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Platform

Sega Genesis

 

Genre

Side-scrolling action

 

Developer

Sonic Team

 

Publisher

Sega

 

Released

1991

 

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Sonic the Hedgehog

 

sonic the hedgehog,sega genesis        sonic the hedgehog,sega genesis

Game characters based on animals always get distorted, but none more so than Sonic the Hedgehog. Compare a real hedgehog to Sonic. Find many similarities? Color, shape, disposition? All of them different – except for the disposition. They’re both mean looking and would just as soon take a chunk of flesh out of you as crap in your hand.

Sonic’s archenemy, Dr. Robotnik, has enslaved the meek forest creatures in evil looking machines and seeks to destroy all those that stand in his path. As Sonic you must save the critters and defeat Dr. Robotnik, collect rings and speed through a variety of levels.

Side-scrolling platform jumping games aren’t renowned for their story driven action and there’s no change here. What it lacks in story, it makes up for with outright speed. Sonic still astounds people with how fast the action can get, especially when Sonic curls into a ball and rolls through a series of loops. You barely get to see some of the areas you’re going so fast – everything becomes a colorful blur! Of course this same speed can spell doom as well, like running into an unexpected spike wall or taking a ramp at below subsonic speeds which is not enough to clear a gaping hole. Besides being able to charge up your rolling spin (by crouching for a few seconds), you can jump. No fireball shooting here. Most bad guys can be jumped on, thereby 

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releasing the meek forest creature within, but some are spiked forcing you to roll through them. But if Sonic bashes into a bad guy he loses all the rings he has collected. Actually, the rings he’s collected are exploded all over the screen, forcing you to do some quick collecting before they all blink out of existence. Acting as a health bar are the rings. As long as you have rings, you’re okay – the more the better. The rings are all over the place and you need more than 100 of them access the bonus levels.

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The bonus levels are critical to successful completion of the game. Within each of the bonus levels are Chaos Emeralds, however getting those emeralds can be a major aggravation. A third of the trouble is collecting enough rings to access the bonus level, the other two thirds is navigating the bonus levels. The entire level rotates and Sonic is restricted to his curled up form. It’s almost like being inside a giant spinning pinball machine – there are bumpers to hit that can speed up or slow down the rotation speed, reverse the rotation, exit buttons that take you out of the level, more rings to collect, and these little diamond things that have to be hit a few times before they vanish. In most cases, the Chaos Emerald is located right in the middle of a plethora of these diamonds, making it a real challenge. The regular levels are varied in design and are made of three stages, each with a fight against Dr. Robotnik at its conclusion and container of meek forest creatures to release. Of all the levels (there are water levels, lava levels, industrial levels – the usuals) most time will be spent on a level designed like a series of connected pinball machines. All the levels are huge and just so you don’t have to start from square one every time you die there are poles that save your progress (until you turn of your Genesis). There’s also the chance to explore the levels the way you want to since there are multiple paths to take (up, down, forward, back). Each level has secret areas (usually hidden by a false wall) that can hold various power-ups – like a shield, invincibility, or sneakers that allow Sonic to run even faster.

Sound and music are first rate, if a little on the cutesy side. The graphics go hand-in-hand with the music, matching Sonic’s cartoony goodness. Everything is big and bright and easy to see.

If you get the chance, take Sonic the Hedgehog for another whirl, if only to play a Sonic game without that annoying two-tailed freak, Tails.

- Omni

 

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