Review by Ofisil

"Good but not what it is supposed to be"

Sonic The Hedgehog is a Platform game developed by Sonic Team. Back then in golden era of 8bit–16bit gaming, the big guys Nintendo and Sega ruled the Vidogame market and a great rivalry between their respective mascots raged. Nintendo had Mario, far more popular, especially in the western market and Sega had Sonic who was less known. By less known I mean just a tad less popular than Mario because Sonic WAS popular, VERY popular, he was the rival of Mario after all… but were the games of the hypersonic hedgehog actually good?

Gameplay: 6.5/10
Replay Value: 3/10

The subject here isn't whether Sonic is good game or not, because it is a good game… the problem here is whether Sonic is actually the game it is supposed to be. In this game you're supposed to run at hypersonic speeds in the various levels killing mobs with Sonic's rolling attack and collecting golden rings. Sonic IS a fast character but the overall design shows us that Sonic isn't a game that you can actually run around, especially not in these high speeds! Levels are crammed with traps all over the place, big lakes of lava and hazardous pits with instant-death spikes, enemies with spikes on them that need to be hit in weak spots and many more. So this game isn't about speed since most of the time you need to move step by step and carefully plan your timing when avoiding dangerously placed traps. In many occasions you can't even see what's up ahead making the game an annoying trial-and-error experience. Sonic is a fast character and doesn't like being here, something pretty obvious from the slightly loose controls that where made for a fast character, whereas the levels of this game needed a character with a higher movement precision. It's sometimes hard to do some moves in some confided spaces because you can't accelerate in order to perform better, something that led me in a lot of lost lives when fighting with the otherwise simple enemies and that because in order for Sonic to actually hit an enemy he must roll into a ball while on the air, something that sometimes doesn't happen, not to mention the sometimes bad hit detention.

Unfortunately the overall design of the game shows why this game is more annoying than fun. The basic premise is this: gather golden rings on each level that are your energy source and reach the end of each stage. There are 6 acts with 3 levels each, the third one having one relatively easy boss encounter. Gathering 100 coins means one extra life and reaching the end of each level with at least 50 means that you can enter a bonus level. While all these sound good, the game ends up being quite annoying. Being hit in this game means loosing all your coins at once! Of course you can chase them while they run away from your body but having 100 coins and then loosing them all near the end after avoiding tons of traps and enemies isn't exactly fun. The bonus levels are also annoying in their way because there are very hard to control, since most of the time you bounce around not being able to control Sonic! Of course someone might say that I am lame and that I can't beat the game… well, that's not true… well, I am lame, but that's not the point here, Sonic The Hedgehog isn't a hard game… it is annoying and that's my main problem. I don't care if a game is challenging or not if it is actually enjoyable and Sonic for the most part isn't!

Graphics: 9/10
Design: 7.5/10

Sonic kicks Mario's Italian buttocks in this section. The graphics are simply like watching an animated TV program. Nice, large sprites, smooth and not pixilated, with a decent amount of detail. Sonic looks quite cool in his first appearance on the Mega Drive and so does everything else. All enemies are small mechanical creatures that inside them have the captured forest friends of Sonic so when you “kill” them you don't just wipe them out, instead a small animal pops out of the bad guy and starts running! However where sonic truly shines is in the level design. Great levels ranging from the typical “grassland” Green Hills, then an ancient Greek\Roman area with ruins and lava flowing underneath the place, industrial areas and many more… err… not too many to say the truth, only 6 chapters but all look good. There is a great amount of detail in each level and many objects have an almost 3D look, but most importantly a great feeling of depth due to the excellent use of multiple layers in the background, (or the foreground), in order to create nice distant horizons with waterfalls, starry nights and many more.

Sound: 8/10
Music: 8/10

The quality of the sound effects of Sonic The Hedgehog is so good that the sounds are almost unchanged in Sonic games of PS3!!! Yes the sounds are great, especially the Ring sound which is crystal clear or the spinning sound of sonic that sounds almost mechanical. The music is very good also, it won't stick into your head like the music of the Mario games but it is also quite catchy, with great fast-paced tunes.

[+]:
-Great graphics, especially for such an old game
-Very good music & SFX

[-]:
-A very fast character in a game where speed means death!
-Too much trial error
-A bit too loose controls
-A bit bad hit detection

Also Play:
Donkey Kong Country 1-3 (SNES)
Sonic The Hedgehog 2-3 (Mega Drive)

Overall: 7/10

Even though I was quite strict in reviewing Sonic The Hedgehog I say it again, it IS a good game, a solid Platformer that paved the way from some more Sonic games, its just not my cup of tea and I just wanted to explain why. So if you can get past the fact that this game is not anything like it is supposed to be try it out… I for once find it heavily flawed and a chore to play… sorry…


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 10/30/09, Updated 11/19/10

Game Release: Sonic the Hedgehog (US, 06/23/91)


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