After three decades of playing Sonic the Hedgehog games, I must be immune to the magic of Sega’s fast blue hero.Prove me wrong. A little irritable after a busy day, I uploaded this collection of classic platform games from the ’90s to And all the tension faded as soon as I heard the famous title music.
Sonic Origins, arriving on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC Thursday, includes the original Sonic, Sonic CD, Sonic 2, Sonic 3 & Knuckles. It also costs $40, which is a bit pricey for four old games that have been released countless times over the years.
However, it is beautifully rendered, with plenty of modern twists and additions to spice up these old games and offer new ways to experience them. I spent most of my time playing in Anniversary mode, which gives you slightly improved visuals, full screen display, and infinite life, because it’s new to this group and I don’t have patience with gaming monitors anymore. I’ve seen enough of them as a kid, thanks.
For purists, Classic mode lets you play with retro visuals, a 4:3 aspect ratio (with bars on either side of the screen) and a limited lifetime. I’m glad it’s possible to recreate the old gameplay, but I hardly feel the perfect way to experience these games in 2022.
Dive into the original Sonic the Hedgehog, which debuted on the Sega Genesis (or Mega Drive, as most areas outside the US were known) in 1991, as fun as it has been in the last 31 years. There is a satisfying sense of speed as you navigate through the more open levels, while the maze is the most fun to explore.
It’s also harder than I remember – the chase sequence Labyrinth Zone Act 3 took me a lot of tries to get past it (infinite lives, dad). Hearing the Starlight Zone’s ultimate talk on a topic made it worth it.
The first game seems relatively simple compared to its more complex sequels but it remains an essential part of the games that everyone should play at least once. This is also the console version where you can play as Tails and Knuckles (added in the 2013 remaster on iOS and Android), which lets you explore levels in whole new ways with their flying, gliding and climbing abilities.
Sonic CD is probably the game that has been played by the least number of people since I needed the expensive Sega CD Genesis add-on to do it back in 1993. I had never completed it before because the level design always felt like a step down from Genesis Games and struggled To get around the time travel mechanic. (I just wanted to go fast!)
It has incredible music and animation though – great anime-style cut scenes are included in all their glory. Good luck getting the lead song, Sonic Boom, out of your head too. Having finally completed it in this collection, it is definitely a game that I appreciate and I look forward to exploring more, especially since completing it allows you to play again as Tails. (Unfortunately, Knuckles cannot play in the Sonic CD.)
Sonic 2 is my emotional favorite, having spent countless hours since it debuted in Genesis in 1992. This game is the perfect sequel, adding layers of sophistication through more vibrant levels – Chemical Plant and Casino Night Zones are particularly favourite – which Its more open design allows it to penetrate Sonic, Tails or Knuckles. I had one glitch where Tails (as a secondary computer-controlled character) got caught in some scenes and kept trying to jump, making an annoying bouncing sound until I finished the level. It doesn’t break the game, but it’s still annoying.
Final Boss (Design of the second movieearlier this year) a lot easier than I realized as a kid, but it took me a whole bunch of tries and several growing rumbles of my partner around indomitable tires before I hit him. I loved every second of replaying this great game.
Sonic 3 & Knuckles – first introduced on widescreen in this collection – is somewhat of a two-in-one game, since it merges Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles. It was originally intended to be a single game, but Sega chose to release it separately in 1994 due to time constraints and cartridge size limitations (presumably due to the chance of earning more boatload).
The gameplay exudes confidence from the opening moments to the epic ending; Amazing character animation – Seeing Sonic skateboard at the start of Ice Cap Zone is still awesome – More levels than any other, compelling transitions between stages, lots of iconic bosses and moments of intense speed. Some of the music for this release was changed due to the late Michael Jackson’s much-reported involvement with the original soundtrack, but it didn’t take much of an experience for me.
I don’t feel as nostalgic about this game as if I was the second, but playing it one by one highlights the superiority of Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Choosing Knuckles provides an entirely different experience than doing it like Sonic or Tails as well, which encourages a lot of gameplay.
There’s a lot of extra replay value in this group, too. Once you’ve finished each game, you get access to mirror mode that lets you go through each level from right to left (which feels a bit wrong at first), master rush mode that lets you challenge all the big bad guys in a row, and smaller missions that do You defeat a certain number of enemies or pass a challenging obstacle course.
You can also play across all four games in a seamless story mode, linked by beautiful animated cut scenes created for Sonic Origins. In each mode, you collect coins that allow you to unlock music and art in the in-game museum – this element of the game seems a bit light-hearted, given Sonic’s 31-year history – or re-experience the special stages of each game if you’re trying to collect all the Chaos Emeralds (which you need to get the real endings).
Hard mode, additional tracks, and some aesthetic menu options are exclusive to the $45 Digital Deluxe Edition, but weren’t available during the review period. This article will be updated as soon as I get a chance to check out these features, but the game didn’t feel incomplete without them.
No matter which version you want, there’s still plenty to ask for $40 for decades-old games –You can play a no-frills version of Sonic 2 at no additional cost for now. You can also play Sonic Mania, which honored all four of these games in 2017.
Despite the high price, Genesis Sonic games are among the best platform games ever made, and Sonic Origins presents them in the most visually stunning collection to date. If you are looking to revisit classic 2D Sonic games or want to introduce them to a new generation of gamers who discovered Sonic through-This group is the easiest and most accessible way to get to know them. And it still puts me in a better mood when I upload it.