Sonic the Hedgehog 1991 Review
Sonic the Hedgehog was originally released for the SEGA Mega Drive, also known as the SEGA Genesis in the US, on June 23, 1991. It is by far one of the most legendary games in all of history. It was the game that started it all – and gave birth to a legend.
The plot is very basic and simple. Sonic must gather the Chaos emeralds to stop his arch nemesis, Dr Ivo “Eggman” Robotnik. However, the Archie comics expand on the story a little bit. According to the Archie comics, Sonic’s world is earth, only thousands of years in the future.
More specifically, the first game takes place in the year 3225, where a mad scientist named Dr. Ivo Robotnik – who would later be known as Dr.Eggman – began to expand his own empire and overthrow Sonic’s people – the Mobians using a machine called the Roboticizer. This machine had the ability to turn flesh into metal. It was originally invented for medical purposes – but Robotnik stole it for his own deeds.
As a result many Mobians and little animals had been captured. The Mobians were reduced to servants, while the little animals were used to power Robotnik’s army as the robotic foot soldiers. Sonic was one of few to escape unscathed and with the aid of other surviving Mobians he founded the Freedom Fighters.
They were a resistance cell to combat Robotnik and stop him from destroying the planet’s natural beauty.
One day, the Freedom Fighters learn that Robotnik is planning on gathering the Chaos emeralds in order to fuel his own weapons. As a result, Sonic sets off to find the emeralds and rescue the little animals who had been enslaved by Robotnik.
Though the plot can be either simple or complex, depending on your perspective, the gameplay on the other hand is very simplistic. Players can move Sonic left or right, make him jump or use his signature spin attack to defeat enemies. For the health system, there are golden rings scattered throughout the level. Sonic must have at least one ring with him in order to prevent losing a life when attacked by an enemy. Collecting 100 rings will grant an extra life.
Players must navigate Sonic through seven levels called zones. In the game, each zone is divided into three acts.
The first two acts of a zone are regular levels and act three has a boss at the end.
The eight zones are: Star Light Zone, Spring Yard Zone, the infamous Labyrinth zone, Marble Zone, the Final Zone and the legendary two Scrap Brain Zone, which is one of the most famous final levels in gaming history. The final zone is the world famous Green Hill Zone which has made a total of 18 appearances in the Sonic Series.
The zones as a whole are very well designed with a few exceptions – the Marble Zone Act Two and the entirety of the Labyrinth Zone. Despite there only being seven zones, there are some extra levels entitled the Special Zone.
Players can access the Special Zone by collecting 50 rings in an act, then getting to the goal and jumping into the giant ring. This will transport Sonic to a 2D maze where players must navigate the maze to collect a Chaos emerald while avoiding the goal blocks.
However, there are some glaring negatives about the game. One of them being the difficulty of the bosses – most of them are easy with the exception of the Labyrinth Zone and Final Zone.
Each of the bosses require eight hits to defeat and while each of the bosses can be challenging to get to, they can be easy. The Star Light Zone and Spring Yard Zone’s bosses are an example.
Most notably, the Labyrinth Zone is not well designed. Water Physics is combined with timed switch puzzles and rotating platforms, that will greatly hinder Sonic.
Even the Special Zones are quite challenging due to the rotation of the maze and the fact that there are blocks with an R on them which when touched will cause the maze to rotate in the opposite direction.
Overall, Sonic the Hedgehog is a challenging but fun game and while the Labyrinth Zone will cause some frustration and the unforgiving nature of the Special Zones given enough time you will become proficient with the game.
For those who own a PS3 or Xbox 360, you can download this game for the price of £3.39, though I’d recommend picking up the game if you want to experience the birth of such an icon.
All in all, I personally give Sonic 1 a Rank C!