#211 Sonic the Hedgehog

Posted: 25th February 2014 by Jeroen in Games
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310th played so far

Sonic_the_Hedgehog_1_Genesis_box_artGenre: Platform
Platform: Mega Drive
Year of Release: 1991
Developer: Sonic Team
Publisher: Sega

Wow. Back to Sonic already. Despite its status as big mascot, rivaling Mario at one time, only three games are listed, in contrast with Mario’s… well, lots. Not surprising considering the massive fall from grace the Sonic franchise has been going through since the demise of the Dreamcast.

Although we previously played to Sonic Adventure, the series first 3D outing, today’s game feels like we’re playing Sonic as it is meant to be played – the fast-moving 2D platformer.

Our Thoughts

When you know a series well, it can be difficult to judge it without looking at its sequels. For some games on the list, that’s fine – it’s the only one on the list, and analysis of one implies looking at the series as a whole. This should become relevant when we get around to playing Mega Man.

For Sonic the Hedgehog, that doesn’t apply, as we’ll be covering its sequel at some point in the future. At the same time, it’s difficult not to, as what the game is done well now will be done that bit better in the later games. No Tails, no spin dash, it’s a bit simpler.

One thing the game still is, is fast. While your eye can still keep up with it (which later games don’t always seem to allow), you get the illusion of speed once you get going, and there’s little more satisfying than racing through the levels and feeling you’re progressing. One of the main shames, really, seems to be that these don’t seem to last as long – there’s no extended runs, while this speed is what you really want to enjoy. The game mentions pinball table style levels, but these take a while to really show up.

Beyond that, the game also seems to be intended as a showcase for the Mega Drive’s capabilities. One of the bigger examples (to me) was the bonus stage. Aside from the place where the chaos emeralds show up, what was more interesting was the rotation of the field. Seemingly done on the fly, it looks a bit jerky now, but makes for its own interesting, weird style of gameplay. It’s a fun addition to a platformer – too annoying for regular play, but good for a bonus level like it.

As catchy as the songs were, I didn’t realise that they were until I associated them with Sonic until now. I wouldn’t reproduce them as immediately as I could do as Super Mario Bros. first level, but decent nonetheless.

I had a different experience revisiting this since this was one of the first video games I actually remember playing (well I actually played it first on the Game Gear but I did also have it on the Mega Drive). I don’t have as many memories for this as I do with Cool Spot but it was still great to play it again.

Final Thoughts

In the end, I suppose Sonic didn’t pay off as well as his creators wish it would. It was a competitor in the short term, but Mario seems to have won in most cases. Still, separated from the rivalry, it seems to have spurred everyone on to create a far better game. It’s fast, looks good and is a lot of fun.

  1. […] covered a few Sonic games before, including the original Sonic the Hedgehog. This is the first time, however, that we’re doing so on the Mega Drive, or even the original […]