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Sonic the Hedgehog (SEGA Master System)

91
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3.8
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Written by  :  Retro_Minded (8)
Written on  :  Apr 09, 2013
Platform  :  SEGA Master System
Rating  :  4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars

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Summary

Master System owners get to see what all the fuss is about.

The Good

Sonic The Hedgehog made waves across both SEGA consoles & SEGA gamers when he was introduced in the early 90's. Like myself and many, others others I was swept away by these waves. Falling in love with the great balanced difficulty and amazing character with a style and a coolness not yet seen on the Master System.

The first thing you'll notice in the early minutes of the game is the animation of Sonic himself. His movement, fluidity and the way he stands out from the background of the already bright primary colors is still very impressive. Each level, of the 4 featured (Green Hill Zone, Bridge, Jungle, Labyrinth) has a different look, feel and theme to it making Sonic a very diverse and well put together experience.

Each level is split into 3 acts - the 3rd been a boss battle act with the recurring Dr Robotnic who was one of favorite features of the game. Each encounter proved a challenge without been too easy or unforgiving - a perfect balance! I genuinely enjoyed wondering how he would come at me next.

The music is great too, varied from level to level I especially liked the Bridge music theme and thought the Master System sound chip was used to it's full potential. Sound effects, enemy sounds, Sonic's and the interaction with the playing area itself were well used and didn't once get annoying or repetitive as is the case with many games in this era.

The gameplay is fun and rewarding too, every Level introduces a different way to play, sometimes underwater - open or confined underground.The bonus levels were great fun, if you hold 50 rings or more (baring in mind 100 will earn you an extra life AND reset your ring count to 0) when reaching the end of an act you will take part in a timed bonus game - much like a pinball game.

You have a countdown timer and can collect continues, extra lives and also a 100 free standing rings for an extra life. This is such a blast as you have to be very careful with your timing, if you don't make it to the goal before the timer counts down everything you just earned gets written off and you carry on to the next act - very humbled!

There are lots of cleverly hidden items in the game that will drive you to keep playing through again and again. From Chaos Emeralds to the odd TV screen, even re-playing those awesome bonus stages are worth the time investment.

A perfect example of what can be done with a dedicated attitude - a flawless platforming experience and thoroughly enjoyable play-through.

The Bad

The only actual gameplay issue I can point out is you only ever get Sonics running sneakers on Green Hill Zone ACT 1 (The very first level!)

Such a shame as this was the coolest part and greatest introduction in my opinion. When the music speeds up and you cover half the level in a matter of seconds, it truly makes you feel.....fast (provided you don't slam into a spring pad lol - which I did).

I imagine the limits of the system and design of the levels would be the reasons why, still though a bit of a tease!

It would of been nice to see a score tally for killing enemies, even an actual tally! They just provide an obstacle which granted is there purpose however with some so cleverly designed it would have added another level of enjoyment to this already great game.

Other issues were down to aesthetics and didn't effect the way the game plays. For example, Sonics bubble shield not covering the sprite all the way, a bit of a lazy animation I thought as it's the most common powerup throughout. The Jungle level too was very, very bold and rich in color - even for the bright primary color theme of the game.

The Bottom Line

A great platform game with smooth mechanics, catchy music (which you will whistle too - even after a frustrating death or 2) and a great character who you will enjoy playing.

The visuals are stunning and alongside the level design give each of the 4 very different themed areas a different and great gaming experience.

The boss battle acts & bonus levels were a personal favorite.

Sonic The Hedgehog is definitely in The Master Systems TOP 5 MUST HAVE GAME CARTS LIST for every owner I would say. Unless you are lucky enough to have it built in to your machine.