Sonic the Hedgehog (Mega Drive Review)

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H.Samuel’s “heavyset” range was rather easy to find…

H.Samuel’s “heavyset” range was rather easy to find…

Now this is what I’m talking about. For too long, the Mega Drive had been thought of as a gateway to play Sega’s arcade machines at home. Talk of Sega’s “mascot”? There wasn’t one. Until now. Sonic the Hedgehog isn’t your standard platformer, it’s a work of art. A humble spiky blue hedgehog out to rescue his mates from the dastardly Dr Robotnik (Dr Eggman in the Japanese version) hardly seems like anything out of the ordinary but Sonic takes playability to a whole new level.

 

If I run really fast, everything will be okay!

If I run really fast, everything will be okay!

No options, no intricate opening sequence, it’s just bam!  Straight into the action!  From the Green Hill Zone all the way through to the Scrap Brain Zone (less gruesome than you’d think) the levels are lush.  Every backdrop and every sprite looks gorgeous, there’s no other word for it.  Each zone has three acts that Sonic has to zip through (and my does he zip) until he takes on a different version of Dr Robotnik and saves more of his friends.  Let’s get to it, the acts are brief but include lateral puzzle solving like pushing rocks onto buttons and gasping for air in underwater levels.

 

Sonic has just the two moves – bounce (press any button) and roll (press down when you’re going at breakneck speeds) which means it’s so easy to pick up.  

And sometimes impossible to put down.

 

Someone’s cajones were on the line, literally

Someone’s cajones were on the line, literally

The music is jolly and doesn’t suffer from the repetition that a lot of Mega Drive titles do.  The care taken is obvious in every aspect.  This brings me to Sonic’s one flaw – it’s way too short!  Learning curve-wise, it’s spot on but there just isn’t enough game here.  Buy it on a Saturday morning, you’ll probably have completed it by the evening (if you’ve only had Fruit Tella for lunch). There is some additional content here, the game has maze-esque bonus stages where you need to collect rings and chaos emeralds that also double up as continues.

 

Sonic is also littered with secret rooms to find more rings and power-ups.  But this only serves to make the rest of the game less difficult!  Although it is fun to replay.

 

A truly phenomenal achievement and a mascot to boot, someone at Sega has done something very, very right.

 

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