TSS REVIEW: Sonic the Hedgehog

This was Sonic’s first appearance on the Sega Mega Drive, or the Genesis as our friends in America like to call it. The aim of the game is simple – Dr. ‘Eggman’ Robotnik plans to threaten all of Mobius with his mechanic monsters, which are powered by cute furry animals.

With the use of these, Robotnik wants Mobius as his kingdom. All is not lost though – Fatboy has not yet found the seven Chaos Emeralds which are littered somewhere on the planet. Sonic plans to stop the Egg-man and to retrieve the Chaos Emeralds, which conveniently happen to be floating about in another dimension.


Platform: Sega Mega Drive | Developer: Sonic Team
EU Release: 23 Jun 1991 | US Release: 23 Jun 1991 | JP Release: 26 Jul 1991

The concept of Sonic the Hedgehog is not a difficult one to grasp. You take control of the blue blur himself, speeding through vast colourful stages while at the same time dodging the many traps laid out for him. Using his super speed and his super spin attack, Sonic can overcome and destroy each zone’s many hazards.

To help make your journey a living nightmare, you have to contend with a guy who’s eaten a few too many hamburgers at the end of each zone. Yes, it’s our chubby friend, Dr. Robotnik. Just like in the Master System version, his hovercraft features a different contraption in every level, so you must find out the pattern and destroy him. The very last level is essentially a big boss, where Eggman isn’t in his hovercraft for once! What sucks is that he may be a bit trickier to beat than the other bosses.


You need to collect all of the Chaos Emeralds in order to foil Eggman’s plans completely, and you do this by finishing a level with over 50 rings. When you do so, a massive ring will appear. Jump into that to enter a whole new dimension. This Special Stage has you floating around a 360-degree environment, full of bumpers and icons, to find the Chaos Emerald (encased within special diamonds that you have to hit to disappear).

Hitting different icons in the Special Stage affects the world around you. For example, hit a circle with an ‘R’ on it and the 360-degree rotation will reverse. Other modifiers include ‘Up’ and ‘Down’ buttons which, funnily enough, speed up or down the rotation. These are just a few things you can find which you can use to your advantage… or it can just be a pain. You decide.


The Mega Drive/Genesis version of Sonic 1 has major improvements over the Master System one, being 16-Bit and all. As well as the graphics, the music’s top notch. The extra 8-Bit really makes a difference. The levels are longer, the bosses harder (but still easy), and Scrap Brain’s the bomb!

The real question is – is this any good? Well, yes! This is the one that started it all! People may find it a bit easy in places, but it has that sort of accessibility that’ll make you play it over and over, even when you’ve completed it. Obviously the hype of this game is ultimately low – there’s been many more Sonic games released since this one – but if you’re out for a little bit of nostalgia, best get Sonic 1 out from the attic, eh? You know it makes sense. It’s a classic.



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Founder of The Sonic Stadium and creator/co-organiser of the Summer of Sonic convention. Loves talking about Sonic the Hedgehog in his spare time. Likes Sonic Colours a little too much for his own good, apparently.