Review by AntoG86

"Where it all started, and when Sonic was GOOD!"

I don't know about you, but we tend to have fondest memories our first video game. No matter how disappointing it seems to be when you get older, you always remember your first one. Luckily for me, this was my first game and what a first game it was. I was only 5 years old when I first got this, and even 20 years later, it's still just as memorable playing on my Nintendo DS. Now that is on all different consoles, and even on phones, there is now no excuse not to play this game.


Sonic story lines for the Genesis series are rather simple. The evil Dr. Robotnik has trapped innocent animals into his creations, badniks, and has populated them all over South Island. Sonic must save the animals, defeat Dr. Robotnik's deadly egg-o-matic machines, and collect the six Choas Emeralds, and bring normality to the World again.

Basic, not great, not awful, but the world needs to be saved, good enough for me. 6/10.

Game play:

Top notch. Travel at fast speeds, explore surprisingly large zones, and generally destroy everything you can. You can collect several power-ups: ring boxes for 10 rings, shield to absorb an extra hit, power sneakers to go SERIOUSLY FAST!, invincibility for, well, invincibility, and sonic icons for extra lives. Rings are a health-system of sorts: get hit loses all your rings and getting hit with no rings, kills you. Getting 100 and 200 rings also gets you extra lives, and getting 50 rings at the end of the act, exposes a giant ring. Jumping into one of these takes you to the special stages. The special stages are adequate, compared to later games, and can get rather annoying at times, bouncing all over the place without seeing where your going and failing the stage. Strangely, you don't get a lot of chances to get them all (10 attempts to get 6 emeralds), which does make it a challenge at least. Sonic is not all about speed; there's platforms, switches, obstacles, and traps to overcome too, as well as multiple routes to explore, and many secret areas to find. It's only until you look at a level map on SonicZone0 do you realise how big they are! Top stuff, only the special stages prevent a perfect score here. 9/10.


Many of the songs are classic Sonic tunes, as the energetic Green Hill Zone, happy-go-lucky Labyrinth Zone, the relaxing Star Light Zone, and the devious Scrap Brain Zone, favourites amongst many "old-school" Sonic fans. In my opinion, there is not one bad song in the game. Even the terrifying "drowning music" is well remembered (not always a good thing for some fans) as classic Sonic.

Sound effects are generally satisfying, from springs, spin rolling and smashing bricks/walls, to getting hit, explosions and destroying badniks. Everything sounds good, right and proper. Classic Sonic. 10/10.


Even for 1991, the graphics are pretty good and quite detailed. Every zone has a different look, completely distinguishable from one another. The backgrounds have detail, there's no blur when Sonic travels at speed, and even the Special Stages look good with the background changing from birds to fish and back again. Bit dated now, but it's clear, crisp and where it all started. 7/10.


Simple really. A, B and C is to jump, left and right to walk, up and down to look up or down the screen, and Sonic's signature move (for Sonic 1) the Spin Roll. Press down while running to roll into badniks and move even faster round loop de loops at serious speed. Everything responds perfectly, so any mistakes are your fault. 10/10.

Boss Battles:

Seven in total, and are all memorable. There's the classic ball and chain from Green Hill Zone, the more fun Star Light Zone boss, and the more demanding ones like Spring Yard Zone and (ugh!) Labyrinth Zone. Some are easier then others, but most, are good. The final boss, although your are ring less, is slightly disappointing, plus I HATE the Labyrinth Zone boss (not a boss FIGHT). 8/10.

Replay Value:

You will want to play all the levels again, experience the classic tunes again, collect the Choas Emeralds again, and beat Dr. Robotnik's creations again. I couldn't even count how many times I have beaten the game with all the Choas Emeralds. 10/10.


You must play this game. It may not be the best 2D Sonic game, but it's the original, and where it all began. Kids brought up on Sonic 2006 and other crappy gimmick games, should be grabbed by the ear, and made to play this, and all the classic Genesis games.

Score calculation: Total categories scores: 6+9+10+7+10+8+10 = 60. Divided by total no. of categories (7), multiply by 100%

Final Score: 8.5 - rounded off to 9 for GameFAQ.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 10/31/11

Game Release: Sonic the Hedgehog (EU, 06/23/91)

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