Sonic the Hedgehog Reclaims His Fame

Posted: May 20, 2009 in Platformer

I remember when I was a young and carefree lad who would rush home afterschool to play with my Sega system, and one of my favorite games was Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic would go on to bigger and better things and have his own series with Sega and arguably become one of video game history’s most recognizable icons. There was no doubt that Sonic would eventually reach the shores of the iPhone/iPod Touch platform. From the looks of it, Sonic may have found a new home.

The game is about the evil Dr. Eggman and his attempt at world domination that begins with ruling South Island. Your journey with Sonic takes you through 6 worlds each with 3 sublevels culminating in a final showdown with Dr. Eggman.

These are the Six Zones and each offers its own unique flavor and perky music.
Green Hill
Marble
Starlight
Clockwork
Spring Yard
Labyrinth

Visually, Sonic the Hedgehog looks good for a straight port with the vibrant colors and animation that I remember. What the game could use is some polish in terms of refining the images and smoothing out the framerates. An different view is also available during gameplay by tapping the start button in the right corner which will shrink the screen to improve resolution.

The controls which consist of a d-pad and a jump button are more than capable in controlling Sonic’s high-speed running, jumping, spinning, rolling capabilities. For the novice, the controls have a short learning curve, but it becomes second nature after some play. However, they are responsive and work well.

The objective is of the game is simple: help Sonic reach the end of each level. This means going though obstacles, collecting rings, battling enemies (who are really friends), and grabbing perks whenever possible. Part of the task is to collect rings, which help Sonic survive attacks and injuries. And, for every 100 rings collected, Sonic gains an additional life. Of course, if you get injured, you can lose most of what you’ve collected.

Power ups accessed by breaking what look like TV monitors are located randomly on each level. These monitors provide a variety of power ups including extra life, invincibility, speed boost, bonus rings and shields. One of the nice things about Sonic and in many games in general are checkpoints, which allow you to resume a game at that point. In Sonic’s case, the checkpoint is a yellow lamp post. Obstacles include spikes and endless pits as well as various animals that have been transformed into mechanical monsters. Sonic can save them by jumping on them to remove the metal gear.

The port for the iPhone/iPod Touch platform is a decent one, but you will see blurriness as Sonic speeds up running or rolling. The framerates are generally smooth, but I notice that even on my iPod Touch 2g, there are occasional lags. It doesn’t affect gameplay so much, but it can be annoying for some.

Whether you’re new to Sonic the Hedgehog or grew up with him, the iPhone/iPod Touch port is done reasonably well and delivers the challenging and fun gameplay I remember. Hopefully, Sega provides further updates to refine Sonic, but this is a terrific start to re-introducing the original Sonic to today’s generation.

Albie Meter: 4 Stars (recommended for old school gamers and those looking for something new from something old; game needs some refinements to make it perfect)

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