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I want you to sit back for a minute and take yourself back to 1991, I want you to sit on that couch you had back then, i want you perhaps to get a cool refreshing drink... Turn on your telly.. and listen.... Seeeegaa, oh my word do you remember that sound, that sound just epitomized my younger days, and it's good to see that the Wii virtual console hasn't let any of that charm go, something so simple that captivated kids and adults alike for years and years.
Back in 91 Mario and Sonic where preparing to go head to head in a little friendly competition and get ready for a nostalgia blow to the head as we take a look at the original and best sonic the Hedgehog, not the rather sorry and unfortunate mascot you see today, skiing with princess peach and toadstool...
Now just in case you don't know anything about sonic i'll just brush over the premise for you, there's not much you need to know but i like a little background story myself.
THE STORY OF HOW SONIC AND ROBOTNIK CAME TO BE
Sonics the blue Hedgehog wearing red sneakers and he can run at incredible speeds because of an experiment by Doctor Ovi Kintobor.....
Sonic was actually a brown hedgehog who dug into Kintobor's lab... Kintobor gave Sonic his trademark sneakers and taught him to run at incredible speeds... During an experiment Sonic caused a machine to overload by breaking the sound barrier with his speed, an explosion fused his quills together and gave him his trademark blue colouring. Kintobor himself was working mainly on an experiment to take all the negative energy on their home planet (Mobius) and compress it into emeralds called the chaos emeralds, with the intention of ridding the planet of that energy. Prior to the final experiment to compress the negative energy into the crystals, Sonic and Kintobor have lunch together, Kintobor forgets about a rotten egg left in the fridge, he collects it and makes his way back to lunch. Kintobor trips over a wire and his hand and the egg end up caught in his negative energy compressor machine, in the resulting explosion Kintobor takes on the shape and rottenness of the egg and becomes Robotnik (Kintobor spelled backwards, clever eh) also the rings of power that powered the machine scatter all over the world. Because of the exposure to the negative energy, naturally he becomes wholly evil. The opposite of the kindly old professor he once was.
Now this story is not told in the game but that is Sonics original story and i thought you should know! The game centers around sonic trying to get all the Chaos Emeralds before Robotnik can, and Robotniks never far behind with one of his Nefarious machines, also he's captured all the animals on mobius and housed them in robotic suits making them his evil slaves.
The game play is as simple as moving to the right and pressing A B C to jump (on the classic controller) over or onto various platforms, and to beef up the entertainment value there's 1ups and powerups all over the place. In each level there's also a scattering of Gold Power Rings, collect a hundred, you earn yerself a 1up, get hit, and you lose all your rings, get hit with no rings, you die. So nice and simple, just the way we used to like it!
It was one of those classic Sega titles that had great replay value, you'd never be able to explore every level thoroughly in one play through, plus there's all the chaos emeralds to get (remember the old screen of Robotnik juggling them if you didn't get them all? we don't want that do we!). Don't be fooled also, the game is difficult, it's a kind of retro game frustrating difficult that we all know and love, and that sense of achievement for beating the game is nothing short of euphoric, and with sonic, it's always a pleasure to see what kind of machine Robotniks got up his sleeve next! A great thing about the whole original series in general is the Robotnik machines just kept getting better and more original and boy did my heart get poundin when that boss music started up!
Sonic is available on so many different formats and platforms now so you wouldn't have trouble finding it, and iv'e always sung the praises of the Wii virtual console, but if you still own an old Sega Megadrive or Genesis go and get yourself a cartridge, it's just an unbeatable feeling pluggin those baby's in!
Overall, you shouyld get sonic for that classic retro feel, and plus it's an incredibly vibrant and colourful game, just like all the old Sega titles where and even now, looking at it on the Wii virtual console it's retained all it's charming Sega feel and even though Sonic as a franchise feels truly over now (unless they pull somethin seriously good out there butts), it's a good time to look back at Sonic for the cool blue dude he was back then.
Taking you back in time now to the year 1991. Nintendo reigns supreme aided by the charm of their princess saving plumber. Sega desperately attempts to find it's own console selling mascot to rival Nintendo's success with such attempts as Alex Kidd , Wonder Boy and Opa-Opa which never really caught on. But finally a certain blue sneaker wearing hedgehog enters the scene and a new video game star is born.
There isn't really a great deal of an in-game story to mention only a premise whereby Sonic must defeat the evil Doctor Robotnik (later known Doctor Eggman) who has been implanting animals inside killer robots in his attempt to take over the planet Mobius. Along the way you must also seek to collect all six chaos emeralds before Robotnik gets his hands on them and harnesses their powers, these can be obtained in certain special stages more on that later. This is essentially just a premise to set up the action but there's really nothing much to complain about here, you don't play games like this for the story. And at last one thing that can be said at least Sonic isn't trying to rescue a princess, though this is something he later gets around to doing in Sonic CD. But in any case it's safe to say that though an attempt to rival a certain plumber Sonic is very much unique game series in it's own right it isn't a carbon copy or clone.
At the time these graphics would have considered cutting edge though it's safe to say that they have dated a bit, eve by the standards of the Megadrive and the 16 bit era in general and 2D series in general. While this game looked and still looks good far better things were soon to come. But on show here is fast moving (but kind of slow for a Sonic game) bold and colourful 2D platform game with plenty of well detailed stages and unique looking robot enemies. Particular note goes to the special stages where full rotational and morphing effects of the Megadrives hardware are on show. While future Megadrive and Sonic games would vastly improve on these graphics this was nonetheless a very solid starting point for a classic series.
Sonic the Hedgehog features some truly upbeat and higly memorable classic upbeat music tracks that will stay in your head for years, particularly such stages as Green Hill and the Starlight Zone. Later Megadrive Sonic games would also incorporate excellent audio music tracks (Sonic 3's music was said to have been composed by Michael Jackson) but the music in this game is truly classic and among the very best in the series. It could be said that later games had music tracks that were as good if not technically better some of the themes you will hear here are somewhat iconic, particularly if you yourself remember playing this game back in the day. Compared to the Segas mean rival system the Super Nintendo Entertainment System the Megadrive had far inferior sound capabilities but this game demonstrates that it's really what you do with what you have that counts, technical specs are no match for raw talent. As well as an excellent sound track the sound effects which were so good they're still being used in modern Sonic games today, particularly the "tingling" sound made whenever Sonic collects a golend ring, the popping sound enemies make as they explode.
It is in the gameplay department that the Sonic series, at least the classic 2D Sonic series on the Megadrive, really shines. While subsequent Sonic games greatly refined and improved upon this Sonic the Hedgehog was the very first game to present the solid high speed platforming action that would make the Sonic series such a hit. The first thing to mention is that the game itself is really very simple to play, you run left and right with the left and right buttons and the A B and C makes Sonic perform a spinning jump. And that's really all there is to be said about the controls, other tan that by pressing down during a run Sonic can perfume a rolling attack with dispatches enemies and can tear down certain walls to reveal shortcuts and hidden locations. When Sonic is in the form of a spinning ball be it in the form he will take out of action any enemy robot that comes into physical contact with him, but be wary of robots with spikes. This control scheme is replicated on all other 2D Sonic games but the very useful spindash attack that enables to go into a rolling ball from a standing start is absent from this first game in the series.
As you run and jump through the stages negotiating moving platforms, hazards and an assortment of enemy robots you encounter a number of objects to aid you in your task of defeating the evil Dr Robotnik (Eggman). By far and away the most import item to collect and most numerous are the golden rings. Rings do a number of things, first and most crucial is that they prevent Sonic from losing a life on contact with a hazard or enemy robot, instead of dying Sonic is merely knocked back and all his rings are scattered across the screen. While this may be annoying it is at least better than having to lose a life and replaying the stage. The fact the rings scatter at least offers you a chance to regain a few of them. Also if you manage to collect 100 rings you gain and extra life and if you complete a stage with 50 or more rings you gain access to a special bonus stage and opportunity to collect one of the six chaos emeralds. Collecting chaos emeralds is optional but all six are required if you want to properly "beat the game" this adds to the replay challenge and replay values. Rings are also worth 100 points each to your score not that your score is particularly worth anything unless your playing to beat some kind of record. Other items are contained in TV like boxes which be opened by attacking them as you would an enemy robot. Item boxes contain items such as speed shoes which allow you to run at double speed for brief periods an invincibility field, a one hit force field, extra lives and multiples of rings. Extra life boxes are normally located in secret areas or other difficult to reach locations. In addition to earning extra lives from rings and bonus boxes you can earn continues, which amount to 3 extra lives in the bonus stages, these appear to be earned after certain number of rings are collected within the stage though the exact process is unclear.
At the end of each three part zone there is a boss battle with Doctor Robotnik himself who pilots a variety of attack vehicles which must be dispatched in a variety of different ways. For the most part save for the very final stage the craft Robotnik uses in this first game are variations on the one design but these boss battles also form another iconic part of the game as well as introducing Sonic's well known arch enemy. In future Sonic games new characters are introduced both friends and foes but in this game it's really just down to Sonic and Robotnik/Eggman. Once Sonic sends his arch nemesis packing he frees a number of assorted forest animals encapsulated in one of Robotniks fiendish machines, these being held for robotic implantation. All the robotic enemies you encounter in this game are a result of Robotniks experiments but by defeating a robot the animal imprisoned within is free to escape. This is actually quite a neat touch because unlike a certain plumber Sonic doesn't actually kill anything in the entire game, which is a nice family friendly touch.
Well goes without saying that this is one of those of absolute classic genre defining games that will be played for generations to come. Even today this game is still sold as downloadable content or as part of compilation game packs and on handhelds so there's certainly still plenty of shelf life left in it. I you're playing it for the first time you will take a couple of hours to play through the whole game and unlike later additions to the series there is no save game feature it has to be done in one sitting. If you're a novice gamer new to the series this may take you a number of attempts, and then of course there is the additional element of playing through in order to attain all the chaos emeralds so that ads to it's longevity. But even if you have played through this game and collected all the emeralds you will from time to time find yourself coming back to it, this is not one of those games that gets left in the attic to gather dust. So in essentially this game can consider itself to be practically immortal, much like a classic film.
While this is by no means the best Sonic game in these series or on the Megadrive, aside from Sonic 3D it's actually the weakest, it is nonetheless an classic hit of it's era and still well worth a play through today. Sonic the Hedgehog is a fast paced, easy to play 2D platform game which introduced Segas much loved mascot to the world and gave Nintendo a serious "run" for their money.
When I saw this title available on the Wii virtual console, I had to purchase it immediately.
Once fired up it immediately too me back to Christmas day 1992, or was it 91, my memory escapes me. Nostalgic thoughts came flooding back at the sound "SEGA!" and then the music kicked in... Wow, this was identical to the Mega Drive version, minus the grainy quality of non-scart TVs of that era. Playability has remained unchanged and it is amazing that almost 20 years on, the skills developed from those formative years are still there. As a played on I realised that despite its age, Sonic remains highly playable and a testerment to Sega Japan all those years ago and the quality of this software port.
At this stage I would usually point out flaws in the game for sake of balance, however in this case I cannot find any bearing in mind the age of the game. The addition of a pause/save is even a step forward. The only thing I can say is download this, you will not be disappointed and when you defeat Dr. Robotnik at the end, remember to download Sonic 2 for an even better piece of video game history!
Sonic The Hedgehog for the Wii is a full, faithful port of the original Sega Megadrive title. It has all the same graphics, levels, bosses and animations of the original, but for the Wii format. The only thing that has been changed in the slightest is the high-score system, which has been Wi-Fi enabled, marginally improved and updated.
This is a classic side-scrolling platformer that adults and kids alike can, and indeed have played until the cows come home. The player controls Sonic, a blue hedgehog who must navigate all kinds of Jpunk Worlds, collecting rings along the way, in order to defeat the evil Dr. Robotnik.
Although this lacks the tailspin ability and prevalence of characters like Tails and Knuckles, this game really does have intense re-playability value and longevity. Its a truly superb original title that is well worth playing again, even worth playing for the first time.
Sonic really is an old standard, and since pretty much everything has been done with the franchise, its nice to get to go back to the original without having to dig out the old Sega. Sadly, however, the Wii's controls aren't really conducive to playing Sonic, or indeed any classic Megadrive game. Even with the Classic Controller (which will cost around £15) the controls still aren't that intuitive, simplistic as they may be. Although you may approximate the classic megadrive effect, you'll never really fully replicate it. Even so, its perfectly playable and potentially incredibly enjoyable, with many diverse level designs, enemies and puzzles, despite lacking the charm of a 16-bit cartridge. Its well worth buying or paying the £5 for on WiiWare. (Last time I checked it was a fiver.)
Its a 100% faithful port that runs like a dream with no bugs whatsoever. This is a title thats definitely well worth buying. I wholeheartedly recommend it to fans of Sega and Nintendo alike. Give it a try.
Sonic the Hedgehog for the Wii Virtual console is identical to the Sega Megadrive version, alas bringing the same addictive gameplay and soundtrack of the original to the Wii. Following Sonic through various environments, including rolling green hills, underwater labyrinths and night time woodland, you are attempting to stop the evil Dr Eggman from collecting all the chaos emeralds and taking over the island. This game lacks multiplayer like the original but the game is still as charming as it ever was.
Being the same game, the gameplay is naturally identical to the original, it can be played with the wiimote on its side, the classic controller or a Gamecube controller, though personally I feel that it plays best when played with the wiimote. It is still as fast paced and smooth feeling as I always remembered.
Jumping, running and coin collecting is the order of the day in Sonic. The game consists of multiple zones, each of which consist of three levels, the first two levels end with you running past the flag and depending on how many rings you have collected you can enter a bonus stage where you can collect a chaos emerald. The third level ends with you having a boss fight against Eggman, who escapes to fight again. This ends the zone and you move on to the next.
However, despite the game being identical to the Megadrive version, you can now take advantage of the save feature whilst playing the Wii Virtual console (whilst in game, press the home button on the wiimote and click Wii Menu), the Wii will save your mid game state for when you next play it. This save feature, not present on the original Megadrive version, actually makes the Virtual Console version much more playable as you can now save your state and return to it at a later time.
As already stated, the game is a direct port with no improvement in graphical quality, so alas an 18 year old 16 bit game is more than beginning to show its age. Despite this, the stages are as bright and vibrant as they were before, if anything they look more colourful. Certain objects are still low quality in comparison to the background, such as the floating spiky spheres on the Spring Yard Zone, which are blurry, especially compared to the colourful background and foreground. Being a Megadrive game, the graphics are looking a bit dated, but are still generally high quality for a platformer.
The music is, like the rest of game, the same as that on the Megadrive, which is no bad thing, though as in the original the sound effect made by jumping can get repetitive in my opinion. Though despite the quality of the music and sound effects being rather outdated, the soundtrack is just as addictive as before. The music for the Spring Yard Zone and Green Hill Zone are notable for being especially catchy, whilst certain sound effects such as the noise played when collecting a ring is now internationally recognisable.
Like the original, after you complete the main game there is nothing left to do, no unlocked modes or minigames. However the main game itself should take most people a while to complete, though any replayability value completely depends on the personal preference on the player of whether they wish to go through the exact same levels and complete the game again.
Value for Money
Being what seems like a modest 800 Wii points, which when bought by card on the Wii shop channel, it works out at £5.60, it is not exactly cheap for a game that is 18 years old and has no improvement over the original. If you already own one of the many copies of this game on another platform, this will not represent good value for money in any way, though if this is one of your only options to play this legendary game, it is certainly value for money.
Despite being the same Sonic the Hedgehog game released 18 years beforehand it has not lost any of the character and addictive nature that made it so popular in the first place. I highly recommend this game to anyone, regardless if they would be playing it for the first time or for the nostalgia, but if you already own another copy of the first Sonic the Hedgehog, this would be poor value for money.
Thanks for reading, any comments you have will be gratefully received. Also on Ciao.