Review by Shadeix
"Another great classic"
It all started in way back when in the early '90's. SEGA was in need of a mascot. Alex Kidd and Michael Jackson obviously didn't cut it. So, Yuji Naka and Naoto Ohshima got to work on coming up with a mascot. After going through several quite odd ideas, they finally came up with Sonic the Hedgehog- A speedy, blue hedgehog that's out to get back the Chaos Emeralds and stop Dr. Ivo Robotnik from enslaving his fellow animals. The game almost instantly became a hit, and from that spawned the entire Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. Yes, this review is on SEGA's debut of their legendary mascot, and it was pretty damn good for a debut game, as well. So, here we go....
The gameplay in Sonic the Hedgehog, although often compared to that of Super Mario Bros., is far different from the gameplay of SMB. It's a side scrolling adventure, but this time, with a whole bunch of speed. Now, in this game, Sonic's signature spindash is unfortunately not present in this game, even though his trademark jumping ability is. The original game plan called for Sonic to be able to lift objects and throw them at enemies, but that was scrapped, and it was all brought down to the basic run-and-jump controls.
Now, where the gameplay really is unique from all the platformers made before it is the special stages. The goal of the specail stages was to clear away your obstacles to get to one of the six Chaos Emeralds. You move around in sort of a 3D-ish environment with a somewhat hypnotic background to it. These special stages are accessed when you complete an act in a zone with at least 50 rings and you jump through the giant special ring that appears.
Of course, how could I have forgotten the rings. Rings are Sonic's main source of power. If he is hit, his rings begin to fall all over the place. If he is it without any rings, that's it- he's dead. The only thing that the rings are not protecting him from are being crushed and falling into bottomless pits.
The story of the game is has yet another classic aspect to it along with the gameplay. The evil Dr. Ivo Robotnik has kidnapped and enslaved a whole bunch of animals, turning them into robots to help him take out his evil deeds with the help of the six Chaos Emeralds. The only creature that managed to get away from Dr. Robotnik was Sonic the Hedgehog. Now, it's up to him to get the Chaos Emeralds back, completely foil Robotnik's plans, and save all those poor, enslaved animals. The story for pretty much all of the Sonic games following that were quite similar to their original counterpart.
For 1991's standards, these were truly amazing graphics. SEGA's 16-bit console, Genesis (Known as the Megadrive in Europe and Japan) easily managed to handle the excellent graphics engine use in Sonic the Hedgehog. The graphics, in fact, almost looked 3D. The Sonic games in the series following this were just as good for their time. However, as of now, the graphics wouldn't be considered much great. Still great for a game made back in 1991, though.
The controls are pretty basic. They consist of the basic run-and-jump controls. Any button on the Genesis controller is used to jump and an early, precursor version of the spindash can be seen by pressing down on the D-pad while running. However, this version of the spindash moves very slowly and only lasts for a short time. So, I wouldn't exactly consider using it that much. :/
Overall the controls are pretty bland, but in my opinion, that barely changes how much fun you're having playing this game otherwise.
Ah, yes, who could forget those classic sound effects of Sonic the Hedgehog. That odd little "bleep" sound you get when jumping, that beautiful chime you get when you collect a ring, the "CHA-LING!" of getting hit and losing rings, and even that wonderful "Poof!" you get when you jump on and kill an enemy. All of those are classic sound effects that have stuck with the entire Sonic series for all of eternity. Well, not exactly eternity, but you get what I mean by that, right?
Then there's the unforgettable music of the game. Ah, Green Hill Zone.... the happy, upbeat tune of the cliche first level of a Sonic game. And then it all leads into nothing but danger and peril. Of course, there's many other songs in the game that are just as catchy and unforgettable as the tune of Green Hill Zone. All of it is great stuff. My final verdict on sound and music is an almost perfect 9 out of 10.
As you can tell by the title and the way I'm reviewing this, it is truly a classic game that marks the beginning of Sega's flagship franchise, Sonic the Hedgehog. In conclusion: A great game. It's a game that all Sonic fans should play at least once in their lifetime.
Buy or Rent?
I would definitely say "buy". Even if you don't own a Genesis, no sweat, just pick up a copy of Sonic Mega Collection for the Gamecube or Sonic Mega Collection Plus for the PS2/Xbox.
Well, there you have it. My first ever review, done on Sonic the Hedgehog.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 05/21/06
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