Review by KasketDarkfyre

"Sega's answer to Mario: Blue haired animal versus fat plumber...tough choice..."

Possibly one of the most prolific video game characters for Sega, Sonic the Hedgehog is a creature that has passed beyond the realm of the old Genesis System and headed for infamy well into the next generation. Having started here on the Genesis as an attempt to create a legend akin to Mario, the blue, spiky haired hedgehog with speed as fast as lightening and moves that would make anyone motion sick. The story line is pretty much what you would expect from an action game in which you take on Dr. Robotnik and attempt to steal back gems and save little creatures!

Though speed has always been something that the Genesis is known for with games that run different genres, you’ll find that everything here is set not only to an upper level, but slightly beyond. At every point, the story, while not completely formed like it is in the future games, is placed secondary to the action and adventure that you take on. For the most part, this game is something that you can find solace in if you want to start in the series, and you’ll find that even if you’re a beginner to these types of games, it’s easy enough to pick up on. With no exceptional secrets to find, the first in the series is rather a tutorial for games to come.

The game play is side scrolling with a few behind the back bonus stages thrown in for the hell of it. With most of the game, your sole mission is to make it from one end of the stage to the next without getting yourself killed by various mechanical creatures. Traps and otherwise litter the stages, and you may find that the game takes on something of an unfair advantage in the way that the placement of the enemies are. Patterns can be found by simply watching what the enemies do, and as long as you can keep the speeding Sonic on a straight course, there really should be no problems getting through the game.

What you’ll find is that the game is centered around the collection of rings that are littered throughout the stages and they keep Sonic alive when you get hit by enemies. Even though the game has some problems in the respect of having too many enemies in certain locations, you can find the rings anywhere and as a secondary defense, items such as speed boots, shields and extra lives can be found in item boxes for use. When you move further into the game, you can partake in bonus stages that allow you to collect different gems to further your goal through the game.

Control isn’t all that hard either, in which the game is pretty much centered around making sure that Sonic runs and jumps when he needs to. Through most of the stages, you’ll be jumping enough and moving through various traps which is easily done with the directional pad, making it a solid interface. Beginners and advanced players alike should be able to pick up the control and speed Sonic up with little or no problem, but you’ll need to have that precision control for the later stages when you need it the most!

Visually, the game moves quickly through the stages with a full scrolling camera that gives different pan views throughout the game. You’ll find that the stages are bright and colorful, with a hint of cartoon style detailing in each of the different zones that you traverse through. For the most part, there isn’t any image break up, but there is some slow down when you get nailed by an enemy and the rings disperse from Sonic in a circular wave. Although there isn’t much to the game other than that, rest assured that everything that you see here is still enough to keep your eyes glued to the screen throughout the entire game.

The audio that you find in Sonic the Hedgehog is pretty good for an action/adventure game, regardless of the cartoon like qualities that it portrays. A bonus to all of this is that the different stages each has a theme that keeps the pace of the game and the theme of the stage that you happen to be in. Consider it a bonus to add to the fact that the sound effects ring clear and although the game doesn’t seem to make use of the hardware to its extent, it still blends together for a wonderful mix!

Sonic the Hedgehog was Sega’s answer to the Mario fanatic world of video gaming. Although you won’t find mushrooms, giant turtles or a princess to save, you will find that there is enough here to keep you riveted until you’ve finished the game. With the sheer speed and color as well as detail and differences in the stages, there is plenty to see and watch as well as experience with the wonderful sound. This isn’t to say that Sonic is perfect, because it does have its bad points, but there is enough going for it to make it a must have for collectors and a nice walk down memory lane for Genesis players!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 02/03/02, Updated 02/03/02

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