(MD / Mega Drive)

Sonic the Hedgehog (MD / Mega Drive)

Game Profile

This is the first of many games starring Sega's premier rodent, Sonic. It's a side scrolling platform game with a difference: speed. Sonic rushes through levels with incredible speed, allowing him to traverse loops and jumps with ease.

The plot of the game is simple. The evil Dr. Robotnik has captured many of Sonic's animal friends, and trapped them inside robots. Fortunately, Sonic can free his friends by destroying the robots with his spin attack. Meanwhile, Dr. Robotnik is trying to control the all-powerful chaos emeralds. Sonic must grab them before he does in the 3-d rotating bonus levels.

Sonic the Hedgehog is a significant game because it gave Sega it's first real mascot, and established the Genesis as the video game system with "attitude."

Game Review


USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

The game that introduced the world to Sega's speedy hedgehog.

The original Sonic the Hedgehog was quite a groundbreaking title for Sega and their 16-bit Mega Drive console. Not only did it give Sega a true mascot to wrap their video game business around, but it also gave them a platformer that could actually compete...

Game Screenshots

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Game Trailers

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User Comments (87)

__Jason Williams


Jason Williams said:

I don't know if it's just me but I am finding this game a lot harder than when I played it back in the days! I can't even get past Marble Zone on one continue! LOL

__Nathan G


Nathan G said:

Is there anything to say, its Sonic!!! Where it all began, a game that needs no introduction apart from the sound of..."SEGAAAAAA". Legend!



Shrapnel09 said:

Actually as much as i loved Sonic 2, i thought this game was rather rushed and glitchy. 5 stars huh? i think you guys need to be a tad more critical in your reviews. so your saying this game is just as good as Super Mario World? I think not! 4 stars i'd say.



Dazza said:

Heretic! I do prefer Sonic 2 as well, but the original Sonic is FAR from rushed and glitchy. It is a very complete game. I would rate Super Mario World higher but if it's a choice between 4 and 5 stars then both would have to get 5 out of 5. They are genre defining platformers, both special and timeless for different reasons.



Shrapnel09 said:

Alright Dazza, ill take you up on that. Here is why i think the first Sonic diserves 4 stars (im not telling you to change the review or anything cause its your opinion, im just saying in general).

Sonic games are always about being "really fast and cool, fast SPEED man you cant even keep up man this thing is so fast!" here is how it actually works: Sonic himself has the slowest momentum of any character out there, start him from the bottom of a hill and have him walk up the hill, it takes like 2 minutes! luckly the speed boost saved that in sonic 2. there are momements early in the game where you go really fast for short periods of time without any real threats, and the general public is like, wow thats so fast, sonic is cool! ya try going that fast in the later stages, you will get hit by spikes or some random enemy/obstical within 3 seconds. The truth is in the later stages you cant go fast at all because when you do you cant see whats in front of you and the levels are designed in such a way that you will get the rings knocked out of ya if you dont watch your step.

and whats with the slooow moving platforms in the later stages. take springyard zone for example, those vertical blocks make you wait forever to get where you are going. or in marble zone riding those blocks on the lava took awhile as well. most of the time in the game is just spent waiting on other platform objects. phht "fast", mario could run laps around sonic in a practical sense.

ya there are many glitches in the game, you telling me you never been wrongfully crushed? You never landed on spikes and have the transparency not work? there are many specific examples i can give but its kind of hard to describe the scenario via text. But lets say your under water and while being pushed up a narrow space you are hugging the left side of the wall to avoid spikes right above you, however when you reach the top of the narrow space you get thrown all the way to other end of the narrow space via glitch and hit dem spikes resulting in death (happend to me several times), this was in the black and white Labyrinth Zone level. Just being crushed when your not supposed to is the worst, im sure it happend to you enough times to know what im talking about it.

Now do you see that kind of thing happening to you in Super Mario World? ofcourse not, because it wasnt rushed out to the market to try and compete with a compeitor. Nintendo took its time to make a nice quality platformer, sure the graphics in sonic look more vibrant than mario but this sonic game is all flash and no substance.



Dazza said:

Hehe some good points. As I said before I do think Super Mario World is the better game. That being said no little niggles like you describe ultimately spoil what is a quality platformer.

On the basis that I believe Sonic 2 to be the best Sonic in the series on the Megadrive I would give this 4 stars out of 5 but not comparing it to the sublime Super Mario World.

Anyway Damo wrote the review. You'll have to take it up with him now!



Iapetus said:

I have no idea what you guys are babbling about - This deserves 5 stars by far and it is the best incarnation of Sonic ever. Sonic 2 had the speed but was too short/easy and Sonic 3 was easier yet. S&K was close second to Sonic 1.



Noj said:

This was my first download and I've been really impressed. It has brought the old megadrive days flooding back. Top notch.



paragoomba said:

i love this game but i got this on sonic mega collection plus so i'm not getting it

__Mario's bro


Mario's bro said:

I love this game more than any thing. I played this as a kid all the time. I could set my eyes on that game early morning on June 1 till late afternoon july 31. this is a game that I strongly reccomend but I hope that they will put other sonic classics on the virtual console . There is one last thing i need to say "Go Sonic".



Eric said:

Sonic 1 is not the best sonic, but it does deserve at least one playing. Hopefully the future of VC will bring us Sonic 2, Knuckles, and so on..



danstan said:

I grew up playing the PAL (slower) version of the game, so it's not really a big deal for me.



Katialeonhart said:

I bought this on PAL version and yes its slow and very glitchy, even more so than the MD version.
Still a quality game though, but never the same rating as SMW oe LoZ:LTTP.



fail:safe said:

I have to say, i wasnt going to get this one. My GF was giving me greif about how long it was taking to get my Wii conected to the wifi for the first time and how bored she was- not to mention the guilt trip for getting yet more games.

once i downloaded this though, it all turned 180, she was on at me all weekend to be playing sonic. Infact, she wanted to stay up playing sonic rather than get an "early" night.

amazing- if i had turned down her advances so i could play zelda etc i would have been hung drawn and quartered- in vinegar probably!

The power of the VC- even turns your GF into a gamer!

and its a bloody top game!

__Mr 64


Mr 64 said:

After many failed attempts, Sega finally found it's mascot in Sonic. The beauty of Sonic was that it represented what Sega stood for, bringing the excitement of the coin-ops into your home. Sonic did this to perfection. The fastest gameplay we'd ever seen in a platform game and bags of colour and action thrown in for good measure.

It might lack the depth of gameplay of Nintendo's 16-bit mascot vehicle Super Mario World, but then SMW lacks the instant appeal that Sonic gives you.

As for the VC version, it's a bit of a let down. After we Brits were introduced to 'full speed Sonic' on the retrospective Sonic Mega Collection pack on the GC, this is a real slap in the face - especially as you can play the Mega Collection version on the Wii. Rather than download this, I'd track down an old copy of Sonic Mega Collection instead - it'll might cost you a touch more, but you'll get every single 'classic Sonic' (at full speed) in one pack.



BJ1 said:

I'm a Sonic fan no matter what. The coolness of a Sonic game should make alot of fans who are more towards Mario a bit jealous at times. Even though the two are no longer rivals anymore, it's good look back sometimes, but not too much. Speaking of rivals, does anyone know if Crash Bandicoot is still a rival of Mario (even if he is on other platforms)?



TheNintendoBoy said:

As much as I love Sonic, I think it's easy to spot a few things that would shave off that fifth star.
- No spindash, once you've played Sonic 2, you can barely play without it. This could be added easily!
- Gameplay elements that slow down the action too much, prime examples of this are Marble zones block pushing and lava "boat" riding, and pretty much the entire Labyrinth zone.
- The bonus level was very tedious to control, even though I personally loved it.



mario/zelda_fan said:

uh I've never played this before but I played sonic and the secret rings and i loved it. I might get since number two is coming out.

But I'm just worried if I keep downloading these games I'll run out of room on my wii and i wont be able to get paper Mario! Does anyone know how to get more room? Or is that what the SD card is for?



Mr_64 said:

You can indeed store games on the SD slot. The good news as well is that if your SD card breaks, or you delete the game from your Wii, you can download the game again from Nintendo for free I believe, as they store your console's ID on their systems.



mario/zelda_fan said:

I just downloaded this game last night I love it. But you can't save so if you get a game over you have to start all over again. But I guess that's what makes the game a challenge. Does anyone know how to get more lives?



BJ1 said:

It doesn't matter if you have Sonic Mega Collection, it won't let you save where you left off. It only saves Sonic 3 data. In a way, it is kind of worth buying. Still, I am waiting for Sonic 2.



Asherdude said:

Sonic 1 on Mega Collection is an updated Japanese version with scrolling clouds and easier levels. But this version is the game that pulled me into console gaming back in 1991! And, yes, I'd give it 5 out of 5 stars too!



fansiesonic said:

hm i dont have game but im sure i will like, my goal is to beat all of sonic games ever made, so this will be on list for me thank u



Mendez said:

Amazing game and almost as good as the second one. It can feel pretty slow at times comparing to later games, but that doesn't really matter. Download it NOW!



Guilherme said:

Well, this is the game that started it all, until Sega killed it all by making Sonic a showcase for bad 3D engines and annoying sidekicks.

Sonic the Hedgehog is a beautiful game. I got Sonic with my Mega Drive, along with that bundled crapfest Altered Beast. It's incredible that its (Sonic's) graphics still look great after all these years, and I still like to play it once in a while, even though I could probably beat it with my eyes closed (well, except for that stupid Labyrinth Zone boss, that is). And there is music to match the graphical beauty, with classics like Green Hill Zone and Star Light Zone.

This game starts fast and furious and progressively becomes slower and more complicated until the claustrophobic Labyrinth Zone. Then there is a breath of air in the beautiful Star Light Zone before it gets more bureaucratic as it gets closer to the end. Overall, this progression works well.

If for some weird reason you didn't play this game on the Mega Drive or one of its many re-releases, I still recommend that you buy it. It's a great platformer that hasn't aged. If you are only going to get one Sonic game, though, wait for the release of "Sonic 3 & Knuckles". Do not settle for either Sonic 3 alone or Sonic & Knuckles alone. The combined game is the best Sonic game ever, and the highest achievement in Mega Drive platforming.



evil_ernie said:

the first game i ever owned. and it kicks! i'd play this over mario.

always felt sorry for amiga that their hedgehog game 'fire and ice' got over shadowed by sonic.



Andy said:

great game, pretty tricky levels and fantastic boss battles. evil_ernie is right much better than mario but not as good as sonic 2 although this one is significantly harder.

A must have



SportyMarioSonicHybrid said:

I'd give this game a 5 because it was the first in its series and they were simply trying to find out general concepts of what worked, rather than having a refined formula to base your new game off, which is what Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles were privileged to have!



BJ1 said:

Sure some sidekicks are annoying, but that doesn't mean I don't like playing as them. In fact, when you have Tails by your side, he can be of use. For example, if Sonic misses some rings or power ups, Tails will grab them for you.



Chris said:

Asherdude- Are you saying that Sonic on mega collection has been updated? And isn't the original Megadrive release?



Josh said:

The Mega Collection defaults to the Japanese version, which featured improved parralex scrolling, graphical underwater effects, and the level select in the correct zone order. For example, in Green Hill Zone, the clouds would quickly move from right to left. A few codes could also let you play the original US version without these upgrades, as well as a second revision of the Japanese version which fixed the spike bug.



Chris said:

Thanks Josh. I believe if you select the 50Hz option (on mega collection) then you can play the original PAL Version of the game as default?



sashaboo said:

I still remember seeing this game for the first time at a freinds house and could not beleive the speed i was seeing. Its where sonic started and its still a good platform game to play with nice colours, good speed and challenging platform action.



alvieao said:

I have Sonic Mega Collection, but I also own the Genesis bundle with both Sonic 1 and 2. Undeniably an amazing classic. What can I say? This game has been featured in various compilations, so it's impossible to avoid unless you've been a loyal Nintendo gamer all the way. Still, Sonic 1 is worth downloading.



superBBQ said:

Wow, this was the first game I played EVAR. The only reason this is 4/5 because of the some seriously slow levels, which is the big way Sonic 2 managed an edge over other platformers. I won't download this purely because I still play my Megadrive, with turbo and slow buttons for random amusement



darthmix said:

I guess this means Nintendo FINALLY got blast processing.

(that's a joke btw)



Link_O_Fett said:

A great classic that stands the test of time, Sonic the Hedgehog is still a fun game to play.



mamac said:

it isnt the first ever sonic game. the one on the master system is the best.



$oniC said:

As anyone else noticed that the auto jump (holding down any one of the wiimote buttons) causes Sonic to continiously jump making some of his jumps shorter. Or is it just me.



Shadow said:

If you're going to get a Sonic game I recommend getting Sonic 2. This original one is much slower based and platform oriented as this was the first in the series and they hadn't figured out that Sonic was best when running through the stages. Still an ok game but as I don't recommend it it will have to do with 2 starts from me.



Golbez said:

I loved this game. I may get it on Wii, I may not... since I have my megadrive in the same room though, I doubt it ;P The music is catchy, it's very easy to pick up and play and gets harder as you go along: the definition of a good game.



learn_japanese_ds said:

So difficult, but lots of fun. I never played it as a kid and the VC operation manuel is never ever really good. Can anyone tell me what collecting chaos emeralds does?



dexter said:

Sonic just doesn't stand the test of time in the same way that Mario does. Fun, but dated...



TwinCross said:

4 stars, because it's mangled by one of the worst 50hz conversions I have ever seen.



Mixer152 said:

Legend of a game. Catchy tunes, simple but fun gameplay, but as TwinCross above me said, the 50hz version is a shambles. Although on my pal MegaDrive as a kid I was oblivious to the difference between it and the original speed.
No need for me to purchase this or the others as I have Mega Collection



zelda_freak said:

The best game on the Sega. Sonic is awesome! It is deffinitly a game that is amazing still today. I haven't completed it yet
though <=( Igot to the very last level and died. It's a hard game.



ZEIDO said:

This game works for all ages. My 7 year old daughter and 5 year old son can't get enough of it ...... I need to buy them a classic controller soon



BJ1 said:

Jimmy Damage, try not to start any fanboyism, okay. This isn't 1991-2001, anymore.



MasterMario said:

If there is a Master System version of the game, dosen't that mean that this is a remake?



Karma said:

For all of the people demanding that Sonic 1 have 4 stars, let me say something.

First of all, this game was the original Sonic game. Obviously Sonic 2 was a better game simply out of needing to improve upon their first major hit game. Which they did.

But in the end, if there was no Sonic 1, there would have been no Sonic 2, with which to try and improve UPON.

Sonic 1 bashers, to this say still annoy me. Because they have a bizarre and blurred grasp on the idea of the passage of time. And they base their own opinions soley of this complete ignorance as to the simplicity of how time progress forward in a linear fashion.

It's one of those things that everyone should know. The future comes AFTER the present and the present comes AFTER the past. No duh, right? Not for people that like to talk down about Sonic 1.

You people seem to act as if Sonic 2 was already finished and developed when Sonic 1 was created, the way you people seem to love whining about how it's apparently some sort of "downgrade"

The fact is that this game was a major invention and a masterpiece all it's own that was further expanded upon in the FUTURE installment.

That being said, Sonic 1 cannot and should not ever be compared in terms of quality to it's sequel which, at the time did not even exist.

If Sonic 1 were not the damn good game that it is, that actually built Sega up to a directly competing franchise against Nintendo, thereby deserving the ultimate of praise (5 stars), there would never have been the "better" sequel, because the demand would just not be there.

As the original, as a classic, from a historical standpoint, and even by today's standpoint, Sonic The Hedgehog, cannot be denied it's place as a 5 star title simply because some sequel that came out later IMPROVED upon the foundation of Sonic AFTER the fact.

This game, reviewed on it's own merits, and without being compared to the sequel, deserves.. no, DEMANDS 5 stars.

And last time I checked, that's what a good, constructive review does. Judges a game on it's own merits. Not based on what came before or what came after.

You four star advocates... shame on you.



Ashdude said:

This is the game that sold me on the Genesis in 1992. Before I saw it, I was getting a SNES. But after one look, I was a Sega fanboy!



slangman said:

It’s a decent game but I kind of find this version overhyped since the music feels a bit average when compared to Sonic 2 and 3. And there’s no since of speed either. Only for those who really loved sonic 2 and 3 and want more sonic action.



David77 said:

I have Sonic 1 and 2 on a compilation disc, and this series is the most overestimeted in the business. Not bad at all, but it's not even close to super mario bros 2, the least popular in mario saga



Epyo said:

The greatest platformer of all time....Or is that Sonic 2?

A brilliant game, with brilliant design.



Beau_Skunk said:

While Sonic 2 is my favorite 2D Sonic title, (I have nothing aginst the 3D titles like half the word does honestlly, exept mabey Sonic Riders) this was a great game to introduce the beloved hedgehog to the world. Like the old Mario titles, no matter how many times I play through it, I never tire of it.
I say, the graphics, and sound are as memorible & unforgetable as the ones in Super Mario Bros. for NES.

Regardless of game critics, and gamers alike putting down Sonic latelly for his recent titles, and directions the series has taken, Sonic will always be as good a video game hero to me as Super Mario, Link, and Pac Man. And I'm glad he's in SSB Brawl.



carson said:

Terrific Wii VC game. Sonic is definetly one of the best video game characters of all time. The games are great too!



Cally said:

Terrific platformer! It can be rather difficult, since losing all your lives means starting at the beginning. It's probably the best Sonic game next to the series pinnacle, Sonic CD, partly thanks to predating the rather nonsensical Sonic and Tails team-up, and better level design than its three Genesis sequels. The speed thing is decidedly a gimmick (and a red herring in its marketing), since there is simply no way to see far enough ahead to be running at Sonic's higher speeds and yet be able to react to surprise hazards--speed kills, and the level design of all the Sonic games never really catered to the act of running at high speeds more than any other platformer; Sonic 2 was loaded with way too many "watch Sonic go fast" sections which was a rather questionable way of solving that issue. It also has some of the Sega edginess in its mascot with "attitude," though the quality of level design prevails here, edged out only by Sonic CD. 4.5/5



Oh, the memories. I still remember going to Blockbuster, getting a choice between a Genesis and a SNES, randomly choosing the Genesis, and getting this game with it. The NES was my older sister's from before I was even born, and the Genesis was my first system I myself owned. Later on, I ended up getting Sonic 2 as well, and it only got better.

As a kid, we weren't terribly wealthy, and I mostly rented games. The only Genesis games I ever owned were Sonic 1, 2, and S&K.

This game is badass. Sonic on the Genesis is badass. I pre-ordered Sonic Mega Collection for Gamecube when it came out and got it for a full $50. Oh, man. I was so happy that day.

Speaking of which, if you want Sonic, just get the collection. No worries about the Sonic & Knuckles lock-on stuff, you get manual scans, and all that good stuff. Virtual Console is a waste of money for these games, and who knows when Sonic 3 & Knuckles will show up.



soniczelda_dude said:

I've played Sonic 2, but this one looks good too. Just wondering, is it worth downloading the original if I already own Sonic 2? You know, to see how the franchise started.



RetroNL said:

The coolest game of it' s time. When I was a kid I had a Nes, a friend of mine had a sega megadrive and yes, the first time I played this game, I didn' t know what I saw. a cool hedgehog going very fast through loopings and tunnels when I was playing on flat grounds with Mario Bros. It felt as like gaming had a whole new dimension, the graphics where unique too even against the supernes' s Mario Games it had a shiny kind of look, but enough about this because for graphics in this time you won t buy this game because we have a lot better now .
Still this game is a must have in your sega collection, it is like the shiny bad and fast mario game for your sega.

4 stars



Corbs said:

This first Sonic game is just as good now as it was back then. This game deserves the 5 star rating and then some. Not to be missed.



cyberman67 said:

This is it: The one, only, true classic SEGA game which was reason enough to buy a Mega Drive. There was sure more to follow - but imho "Sonic the Hedgehog" is one of the greatest console games of all times and still is as much entertaining as it was then. It is a shame, that only the 2D-titles on GBA and DS could share the quality of the Mega Drive/Genesis Sonic-games. Forget about most of the 3D-crap
I hope and wish, that SEGA will bring a new Sonic-game for WiiWare. What worked so good with Mega Man should be no problem for our fast hedgehog friend.



soniczelda_dude said:

"Yeah, Sonic the hedgehog. Which of your classic games should I get next? They're all awesome!!"

Does anyone else get this same feeling when looking at Sonic's genesis/mega drive titles?



Kifa said:

I must admit that I missed out Sonic until buyng this on VC - never had any system on which it was released originally - and I regret that a lot. This is platforming in it's purest form I'd say, comparable only to Super Mario Bros. That doesn't change the fact that I downright suck at Sonic right now and will need a lot more practice to get through the game... :]



BJ1 said:

The newer Sonic games aren't good to some of you because some of you can't handle change. Even though, he's had his downs, he's had his ups too. Anyway, this game is fun! I'm trying to do an LP on it.



JJtheTexan said:

I was a Nintendo fanboy growing up, and rarely played Sega games. Sonic the Hedgehog is the only Genesis game I can recall playing other than Altered Beast, so I was delighted to download the Virtual Console version when i got my Wii.

I have to say I was let down. Don't get me wrong - the graphics and music are top-notch for the era and still hold up well today. But for someone who grew up with Mario, I found the gameplay to be one-dimensional, slippery and frustrating. Let's face it -- Sonic is among the weakest platform characters in video game history, particularly in this incarnation. No rings? One hit, and he's toast. Hit with rings? Lose 'em all. Very few items and power-ups to collect, and unlike Mario's arsenal all the items are fleeting and last but a few seconds. And as mentioned above, for a game boasting so much speed, there are few opportunities to really run at top speed unless you've already played the game so much you know where every single enemy, spike trap and bottomless pit is located.

Sonic can run, and he can jump. That's it. Were Mario so limited in his first platformer, the series probably would have ended with Super Mario Bros.

Six out of 10



Kobayashi said:

This game is a MASTERPIECE 10/10 !!
Easily, the best game of the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive and one of the best games ever made.



SuperMarioFan1995 said:

Ah, the nostalgia. This is where the blue blur starts his career on this first and his Sega Genesis game, Sonic the Hedgehog.

I got this on the VC long ago, I think in November 2008 when I first got a Wii console. It's a good game, but not as good as the superior Super Mario Bros. on NES. That game rocked.

EDIT: It seems I can't play this game on the VC via component lead. I can't seem to fix this problem at all. I might need to get Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection for the PS3.

EDIT 2: Okay, maybe I'm wrong. But I'll need to wait for Nintendo to fix the problem with the cable issue. I already know there is a VC Forums website and the topic shown here. --> [Link]

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