Move over, Alex Kidd. Sonic is in town
Recently, I have reviewed
the Genesis version of Sonic the Hedgehog
, which I awarded five stars due to its speedy gameplay, great graphics, and excellent sound. It was released in 1991; and in the same year, Sega decided to make a version for its predecessor, the Master System. I decided to see how this version fared, whether it was as good as the Genesis version.
You are presented with a world map that shows your progress through the zones, and Sonic for the SMS is one of the first games to feature such a map. It is very colorful for a game released on a machine with a limited palette. The object of each zone is to run through them until you get to the exit. There are multiple routes you can take in each zone; and not only does this provide replayability, but it is important to anyone who wishes to find the Chaos Emerald in each zone.
There is a mixture of new and familiar zones, with most of the new ones carrying breathtaking graphics, especially the graphics in the Scrap Brain Zone, where the lights in the buildings fade in and out. Most of the music that accompany the gameplay are renditions of hit songs at the time, such as Janet Jackson's "Together Again" in the Bridge zone. I enjoyed listening to each piece of music, as it blends in with the setting of each zone. The sound effects come from the Genesis version as well.
As with the Genesis version, collecting at least fifty rings warps you to a special stage. The SMS was incapable of reproducing the rotating maze effect, so what its owners got is a stage that acts like a pinball machine, with elements you would find in a real pinball machine, such as flippers, springs, and bumpers. Here, Sonic is seen spinning around collecting as many rings as he can before the time runs out. The highlight of this stage is watching him ricochet off the numerous bumpers.
The only problem I have with the SMS version is that it's not quite as fast as the Genesis release. When I played the 16-bit version, I ran as fast as I can before performing a spin dash, and rolled along the platform I was on for a long time, performing the loop-de-loops as I go. Here, I could roll along for five seconds before grinding to a halt. The CPU inside the console is not fast enough to do this.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, the SMS version of Sonic the Hedgehog is an excellent conversion of the original game that has great graphics and sound. The music borrows heavily from songs at the time, and the multiple routes in the game means that the game deserves to be played more than once. The only drawback is speed, but overall this is a very good game that SMS owners should play at least once.