Reviews: Sonic The Hedgehog 1

Worth its Price, at Least

Sonic 1 is a lot like other platforming ip debuts in that it's not bad, but everything it does has been done better by later entries.

One of the hallmarks of good Sonic games is not just speed, but rewarding the player for understanding the game's controls and mechanics to a T and taking advantage of them to blitz stages even more quickly than the game usually shows off for. This type of design is even present in the more ''automated'' entries, but here, the game's greatest strength, this speed, is undercut with level design that goes out of its way to stop you from setting up a good pace for the entirety of Marble, 1/2 of Spring Yard, Labyrinth and Scrap Brain, which by measure of time, is more than half of the game. What we're left with isn't bad per se, but in this day and age, it's average to a fault.

Other than that, Sonic himself handles beautifully. His jump and roll attacks do their jobs with minimal, forgivable hiccups, although jumping out of a roll disables your control, leading to some potshots. He has a cap on his ground speed, which can only be surpassed by rolling given a slope and understanding of which ones are suitable for use, but again, there are long stretches where the game just refuses to let you make use of it.

Not to mention its presentation. There are none of those chunky, muddy sprites you think of when ''early genesis'' comes to mind, and the soundtrack is eleven times better than what can only be described as the twang that plagued most Genesis games. The first half is surprisingly catchy, and I've caught myself humming Spring Yard and and Marble Zone's themes out loud several times.

It's a... B-Ok game. Pick it up you're curious about the franchise's origins, or if you're a fan, but otherwise, just stick with CD and 3&K. Sonic 1 is available for the Genesis, Saturn on Sonic Jam, Dreamcast through the Sega Smash Pack, GBA, DS and PSP through the classic collection, Gamecube, PS2 and Xbox via the mega collection, 7th-gen consoles by independent download and on Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection, Steam, mobile devices, and probably your toaster. Just stay the hell away from the GBA version. It's a pretty sloppy port.