Sonic the Hedgehog

Wow, this game looks great! Oh, wait, I haven’t even started yet!

Review Date: May 4, 2021

Release Date: June 23, 1991

Platform: Sega Genesis

Publisher: Sega

Genre: Linear Platformer

Anecdotes: In 1991, our triangle of cousins still all lived in the same houses. Since 1982, when the last two boys were born, there were my 3 male cousins, my two brothers, and me. Within those nine years, our worlds kept expanding. God decided to give my aunts and uncles girls in those years. There were four girls, but only two were old enough for gaming and lived close enough to be playing with us. The cousins made friends with a family that had a little sister that was always around for some reason. She and my cousins would want to play games, but often had to get the TV away from the boys. I’d stay out of the argument and go outside, but I could always tell who won by who went outside and what music was on inside. If it was the Sonic theme, then I knew the girls won. The girls just LOVED this game.

The is the first of 11 Genesis games I’m planning to cover. I skipped the Master System entirely to focus on the NES. As a child, I never had ANY Sega system. Anything I played was either at the cousins’ house or at the bowling alley’s arcade. Sonic the Hedgehog is also the first game I’m covering from the 16 bit era, but now I will be bouncing around various systems. However, even after 1991, there were still NES games being made, so I’m not fully done with that yet. Expect to see a mix of games from the NES, SNES, Genesis, and Game Boy, plus some random one-offs.

Description: Sonic has to run obstacle course type levels to reach the goal at the end. There are enemies, but Sonic has no weapons. Instead, he can kill enemies by jumping into them, similar to Samus Aran’s Screw Attack. Along the way, there are rings to collect. Sonic gets bonus points for any rings he holds onto when he finishes a level, but the rings have a more important function. As long as Sonic has at least one ring, he can take damage, but he loses the rings. They scatter, but Sonic can pick some back up if he’s fast enough. Sonic only loses a life if he takes damage while ringless.


-The only two stages I reached legitimately, Green Hill Zone and Marble Zone, look excellent. The graphics are detailed and the color choices are perfect. Marble Zone uses some vibrant purples for the background and red for the lava. Green Hill Zone (I don’t know where the name came from; there are barely any hills and they’re not green) has a beautiful backdrop of waterfalls and other bodies of water. Speaking of good looking, check out the title screen at the top of this page. It’s got the water, Sonic himself, the title, and a nice blue sky.

If this place were real, I’d be vacationing there.


-After finishing the Green Hill Zone, the game slows down immensely. Trying to zoom through stages will just get Sonic to drop down a hole to nowhere. These holes barely exist in the first stage, but they become a lot more frequent later on.

-Sonic’s speed is a selling point, and it’s a lot of fun to just blast by everything. However, a lot of the fast parts of the gameplay are done blind. There’s no way to see what’s ahead, so it’s basically just a leap of faith or a potential death drop lurking around the bend. It’s an absolute gamble. Sonic better pray there’s somewhere to land.


Balance there, Sonic. It’s just a fish.
I’m feeling a bit loopy. Can someone give me a ring?
Ok, this waterfall effect is cool. Nice job, Sega.
This is the first boss. I caught onto its pattern very quickly.
I’m about to get chased by lava.
I couldn’t get any closer. That fan is quite strong.
I might as well get some pinball action in, but I’m not sure if there’s anything below.

Final Opinion: Excellent graphics and a superb first level makes this game look better than it really is. The gameplay suffers badly after that, though.

Grade: C

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