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Sonic the Hedgehog

Compiled and written by Jared "Green Gibbon!" Matte(greengibbon@emulationzone.org).
Hosting provi

As the sun sets on 1991, year of Sonic´s birth, Sega takes their first major step toward capitalizing on their new spiny mascot. The Sonic formula is dumbed down and squished into the 8-bit confines of Sega´s established Mark III (aka Master System). In more significant markets, the resolution was sliced and the whole thing was converted to the Game Gear, Sega´s answer to the handheld calling. Despite losing half of his processing power, Sonic took off on the ´Gear and spawned a series that, at its peak, would actually be quite respectable.
-- Gameplay Info --
The premise of gameplay is the real thing -- run from one side of the stage to the other within the 10-minute time limit, grabbing Rings and spinning enemies on the way -- but the mechanics take a blow due to the cut in hardware power. While Sonic still zips along at a fairly impressive speed, losing Rings is alot more fatal because you don´t have the opportunity to grab any back. Take damage and a single Ring will fly out of Sonic, but don´t waste your time trying to grab this ghost Ring and preserve your life... it´s only there for show.
Item Boxes are scattered here and there and include the same batch of goodies as the game´s Mega Drive pedigree: Big 10 Ring (worth 10 Rings), Barrier (absorbs one hit), Highspeed (temporarily raises your speed), 1up (gives you an extra chance), and Muteki ("invincible" -- makes you invulnerable to attack for a short period of time). New to the selection are arrow monitors, which basically replace Point Markers in holding your place in a stage.
Bridge -- The checkered hillsides are replaced with diamonds on this mountain lake, a rather unusual setting for Sonic. In Act 2, the screen moves to the right automatically, so your only job is to keep up without getting so close to the edge that you can´t see what´s coming. The Chaos Emerald can be found near the end of Act 1, but you´ll need sharp timing as it can only be reached by deliberately falling through a crumbling bridge. Enemies you´ll encounter include: Biiton, Bata-bata, and Yadorin.

Boss: Eggman pops his bald noggin up from the waves, pausing just long enough to fire a trio of flashing projectiles at our hapless hedgehog hero. Ducking on the middle platform will keep you out of harm´s way.
Chaos Emeralds aren´t found in Special Stages but are instead hidden -- one in each Zone for a total of six. They´re just lying on the ground (and are all the same color), so just walk up and grab ´em. Collect all six Chaos Emeralds for big bonus points at the end of the game.
There are six stages to clear, three of which have been reproduced from the Mega Drive version and three of which are original. Each Zone consists of two areas and the boss round. Bosses take eight spins each, but it should be noted that every boss in the game must be fought without the luxury of a single Ring. So don´t screw up.

Green Hill -- Not as pretty as its 16-bit counterpart, but Act 2 takes you into the underground regions of the area, where the Chaos Emerald for this Zone can be found. Enemies you´ll encounter include: Motora, Gani-gani, Biiton, and Bata-bata.

Boss: Eggman hovers around at the top of the screen, occasionally dropping down to make a dashing attack. (As in, he dashes at you. The attack itself isn´t "dashing" per se.) Only during this low attack does he put himself within spinning range.
Jungle -- Another unusual setting for Sonic, the jungle is lush with colorful flowers and fruits. You can roll logs over the surface of water, but if you take damage you´ll be going for a swim. Act 2 is laid out vertically as opposed to horizontally, and don´t look down because touching the bottom of the screen means instant death. The Chaos Emerald can be found about halfway through Act 1, near the bottom of a large waterfall. Enemies you´ll encounter include: Gani-gani, Bata-bata, and Meleon.

Boss: The arena is a simple bowl-shaped vine. Eggman moves around overhead, occasionally dropping a ball down into the bowl. The ball rolls back and forth a bit before exploding, but the good doc has an endless supply.
Labyrinth -- As with the 16-bit stage of the same name, you´ve got the added task of keeping Sonic´s lungs filled with oxygen while underwater. The Chaos Emerald is located at the end of Act 2, very precariously placed at the bottom of a set of spikes. The only way to grab it is to make use of the Muteki Item Box hidden a short distance prior, then make sure you reach the spikes before the power-up wears off. Enemies you´ll encounter include: Mogurin, Puku-puku, and Unidus.

Boss: Eggman pops his ugly noggin out through one of five openings in the arena. Hit him and get out of the way quick, because he only shows his face to attack with a moderately inaccurate homing missile.
Scrap Brain -- It looks like the same stage you played on Mega Drive, but the layout is far more labyrinthine than your previous outing through the area. Like the first time, though, Scrap Brain has no boss. The Chaos Emerald can be found midway through Act 2: when you come to a fork in the road, take the upper path and prepare for everybody´s favorite 8-bit activity, Fun With Teleports! Enemies you´ll encounter include: Naaru and Ton-ton.
Sky Base -- Eggman takes to the skies in the unlikely debut of another Sonic tradition: the flying fortress. Act 1 features a web of electrical conduits in the background... they´re harmless until they light up. Act 2 is a mess of BIG-ASS guns, similar to Sonic 2´s Wing Fortress but smaller and without a Ring in sight. The final Chaos Emerald is located near the end of Act 2, but in order to reach it you need to take a shortcut at the beginning of the stage that leads to a series of dangerous leaps. Enemies you´ll encounter include: Uni-uni and Bomb.

Boss: The final boss arena is patrolled by a wall of electricity that zips back and forth in an erratic pattern while Eggman cowers in a glass tube on the right side of the arena. Every once in a while he´ll jump in the air and push a button that causes an electrical spark to fly out of the sparkly thing at the top of the arena.
The signs at the end of the stage play a bigger part in 8-bit land than they ever really do in the Mega Drive games. You get a different bonus depending on the picture the sign stops on after you spin it: Eggman (nothing happens), Ring (you get 10 Rings), Sonic (you get a 1up), or exclamation point (warps you to the Special Stage, but will only show up if you clear the stage with 50 Rings).
The Special Stages this time aren´t for Chaos Emeralds; they´re just a diversion. You´re running around in a pinball-esque arena filled with Bobbins, springs, Rings, and Continue Item Boxes. Springs come in three different colors each packing a different punch: purple (low), orange (medium), and green (high). Run around grabbing all the gusto you can, but make sure to hit the exit before the timer runs out or you don´t get to keep any of your loot. There are twelve Special Stages altogether, although the second half are just repeats of the first with a lower time limit (two minutes for the first set, one for the second).
-- General Info --
Title (Japan)
Sonic the Hedgehog
Title (USA)
Sonic the Hedgehog
Title (Europe)
Sonic the Hedgehog
System
Sega Mark III
Sega Game Gear
Developer
Sega of Japan
Genre
Platformer


-- Release Info --
Latin America
October 25, 1991
Japan
December 28, 1991
USA
December, 1991
Europe
December, 1991
-- Game Credits --
Programmer
Shinobu Hayashi
Graphic Designer
Ayano Koshiro
Takefuni Yunoue
Sound Producer
Masato Nakamura
Re-arranging
Yuzo Koshiro


-- Options --
Sega Mark III
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sega Game Gear
Sonic the Hedgehog
Nintendo GameCube
Sonic Adventure DX
Palm PDA
Sonic the Hedgehog
PC
Sonic Adventure DX


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