Review by Chunkey Simmons
Sonic the Hedgehog for the Game Gear is great, even with the limitations of the system is was made on.
Sonic the Hedgehog was a popular Sega game. They had gotten lucky, since Mario was more popular then ever. With the creation of the Sega Game Gear came a brand new game with it, which was also titled "Sonic the Hedgehog". This time we were promised an emulation of what we had gotten on the Genesis a few months back, now on a portable video game system. Would Sonic the Hedgehog be as popular as the Sega Genesis original? Keep in mind that this is the second Sonic release that has been ever released. This game was even released before Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Sega Genesis. Will the first ever sequel be the last?
The plot for the Game Gear version of Sonic the Hedgehog is the same to the Genesis release. Dr. Robotnik was up to no good, and Sonic needed his Chaos emeralds back, so Sonic is at a new adventure.
Surprisingly, Sonic the Hedgehog for the Game Gear plays a lot like the Sega Genesis version. It's been said that the very first Sonic the Hedgehog for the Game Gear is the best out of all the Game Gear games because of it's fast speed, and how great it emulates the game play of the Genesis release. In the new Game Gear release, Sonic doesn't seem to move a fast and fluently as he did in the Genesis release, and this is mainly because of the limitations of the Sega Game Gear. Can you blame Sonic anyway? He needs a break. Even with that said, Sonic can manage a very fast speed. Sometimes, Sonic can outrun the screen, depending on how fast he is moving at. Sometimes that can be hard to manage, since one may not know where Sonic is since he is not actually visible on the stage, but this rarely happens anyway. One thing you may not like about the new Game Gear release is Dr. Robotnik's new machinery. In this game, they seem all low-budget, and not too big and scary. Even with that, defeating them means no easy. Sometimes, one can waist up to nine guys on the same boss.
It should be said that Sonic the Hedgehog for the Game Gear does not sport the game levels as Sonic the Hedgehog for the Genesis does. The two games are a lot different. Like in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the Chaos emeralds are not found in special stages. While are are special stages in Sonic for the Game Gear, those are only used for getting more continues and free lives. The Chaos emeralds are now found scattered across the levels in the game. Sega did make an attempt to make it a little easy, by placing them in act 2 of every zone, rather then having everything be completely random. It can be annoying trying to get all the emeralds, but not getting them the first time around is a little more enjoyable. Another thing about the level. It was mentioned that Sonic had a lot of speed, but it's too bad the layouts of most levels don't provide Sonic with this fast speed. A lot of the levels involve going up and jumping on platforms, which does involve speed, but only altitude speed, or jumping. Plus, the levels do get a lot harder, and a little towards the end, a little of that trial and error is used. Like at Dr. Robotnik. You have no idea what he actually does until he does it, and then Sonic dies. Be sure not to make the same mistakes again.There is water in this game, like there was in Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Genesis. Like in the original, sonic cannot breathe underwater. There is also a labyrinth zone, but the actual labyrinth does not really exist. Mazes don't come in until Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Game Gear.
The graphics of Sonic the Hedgehog for the Game Gear are simple, but they do the job. Everything is what they're supposed to be, but it doesn't live up to the later Sonic games like Sonic Triple Trouble, or Sonic Blast for that matter. The game does start out with a Sega logo, and a title screen, and even a layout of the island, which is good. The game does have an fine visual when it come to water, and landscapes, but there are Game Gear games that sport a lot better graphics.
The music in Sonic the Hedgehog for the Game Gear is a lot more low-tech then the Sega Genesis, but unsurprisingly, the low quality of the music actually makes it sounds a lot better. It's not the first time this has happened, but it happened with the Game Gear release. The music does sound better for the most part. Completing the stage contains the same victory music as Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Genesis, but the Game Gear just sounds better and is more catchy. Some stages do have music that sounds alright, but doesn't do for me. As for the sound, it's the best out of the entire Sonic Game Gear series. This game does feature the famous "SEGA!" voice at the beginning, which is very exiting. The jumping sound in the Game Gear release sounds exactly like the Genesis, which is the only Game Gear Sonic game that does. The jumping sound had been changed after the release of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Game Gear, which is very unfortunate. Even with that, some thing are better off not hearing, like when you loose rings by getting hit. They also changed that in the later Game Gear Sonic games. What a coincidence. Overall, the music and sound is great in this game.
After beating Sonic the Hedgehog for the Game Gear. chances are that eventually you will go back to see the exiting speed of Game Gear Sonic, and the nice trilling music too. The game is fun to play, and does start out well. The game can get somewhat boring at the end, when you realize that the game keeps going on and on, but this only happens sometimes. Some will be frightened by the extreme difficulty of the game, and the intense thinking of the whereabouts of the Chaos emeralds, and never go back to playing the game. If you feel this way, then you may not like Sonic the Hedgehog for the Genesis either. Even if the difficulty scares you out of playing ever again, the game still is enjoyable, even with the difficulty.
Overall, for Game Gear, the game offers a lot that the original Sega Genesis had. Sonic the Hedgehog for the Game Gear had a lot of speed, a lot of fans, and is known for being one of the best Sonic games for the Game Gear. The game is not perfect, but it offers as much as the Game Gear itself could offer. This game is a classic, and will live on in future games like the Sonic Mega Collection for the Playstation 2, and Nintendo Gamecube, along with many other games around that time. For a Game Gear, this game is definitely worth the price, which is probably a few dollars, considering the age of the game; it's older then me.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Sonic the Hedgehog (US, 12/31/91)
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