Review by Sinspawn_X
"The first may not be the best, but still darn good!"
The year is 1991, and Nintendo has dominated the hearts of all video gamers worldwide with their cute little princess-saving plumber (What? Plumbers saving princesses? Something is NOT right here...). The brand spanking new video game company, Sega, can't stand being David to the Goliath of Nintendo, and they desperately need a mascot. They tried everything, from a jungle boy named Wonder Boy (name probably didn't cut it) to Alex Kidd (games were just too horrible to contend) to a freaky little fat man in PJ's who ended up as the main villain of a certain video game series.... but we'll get to that later. Finally, they chose the one speedy blue Mobian we all know and love: Sonic the Hedgehog!
Storyline: (6/10) Not much anyway. The evil Dr. Robotnik (remember the freaky PJ man I mentioned earlier? He's gone mad scientist now!) is capturing the innocent animals of South Island, a peaceful tropical resort in the oceans of the planet Mobius. Only one creature managed to escape his evil grasp, and now he's out to get him. That creature is... you should know the drill by now. Hey, at least it's better than a fat plumber who eats shrooms and saves princesses from giant turtle-men.
Graphics: (9/10) ...... ''wow'' is the only thing that can describe them. Sure, they're nothing much now, but at the time they were utterly jaw-dropping. Loop-de-loops were something our fat toilet-fixer could only dream of. The eye searing frame-rate (60 FPS!) is something only the fastest computers at the time could handle. The enemies were totally innovative, and some need to be taken care of in different ways, other than simply knocking them upside their head and throwing their shells. The Special Stages are pure eye candy, with colorful walls and a cool background few games have managed to recreate. In short... amazing. Sure, they got better in later games, but it's a superior beginning.
Music/sound: (10/10) AAAAAGH! Can't... get... Green... Hill... music... out... of... head! The only series of equal or better value at the time was... no, not Mario... Mega Man. Certain tunes (Green Hill and Star Light in my senses) still resonate within gamers' minds today. The sound effects were more than simple blips and buzzes. They were pure genius. No Nintendo game ever lived up to Sonic's audio standards.
Gameplay: (10/10) This is what makes the entire Sonic series pure gold. The control scheme is easy enough for 3-year-olds to learn: D-Pad to move, A, B, and C to jump, and left/right + Down to perform the Sonic Roll, a move almost all games, even present, have failed to reproduce. Though unfortunately Super Sonic isn't available yet, the easy difficulty makes up for that.
Now for the Sonic Showcase items: Rings. Found in groups and in item boxes, get 100 or 200 for an extra life. Just like coins in Mario, right? Well, there's a catch. Sonic needs rings to stay alive. As long as he has so much as even one ring, he can't be killed by nearly anything (note the word nearly. Certain things, like getting crushed, falling off the screen, or going over the 10 minute time limit kill you no matter how many rings you have, be it 2 or 1000) Get hit, however, and your rings go flying. You can grab some back, but not for long. Get hit with a ring total of 0, and you know what that means. Bye Bye blue boy. Hit lampposts to save your position in a level, and hit item boxes that give you things like rings, shields, extra speed, invincibility, extra lives, etc. to aid you further.
You may be lazy and just want to blow through the game in 2 minutes flat, but that won't get you anywhere. There's a little side trip you can take every now and then. See, the rings serve another purpose as well as life. Have 50 or more at the end of a level (barring boss stages) and a giant ring will appear over the exit sign. Jump into it to be teleported to the special stage. You must spin and jump through a giant, colorful maze filled with objects, some that help you and others that hinder your progress. Your main goal is the Chaos Emeralds. These are what the evil Eggman is searching for for his ultimate source of power, and you must get to them first. All without hitting any of the GOAL traps laid all around the stage. Sounds easy, right? WRONG! You must spin the whole time, limiting maneuverability, and the maze spins, further hindering you. Each of the six mazes (one for each Emerald) gets harder as you progress, so getting the last Emerald will be a charm. Good luck!
Replayability: (4/10) Unfortunately, this game can't be replayed much. You can try to beat your previous score, and find new and better routes to beat each level, but that's pretty much it.
Buy or Rent?: Go to every yard sale you see. Go to every pawn shop you know of. Visit every auctioning web site you can muster through your head. Do anything you must, but one thing's for sure, YOU MUST BUY THIS GAME! PRONTO! CHOP CHOP!
Final Words: Sure, the series got better, but this game is still worth every bit of praise I've given it. FINAL SCORE: 9/10.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 12/16/02, Updated 12/16/02
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