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3D Sonic The Hedgehog: The Retro Review

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Another year, another re-release of Sonic The Hedgehog. Ho-hum. No, you won’t find much different here if you’ve played this game at some point in the last 22 years, and it definitely isn’t a revolution like “Team Stealth-Tax”‘s Sonic 1 Mobile update on iOS and Android . Instead, let’s focus on what’s a little more interesting in this project: M2’s “GigaDrive” system running this bad boy. How does it handle Sonic 1 on your 3DS?

Sonic 1 here isn’t simply just the typical rom in an emulator shell. No, that’s more a Nintendo virtual console move, and as the old Genesis tagline goes, “Sega Does What Nintendon’t.” Not satisfied with just slapping Sonic 1 in a 3DS-friendly emulator shell, the team at M2 offer players a variety of options to customize the player’s experience.

For example, players can choose to play the game in its International version, which means static skies and flat waters for Green Hill and Labyrinth, respectively, and the inclusion of the infamous spike “bug”, or players can choose the Japanese version, which includes background animation effects and fixes the aforementioned “bug.” Furthermore, players can also change the sound emulation for the PSG channels by either emulating it to sound closer to the MegaDrive 1 or the MegaDrive 2. There doesn’t seem to be much difference between the two on a cursory listen, however. Maybe MD1 style is a little louder and crisper? Either way, this one is for the sound purists.

The sound is not 100% accurate, but with 22 years of hearing the sound effects, it will be difficult for long-time players not to notice differences or static. Fortunately, the sound problems aren’t egregious, so no sound of pans falling on the ground when Sonic crosses the goal post.

ghz_3d_1The core feature here though is the 3D. It’s in the game’s title after all! Players can also choose the style of the 3D, whether it sinks deeper into the background or pops out of the screen. The 3D effect is actually really well done without being jarring or lazily added on. The 3D is applied to all levels of the background and can be seen in the parallax scrolling of the stage, meaning each scrolling layer has its own 3D effect to better simulate the perception of depth on the eyes. It’s rather subtle and pleasing to the eyes actually.

Outside of this, 3D Sonic 1 is indeed Sonic 1 as people have likely played it before. Spin Dash can be toggled on or off, which also changes the camera lock style to Sonic 2‘s to prevent Sonic spinning right off the edge of the screen, and the option to toggle Level Select on or off (via a Special command on the main menu) will likely be a welcome addition for newer or younger players who find that they just can’t quite get past a certain level, but still want to experience the rest of the game.

There’s no shortage of methods to pick up Sonic 1 these days. If you find yourself wanting a rather faithful recreation of the game with added 3D effects, this is certainly worth the time. Others may prefer the cheaper and more feature filled mobile alternative. The story here though is that M2’s GigaDrive emulator shows much promise and is a marked improvement over most of Nintendo’s own attempts with the Virtual Console or 3D enabled classic titles, with Kid Icarus likely being the only exception. Give it or the other 3D MegaDrive Classics a whirl.

3D Sonic the Hedgehog was reviewed via a copy purchased by the author.

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19 Comments

  • Reply

    This is very well done. Maybe one day SEGA could try doing this again with Sonic 2 or 3. The only problem I don’t like is the game isn’t stretched to fit the width of the top screen.

    • Reply

      It would be a problem if it WAS stretched.

      Why do people like that? It’s not the way it was originally released.

  • Reply

    AM2 is a Sega Division. M2 is completely unrelated to them.

  • Reply

    Eh, Since i already have the Mobile Version
    I don’t think i’ll get it.

  • Reply

    An additional noteworthy detail: You will take damage from an enemy while your charging your spindash.

  • Reply

    Might want to change AM2 to M2.

    • Reply

      It didn’t help I was discussing something about AM2 and F-Zero with another person at the same time. Whoops! Changed~

  • Reply

    Its worth for money. I havent played Sonic 1 for about 20 years!

  • Reply

    Can we get this on PSN? lol nah but seriously I’m glad SEGA are putting effort on this game again, do not remind me of the GBA ported version or even the DS emulated version.

    Now I’m in no way bashing Taxman’s creation, but the game got more praise than it deserves, his version while adds more to the core game broke some parts as well, the physics sadly are not as accurate as you’d want, for example the U curve in Spring Yard you can’t even go higher by spinning through it like in the original, and the lack of a stage select screen puts me off, not to mention the fact MOST of the good parts of Taxman’s version are hidden inside of debug mode so most people won’t even get to experience them, I really hope Sonic 2 gets a better treatment than this!

  • Reply

    Well guys, Taxman’s port isn’t really a revolution even if it’s still a native port.

    This one, however, adds a lot more value to the original game. Nice one, Sega.

    • Reply

      Can’t tell if serious or you’re just easily impressed by 3D. I’d rather have more content than an emulated version of sonic 1 with a spindash they needed to ask help on to implement.

    • Reply

      3D is not the only thing this version has, I have it deactivated by default.

      Also it sounds logical to me asking the guy who originally implemented the spindash. You see, they’re not gonna read Sonic Retro’s tutorials for that.

  • Reply

    I have noticed that as much as its made for the purists around the world, the UK fans have been left out somewhat because it doesnt include the slow BGM from the UK PAL version of the game. See here what im talking about http://www.captainwilliams.co.uk/sonic/sonic16bit/sonic/soundtrack.php

    • Reply

      I think they’ve been trying very much to kill the 50Hz slow down the games had in PAL areas. I don’t know how many will actually mind that since, outside of the Wii VC releases, they’ve been churning the ports out relative to the Japanese and U.S. NTSC style.

  • Reply

    again no bloody ass demo. Seriously SEGA must you be so cheap.

  • Reply

    Not worth the money for the same game over and over but in eye straining 3d. At least the StealthTax version has new/unreleased content.

  • Reply

    I don’t know what I was expecting but I find the 3D really useless in this title. I only notice it when I’m standing still or moving very slowly.
    The port is great and the game itself is intact but I was expecting more from the 3D

  • Reply

    You forgot to mention the option to simulate older TVs that even uses the stereoscopic 3D to implement the curvature that they possessed.

    It was an awesome adition.

  • Reply

    Also, 3D Classics Kirby >>>>>>>>>>>> 3D Classics Kid Icarus

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