Sonic the Hedgehog review
Once upon a time, Alex Kidd was Sega’s mascot that would end up losing a one sided battle against Nintendo’s Mario. This event led Sega to create a new mascot with attitude to be able to compete against Nintendo. This new mascot became known as Sonic the Hedgehog, a speedy hedgehog who can run at the speed of light and platform just as well, if not better than, the chubby Italian plumber. The year was 1991 when Sonic the Hedgehog first released for the Sega Genesis and it revolutionized the console to become a true competitor against the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.
Sonic the Hedgehog puts the player in Sonic’s sneakers to jump from platform to platform while running fast to reach his goal, which is to stop the evil Dr. Robotnik (not Eggman) from turning all wild life into his army of badniks (robots) as he tries to gather the six chaos emeralds to rule the land. Sonic, a sucker for good, must travel to six different zones with three acts each to accomplish this feat while collecting the emeralds so they won’t land in the hands of evil.
Sonic the Hedgehog has tight game play mechanics that use a sole button throughout the entirety of the game to make it as accessible as possible for anyone to play. Sonic uses the momentum of the terrain to pick up speed which he can use to loop-de-loop around the levels, which was at the time the “gimmick” that Sega had over Nintendo’s plump plumber. As you zip around the level, the player is allowed to press down to turn into a ball that will destroy walls, enemies, and even monitors with power ups and rings. These rings are used as Sonic’s hit points, because if he doesn’t have any, he will die the next time he gets hurt; however, if Sonic has rings and gets hurt, the rings will scattered across the screen in all directions, giving the player the opportunity to gather as many rings possible and continue to live against his foes or reach the secret level within each act. These secret levels are accessed after reaching the goal to each act, as long as the player completed said act with at least 50 rings and jumped into the giant floating ring at the end of the stage. These stages are quite difficult to get through as the level rotates constantly in circles and many hazards await our blue hero, including instant failure goals. Sonic must avoid these hazards while looking for the chaos emerald, which is no easy task, but a much needed one to see the true ending of the game; furthermore, these emeralds aren’t necessarily needed unless you want to 100% the game. The power ups I mentioned earlier include a monitor that gives Sonic a timed period to be invincible against enemies and lava, while the power sneakers monitor gives Sonic a bigger boost in speed that makes Sonic run at ridiculous speeds regardless of the terrain. Lastly, Sonic can also destroy a monitor that holds a shield which will null any one attack as to not lose the rings you’ve collected.
Sonic the Hedgehog looks great still and is as playable now as it was in ‘91. The zones are bright and lively, which makes spotting hazards through the many acts easy to do as long as the player is cautious enough to do so. Speaking of zones, each zone includes a memorable tune to coincide the game play, including the classic Green Hill Zone that is widely known by the majority of gamers, even if you haven’t played the game. The music just gets better as the game progresses and that is always a plus in my book, as music can either make or break the game.
Sonic the Hedgehog is a great title that all people should play at least once to decide if they enjoy it or not. It’s easily my most nostalgic platformer ever as I’ve always preferred the blue hedgehog’s 2D fray into the gaming scene. Sonic’s sense of speed and tight platforming make this game one of the best in the genre, and it makes me long for more classic style Sonic games, which we can only hope Team Sonic wisens up once again. Make sure to check out Sonic the Hedgehog, as it has been ported to a plethora of consoles, handhelds, and mobile devices since Sega’s downfall in the console market. Word of advice though, steer clear from the Game Boy Advance port as it has constant slow down even when enemies are not in view.