Review by HisDudeness
"It's Definitely Revolutionary, but not a great start to the series."
The Genesis. This is the system where my roots as a gamer began way back in its dying days in 1997. Sure, it was a piece of crap by then, with its little 16-bit graphics. But hey, I didn’t have enough for buying anything else (Probably because I was forced to pay 65 bucks for my Genesis.) I knew I was going to get a better system, but for now, I went to my local store. In fact, it’s the only store in a 30-mile radius of good ol’ Appleton, WI. Well, I found Sonic the Hedgehog. Turns out this game was first published in 1991, bent on being Sega’s mascot. It was also meant to be a very speed-oriented game. Well, it mildly worked, because even though it had a pretty big base, it just didn’t come up to the standards that Mario had set. Though it can be a heck of a lot of fun, and it is not a bad game by any means, Sonic 1 just didn’t reach the standards that a gaming icon should.
Well, Sonic is all happy in the land that he lives in, happily frolicking in the yard with all of his little friends. But then, big mean Dr. Robotnik comes by and takes all of his friends and turns them into robots! That’s pretty mean of you, Mr. Robotnik! Well, little Sonic somewhat gets up and decides to stop evil Dr. Robotnik before him and his robot kiddies can take over the world! Well, I got up one day and decided to call this story pretty cheesy and all around stupid!
For it’s time, these graphics were fairly good, but not as good as they could’ve been. Sonic himself looks good, and so do the other robots that he fights. Unfortunately, they are very bland in design, and only a few models were used in the making of this game. And, Dr. Robotnik just plain looks stupid in that wacked-up spaceship of his. And, some of the levels aren’t especially designed for his speediness. Take the second level in the first zone. About 70 percent of the time, or 7 out of 10 times, I’d be running through the scenery, and an area that hasn’t been put up yet on the frames will suddenly appear out of the blue, with an enemy in the way. Of course, if you’re going as fast as this game is designed for, you’re not going to be able to stop, and so, you die. Also, backgrounds are fairly bland in design as well. Foregrounds are also pretty bland in design. In fact, pretty much all levels are just bland “jump-to-here, defeat-him-and-keep-jumping type levels”. This may be due to the fact that Sonic is supposed to be a fast game in design, and so, the level design may have paid the price by just being simple so the scenery could be able to just rush by. Also, those little “TV” things that you jump on are hard to read, and the TV’s themselves look like aged computers.
As I said before, Sonic is a speed-based game, and you’d think that the controls would be well suited for this. Well, they come very short of the mark. It is almost a risk to zoom through these levels, because no matter what, you will not be able to stop in time when that frame will all of a sudden pop up and have some type of hazard in it. Otherwise, you have just run, jump, and, well, that’s it! Jumping is also very hard to complex, because when sonic jumps, he spins really fast, so he’ll go up slow, but if you happen to push a direction really hard, he’ll go zooming down, and in some cases, off-course. But, there is one saving point, and that is that the controls are good when you’re just going slow, and are smooth and silky. One last thing that I didn’t like. If you were running fast, there is one way to stop, by pushing down, and you’ll do a little cyclone thing that can also break through walls if needed. But, you can’t reverse directions with it, and you barely ever use it to break through walls, so it is basically useless.
Sound and, in this case, Muzak: 4/10
There isn’t that much to talk about in the sound category. The only real sound to speak of is when Sonic will jump on an enemy and it’s alright, even though each enemy makes the same sound. In fact, even Robotnik’s big ol’ techno space thingy makes the same sounds that the enemies make. Come on, Sega, don’t be that cheap! I know that it is an old cartridge, but at least allow some diversity! Now for the Muzak aspect of the game. The music used in this game is just flat out repetitive and annoying. The tunes are a mix of techno-keyboard and a bit of drums in some of the levels. The problem is that each tune is really only about 40 seconds long, then, it repeats! Add that into a fairly hard game where you probably will have to waste a few lives, and it gets very annoying. This is in every single stage, and soon, you’ll just want to shove some cotton right up your TV’s speakers (Bet you thought I was going to say the other word, right?) Overall, this sound just plain sucks.
Well, where it matters the most, this game just doesn’t come through. As you can tell from the title, you play as Sonic in a land totally taken over by the evil Dr. Robotnik and your little animal friends! Each area is made up of 3-4 stages, each one having golden rings all over the place. Get 100 rings, get an extra life! Also, there are TV monitors in each level scattered all over the place, even in far to reach areas. They can consist of invincibility, 1-ups, etc. Plus, there is a clock in the corner that clocks your time. If you can get through the stage quickly, you get a sweet bonus! Plus, if you can gain enough points, you can get a special bonus level where you have to get emeralds. 5 bonus levels, 5 emeralds. And, as can be expected from a glory day platformer, there is a ton of jumping from platform to platform. Here is where the trouble starts. Jumping in this game can be very hard to perform, and in a game with a ton of jumping, there is not that much room for making mistakes. Also, you know that bit I talked about before about the TV’s? Well, except for the one up, their abilities are pretty useless. Why? Well, let’s look at the invincibility icon. As with most games, the standards for invincibility are around 15-20 seconds of gaining that power. Well, in here, it’s 15, and the problem with that is that usually, these icons are in areas where there are no enemies for it to be useful for, and because for some reason, you can still die if you walk on spikes. And, those stupid speed shoes just make you faster, in a game where you don’t want to go fast. Now, at the end of each area, there is a battle with Dr. Robotnik himself. Now, these battles are very easy, almost too easy. And, of course, after you win the battle, you get to free some of your friends. One little savior is that this was the first platformer to really introduce hidden areas off the beaten path. You are able to knock through walls at times, and there are many times where you have to jump to see a special lever or jump pad. Even though it is a revolutionary game, this stuff just doesn’t cut it.
Fun Factor: 8/10
Well, for a bland game, it can be pretty fun. There are 2 factors to that. One, it’s a pick em’ up and play game, and two, the clock. I had a friend over, and we spent about an hour seeing who could go through the first zone the fastest (I won with a time of 14 seconds. Beats me how I did it, I never got anywhere near that again.) So, at least it’s fun
I know that cartridges couldn’t hold a heck of a lot of memory back then, but this is a bit ridiculous. It will only take you about an hour to beat, even with the fact that for the targeted age group, this game is H-A-R-D! Only 6 stages were implemented in the game, and it really feels rushed.
Replay Value: 3/10
Well, after you beat it, you get nothing. Zippo, just the big victory song. The only little bit of replay that it does have in it is if you have a bit of time to waste. One thing that also does detract is that this is the only sonic game in which the Sonic and Knuckles cartridge doesn’t make a whole new game (Well, I don’t know about Sonic 3D, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t.)
It’s time for a recap.
Fun Factor: 8/10
On a final note. To buy?
I’d say rent it. There really is not enough in here to keep a gamer satisfied, unless you can’t really afford anything better.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 02/24/01, Updated 02/24/01
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