Review by Retro

"The game that put Sega on the map"

While the NES was running as strong as ever, the Sega Genesis premiered and became the top contender to the NES when this game, Sonic the Hedgehog, was released. Sonic the Hedgehog started what would become one of the greatest series of video games ever.

At the time, Sonic the Hedgehog was the fastest game that had ever been seen. As a matter of fact, that's what Sonic is known for, his top notch speed. Several of Sonic's animal friends such as little rabbits, squirrels, birds, and a few other kinds of animals, have been kidnapped and trapped inside the bodies of different kinds of enemies. The one who is at the cause of all this kidnapping is an evil being called Dr. Robotnik. Sonic has to try and rescue all of his friends by defeating Dr. Robotnik.

Sonic the Hedgehog is a 2D side scroller, just like most of the action/adventure games of the early 90's. But the game isn't exactly like other blockbuster 2D side scrollers such as the Super Mario series. Sonic is very fast, but doesn't have any major abilities such as flying to help him out. All he can do is run, jump, and curl up in a ball to let his spikes do the talking.

The whole time you're playing this game, you will need to collect as many rings as you can. There are hundreds of rings scattered throughout each level. If you collect at least one hundred of them, you will earn an extra life. But watch out because it's not like collecting coins in the Mario games. If Sonic gets hit just once by any enemy or if he touches any dangerous obstacle such as spikes or lava, all the rings that he has collected so far will scatter all over the screen. If you get hit any while not having a single ring, you will lose a life.

Sonic the Hedgehog's worlds have plenty of varied traits to keep the game from getting repetitive in the least sense. Each world has its own set of hazards and difficulties. There are levels full of lava and towering cliffs, underground areas full of slashing spikes, booby-trapped areas, underwater levels in which you must consistently obtain bubbles in order to keep from drowning, and many others.

Most of the levels do have certain things in common though. You will encounter things that will help you out such as boxes that give you extra lives, even faster speed for a few seconds, invincibility, extra coins, and more. From time to time in most of the levels, you will run up on a sort of marker that you can touch. Touch this marker (you'll recognize it when you play the game) and it will beep once and change color to let you know that that's where you will continue if you lose a life. There are many other things that can either be of help or provide you with a hazard such as moving platforms, spring loaded jumps, catapults, and more. Not to mention you'll see plenty of something else Sonic is known for, running through upside down loops.

The levels in Sonic the Hedgehog are levels, but they're called 'Acts.' There are two Acts in each world in which you mainly just have to survive and make it to the end of the level, and then it's on to the third Act, which is always a boss level. In the boss levels, you have to make it to the end of the level like usual, but instead of a sign marking the end of the level, you will have to face Dr. Robotnik in one of his many forms.

Each world also has its own tactics that you must solve. For example, in the Marble Garden Zone levels, in places you will have to step on switches in order to make the humongous spikes or barriers move out of your way, in the Star Light Zone levels you have to use catapults with a bomb planted on them, and so on. But don't fret, it's not as hard as it sounds and you won't have to use your mind that much to figure things out.

Once you make it to the end of an Act, or level, if you did a certain thing (not going to tell you what it is), then you just might see a huge ring at the end of the level right past the sign. If you jump into this gigantic ring, you will be transported to an awesome bonus level. The bonus levels reveal the last major part of Sonic the Hedgehog's plot. I don't know the exact story, but part of the storyline involves Dr. Robotnik keeping captive of a few chaos emeralds.

The bonus levels in Sonic the Hedgehog are some of my favorites that I've ever seen in any video game. Sonic is rolled up in a ball the whole time and he's inside a vast maze that rotates, or spins, 360º. While inside the spinning maze, you can make Sonic move left or right, and make him jump. Of course, there are rings scattered throughout that Sonic can collect. If you collect enough rings in any of the bonus mazes, you will earn yourself (and Sonic) a continue, but that should be the least of your worries. There are many places you can touch that will make the maze start spinning in the opposite direction or that will make it spin faster or slower. Somewhere in the maze, you will find a bunch of what look to be like diamonds, clustered around each other in a pattern. You'll notice that when Sonic touches any of them, they will make a sound and eventually disappear, letting Sonic through. In the middle of these diamonds is the round chaos emerald. If you collect this emerald, then you've done your job. But it's not easy at all, especially not in the later bonus mazes. Around the sides throughout the mazes are places that will send you back to the game, thus preventing you from collecting the chaos emerald.

Well, that's pretty much it. Oh yeah, except for one last thing that I forgot to mention until now. Sonic the Hedgehog is just one player. Sonic the Hedgehog is one of the most revolutionary video games ever made and if you ask me, one of the best video games ever made. Even though I've beat this game no telling how many times (no I'm not trying to brag) for the years that I've had it, I still haven't got tired of playing it and I don't think I ever will. I prefer the Mario games over Sonic, but the Sonic games are still great, and this game is my favorite of the Sonic the Hedgehog series. If you like 2D side scrolling action/adventure games, then I definitely recommend getting Sonic the Hedgehog if you don't own it already.

GRAPHICS - When Sonic the Hedgehog first came out and was first seen on display in the stores, many people stared at its graphics in awe, including me. The graphics are colorful, have good animation, and just plain good to look at. Even when compared to some of the other great 2D side scrollers that were to premier in later years, including the other games in the Sonic series, Sonic the Hedgehog has some of the best overall graphics. I especially liked the background graphics in the bonus levels, they were ahead of their time and look sort of like something you see in virtual reality movies.

SOUND - I've always liked almost all the sound effects in Sonic the Hedgehog. Even better than the sound effects is the game's music. Almost all the levels have great music, especially the music in Star Light Zone. I wish I could find a soundtrack to this game!

CONTROL - The controls are very fluid and in my opinion, don't have any flaws. It's easy to make Sonic do anything you want him to do.

REPLAY VALUE - I own a few of the Sonic games and I've played almost all of them, and I can say without a doubt that I've played this one more than any of them by a long shot. While most people might not agree that this is the best Sonic game, I know I think it is.

OVERALL - Overall, Sonic the Hedgehog is one of my favorite action/adventure games of all time. In almost all video games, no matter how great they are, I've seen at least a minor flaw or two, but I don't see any in this game!


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 06/22/01, Updated 05/20/02


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