Review by Zylo the wolf

"The beginning of Sonic the Hedgehog."

The year was 1990 and Sega had just released their second home system. The company thought that they needed a mascot that could represent everything the company stands for. While both Alex Kidd and Wonder Boy had have a few popular games on Sega's previous system, they seemed to miss something that Sega wanted to have in their mascot. Sega needed a mascot that looked cool and had some attitude, a character that stood out compared to many of the already existing platform heroes. Sonic the Hedgehog was born. Not only did he looks much cooler than what any known platform hero had looked before, he also was much faster than them.

This isn't just the first game that we learned to know the cool blue Sonic the Hedgehog, but his evil nemesis Dr Robotnik (Now known as Dr Eggman in the newer Sonic games in the whole world, his name has always been Dr Eggman in Japan.) was also in the first game. Dr Robotnik have taken over Sonic's home island and turned many of Sonic's animal friends into evil robots. Since Sonic was fast enough to not let Dr Robotnik catch him, Sonic now has to save his friends by stopping Dr Robotnik's evil plans to conquer the world.

What really makes Sonic the Hedgehog different from any of the previous released platform games on every system is that Sonic the Hedgehog focused much more on speed than the previous ones. Sonic has to go through 6 different zones where each zone are split in three different acts. On each act there are a lot of robots that wants Sonic dead, and there are a lot of rings placed all over the stage as well. The first two acts in each zones are just stages where Sonic has to reach a goal, but in the third act Dr Robotnik himself will appear and have a fight with our hero.

If Sonic gets one ring then he will be able to take a hit from any kind of enemy. If he collects 100 rings then he will get an extra life. When one enemy has attacked Sonic while he had any rings then he will drop them all and they will appear all over the screen. Since Sonic dies if any enemy hits him when he doesn't have any rings, it's wise to try to pick up as many rings as possible that he dropped. In a few places in the game, this causes a horrible slowdown for a while if Sonic carried to many rings when he got attacked.

Most of the previous platform games that was released before this game either had a button that the player could hold in to make the character move faster or the character always moved slow. However Sonic doesn't need anything more to run ast than just a little start up place. When he has been running for about two or three seconds, he will run much faster than what any other platform hero has done before. This means that you can use all the three buttons on the Sega gamepad to jump.

Sonic got two ways to defeat all the evil robots that Dr Robotnik have left on each stage. He can either do the classic jump move that every platform hero with any quality can do, or he can roll on them. This roll move can be done if the player press down while running. This allows Sonic to not drop any speed when he wants to attack an enemy and the stage can be cleared much faster. Every enemy except the evil doctor himself only needs one hit to die. When a robot dies, it transform back to the animal that it was before Robotnik turned it into a robot.

On each stage, there are many different power up boxes placed all of the stage. The most common is the ring box, which gives Sonic 10 more rings if he crushes them with his spikes when he jumps on them. There are also a few shield boxes on each stage. If Sonic crushes one of these he will get a shield around him, and now he gets to keep all his rings if one enemy attacks him.

Another common power up box is the speed shoe box. If Sonic crushes one of these boxes then he will run much faster than before for a few seconds. The music all speeds up while he uses this shoes, but Sonic isn't that much harder to control just because he's faster.

Another good power up box that is good to combine with the speed shoe is the invincibility box that looks like if there are stars in that box. If Sonic crushes one of these, a couple of stars will be around him, and now he can't be killed by anything except if he falls into a pit or if he runs out of oxygen when he's underwater. The last power up box is a classic 1-up box, which gives the player an extra life.

The first zone is what now has become the classic Green Hill Zone. This zone is full of pretty palms and colourful flowers. This stage is also full of loops that Sonic has to run through. Also this zones has some cliffs that gets destroyed if Sonic touches them and then Sonic will fall lower to the stage. There are also a few hidden passages that the player can find if Sonic rolls into a wall. If you are lucky, Sonic will destroy the wall and make a tunnel to a new place.

The second zone is Marble Zone. This zone takes place in mystic ruins, which has been another popular stage design in many of the sequels. In this zone Sonic has to do a lot of other stuff than just run. For example, he has to push blocks into dangerous lake of lava so he can cross the different lakes. Sometimes, lava will pop up just like if there was a volcano, and if Sonic is sailing on a block at that time he will fly up high in the air and be able to reach higher places. Sometimes he also have to push blocks to a switch that will open a new path.

The third zone is Spring Yard Zone. This zone is full of bumpers and springs, so there are almost no place that Sonic can't reach here. There are also a few huge half-pipes in this stage, where Sonic can roll in and then jump to reach even higher places. One boring thing about this stage is that there are many times where you have to wait for different platforms to move so that you can reach them.

The fourth zone is the most difficult one by far. In the Labyrinth zone, Sonic will for the first time (but not the last time) face his worst enemy in most of the Sonic game, the water levels. Once Sonic gets under water, he has to touch big bubbles to get more oxygen. When Sonic starts to run out of oxygen, the music will change and a timer will start to count on the screen. To stop this timer Sonic either has to get up from the water or touch this big bubbles. If the timer reaches zero, then Sonic will drown. Also Sonic can't run as fast under water as when he's on land.

The other zones are kinda similar to the previous zones except that the background is different and such things, so I won't bother to write anything about them. However Star Light Zone is one of my favourite zones of all the zones in any Sonic game, so I really recommend that you play this game even if it's just to experience that zone.

If Sonic manages to collect more than 50 rings when he reaches a goal he can enter a bonus stage by jumping into a big yellow ring that appears at the goal if Sonic has enough rings. In the bonus stages, the player is in a weird labyrinth where Sonic can't do anything but to fall. The point with this bonus stages is to collect 50 rings to get a continue, and also to find one of the Chaos Emeralds. However, the emeralds doesn't have the power they have in the other Sonic games.

Many who are playing Sonic The Hedgehog for the first time today might get a little disappointed since Sonic is the only character playable. Many agrees that there are just to many characters in the newer games, but many still want at least Tails and Knuckles playable in some way. But the series had to start somewhere, and Sonic is doing great alone in this game. I agree that Sonic 2 and 3 are better games than this one, but the game still has so many classic stages that I want to play it again, and again and again. And isn't that what makes a game really great?

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 04/26/07

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