Sonic The Hedgehog - SMS Review

"Now there are no limits!"

August 23, 2002

Sega whipped some prime ass in the summer of 1991 with the release of Sonic The Hedgehog for their much beloved Genesis system. Sega would capitalize on the super fast rodent by releasing a Sonic The Hedgehog game for the much despised Sega Master System, the result was nothing but spectacular.

For the love of God, the technically superior SMS(Sega Master System) didn't stand a chance against the mighty NES(Nintendo Entertainment System). Nintendo strangled the nuts of 3rd party developers and had them only develop for their gray box(a tatic that has continued today with other console manufactures). Lo and behold a few fantastic titles did hit the system. Outrun retained its arcade charm, programmed by Sonic's creator Yuji Naka. Afterburner kicked ass. Shinobi. Space Harrior. Hang On. Choplifter. Shit, can't forget about Phantasy Star or that kick ass Ghostbusters game.

When Sonic The Hedgehog debuted on the SMS in late 1991, it was a thank you present to the few, the faithful Master System fans. Pushing the system to the nuts, Sonic displayed graphics that the NES could only dream of. The game is not a port but rather an original adventure for our super powered speedster.

Graphically this title still shines today. Featuring big colorful worlds(not drug induced), as a beautifully animated Sonic battles Dr. Robotnick to save the forest critters. Oh, yeah Sonic is fast too, like my cat on his catnip crack. Leaping and spinning into heaven, that is until an enemy hits the screen and Sonic slows too a friggin' hault thanks to the SMS's blast processing. Seriously its not a big deal. The game plays great, with a hell of a lot of exploration to collect every friggin' coin and chaos emerald in existence. Levels vary in complexity. Consisting of jumping obstacles or battling Big Boss Robotnick. Control is dead on. All you'll ever need to control Big Blue is the directional pad and a jump button.

Music rocks like an Iron Maiden karaoke bar as Sonic's memorable jingles blast in all their 8-bit glory. Sound effects have also been faithfuly recreated from their big brother Genesis. Cool bonus levels appear to give ya extra lives or a continue. No save or password feature. You have a hell of a lot of work cut out for ya, you'll be bench pressing Schwarzenegger rounds after this game. However, the game is very addicting. You'll be lost for hours breaking Sonic's foot in Robotnick's fat ass... and then twisting it and shit.

The title was also released for Sega's bitchin' Game Gear handheld system. It's a pure port without any loss in gameplay or level design. Surprisingly, the graphics and sound are only toned down a bit due to the system being less power than the SMS. It plays as precise as it big brothers' version and is just as fun.

For the SMS, Sonic was a little too late. Sega finally had a mascot and really cool one at that. This title should have debuted with the system, then the console would've actually stood a chance against Mario and his colorful Mushroom Kingdom(not drug induced). Sonic was and continues to be Sega's killer title. Sega struggles for innovation with titles such as Space Channel 5 and Shenmue, but the public generally ignores these gems. However with Sonic, whatever console he's appeared on he continues to capture our imagination.

- Kelley