Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic Team (1991) Sega Genesis

Everyone loves Sonic right?

Well, you might have noticed a trend on this site that suggests we aren’t the biggest fans of the entire series. But the first one? That was a masterpiece! Right?

Gameplay

Sonic the Hedgehog is a super fast platformer where you run from left to right in huge expansive levels; with multiple routes, colourful levels, that were chock full of secrets, Loop the Loops, spinny spiked bridges, walls to smash through, wait… Sorry. That is the first Zone, Green Hill Zone, and everyone loves Green Hill Zone, hell the music is freaking fantastic. But what about the other Zones?

Sonic gets off to a fantastic start, but honestly for me it comes crashing down on Marble Zone. I very rarely get passed this Zone as I usually turn the game off as it bores me *THAT* much or using *the* cheat to simply skip it.

On Marble you just stand there, waiting for platforms. All the speed and finesse of the first level is gone and now you’re doing tediously slow platforming. I honestly think Marble is the most boring level in all of videogamedom and the contrast between the first two levels make it feel like two different games.

Seriously, who enjoys this level?

Spring Yard Zone has one of my favourite soundtracks, but the novelty of the Springs wears off fairly quickly. There are some sections were you get to run around and build up some speed, but that is countered with some ponderous sections. Across the acts on this Zone it balances out, so Spring Yard isn’t bad like Marble, but it isn’t fun like Green Hills.

Labyrinth Zone. Fuck Labyrinth.

This level makes me want to drown myself

Star Light Zone is actually my favourite zone, it combines the speed of Green Hills, but adds in some decent platforming. It can be difficult, but I like the challenge and that difficulty doesn’t feel as arbitrary as the previous two zones.

Insert Zoidberg **woop woop woop woop** noise

Scrap Brain Zone is difficult but fair, again you can build up some speed,  but there is some decent platforming thrown in, meaning that it feels the most balanced zone and offers a nice challenge.

And the Final Level is a straight up boss fight. Maybe I was in the zone because of my forays into Dark Souls, but this was on the easy side.

The bonus stages are fun, collect all the Chaos Emeralds and you get a different ending

Conclusion

As it is, there are six Zones, with 3 levels on each zone. 2 Zones blow ass (Marble and Labyrinth), Spring is OK, and I love Green Hills, Star Light and Scrap Brain.

The three Zones I enjoy are where Sonic is being Sonic. A fast Mo-Fo hitting up loop the loops and generally being a blue blur on my screen.

What Sonic 1 isn’t good at, is platforming. The platforming is boring, there is no way around this. I’m not bagging on Sonic 1, as I appreciate it, Sonic 2 is one of my favourite games of all time and Sonic 1 lay the foundations, but this site has a purpose, and that is to look at if games are still as good as we remember.

And Sonic 1 is not. It is still functional, there are still moments of fun to be had, but the core essence of what makes a good Sonic game is a little bit lacking.

Pros: loads of secrets, bonus stages, singing Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” when pegging it at full speed round loops, Super Sonic, multiple ending(s)

Cons: Marble Zone, Labyrinth Zone, the platforming sections in general

73%

Back in the Day:

Sonic the Hedgehog won several games of the year, and scored very highly.

Scrap Brain Zone is like the Russian Police, tough but fair (Jackass Gumball Rally obscure reference)

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6 thoughts on “Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic Team (1991) Sega Genesis

  1. It seems a lot of game reviewers of WordPress aren’t fond of the first Sonic game, and I can see why, it’s good, but not great. I think I can forgive it because I’ve played it for years.

  2. This is a great and honest review. When Sonic first came out and viewers saw clips of him speeding through Green Hill Zone doing loops on the adverts it sent them wild.
    They had never seen anything like it before. You’re right about the levels though and it’s the first time I have seen someone put my frustrations down in words.
    Everyone remembered the music for Green Hill Zone. lol.
    I have to say though, it was Sonic 2 that did it for me. When he turned into Super Sonic for the first time it was INSANE. Back then we never had close to any experience with Dragon Ball Z and transformations etc in the west (in English) so Sonic was the first dose of that for many and people. I think Sonic 2 was very hard for them to better. The music in Sonic 2 was great, theme after great theme that set the mood for every level. The memories. Thanks for this awesome review great post and great blog

  3. Nice review but with all the nostalgia surrounding this legend it’s still one of my favourite platformers and I’m not against the Marble or Labyrinth zones, although I agree it’s the weakest of the originals and those are the worst zones they made.
    Reuben

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