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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.


Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis Strange lift.
Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis A bonus level
Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis Moving platforms.
Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis Invincibility!!

Promo Images

Sonic the Hedgehog Other
Sonic the Hedgehog Magazine Advertisement
Sonic the Hedgehog Other
Sonic the Hedgehog Magazine Advertisement pp. 34-35


Alternate Titles

  • "STH" -- Informal title
  • "Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis" -- GBA title
  • "Sonic the Hedgehog Classic" -- iOS and Android release title
  • "Sonic 1" -- Informal name
  • "SEGA AGES: Sonic the Hedgehog" -- Nintendo Switch title
  • "SEGA AGES ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ" -- Japanese Nintendo Switch spelling
  • "3D Sonic the Hedgehog" -- Nintendo 3DS title
  • "ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ" -- Japanese spelling
  • "바람돌이 소닉" -- Korean spelling

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

I feel the need... the need for speed Katakis | カタキス (41895) 4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars
The beginning of one of the most influential platformers Classic Nigel (150) 4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars
Blue, blue sky... Satoshi Kunsai (2074) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
The need for speed Liam Dowds (51) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
The game that started it all.... MrBee (29) unrated
KICK ASS! Tomer Gabel (4643) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
And so it begins... Kain Ceverus (34) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
great! marielle goaway (3) 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars
Don't play it and you are SO SAD! Joel Chappell (3) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
this game will make you as dizzy as hell!! paul cairey (359) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

Critic Reviews

Entertainment Weekly Aug 23, 1991 A+ 100
VideoGame Jul, 1991 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100
Hobby Consolas Oct, 1991 95 out of 100 95
1UP! Dec 15, 2001 92 out of 100 92
Retrogaming History Jan 20, 2010 9 out of 10 90
Netjak Aug 23, 2005 8.8 out of 10 88
Megablast 1992 83 out of 100 83
Power Play Sep, 1991 82 out of 100 82
Gaming since 198x Sep 15, 2008 4 out of 5 80
The Retro Spirit Dec 25, 2013 4.5 out of 6 75


Topic # Posts Last Post
About the new trivia 2 雷堂嬢太朗 -raido.jotaro- (60652)
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.


  • 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

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.

Related Web Sites

quizzley7 (21710) added Sonic the Hedgehog (Genesis) on Jun 05, 2002
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