"Got Game Gear? Then get this game."

If you've read my review of the Game Gear then you know that I am not exactly ecstatic about the very limited and mostly horrible game library. But to be fair the system does own some good or even excellent games that most gamers will enjoy. One of my personal favorites is this little gem. This game is not simply a port of the critically acclaimed Genesis title of the same name but rather is a completely different game with redesigned stages, which still manages to retain the charm of the Genesis Sonic.


The game plays just like the Genesis Sonic's and like them the main focus of the game play is speed. You control Sonic through six different worlds each containing three acts, which must be cleared to advance further in the game. The six worlds in the game are the Green Hill Zone, Bridge Zone, Jungle Zone, Labyrinth Zone, Scrap Brain Zone, and the Sky Base Zone. In edition to this you can sometimes play bonus games in between stages. These games give you a chance to gain additional points to add to your score. At the end of the third level Sonic must defeat his arch nemesis Dr. Robotnick. Unfortunately this game doesn't include any of the new features of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for Genesis. So you can expect to have fun playing just as long as you can deal with not having your buddy Tails or the spin dash at your disposal. There are extremely minimal slowdowns in this game, which understandably is a must when playing a Sonic game.


All I can say is wow they sure got the graphics and sound done right. The graphics are almost on par with the Genesis Sonic and these were a great showcase of the Game Gear's potential when the game first came out (puts Super Mario Land's graphics to shame). Most enemy designs are taken from the Genesis Sonic and they seem to have lost nothing in the translation from big screen to small screen. In my Game Gear review I also stated how much I hated the system's crappy sound chip and it's inability to create even half decent audio in most games, but some how Sonic the Hedgehog managed to break this trend. The sound is surprisingly very good. Some of the music is from the Genesis version but much of it is also completely new. What was ported is very faithfully reproduced and what is new is well composed. They even managed to include the trademark SEGA opening sequence into the game.


The evil scientist Dr. Robotnick has kidnapped Sonic's animal friends and roboticised them (turned them into robot that serve him) and it is up to Sonic to save the day by defeating Robotnick and freeing the animals. The same story as the original with no new plot development, kind of a disappointment but no big deal.


The game is fairly challenging especially the first time through. Enemies will often catch you off guard, some sequences involve a bit of thinking, traps are well placed, and Robotnick constantly changes his attack style adding plenty of challenge to the game.


The game manages to be very fun to play. Being able to play a Sonic game on the go is naturally very appealing to the average portable gamer or Sonic fan and the great execution of this game adds a lot to the overall enjoyment.


There is no save feature or hidden side quests but the game still manages to boast a fair amount of replay. Finding all the chaos emeralds will provide some replay. The game is short but also very fun to play, which works in it's favor. Sonic the Hedgehog is a great time waster and can probably best be described as the Game Gear equivalent to Kirby's Dream Land on the GameBoy.


I believe this was a pack in game with the Game Gear hardware, so odds are that you may already have this game if you bought your Game Gear new back in it's hay day. But if you don't already have it then I would recommend tracking down a copy, believe me it is probably one of the single best gaming experiences to be had on the Game Gear and for the five bucks it will likely cost to pick up, it is a game not to be missed by Game Gear owners.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 01/25/02, Updated 01/25/02

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