as he would for a movie. It is AWESOME!!!! Ahem, sorry. I actually conducted a poll, and guess what? For, “Most recognizable theme of Gaming”, second place is Green Hill. There you go. Everything, whether it be the wacky, bounding Spring Yard, or the malicious Scrap Brain, this game’s soundtrack is stellar, no objections.
Act 3: Those were the days…
Good story, great visuals, and perfect sound score, what’s missing? The gameplay. The most vital part of a platformer. How does it do?
The surface controls are simple. You press left or right, and Sonic moves that way. Hit A, B, or C, and Sonic will spin jump. This move will take out enemies in any direction, assuming they don’t have a self defense up. Your goal is to guide Sonic through a level, and then race past the goal post.
Unfortunately for Mario fans, that’s where the similarities end. What looks to be on the surface to be a simple platformer is only but a mask, for a much larger, more complex game. Here is the difference. Momentum based platforming. You see, unlike Mario, Sonic NATURALLY moves fast. On a flat piece of land, Sonic runs at a pretty fast pace. But now, the physics engine comes into play. Try it out! Have Sonic run down a slope, and keep holding forward! THAT is physics. This can even be extenuated EVEN FURTHER, with Sonic’s signature move; the roll attack. Pressing down on the D-Pad will cause Sonic to curl into a spiky ball, useful for offense. But now, try it out going downhill! THAT is what makes Sonic unique. It’s some stupid sensation of speed. It’s not the ends. It’s the means. It was always about HOW do you achieve your trademark speed? HOW can you take advantage of the level’s design? That is what Sonic is all about. Not a button that essentially turns you into Sonic the unstoppable.
Scattered across the stages are golden rings. These, as well as contributing to your score, act as insurance. Get hit with rings, Sonic drops them all, but survives to run another day. Get hit without any, and… well, we all know. When your score hit every 50000 or so, you score a extra life. You can also net lives by gathering 100 rings, or opening monitors with Sonic’s face. Monitors also include 10 rings, speed sneakers that make Sonic run faster, invincibility, and a shield that neglects enemy attacks for one hit.
At the end of a stage, if you have at least 50 rings, there will be a giant yellow ring. Jump into it to enter the special stage. But here’s a little tip for you;
DON’T DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You have to guide Sonic through acid-trip mazes, and it’s so bad, I consider these one of the worst special stages in Sonic’s history, and is a main factor that brings the game down a bit for me. But if you SOMEHOW manage to tolerate these, well, there’s a chaos emerald. Touch it, you win. Collect all seven to change the ending. Yipee. Never even have bothered. Best you don’t either.
Well, that’s a mouthful, so let’s cap this off with the levels!
Green Hill Zone; A lush green hillside out take that is a great intro level, which acquaints you with the game’s physics engine. I NEVER get sick of the vast, open level design, where crafty thinking and manipulation is rewarded with little goodies.
Marble Zone; Why does every 8 year old hate this zone? Just because it has platforming doesn’t mean it’s bad. But regardless, we can all agree THE MUSIC IS FRIGGEN EPIC!!!!!
Spring Yard Zone; Pretty good zone IF IT DIDN’T HAPPEN TO HAVE VERY CHEAP ENEMY PLACEMENTS!!!
Labyrinth Zone; I refuse to acknowledge it as a zone. I always use the level select to skip. But if you must know, it’s where we learn Sonic can’t swim.
Starlight Zone; AMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZING!!!! Great use of the physics, large level designs, and the best song in the game, it’s my favorite zone here hands down!
Scrap Brain Zone; Crap Brain Zone. SOOOOOOO many cheap deaths.
Final Zone; It’s you and Robotnik, head to head, no questions asked, just a one on one fight to the end! And the music, THE MUSIC!
Act 4: Still Runnin’
After 23 years, this game hasn’t aged in the slightest. When replaying the game for a true, updated opinion, not much has changed. The physics have aged well even by today standards, the graphics and sound still look great, and I got a kick out of a good chunk of the levels. I give this game my rating of;
The game isn’t perfect by all means, but I think any fan of platformers will have a blast playing this game. Until next time. Toodles!