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Sonic the Hedgehog

Moby ID: 36523
SEGA Master System Specs
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Description official descriptions

SEGA's mascot Sonic the Hedgehog made his debut in a famous Genesis title, but Sega's 8-bit systems got their own version of the platformer, featuring the same story and gameplay style, but different levels.

To stop the evil Dr. Robotnik, Sonic must traverse six zones consisting of three levels each. Most of the zones are based on those in the original game, but some are entirely new, including a jungle environment and a huge airship. Other unique differences are one level that scrolls automatically and one that is aligned vertically instead of horizontally. Most of the enemies (mechanized animals, defeated by Sonic's spikes when jumping or rolling) and power-ups (speed-ups, shields, extra lives) are the same as in the Genesis version as well. Sonic can pick up golden rings for protection (when hit, he simply loses all of his rings instead of a life) and bonuses: 100 rings gain Sonic an extra life, and 50 remaining rings at the end of a level allow access to pinball-themed special stages full of bumpers and springs. The final level of a zone is always a boss fight against Robotnik. Some of the boss fights differ in the Master System and Game Gear versions of the game, with special designs for the handheld version due to the smaller visible screen area.

Sonic should also collect the six Chaos Emeralds to keep them from falling into Robotnik's hands. In a departure from the original game, these are not hidden in the special stages but somewhere in the regular levels.


  • ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ - Japanese spelling
  • 바람돌이 소닉 - Korean spelling

Groups +



Credits (SEGA Master System version)

8 People (6 developers, 2 thanks)

Game Program
Graphic Design
Sound Producer
Rearrange and Original Music
Special Thanks
Presented by
  • Sega



Average score: 87% (based on 34 ratings)


Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 107 ratings with 4 reviews)

A True Classic: The start of the legend!

The Good
The game, unlike many games today, is challenging and fun. The makers of the game didn't know how popular it would become. It contains sudden surprises, good controls and that iconic soundtrack. The ultimate classic that gave our good friend Mario a run for his money.

The Bad
Although the game contained everything a game would want (minus the great graphics of 3rd Generation consoles) the game has some snags. Sometimes it can be a little too tough for younger gamers (I should know, it took me seven years to complete) and sometimes the sound effects can get on your nerves a little.

The Bottom Line
Sonic the Hedgehog, the birth of a legend, the beginning of a new era in gaming. My advice is get that old Megadrive out of your loft/attic, dust off the webs and get back into the good old times when gaming was so much fun.

SEGA Master System · by M.Allen (83) · 2006

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.

SEGA Master System · by Retro_Minded (5) · 2013

A great Sonic game that you can take anywhere!

The Good
Sonic the Hedgehog for the Game Gear is a great game. It is almost exactly the same as the one for the Sega Master System, but there are some differences. Also, you can take it anywhere like a gameboy, but with over 1000 colors! Anyway, STH has great graphics. The sound and music is some of the best of its time. This game will keep you busy for hours. When I first played this game, I was amazed that it was made on an 8-bit system. The graphics were amazing and the speed was the best of any game at the time. That's one of the things that's great about this game; the high-paced action. You have to keep moving the whole game or you could die or run out of time. This game is a piece of art and is definitely a game you must have if you own a game gear. And even if you don't, find someone who does and play their copy.

The Bad
When people think of Sonic the Hedgehog, they think of the genesis version. Considering the Game Gear is an 8-bit system, this just can't be ported to the Game Gear. That's why the Game Gear version came from the Master System. So of course the graphics are worse and the sound is worse. What'd you expect? This is why I was originally disappointed. But now I realize that what I wanted for the Game Gear just couldn't be done. Even if you could do it, the max screen resolution is much less and half of the screen would be cut off. Overall, this is a great game.

The Bottom Line
Sonic the Hedgehog is a true gem, a classic. The ported version to the Game Gear is no less. It was one of the best Game Gear games. This was the game that brought the Game Gear to life. Though a short-lived life, everyone who had a Game Gear, had this game. In short, this game is great.

Game Gear · by Classix (80) · 2006

[ View all 4 player reviews ]


Master System II version

The Sonic The Hedgehog version that came built-in the Master System II console lacks credits. Because ROM chips were very expensive at the time, the credits were dropped to make room on the small ROM chip for the necessary BIOS routines for the console. By doing this, Sega avoided having to buy bigger and more expensive ROM chips for the console.


  • Electronic Gaming Monthly
    • February 1992 (Issue 31) - Game of the Month
    • 1992 Buyer's Guide - Best SMS Game of the Year


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Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Terok Nor.

Nintendo 3DS added by GTramp. Palm OS added by Kabushi.

Additional contributors: Alaka, ケヴィン, Grandy02, Rik Hideto, Jo ST.

Game added October 4, 2008. Last modified May 15, 2024.