System: Sega Genesis
Title: Sonic the Hedgehog
Publisher: Sega
Circa: 1991

Sonic the Hedgehog Titlescreen

For a great many people, this well could have been their first game, mind you this is more for the gamers who started on the 4th generation consoles, as it was the second game bundled with the Sega Genesis. This game was what launched Sonic the Hedgehog into the Gaming Halls of Legend, one of the few Sega characters to really achieve massive renowned.

Sonic’s animal friends have all been kidnapped and transformed into robots by Dr. Robotnik. Sonic sets out to free them, chasing after Dr. Robotnik. Dr. Robotnik in the mean time is trying to find the six Chaos Emeralds to rule over the land.

The goal is to go from one side of the stage to the other. There is a total of six zones with three acts apiece. It is important to have at least 1 ring on hand, as it will keep you alive if you take a hit. Different the various enemies (Badniks) frees the animals inside and gives you more points, which can lead to an additional life. Some parts of a level can only be reached by taking advantage of Sonic’s rolling, good downward slopes and the resulting speed. Sonic is free to dash, jump and roll his way through the stage, looking for the finish sign. If you manage to finish a stage with 50 rings or more, it will take you to the Special Stage. While the game starts off relatively easy, it gets progressively harder, having the player push their skills just a bit further with every successive stage.

The Special Stage is a rotating maze where you have a chance to find one of the six Chaos Emeralds, if you can avoid the “Goal” walling. It is worth noting that getting all six Emeralds results in a different ending. These stages are very Jump intensive and it is extremely important to pay attention to what Sonic is going to land on.

Sonic gameplay


These controls are even easier than Mario. You use the D-pad to move and “A”, “B” and “C” are all Jump. Sonic has a spin move where he rolls into a ball, allowing him to fit into tighter places and take out enemies that he cannot smash with his jump (notably those with Spiny Tops). With only a little practice, any of these are easy to do.

While it offered good graphics for the time, they have aged a bit. Sonic is a lighter shade of blue as he would be later on. The game offers a few layers of background and easily copes with the speed that Sonic is capable of.

Sound Effects & Music
Even with all the pacing and emphasis on speed, the Sonic Team did a good job of getting a solid soundtrack for this game. It is one of the few where it doesn’t matter if the sound is on or off, the game is just as enjoyable. The music may get repetitive if one gets stuck on a level, but that is a rare occurrence. The Jump sound, the most common one, is one of the few sounds that almost any gamer will recognize easily, and remained largely unchanged throughout the series.

This is not an obscure game.

Summary/Author’s Take
In a small way, this is homage to the recent birthday of the Sega Genesis. This game was what put it on the map for a great number of gamers of my generation. It is a great game for children and adults alike because of the ease of play. This easily though was one of the games that push me more into gaming simply because it was a game that required me to improve particular skills that would much later benefit me in gaming. This is a typical icon of any Genesis collection simply because it is very easy to get, but it is always worth having a working copy.

Story: 80%                Negligable, but helping in creating the mythos
Gameplay: 91%            A fine example of a scaling game
Multiplayer: n/a%            None
Controls: 96%            Easy
Graphics: 82%            Aged but alright still
SFX & Music: 89%            It won’t annoy, this is assured
Obscurity: 40%            I know Sonic!
Overall: 86%                The start of Sonic

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