No, not the rubbish Xbox 360 one. Time to go hog-wild, old-school style.
Game #16: Sonic The Hedgehog
Format: Megadrive, PAL
My copy is: Boxed with instructions
I’ve probably owned more copies of Sonic The Hedgehog — that’s the original Sonic The Hedgehog, for those keeping score — than any other Megadrive game. Back in the very early 1990s…. which was (gulp) nearly twenty years ago … it was the game that sold Megadrives (or Genesis… Genisises… Genisiiii? Well, anyway, I’m not American, so it was the Megadrive here, and that’s what it says on mine and always has done) by the bucketload. So when I was picking up games left, right and centre in job lots off eBay, I’d somehow always end up with a copy of Sonic The Hedgehog.
Which was OK by me, as I’d liked the game from the first moment that a good friend of mine (who I shall call Scipio Africanus for anonymity purposes , and he’ll know why) first showed it to me. Enough to go out and buy the distinctly different Master System version pretty much on the spot, as a Master System was all my meagre funds could afford at the time. Actually, that’s another game I’ve owned more than a few copies of again, proving again Sonic’s ability to shift cartridges two decades ago.
Less so now, though, but that’s more to do with the vast majority of Sonic titles being unfettered rubbish. Good Game recently did a retrospective that covers quite nicely when Sonic went from spiky and cool to pointy and rubbish, which you can read or view here. It’s also somewhat the inspiration to write this down, although I have been playing Sonic on and off since I set up my retro systems a couple of weeks ago regardless, simply because it’s so child-friendly.
It’s been a while since I’ve played the original, though, and while a big clearout of Megadrive stuff got rid of my extra copies, this is the one that I chose to keep, largely because it was in very good condition indeed.
Ten minutes later:
Well, actually, within one minute my mind was made up. Sonic still stands up as excellent in just about every respect. It’s bright, cheery, inviting, engaging, challenging and just plain fun. Sure, I could run it over XBLA or on the Wii’s Virtual Console for a price, or on one of the many compilations that Sega’s put out over the years — actually, I think I’ve got one or two of those, now that I think of it — but it’s just not the same as the original experience the way it was meant to be played.
I’ve got to make note of the special stages, which were visually astounding for the time, and are still really good fun. I’d argue strongly that Sega never got a Sonic special stage quite as right again; while Sonic 2 and 3 had the kind of pseudo-3D effects that the Megadrive technically wasn’t capable of, they sacrificed some of the fun and speed along the way. While I was good, and played for my allotted ten minutes, I could easily play for much longer.
Ten Minute Game Verdict:
A very solid keeper. I’ll have to dig out Sonic 2, Sonic 3, S&K and Sonic 3D now, won’t I?