SummaryThe little blue hedgehog that set the Genesis on fire
The GoodBack in the days when the Sega Master System was still popular, the only decent platform games worth playing was Alex Kidd in Miracle World and Wonder Boy. The former title was built in to the Master System, and starred a monkey boy who happened to be Sega's mascot at the time. It received very good reception, receiving well over 80% in most gaming mags around its time. However, when the Eighties drew to a close, Sega ditched him in favor of a blue hedgehog called Sonic, at a time when they introduced their brand new machine.
In the attract mode, Sonic is first seen wagging his finger as if to say "No, no, no. You're not going to play any new Mario games before you try me out." When Sonic was seen doing his stuff in the three zones and in the special stage, everyone wanted a piece of him, and for good reason, too. The game was slick, fast, had breathtaking graphics, superior sound, and was a joy to play.
The story takes place on South Island, which consists of six zones. Sonic's arch enemy, Dr. Eggman, kidnaps all the animals on the island, using them to fuel robots, and marking the zones as his territory. Sonic must stop Eggman by racing through each zone and re-claiming his territory, while freeing the animals.
There are rings scattered around each zone, and collecting fifty of these will grant you access to the special stage where one of the six chaos emeralds reside. Reaching the chaos emerald is a challenge because you are inside a rotating maze and you have to avoid hitting the flashing goal signs. Nothing special happens when you manage to collect all six emeralds. The music in this special stages is a pleasure to listen to, and the moving backdrops are breathtaking.
Jumping on monitors also present on each zone awards you with power-ups such as more rings and extra lives, and limited ones like the shield and the extra speed. I like how when you are under the influence of a limited power-up and you get another one, the latter comes into effect as soon as the last one finishes. I believe Sonic is the first platform game to do this. Also, I like the checkpoints that you zoom past. It saves you from going back to the start of the level after you lose a life.
You have to defeat Eggman toward the end of each zone, by destroying the little contraptions he uses to fly around. Each one is capable of attacking Sonic in some way. It is amazing what contraptions Eggman thinks up next after you destroy it. Also, I like how Eggman frowns at the camera after one of the contraptions take a hit.
The game can be replayed, mostly to beat your previous score. Since there is no hall of fame, anyone who is interested in score attack has to write down the score when they beat the game. Sonic can serve as a time attack game as well; see how fast you can complete an area.
Highlight: Picking up momentum so that I can walk across a surface as fast as I can, performing loop-de-loops (which is more satisfying than performing them at a normal speed). All the while fearing that I could get punished by crashing head-on to a creature that happens to get in my way.
The BadEr... Um... Hmm...
The Bottom LineSega has introduced a game that showcases the capabilities of their new machine, the Sega Genesis. It was the first game in history to have faster gameplay, due to the system's Motorola 68000 processor, whose basic speed and ability to handle 16-bit numbers gave it incredible speed compared to its predecessor, the Master System. Since Sega wanted Sonic to be their new mascot, they included the game with the Genesis, just how they included Alex Kidd with the SMS when Alex was still their mascot. The bottom line: If you are fed up with Mario's slow gameplay and want something new, then ditch your Nintendo machine and buy a Genesis with Sonic built-in.