Sonic Origins is here on every platform available, namely Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S, PS4 and 5, Steam and EPIC Store on PC and the Nintendo Switch.
This loveable spiky haired blue Hedgehog debuted on the SEGA Megadrive or Genesis for our American readers June 1991, and was a response to the runaway success to Nintendo’s Mario.
Here we are 30+ years later and Sonic now sees success on the Nintendo platforms – who’d have thought that day would come!
So, this collection covers Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic 2, Sonic 3 and Knuckles and Sonic CD. Sonic 3 and Knuckles was originally a Sonic 3 cartridge, and then a few month later an add-on cartridge was released that the latter plugged into and added extra content as well as introducing us to Knuckles.
With each game you have the new Anniversary mode, which looks awesome, but still keeps the pixel art style you get on the original games. You can set the screen to either 4:3 or 16:9 without stretching the image. If you do choose 4:3, you’ll also have the option of having different artwork instead of black bars down each side of the screen. The main difference here, is that you now have unlimited lives, and exploring the level,the TVs that you break open have additional gold star coins, which can be used in the museum to unlock extras or to retry the bonus levels if you don’t manage to get the Chaos Emerald.
There’s also the original mode, which is exactly what the original games were with lives, and if you run out then it’s back to the very start.
In addition, there’s a Boss Rush Mode which is self explanatory – just taking on Dr Robotnic’s various forms that you get at the end of each zone. Yes it is Dr Robotnic not Eggman!
And last but not least for now, you can also unlock mirror mode for each game, which flips the levels to give you a new challenge.
All four games are absolute classics and everyone has their favourites. For me, I love Sonic 2 as it introduces Tails and the bonus levels, speeding down a tube collecting rings which is neat. For Sonic the Hedgehog – the very first game in the series – you can now spin dash, which was originally introduced in the second game, and makes life a touch easier, getting up to the high places.
The rotating bonus level in the first game has always annoyed me, as there is a good bit of luck needed and not just skill. If the maze rotates at the wrong time, you can end up hitting the goal without getting the emerald, through no fault or interaction of your own. Bonus levels on Sonic 3 are great, and in seeing a 3D 3rd-person view of Sonic, you have to colour the red dots without hitting the ones you have already changed, or getting caught in the middle of the block.
There is a lot to enjoy with Sonic Origins given the amount of content, and not forgetting the unlockables in the museum. However, each game can be finished in under an hour if you know what you are doing. New players to these games will get a little longer out of them, as they discover the levels and gradually work through them, exploring everywhere.
I do have to say, though, that I am surprised at the omission on Dr Robotnics Mean Bean Machine, which kind of plays like the classic Columns, in which you match the jewels to clear the arena. Other omissions including Sonic Spinball, which sees Sonic in his Spin Dash, dinging round like a Pinball on numerous levels; and the original Master System/Game Gear games as they play different to the Megadrive entries. The Chaos Emeralds are hidden around the levels, and the boss encounters are different. There is also Sonic Chaos, which only released on the 8 Bit consoles, instead of them getting Sonic 3.
I genuinely do love Sonic Origins and there has been plenty work put into the games for new and old fans alike to enjoy. I do wish we had the extra games, though, since overall, the pricing is a bit on the high side. If you have a Megadrive (or the mini), then you will no doubt have these games already, or then the Megadrive Collection which is available on all formats. Again, you can buy the 4 games cheaper than this release to add to the game list.
So, yeah, it’s a bit of a strange release, albeit great fun and worth adding to your collection. The new movies for the intros are really cool, and a welcome addition and the Anniversary mode, which looks and plays great, as well as the unlimited lives which help you get through the games without having to restart!
A big thanks to our friends at Sega for supplying us with the review code.
- Developer: Sega
- Publisher: Sega
- Players: Single and Couch Co-Op. Sonic 2/Sonic 3 Couch Co-Op and Competitive
Retro at heart and lover of all things ’80s, especially the computers, the music and the awesome movies and TV shows! Crazy huge retro gaming collection spanning the ’80s and ’90s with hundreds of tapes, discs and carts for various machines on top of a 600+ strong Steam library that is ever-growing. No I am not a serial hoarder, just a dedicated retro gamer!