Genre: Platformer Developer: Sonic Team Publisher: Sega Enterprises Players: 1 Released: 1991
In 1991 Sega released a game that they hoped would be the anti-Mario. The game was Sonic The Hedgehog and it did everything Sega dreamed it would and a whole lot more. Sonic is a game based on the blue hedgehog you have undoubtedly heard of before or seen in one of his many games.
The game play in Sonic is very simple. Buttons A, B, and C all do the same thing. They make Sonic jump. When Sonic jumps, he rolls into a ball-like shape and will in most cases defeat enemies when he hits them. Unsurprisingly, left and right arrows on the D-pad make you run in those directions. Sonic’s last move is while running press the down direction on the D-pad and you will roll into a ball. When doing this you can defeat enemies head on and also break through certain walls making shortcuts in some levels. You would think with a limited move set like this the game would be less than amazing. Well, you would be wrong. The game is better than amazing. The addictive game play will keep you coming back for more time and time again. I can’t write about the way Sonic The Hedgehog plays without mentioning the reason he is called Sonic in the first place. The game is insanely fast for a platformer that came out 13 years ago and is still a sight to behold even today. In the speed department nothing comes close, except for the sequels, of course.
The levels consist of 3 acts in each zone and a boss fight at the end of the third act, after which you move on to the next zone. The graphics were mind blowing for the time. Today, compared to some of the really intricate stuff in Sonic 2 and Sonic and Knuckles they are a little tame but they still look good overall. The layout of the levels is great, with rolling hills, wide open areas, loops to run through and walls to break. The entire Sonic series is known for its great levels and the original game is no exception.
The sound is excellent, from the classic “Sega” that you hear when first starting the game, to the music that plays in each stage. In fact, the music is so good that I can vividly remember most of the songs right now without having to pop in the cartridge and play it. If you dig 16-bit tunes, this is the cream of the crop. They’re simply some of the best tracks on the Genesis.
Sonic The Hedgehog is really the total package, which is why it has survived for so long. You should be able to find this one very cheap because it came with the Genesis for around a year or more after the game was initially released. If you can’t find the stand alone game then try the 6-pack. It has Sonic as well as Columns, Streets of Rage, Revenge of Shinobi, Super Hang-on and Golden Axe.
This is one of those games that you have to own. If you haven’t played it then do yourself a favor and track it down as fast as you can. I’ve been playing it since 1991 and I still go back to it every now and then. Some legends never die. Although it is popular opinion that Super Mario World is the better game, I beg to differ. Mario World was a fantastic game but lacked the personality, style, fun, and replayable nature of Sonic The Hedgehog.
Long live the legend.
SCORE: 10 out of 10