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  • Joined: 01 Nov 1986
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Sonic The Hedgehog (Master System)
Post Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2014 9:57 pm
This topic contains reviews of Sonic The Hedgehog.
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Post Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2014 10:06 pm
People may get fixated on the Mega Drive original, but what we have here is no mere port. Everything is designed from scratch to work well on the Master System, so what you get is a wonderfully colourful, fast, original Sonic game. The levels are a bit empty, and the difficulty is a little on the easy side, but the awesome range of levels, including 8-bit exclusives like Jungle Zone, is a real triumph and helps in the longevity stakes. For many of us who played Sonic first on a Master System, it's the original and best.

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Post Posted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:29 pm
This game has so much great levels like the Jungle Part1 or City Zone Part2. I love the game although i think the version builtin in the console hasn't the karaoke ending.
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Post Posted: Sun May 10, 2015 12:29 am
This is one of the best Sonic games around, 5 stars for sure :)
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Post Posted: Sat May 23, 2015 12:59 pm
I had this one down as a nice fit for the Master System, levels a little sparse and not a particularly difficult game, but very playable. 4 out of 5.

You can read the full text of my review here, if you have nothing better to do.
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Post Posted: Fri Jun 05, 2015 5:41 pm
Here's my own review of the game:

Sonic The Hedgehog on the SEGA Master System (SMS) is the version of the original Sonic game that's often overlooked. Being on the SMS, it went largely unnoticed by a big percentage of gamers in 1991 as they'd already moved on to the Mega Drive to play the definitive version of the game. Despite this, Sonic SMS is a great game with a challenging disposition. It's bright, colourful, and the sound track is also catchy and enjoyable.

Considering that it only has three levels (zones) themes from the Mega Drive version- Green Hill, Labyrinth and Scrap Brain Zone, it's very difficult to call this a 'version' at all, more so an entirely original game considering that the levels that are shared between games have completely different level layouts and features.


The premise is the same as the other games- Sonic runs, jumps and spins through an assortment of zones destroying enemy robots (badniks) and collecting rings. As usual there's a 10 minute timer in each zone, and every now and then for your troubles you'll be bounced in to a special stage to gain extra lives and continues, and you'll also face a boss after every themed area.

Though it sounds the usual affair, there are a few differences in this game. Sonic can't pick up rings after they're lost and the collectible Chaos Emeralds are actually hidden within the stages themselves, meaning that you've got to hunt through the game for hidden paths and areas. Luckily, this doesn't detract from the usual run & jump play style, because the emeralds are never far away and are cleverly hidden through the course of the level. Metroid this ain't!

Levels (or zones) themselves are unique, and each one has its own traps and enemies to look out for. To add a bit of variety, a few levels have features like screen locking and auto-scrolling, so you're never left to walk at a snail's pace. This game makes you work for your reward.

Bosses are slightly more difficult than the Mega Drive game and each has their own pattern to figure out before you're able to land a hit on them. Some of them have varying attack patterns meaning that sometimes when you think you've jumped to attack, you end up jumping right in to a projectile.

Sonic The Hedgehog has a medium to hard difficulty, and the difficulty progresses as the game does. It starts off relatively easy in Green Hill Zone and by the third zone- Jungle Zone, you're introduced to a faster play style with less room for error. This doesn't last, as you beat the boss only to be thrown back literally in to the deep end with Labyrinth Zone, which is very similar to its Mega Drive counterpart, albeit with a very different layout entirely with more difficulty to grab bubbles.

Later levels in the game pick the pace back up and introduce more environmental elements to impede and kill you. The final zone gets even more frantic, though I won't spoil it for you because this zone is exclusive to the SMS version.

Graphics, Sound & Music

The graphics aren't the very best that the system has to offer but they get the job done. Everything moves smoothly and the Master System's colour palette is used quite effectively so everything is bright and cheerful. There's nothing that looks out of place considering the art style of Sonic was build for a stronger system.

The soundtrack is catchy and memorable, and captures the feel of each environment well. The sound effects are also well done and the jumping and braking sounds are identical to the Mega Drive counterpart, bizarrely something every other Sonic SMS game fails to recreate. The rest of the sound effects are basic bops and blips which whilst they aren't absolutely mind blowing they do match the on-screen actions and they do the job well.


Despite the fact that Sonic was designed based on the merits of the Mega Drive, Sonic SMS does a great job of emulating the controls and physics of the 16-bit version. Though there's times when you'll be frustrated because the game often throws situations at you where there's much less time or room to jump than other Sonic games, if you do die it's always your fault because the game controls so well. There are one or two blind jumps and moments where the level design could have been tweaked to stop you running in to the abyss, but overall it does a good job of giving you control. Though it's a hard game, if you even put an ounce of effort in whilst playing you're bound to get enough lives to keep you going.

Replay Value

Sonic The Hedgehog SMS has enough unique content in it to play through if you've already played the other games and it has the same level of replayability you've come to expect from the Sonic franchise, if not more.

There's a top score of 500,000 obtained by completing all of the game's hidden objectives: Collecting all 6 Chaos Emeralds, all 12 life monitors, playing and completing all 8 bonus stages and not losing a life.

Even if you don't finish them all, you'll still get the good ending if you collect all 6 Chaos Emeralds, so you'll still feel good about yourself. The ending and the credits are especially simplistically retro and should remind you why you play games in the first place.


I can't recommend this game enough. Though it's certainly not perfect and I much prefer the Mega Drive game, it's enough to keep any one busy for a few hours at least. Once you get in, it's an addictive experience and getting to know the zones layouts and features through play is what makes this game worth coming back for to beat your previous play through and scores. If you have a Master System, a Master System Converter or a Wii Shop account, buy it.

You may have to adjust to its simpler 8-bit style, but once you do you'll be hooked. A must own for anyone who likes 8-bit games, or platformers, or Sonic, or who owns a Master System, or all four.

TL;DR - I really love this game, it's great. 4/5.
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Sonic the Hedgehog (SMS/GG)
Post Posted: Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:23 pm
Many people remember the Genesis/Mega Drive version of the speedy blue mascot's grand debut, and beginning of his half-a-decade reign as the King of Games, but there is an overlooked version for SEGA's 8-bit wonder, and their original colour portable as well, and let me tell you, this 2 Meg cart has no shortage of action, adventure, and fun to run into. Perhaps, maybe even more!

Sonic the Hedgehog, just like the Genesis version, begins in the Green Hill Zone. It won't take you long to notice the layout is quite different, for you don't see those bridges, rocks, or loop-de-loops, but you already see the immense amount of well-used colour, well-drawn graphics, and the 8-bit rendition of Dreams Come True's "Marry Me" (AKA the Green Hill theme) coming forth from your TV and the TI SN76489 within the Power Base.

As you get 50 rings, you wonder where the giant ring is, but when you hit the sign, you see an exclamation mark. What could this mean? It means it's time for the bonus stage, in which Sonic bounces around collecting many, many rings, extra lives, and continues!! There is oddly no Emerald, but hey, we will get to that next.

In act 2, as you walk forward, and suddenly, you drop into this little water filled cavern!! First time players will not expect this!! Now you gotta find your way out of this tiny little maze, but if you go to the right place, you may stumble upon a Chaos Emerald!! That's right, in this iteration of Sonic 1, you don't have to play through a silly, glorified tech demo to get Emeralds, and the good ending. You have to use your supersonic sniffer and your quick wits to find the Emeralds in either the first or second Act of each Zone.

Act 3 is always a short act, a la Sonic CD, with a hidden 1-Up monitor, and a face-off with Dr. Ivo Robotnik himself, in his Egg-O-Matic hovercraft, with a modification. Beware! There are no rings here, so one wrong move, and Sonic is out for the count!!

Now, on the map, it says that the next location is The Bridge. Wait, isn't Marble Zone to be next? No. Not at all. This iteration of Sonic has some fun, and original Zones, each with their own gimmicks and themes, with a Zone order that may actually make a bit more sense.

The Bridge Zone has a beautiful, original theme by the great Yuzo Koshiro of Streets of Rage fame, and takes place on a river, and has crumbling bridges abound, and see-saws and an autoscrolling second Act as well.

The Jungle replaces Spring Yard, and hey, can't say I am bent of shape over it either. Log rolling, jumping across waterfalls, and a Contra-style Act 2 in which you climb a waterfall awaits you.

Labyrinth Zone has an all-new, Jazzy music theme to it, but the same concept of exploration and trying not to run out of air.

Here, Scrap Brain always looks like the first act of the Genesis game, but don't be fooled, this is not your final Zone at all, in fact, that final, climactic battle takes place in a much more urgent setting... All I can say, is you wish this was in the Genesis version.

If you manage to get all 6 Chaos Emeralds, all 12 life monitors, lose no lives, and beat all 8 Special Stages, you can win a final reward of an upward of 500,000 pts.

All in all, even if the game is not as pretty looking as its 16-bit counterpart, I cannot lie and say I do not feel the presentation is so much better. It isn't just the music, but the little things, like the World Map, give a feeling of progression, and a visual of what South Island looks like, vs. a black title card stating what Zone and Act you are on. The autoscrolling levels give a sense of urgency, and a need to either keep up, or not fall, and the ringless boss fights ramp up the difficulty a bit, and actually give Sonic what he desperately needs... A challenge.

The Zone progression feels so much more natural as well. Sonic going in the order he does here feels more fitting than Sonic going from Green Hill, to an old temple, to SUDDENLY ending up in a casino-like city, to going into a dark underground labyrinth out of nowhere, back to a city in the night-time, to Scrap Brain.

Also, like I said, finding the Emeralds in the stages, vs. those silly tech demos we call Special Stages to get them, gives a better feeling, and I really wish the Genesis version did this, as well as the sequels on the Genesis as well. Also, the big adding up of points, a cutscene of seeing the island from a bird's-eye view, and the colourful credits with Sonic singing feels so much more rewarding.

The 8-bit version was SEGA and Ancient's first collaboration, that led to them working together for the Streets of Rage series, and in my opinion, trounces the 16-bit one by far. If you can get ahold of this version, please do. It is often considered by many to be in the top 3 Master System games.
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Post Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:26 pm
I honestly think that sonic 1 and 2 for the master system beat the first 2 Sonics on the mega drive hands down.
Sonic 2 from what I remember was a bit faster than the first one but both are great and the music and the levels are superb!!

Sonic 3 and knuckles is a different story as it was never released for the master system .

I think that Janet Jackson actually stole the bridge song in some song she did.
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Post Posted: Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:12 am
I agree with Filipe. I prefer the first 2 SMS titles to the first 2 MD ones.

Don't get me wrong, the MD games are classics but the SMS versions are fantastic. They designed them for the system rather than just doing a crappy looking port, and it really makes them something special.

Jungle is one of my favourite sonic zones, and the bosses for each of the zones are better than the ones in the MD sonic (apart from the first boss, who is just a joke).

Fantastic game that unfortunately gets overlooked because of the MD version.
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Post Posted: Tue Oct 30, 2018 4:55 pm
I don't know if i'd call it better than the genesis/mega drive versions, but a 5 star game none the less.
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