Practically every gamer on the planet has had an opportunity by now to experience the original Sonic The Hedgehog in some form. In addition to the Sega Genesis version, the game has been repackaged in several collections including the Saturn’s Sonic Jam, Sonic Mega Collection for PS2/GCN, and Sonic Mega Collection Plus for Xbox. There are also a number of remakes on the web in Flash, Java, etc., and the game will even be included in Nintendo’s Wii Virtual Console service.
Despite that Sega is betting you’ll want to pay $19.99 this November to play it all over again in portable form, and from the way things look Sonic The Hedgehog Genesis is about as strong of an argument for it the company could possibly make.
The biggest selling point is that this version includes Sonic’s Spin Dash ability, which was not in the original Genesis version and instead was introduced in Sonic The Hedgehog 2. While purists may scream at such a move, it should be an excellent addition to the game. Sonic 2 is my favorite game in the series, simply because it introduced the Spin Dash and utilizes it to greatly enhance gameplay. After Sonic 2 was released, going back to the original game was hard for me to do, simply because it felt incomplete. And while Sonic Jam actually did include the Spin Dash maneuver, for younger gamers this will likely be their first opportunity to experience the original game with it in place.
That’s not all that’s been changed however. Other additions to the original game include a new save feature that allows gamers to save their progress and high scores at any time. Really, that should be a requirement for any portable game and the feature already exists in Sonic Mega Collection, but it’ll still help make the game more accessible. Players will also be able to unlock the original in-game music as they progress. In a perfect world that would allow gamers to switch music tracks on the fly in the middle of a stage, but how exactly it’ll work is still under wraps.
Perhaps the biggest change (and selling point) however is that Sonic Team itself is working on this port. Sega’s past re-releases on the GBA include (among others) subpar efforts like Sega Smash Pack and Phantasy Star Collection, both of which were emulated efforts done by a third party (with yet another company, THQ, handling publishing duties). With Sonic Team handling this one in-house, we should receive about as perfect of a port as possible.
Will these changes be enough to convince GBA owners to plunk down $20 for what’s essentially a 15-year old game with a few new features? We’ll find out November 14th.
Posted: 2006-10-12 15:23:28 PST