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Sonic the Hedgehog

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Reviewed by Inkhands Dr Robotnik has turned animals into robots and someone has to save these animals and stop the mad doctor. Since the plumber was busy off in the Mushroom Kingdom, they called in a blue hedgehog. Sonic the Hedgehog was a game I used to see commercials for about a decade ago. It looked interesting every time I saw Sonic run upside down, spin through the tunnel, and then soar through the air. I didn't play this game until a few years after that when I bought my Genesis and this game was packed in with it. I was a little surprised to find the antics I had liked so much from the commercial was in the opening stage of this game. Once I played that, I found little reason to play the rest of it, because that's pretty much the highpoint of this game. The entire appeal of this game was supposed to be based on the speed that Sonic could attain. If you play this game, you know the pace of the game isn't quite that frantic a majority of the time. Occasionally, you may be spinning around and not knowing where you're going. However, a good majority of the time I spent on this game was moving through the stages very slowly, to avoid spikes, pits, and robotic animals. The game just didn't live up to the super sonic speed that it had advertised. The opening zone is very easy and you can move through it very quickly. The second zone is much more slower. It's an underground area with lava and each act in this zone takes around 5 minutes to complete. Whereas you can get through all three acts of the first zone in about that much time. The third zone picks up a little, because there are many springs to bounce around on, but the speed doesn't appear very much in this zone either. There are a total of six zones and they usually consist of three acts. There are also some bonus stages, but very few hidden areas. These bonus stages play like a game of pinball, as the screen spins around, while you control Sonic through bumpers. You pick up as many rings as you can before you hit those areas marked with the word Goal. Along the way you pick up rings. If Sonic is hit he will lose all of his rings. Those rings will float around on screen for a few seconds, but you will not get all of them back. If you have 85 rings and are hit, consider yourself lucky to pick even 10 of them back up. If you earn 100 rings in a stage you will gain an extra life. The bonus stages allow you to gain an extra continue. Scattered through the regular stages are bonus items. There is a set of 10 rings, an invincible item, and a shield. The invincible item will only last about 20 or 30 seconds, with no warning of when it's going to wear off. Even while invincible there are still some things that can kill Sonic. Such as being crushed under a few certain obstacles. The shield allows an extra hit. If you are hit with a shield, you lose the shield, but you still retain your rings for another extra hit. This does make the game a bit easier, considering, there are very few things that will kill you while you have at least one ring. Of course there is no save feature in this game and there is no password system either. You have to play through the entire game with only three lives, unless you do manage to pick up a continue somewhere. You can also earn extra lives by finding 100 rings in a stage or just an extra life item hidden away occasionally. This does add to the challenge of the game, but nothing more than the average player couldn't handle. The stages do get quite long, but there are lamp posts to help you. If you touch a lamp post, you will start back at that position in the level, if you do die at some point. You really won't die very often in this game. Especially, if you manage to hold onto your rings at all times. The second zone, the marble zone, does take a while to complete, as mentioned above. It presents you with some very easy puzzles and a matter of just memorizing where the spikes are. All three buttons will make Sonic jump. So control is rather simple. You can also hold down and press either left or right to make Sonic turn into a ball and spin around on the ground. This is a very good way to attack, as it will wipe out nearly all kinds of enemies. Another good way to attack is spinning through the air. If you jump on an enemy while spinning you will kill it. Also, the birds that are in the air can be easily killed with this attack. If you hold the up button, you can see a frame above Sonic. If you hold down, he will crouch, and you can see what is going on a frame below where you are. The graphics in this game are quite nice. Sonic is blue with little red shoes and a black nose. He moves quite well. If he gets hit and loses his rings he will jump back, throw his arms up, and look quite stunned. If you hold him over the ledge he will beging to look as though he might fall by teetering around on one foot. If you stand him in the same position for a while he will turn and look toward you. The enemies vary between a spiky looking worm, some flying fish, and bats. None of them look great, but they look good enough. The backgrounds in the opening zone are quite nice, with the blue lake and the green trees. The second zone is filled with lava and a stone block underground. The best part graphically of this area, is stepping on a piece of land, and it will sink into the lava while you are standing on it. As it sinks flames will shoot up out of the lava and onto this piece of land. The third area looks like a Vegas nightclub show, with all the springs, bumpers, and flashing lights. The feeling of free falling is quite nice in this zone. You will drop from a ledge and fall beyond the screen you are falling so fast, and then speed through a loop, and bounce around on the bumpers. Or land and hit those springs that will send Sonic soaring through the air a good hundred feet. Of course occasionally you will find a spring that is planted on the side of the walls that will put Sonic on the wrong course by sending him backwards. The bonus stages have a background with birds flying and some red, blue and green bumpers for Sonic to bounce between. The main theme is interesting. The themes through each act of a zone repeat, so it gets very tiring to hear. Each zone has it's on theme, but they sound merely like variations on each other. The first zone has a more fast paced thing, while the second one has a mellower one. The music gets very fast while Sonic is invincible. You get a theme when you complete an act and when the game is over. The special effects are just jumping, spinning, rolling on the ground, and picking up or losing rings. The sound isn't quite as impressive as the graphics. Sonic may have speed and charm, but his game does not. This game is very good and for the most part rises above the average platform game, but it just doesn't hold the amount of appeal or secrets that the Mario games provide. This game really lacks the replay value that almost all of the Mario games have. While there's no question that Sonic is the more appealing character of the two, it is also without question that the Mario games have more variety, appeal, charm, and replay value. Sonic the Hedgehog is a very good game, but certainly not a great game. Graphics - 8/10 Sound - 6/10 Control - 8/10 Challenge - 7/10 Fun Factor - 7/10 Gameplay - 8/10 Replay Value - 5/10 Overall - 8/10

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