Mega Drive NA: June 23, 1991 PAL: July 1991 JP: July 26, 1991 Arcade WW: 1991 Game Boy Advance November 14, 2006 Windows WW: October 26, 2010 Nintendo 3DS JP: May 15, 2013 WW: December 5, 2013 iOS EU: May 15, 2013 NA: May 16, 2013 Android WW: May 16, 2013 Nintendo Switch WW: September 20, 2018
Sonic the Hedgehog is the first game in the long-running series by video game publisher and former console maker Sega. The game was originally released for the Sega Mega Drive in North America and Europe on June 23, 1991, with a Japanese Mega Drive release following a month later on 26 July. Advertising its fast gameplay based on Sonic's extraordinary speed, the concept of a high-speed platform game was unique for its time and solidified the style of gameplay the series would be best known for. Due to the Mega Drive's Motorola 68000 processor, the power of the console would allow for faster gameplay, dubbed by some as blast processing, and impressive 16-bit graphics, making it much more powerful than Sega's preceding Master System. It was the premier outing for the character of Sonic the Hedgehog and the group behind his creation, Sonic Team. Though the game only received marginal success in its home country, almost overnight Sonic became a sensation in the West, solidifying Sega's place in Europe and turning the company into a household name in the United States.
The game started off SEGA's most successful mascot of all time after Alex Kidd was discontinued and spawned a lot of other great Sonic games in existence. In fact, the franchise managed to be so successful that it even spawned a crossover with Mario along with Sonic and Knuckles managing to be characters from Super Smash Bros.
Great soundtrack composed by Masato Nakamura, best known as a former member of the J-pop band Dreams Come True.
The gameplay is quite unique compared to other platformers at the time. Sonic continuously builds up momentum and speed as he keeps running uninterrupted, meaning if the player is good they can keep Sonic running at very fast speeds without stopping.
The game is specifically designed around speedruns.
Simple controls. All you need is to move and jump.
Good level design with many branching paths. The higher paths reward players for keeping up the high speed while the lower, more obstacle-filled paths punish players for not speeding up.
Getting at least 50 rings at the end of a level lets you play a bonus round to try and get a Chaos Emerald. If you get all of them you get the good ending after beating the game.
The iOS and Android port from 2013 adds additional content such as being able to play as Tails and Knuckles, a new sound test, and the ability to play as Super Sonic.
To unlock Tails, you have to complete the entire the entire speedrun of the game and to unlock Knuckles, you have to collect all the Emeralds with Sonic being the default character.
After you beat the game, it has nice little end credits that shows flashbacks of the gameplay through the game.
The Japanese version of the game came out a month after it's original release. Because of this, The Japanese version has more graphical features than the American version.
The game has gotten many ports over the years, meaning that you can play the game on at least one device you have at home.
No save files. You basically have to speed run the game if you want to beat the final boss. This can be a problem if you are playing this game on the Sega Nomad whose battery life only lasts about three-four hours. This was corrected in later ports.
Because Sonic's control and physics are built around constant flowing movement, sections that require slower, precise platforming becomes sluggish and slippery (a perfect example being Marble Zone).
Labyrinth Zone is the biggest offender, as it is full of underwater sections and crammed obstacles that prevent speeding up.
Three stages (or acts) per zone, which quickly starts to feel repetitive.
According to the developers, the game was intended to have more zones with two acts each but they didn't have the time to create the graphics necessary for any new zones.
Many of the game's ports have been terrible, with the GBA version being considered the worst.
The iOS and Android remastered ports are free but more often than not, you willget an ad when pausing and un-pausing, so in order to remove the ads, you will have to pay money.
The special stages control very poorly and all you get for clearing all of them is a slightly different ending cutscene.
For the Final Zone, you get no rings unless you had beaten the previous stage with rings. You have to play perfectly to defeat Robotnik, and this could be hard for newer players.
Sonic first appeared in Rad Mobile as an air freshener, five months before this game was released.
The Japanese release added additional storyline details, as the existing plot was virtually a basic outline. The purpose of the Chaos Emeralds is greatly expanded upon, which is elaborated in later games. It is explained that Dr. Robotnik was specifically searching for them on the island due to their incredible energy according to legend. The manual also states that there has already been some unknown animosity between Sonic and Robotnik in the past (which, on the other hand, is not backed up in later games). It also lists the setting as South Island, which is established in later games as well - in the English manual, the setting was originally unnamed.
There are two versions of the game. This revision is common in Japan, but contrary to popular belief it was released worldwide in smaller quantities. This update makes some very minor changes to the game's programming, as well as adds some visual effects such as scrolling clouds in Green Hill Zone or water ripples in Labyrinth Zone. It also corrects the Zone order on the level select. This version of the game is used in most subsequent releases. In addition, the scrolling clouds return in most appearances of Green Hill Zone.
Rui Sousa holds the high score for Sonic the Hedgehog: 1,559,180. He achieved this on 21 March 2015.
There was a sound test that was originally supposed to be in this game but was scrapped. But one character in this sound test appeared in future games (Vector) while the others appear in the Archie Comics as part of Mina Mongoose's band.