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Sonic the Hedgehog [part 2 ]


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

-- Comparison --
In the late 80´s and early 90´s, Sega Europe released a modified version of the Master System and Mega Drive hardware for use in arcades. The multi-cart system was known as Mega-Tech, and the JAMMA version (Mega Drive only) as Mega Play. The motherboard could host up to eight cartridges at a time, from which players could choose whatever they wanted to play. Among the supported games available for both Mega-Tech and Mega Play were Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
The Mega-Tech version of Sonic is mostly identical to the European Mega Drive version. The only big difference is that there´s an ever-present countdown restricting your play time. You get an additional 3 minutes for each coin you insert. The Mega Play version has a few differences. Firstly, it´s based on the Japanese version of the game, complete with scrolling clouds. The biggest change is that the clock counts down, and time limits for each Act are quite strict. (Fortunately, if you die and touched a Start Marker, you´ll begin at the Start Marker with a reset countdown.) 1ups are ineffective: if you want to continue your game, you need a pocket full of quarters.
There are only four Zones: Green Hill, Spring Yard, Star Light, and Scrap Brain, the lattermost of which is missing its final Act. You can´t enter any Special Stages. Even if you jump into the giant Ring, you´ll just start the next Act. Finally, there´s no credit roll: complete the game to enter your initials on a high score screen. Time limits for each Act are as follows:
Green Hill Zone, Act 1 -- 0:50
Green Hill Zone, Act 2 -- 1:00
Green Hill Zone, Act 3 -- 1:50
Spring Yard Zone, Act 1 -- 2:10
Spring Yard Zone, Act 2 -- 1:50
Spring Yard Zone, Act 3 -- 3:00
Star Light Zone, Act 1 -- 2:00
Star Light Zone, Act 2 -- 2:30
Star Light Zone, Act 3 -- 4:00
Scrap Brain Zone, Act 1 -- 3:00
Scrap Brain Zone, Act 2 -- 3:30
Final Zone -- 4:00
-- Lost in Translation --
In the one month interim between Sonic´s US debut and his Japanese release, a few minor graphical enhancements were worked in. In the US/European version, the clouds at the title screen and in Green Hill are still, but in the Japanese version, they scroll (rather speedily) from right to left. Ripple effects were added to the underwater segments of the Labyrinth Zone, and the stage order at the level select menu was corrected.

Alot of the story data was left out of the English language manuals. No mention is made of South Island or the legend behind the Chaos Emeralds. The enemy names were all changed, and Sonic´s buddies are left nameless and ignored. Most notoriously, Dr. Eggman was changed to Dr. Ivo Robotnik. (The Robotnik name would later be intentionally phased out with Sonic Adventure, but interestingly, was officially acknowledged even in the Japanese continuum with Sonic Adventure 2.)
-- Codes --
Level-Select: At the title screen, press: Up, Down, Left, Right. You should hear a Ring chime if you´ve done it correctly. Now hold down A and press START.

Slow & Frame Skip: At the title screen, press: C, C, Up, Down, Left, Right. You should hear a Ring chime if you´ve done it correctly. Now press START. Pause the game, and press A to reset the system, B for slow motion, and C for frame-by-frameconstruction:
A = Changes highlighted item
B = Toggles between items and Sonic
C = Places highlighted item
-- Behind the Screens --
It´s difficult to pinpoint exactly how Sonic was conceived. There are a number of stories ranging from an internal Sega contest to come up with a suitable mascot character to scrapped designs based on a rabbit. All of them are probably true to some extent, but exactly how they came together to form Sonic the Hedgehog is hazy.

The original concept was a game based heavily on object interaction, whereby the protagonist would destroy enemies by picking up and throwing various objects. Unfortunately (or fortunately as the case may be), this mechanic slowed the game down too much, so the idea of a rolling attack was formed and it proved to be the masterstroke.
Sonic made his first public appearance on a Sega-sponsored tour of the then up-and-coming Japanese band, Dreams Come True. The blue guy was painted all over the sides of DCT´s tour trailers, along with the text: "Kawaii yatsu ni wa, toge ga aru." That´s a bit of a pun. The literal translation is: "for a cute guy, he has spines," but the Japanese word for spine, toge, can also mean "harsh words." Masato Nakamura of Dreams Come True was commissioned to compose the music for Sonic, although this would later result in copyright problems.
At the time, everything about this game was revolutionary: the graphics, the sound, and (most importantly) the character. The object was to make a game that would be popular in America. The thinking at the time was that if a game was popular in the US, it would be in Japan as well. While the game was indeed a runaway hit in most of the Western Hemisphere, it enjoyed only moderate success in the land of the rising sun, a trend which continues even today.



Here´s a graphic for a scrapped sound test feature. (Sonic was originally supposed to be the star singer in a rock band.) The characters are Max the Monkey, Mach the Rabbit, Sharps the Chicken, and Vector the Crocodile. None made it off the drawing board except for Vector, who four years later earned a starring role in Chaotix.
-- Notes --
South Island or Bust: Although you won´t find checkered hillsides or loop-de-loops, you can take a trip to the real world South Island. It´s one of the two main islands forming New Zealand, with the other being (logically enough) North Island.

A Little Bird Told Me: Although these days she´s relegated to bit parts, the bluebird named Flicky was once the star of her own game. Flicky, a Sega arcade game released in 1984 (years before Sonic), put players in control of Flicky, a little bird out to save her children from ravenous housecats. The object is to catch all of the baby birds (Pio-pios) in the stage and take them to the exit.
The Pio´s form a chain behind Flicky as you collect them; points are multiplied for each Pio you have when you reach the exit. Avoid housecats (Nyan-nyan) and iguanas (Choro). If an enemy touches your Pio chain, all the inflicted Pio´s will separate themselves and run off. If Flicky herself takes damage, the entire chain scatters. Household items lying around each stage can be thrown at enemies. Inbetween stages, players are challenged to a bonus game in which the object is to catch as many falling Pio-pios as possible with a net. (Flicky was originally designed by Yoji Ishii, who was with Sonic Team until August 1999, when he left to form his own company, Artoon.)
-- Miscellanea --
Sonic Team originally wanted to add a scene in the first level where Sonic was being chased by a large boulder ala Indiana Jones. In the end, it couldn´t be done, although (much like the object-throwing maneuver that had to be cut) this vision came to fruition years later with Sonic Adventure.
The game´s music was composed by Masato Nakamura of the popular Japanese band, Dreams Come True.
The BGM for Star Light Zone is loosely based on "Kusuriyubi no Kesshin" (ring finger´s decision), a Dreams Come True song.
The "One-Up" blocks for the Special Stages shown in the US instruction manual were not in the final product. (Although it is possible to access them via the debug cheat listed above.)
-- General Info --
Title (USA)
Sonic the Hedgehog
Title (Europe)
Sonic the Hedgehog
Title (Japan)
Sonic the Hedgehog
System
Sega Mega Drive
Developer
Sonic Team
Genre
Platformer


-- Release Info --
USA
June 23, 1991
Europe
June, 1991
Japan
July 26, 1991
-- Peripherals --
Standard Controller


-- Game Credits --
Game Planner
Hirokazu Yasuhara
Sound Producer
Masato Nakamura
Programmer
Yuji Naka
Sound Programmer
Takayuki Nakamura
Hiroshi Kubota
Design
Jina Ishiwatari
Reiko Kodama
Character Design
Naoto Oshima
-- Options --
Sega Mega Drive
Sonic the Hedgehog
6-Pak
Sonic Compilation
Sega Mega-Tech (arcade)
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sega Mega Play (arcade)
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sega Saturn
Sonic Jam
Sega Dreamcast
Sega Smash Pack Volume 1
Windows PC
RealNetworks´ RealOne Arcade
Nintendo GameCube
Sonic Mega Collection


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