May 17, 2013
Sonic the Hedgehog is a classic, at least in the sense that it was the launching pad for a famous character. In reality, it’s a lot more like some bands’ first album: their later stuff is more refined, exploring their strengths better, to make for a better product. Such is the original Sonic game. Sonic 2 and 3 do a lot to make the series much better, so I must admit that when I heard that Sonic 1 was being remastered by Christian Whitehead and company a la Sonic CD, I was initially disappointed. But really, there was no reason to be: the tweaks and new features make this better.
Sonic should be well-known at this point. Run, jump, fight Eggman’s robots and contraptions (though he’ll always be Dr. Robotnik to me), and avoid those darn spikes. This is the game that started the classic formula, including the most underappreciated part of the series’ gameplay: the complex levels and challenging platforming that comes from their multiple layers.
The spin dash I have mixed opinions about: it makes the game feel better, but it makes certain sections much easier. This is especially true of the final boss, where dodging the sparks that come out becomes much, much easier thanks to the ability to quickly speed away from them on a dime. But hey, it makes the game a bit less frustrating, so it’s worth it, right? Plus, it’s just an option, so the purists can turn it off.
The other new features add a lot of value to the game. It’s possible to play as Tails and Knuckles, or even Sonic with Tails. Powerups from later Sonic games can be used. There’s a Time Attack mode. The cartridges for the three different versions of the game as well to be displayed when launching the game. It’s a minor feature, but for a project powered by hardcore fans who have gotten to work with Sega, it means a lot.
The controller support helps to make this a far-improved experience as well. A wide variety is supported just like in Sonic CD – the MOGA models are supported as are HID controllers, for example. The virtual controls are far from perfect, but at least they’re configurable.
Sonic the Hedgehog may not be the best game in the series, but the bonus content that comes along with it (in surprising amounts) is well worth checking out for fans both new and old.
Sonic the Hedgehog Review Rundown
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