Sonic the Hedgehog

aka: 3D Sonic the Hedgehog, SEGA AGES: Sonic the Hedgehog, STH, Sonic 1, Sonic the Hedgehog Classic, Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis
Moby ID: 6579
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Description official descriptions

Sonic the Hedgehog is the first of many games starring Sega's premier hedgehog, Sonic. It's a side-scrolling platform game with a difference: speed. Sonic rushes through levels with incredible speed, allowing him to traverse loops and jumps with ease.

The plot of the game is simple. The evil Dr. Robotnik has captured many of Sonic's animal friends and trapped them inside robots. Fortunately, Sonic can free his friends by destroying the robots with his spin attack. Meanwhile, Dr. Robotnik is trying to control the all-powerful chaos emeralds. Sonic must grab them before he does in the 3D rotating bonus levels.

Sonic's weapon is his spin attack; while jumping, Sonic destroys hostile robots by touch. Throughout the platforming levels, Sonic collects numerous rings. If Sonic is hit by an enemy, all the rings he's carrying fall out and scatter around; Sonic can quickly grab the rings back before they disappear. If Sonic is hit while not carrying any rings, he dies. Collecting 100 rings gives Sonic an extra life. There is also an invincibility bonus which temporarily protects Sonic from all attacks.

The game is divided into several "zones", each of them containing three levels. At the end of each zone, Sonic confronts Dr. Robotnik in a boss fight.


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

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Credits (Genesis version)

13 People (11 developers, 2 thanks)

Game Plan
Character Design
Sound Produce
Sound Program
Special Thanks
Presented by
  • Sega
Cover Artwork (JP/EU)
Cover Artwork (US)



Average score: 83% (based on 73 ratings)


Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 384 ratings with 12 reviews)

And so it begins...

The Good
Everything. This was my first game i've ever played in my entire life, so you can see how I got so darn hooked. This game has a good story, time-worthy AI, good graphics for the Genesis, and just a great experience that'll leave you wanting to play again. Dr. Robotnik is a real pain in the ass with a new invention at the end of each stage, but you can beat him, can't ya?

The Bad
Nothing. I loved this game and every single cell of silicon and plastic that makes it.

The Bottom Line
If you've never heard of this game, I wouldn't even talk to that person to describe it to them.

Genesis · by Kain Ceverus (30) · 2007

The need for speed

The Good
Sonic the Hedgehog was the game that really launched the Mega Drive & was one of the first games that I brought with my own cash. It took me a while to save up for but it was more than worth it.

Playing the game Hero, Sonic, a blue hedgehog who can run extremely fast you have to run & jump across several levels, split into 3 'acts' to defeat Dr Robotnik, who represents in a different form every time the final guardian of each level.

He has enslaved the cute little animals of Sonics home planet Mobieus via the power held in the Chaos Emeralds, which he has unceremoniously stolen. The premise of the game to defeat him and collect them in order to replace them.

The main selling power of this game was the pace at which it was played. With the emphasis on speed it allows for a greater arcade experience. This is what a gamer truly wants, at any age. A fun game with pacy, well detailed action.

The difficulty could be said to be to easy, but I think that is just about perfect. It means that any gamer can enjoy it as they will be able to progress without feeling robbed.

All that accompanied by excellent in game music, top graphics & pleasant sprite animation this game was a joy to play.

The Bad
There were some minor graphical glitches which can be irksome.

The Bottom Line
The game that re-ignited the platform genre. A must play.

Genesis · by Liam Dowds (39) · 2003

The beginning of one of the most influential platformers

The Good
In Sonic The Hedgehog you play as the now famous Sonic the blue hedgehog and must save your animal friends who are being turned into evil robots for the mad scientist Dr. Ivo Robotnik and was Sega’s major and successful competition for Mario and helped boost sales for the Sega Genesis and also contributed to it’s overthrowing of the Super Nintendo and also evolved the modern platformer now mascots always are portrayed with a attitude and usually the gameplay mimics this game’s speaking of which.

Gameplay in this game has Sonic running through the level destroying robots at top speed and jumping on platforms and avoiding various obstacles like spike beds and lava in order to keep sonic alive you have to keep collecting rings and if you reach the end of the level with 50 or more rings you enter a special stage where you go through a maze to find the chaos emerald if you get all six in the sequels 7 when you beat the game you get a better ending with adds replay which otherwise a game like this doesn’t have there are three acts per stage at the end of the third act you face robotnik and have to defeat him.

The graphics are very impressive some of the best visuals for ‘91 for console games anyway cause at this point arcade looked much better and computer games anyway with the bright visuals and well designed characters and lush backgrounds.

The Bad
There are some problems this game has some stupid hard levels like labyrinth zone and scrap brain zone and why is the final boss the easiest boss in the game? Getting all the emeralds can be quite a chore considering how it hardly changes the ending its more so you can say you’ve done it and no spin dash makes some obstacles difficult to get past but its more forgivable since it’s the first one.

The Bottom Line
All in all this game is a fun one with some fantastic music particularly Starlight Zone and if you played the other ones first it will be hard to get used to the lack of spin dash but an instant classic.

Genesis · by Classic Nigel (108) · 2006

[ View all 12 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
About the new trivia ケヴィン (4137) May 25, 2011


1001 Video Games

The Genesis version of Sonic the Hedgehog appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Android release

In the beginning menu, the original Mega Drive case is displayed; original game cartridge is too, when tapping to start a game. An option allows choice on viewing Japanese, United States, or European case and cartridge.

Chaos emeralds

Of all the Sonic games, Sonic the Hedgehog is the only game to have only 6 Chaos Emeralds. Every other game in the series features 7 Emeralds.


Sonic the Hedgehog was included on compilations for many platforms, including Sega Smash Pack: Volume 1 for Dreamcast, Sonic Mega Collection for Gamecube and Sonic Mega Collection Plus for Xbox, PlayStation 2 and Windows.

Creation of Sonic

  • At the time when Sega was trying to design a character that was fast, one illustration drawn by one of the people working on the project depicted Sonic singing in a rock band with (you ready for this?) his girlfriend Madonna! They took the concept and dropped Madonna out of it!

  • While designing the game, the animal that Sega was thinking of using before the Hedgehog was a Rabbit. Sega cut it out and added the Hedgehog instead.

  • Sonic the Hedgehog came about as the result of an internal contest held by Sega to design a company mascot. Among the entries came the first designs for Eggman (Robotnik) as well.


In many early screenshots of the Marble Zone, there are UFO-like objects floating in the sky. Footage of a prototype Marble Zone (complete with UFOs) is shown during a commercial in the movie Wayne's World. No one knows what the objects were for, or why they were removed.

Dreams Come True

The Japanese rock group Dreams Come True, who also composed all of the music for Sonic the Hedgehog (as well as Sonic 2 and Sonic CD), also helped promote Sonic in Japan! During one major tour they took across Japan in the summer of 1991, they had murals of Sonic painted onto the trucks that carried their equipment to get the people's attention. And then to make it even better, their song "Sweet Sweet Dream" was chosen to be the ending theme for Sonic 2!

Dr. Eggman

Dr. Eggman's name was changed to Dr. Ivo Robotnik for all English language versions. He would retain this name for all his English language appearances right up until Sonic Adventure , when it was intentionally phased out and restored to Dr. Eggman, presumably because that game heralded Sonic's return to glory and there was a desire for him to return to his roots. However, the Robotnik name was officially acknowledged in Sonic Adventure 2 , even in the Japanese continuum.

Formula 1 sponsorship

With sponsorship from SEGA, Sonic appeared on the Williams Formula 1 team in 1993. The hedgehog could be seen on the drivers' cars, and their helmets. Their rival team McLaren would often paint a squashed Sonic on their drivers' helmets after winning a race against Williams. Williams, however, would have the last laugh, when their team leader Alain Prost, secured the drivers' championship, and with the help of Damon Hill, the constructors' championship for 1993.

Game Boy Advance version

The 2006 GBA release is a port of the Genesis version. It includes a new save system and the Anniversary Mode, where the spin dash (a feature that enables Sonic to roll into a ball and rev up a spin attack from a dead stop, not available in the original game) has been added.

Japanese version

Curiously, though the game was developed entirely in Japan, Sonic the Hedgehog was first released in North America and Europe, with the Japanese release coming a month later. The Japanese version features several bug fixes and visual effects that didn't make it into the initial international release. In particular, the infamous "spike bug" (where if Sonic hits spikes, and the hit knocks him into another set of spikes, he dies immediately even though he should still be invulnerable) is fixed. The parallax scrolling in the background of many zones is enhanced, and there are additional water effects in Labyrinth Zone.

Mobile version

The mobile edition is ported from the Genesis version. In Europe, the game was not released as a whole, but in two individual parts: Sonic the Hedgehog Part 1 and Sonic the Hedgehog Part 2.


  • The Genesis version of the game is referenced in the third and the fourth episode of the first season of the American television drama series Rectify. A lead character Daniel Holden finds a box with a Genesis console and some games in the attic. Later on he is shown playing the original Sonic the Hedgehog. It reflects how he thinks back about his youth.


The original Sonic The Hedgehog game for Sega Genesis sold 4 million units worldwide. As of 2003 the whole Sonic series (for all consoles) sold over 27 million units since its first release in 1991.

Scrap Brain Zone

The Scrap Brain Zone was originally called the Clock Work Zone.


Shortly after the game had been released, South African Movie Network Channel M-NET held a special themed competition on Saturday mornings. The set-up was that players would phone in and play Sonic The Hedgehog on the TV, controlling the character via a phone. Prizes were awarded based on the number of rings held at the end of a strict time limit. If the contestant had more than 50, he'd win the grand prize of a new Mega Drive with games.


  • EGM
    • 1992 Buyer's Guide - Best Game of the Year
    • 1992 Buyer's Guide - Best Genesis Game of the Year
    • 1992 Buyer's Guide - Best Graphics
    • 1992 Buyer's Guide - Hottest Character in a Game
  • FLUX
    • Issue #4 - #4 in the "Top 100 Video Games of All-Time" list
  • Game Informer
    • August 2001 (Issue #100) - #24 in the "Top 100 Games of All Time" poll
  • Retro Gamer
    • October 2004 (Issue #9) – #11 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)
    • Issue #37 - #13 in the "Top 25 Platformers of All Time" poll
  • The Strong National Museum of Play
    • 2016 – Introduced into the World Video Game Hall of Fame

Additional information contributed by 雷堂承太朗 -djsw-, Ace of Sevens, Big John WV, DOS Boot, Marguerite Richardson, MegaMegaMan, Mumm-Ra, PCGamer77, Robbb and Sciere.


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by quizzley7.

Android added by GTramp. Nintendo 3DS, DoJa, Arcade added by Michael Cassidy. Nintendo Switch added by Rik Hideto. Wii added by Guy Chapman. BREW added by firefang9212. Game Boy Advance, BlackBerry, PlayStation 3, iPhone, iPad, tvOS, J2ME added by Sciere. Xbox One added by Artzei. Macintosh, Linux added by Foxhack. iPod Classic added by Kabushi. Windows added by lights out party. Xbox 360 added by Ben K.

Additional contributors: Satoshi Kunsai, paul cairey, chirinea, Sciere, Alaka, Robbb, Patrick Bregger, mailmanppa, Starbuck the Third, Thomas Thompson, GTramp, Rik Hideto, is_that_rain_or_tears, FatherJack, Harmony♡, Deleted, SoMuchChaotix.

Game added June 6, 2002. Last modified February 13, 2024.