Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
Eggman alert! In a deal that shocked environmentalists everywhere, vile Dr Eggman has bought up a load of land just so he can capture its small furry inhabitants, brainwash them and put them inside his rocket-powered Cyberfauna suits. With his army of armoured animals, Eggman plans to terrorise the people of the world until they relent and promise to pay him lots of money.
Sonic, being a speedy blighter, is the hedgehog that hot away. Now, of course, he's resolved to free his forest buddies by doing over Eggman and he has to leg it through six hazardous zones, each made up of three scrolling areas.
The landscape is packed with platform-type puzzles and terrifying terrain! Not only that - Eggman has dispatched his robot-like forces to destroy sonic before he can catch up with him! Luckily, Sonic is a powerhouse of athletic ability, and he can protect himself by curling into a ball and somersaulting into any enemies, skewering them on his spines!
To protect himself still further, Sonic has to collect the power rings which are scattered throughout the landscape. If he bumps into an enemy the rings will protect him, but the collision makes him drop all those he was carrying. If Sonic stays out of trouble, every ring he gets to the end of the level earns him 100 points, and if he has over 50, he is instantly warped to the weirdo bonus game!
All manner of goodies are secreted around the levels of Sonic the Hedgehog - all of them contained in bizarre television-like containers. Look out for bonus rings, lives, shields and continues. Perhaps the most spectacular of all are the super-sonic trainers. Collect these and Sonic's top-speed seems to hit almost light speed velocity!
Dr Eggman arrives at the end of each level in his patented Egg manmobile, ready to kick Sonic's prickly behind. After each defeat, Egg man soups up his transport ready for the next confrontation with Sonic. At the end of level one, Eggman just tries to ram the prickly hero, but by level two he's mounted laser cannons onto his vehicle - yikes!
In the Megadrive game, Sonic was sent into a massive spinning maze, where he earned an extra continue. In the 8-bit game the coveted prize remains the same, but the bonus game is set inside a pinball-esque chamber, with the spiny one being sent spanging around an eight-way scrolling environment in search of that elusive continue icon!
Sonic certainly wowed the punters on the Megadrive when it was released this summer, going on to become one of the top-selling Megadrive games of all time! This Master System version is graphically similar, with excellent renditions of the 16-bit graphics - and a stunning main sprite!
There's no denying it, Sonic certainly gives your brain an optical treat - the backgrounds and sprites are truly exceptional. The speed of the game is another blinding aspect as Sonic zooms along at a lick that almost puts the Megadrive version to shame! The Megadrive version of Sonic suffered for two reasons. Firstly, it was rather easy to complete, and secondly, the gameplay was a tad simplistic. Unfortunately, the Master System programmers haven't tightened up either of these aspects. The easiness could be put down to the fact that there's little in the way of enemy sprites to accost the cute hedgehog on his travels. But still, it's very difficult not to notice Sonic's addictive qualities and polished action, so check this out when it hits the streets.
They said it couldn't be done, but Sonic's arrived on the Master System and he looks just as good as he did in Megadrive form! With the benefit of a few tweaks, the Sega programmers have produced a Sonic game that looks superb, has the smoothest, fastest scrolling ever seen on this machine and is packed full of new features, including new screen layouts, brilliant bonus screens and more hidden items and bonuses that you can shake a spine at. My only gripe is that the game's too easy. It's also a fault of the Megadrive version, but it would have been nice to have a bit more challenge! Still, there's plenty to do in the game, and you constantly go back to it to see whether you missed anything and whether you can improve your score! Ask Santa to bring you a copy...