Sonic The Hedgehog
Box Shot
Sonic The Hedgehog
Platform: Genesis
Publisher: Sega
Designer: Sega
Genre: Action
Players: 1
Published Date 1991
Reviewed by: Chuck Roberts

Let me tell you a little story. A long time ago, the Sega Genesis came out, a new-wave 16 bit system with a future. Sega needed a mascot to go with the system's hardcore attitude, so they create a teen-age, sassy hedgehog called Sonic. It became one of the first of many successful games for the Genesis and gave way to many sequels and spin-offs. Perhaps what made it so popular was the element of speed...play a super-fast blue hedgehog as he bounces through levels, runs through loops, and all sorts of stuff that Mario never, EVER did.

So, what's the game about. Alright, it appears a huge, egg-shaped doctor named Ivo Robotnik, wants to do what 99.9% of bad guys want to do, take over the world. He captures lots of tiny little wimp animals and converts them into a massive army of robots. It's up to the blazing blue hedgehog to defeat the robots and stop Dr. Robotnik. Sonic must progress through 6 zones in all, each one (except the last one) consisting of 3 acts, or sections. At the end of each 3rd act, Robotnik comes in some little contraption. Bash him 8 times and he flies away and you rescue a bunch of animals, not yet converted into machines.

Along the way, you may also try and get the 6 Chaos Emeralds, mystic gems that if collected, are suppose to spice up the ending a bit, but it barely does this. To reach them, you must be holding 50 rings by the end of any 2nd or 3rd act and jump into the huge ring at the end. You then enter a 360-degree rotating maze to find them.

Let's get down to the details! The graphics are fairly detailed, with some nicely moving sprites. Sonic has a variety of poses and even looks at you bored when you don't move him! His head's a bit big and his feet are huge, though, so he might not win any beauty contests. The little animals are so little and once you free them, they jump away, even into pits or boiling lava (STUPID ALERT!). Why does Sonic befriend animals that are 1/4th his size?! Maybe he should seek conseling for a self-esteem problem here. Anyway, the backgrounds are cool in some zones like Star Light zone (nice scrolling), but other zones have plain, boring backgrounds that show little appeal. Dr. Robotnik keeps returning, with that same pod he flies in, only with a different enhancement. That gets old after 4 or 5 zones. The rotating mazes are cool, with a background changing from birds to fish. Each zone has a distinct look of it's own, something to keep up the fun factor, for each zone has different traps and dangers. Overall, nice looks!

I personally like the music in Sonic The Hedgehog, which is why I give it such a high score. The sound would earn a 5, it lacks any excitement. It's all bing and boing and I can't stand the horrible, scratchy voice the says "SEGA!", when you turn it on. That jumping noise will just make you scream, since you hear it only 10,000 times per game! I don't have any real good sounds to list, but the music can be cool. I like the Green Hill and Labyrinth Zone tunes and the little song when you beat the level is nice too. Some music, like the rotating maze one, is less than desirable. The control is quite easy to understand. It's the first game I've seen where all 3 buttons make you jump. That's it, you move and jump. No machine guns or mastering some tricky button combinations, you just jump. Boing!

The difficulty isn't much at all. It's easy, for the first time I ever touched a Genesis or this game, I made it through half the game! I wasn't any older than 10 and I wasn't a pro. Anyone who's played a game before can just pick this one up and begin, though some people may wet their pants after Sonic moves fast and they lose control. I haven't, but every time I get my little cousin to play, he gets all hyper and scared, because he moves pretty fast. This is what Sonic's all about, the SPEED! There is quite a bit in this game which is cool and impressive, since a system isn't usually expected to move that fast. Robotnik is easy, just dodge and bash him, after 8 times, he's history....until next zone. It will get a little more challenging, especially in the Labyrinth Zone, where you need to find air bubbles underwater, or you drown! Nice realistic concept, unlike Mario, who can master swim and hold his breath for eternity!

Overall, the game is quite entertaining and a blast to play. You'll be trying for the Emeralds and after that is done and the game is beat about 100 times, the appeal is lost and you might become bored with it. The point is it's a cool game with a new concept for a hero and villain (almost). No danzel in distress here, just a fat doctor, lots of machines and the typical hero animal who saves the day. Instead of having a massive body of muscle, Sonic relies on speed to get him through and pull him out of messes. Give the game a whirl, Sega did work hard at it, but they might want to fix the SEGA voice, it's horrible! Anyway, while people argue over who's better, Mario or Sonic, be a smart person and just quit the crap and play the game. Who cares whose better, what matters is the fun involved. Until part 2, 3....and on!