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Sega Master System

Sonic The Hedgehog, For the Sega Master System, with manual and storage box


Name     : Sonic The Hedgehog
Released: 1991
Genre     : Platform Action/Adventure
BWR Rating: (2 of 5)

When a child of the late 80s/early 90s thinks of "Sonic the Hedgehog", he or she recalls a little blue guy that can run REALLY FAST! One also thinks of stereo sound (through headphones, of course), and cool looking cartoonish 3-D graphics. Yeah, well, you're not thinking of this version. You're thinking of the wildly popular version that sprung the Sega Genesis to super-fame against it's giant competitor, the Super NES.

This little, um, gem, was released for the Sega Master System, at the same time as the Genesis version's release. It was probably released just to keep the rather small (in comparison to the Nintendo Entertainment Systems') customer base happy.


Graphically, each zone is not too bad, considering that this is an 8-bit system. It is rather obvious, by looking at this game, the graphical advantages that the SMS has over the NES, especially in color depth. The backgrounds are beautiful on most every level of this game, and the playing field isn't half bad either.

Each zone consists of two regular "acts", and an act strictly for battling a boss (so far as I have played, Dr. Robotnik himself.) You pass a standard Genesis-game style gate (or sign, whatever) at the end of each act. If have at least 50 rings when you finish a level, you get to go to a special stage where you bounce off bumpers and try to collect as many rings as possible in a minute or less in some cases. Continues are also available throughout each special stage. 

In between each act, you're presented with a little "map" of the island where most of the early Sonic games takes place. This is one of the big differences between this game and Genesis releases. It has a little path each time to show where you're moving from in each act to where you're going to (the next act). Robotnik appears before each boss act.

The "Little Map"

Boss acts are much different from the Genesis version of Sonic 1. On the Genesis version, you go through three full acts per zone. Robotnik appears at the end of the third Act of each zone. The Sega Master System version's third act is basically just to fight Robotnik. You run a few secs, and then there he is in whatever contraption is waiting to kill you off. The bosses aren't very challenging, but the kicker is that you can't collect any rings before each boss! So, one hit by the boss and you're toast. As a matter of fact, there isn't even a ring counter or timer, like in the regular acts!

When you defeat the boss, you jump on the platform atop a containment unit that is holding your animal friends captive, therefore releasing them, exactly like in the Genesis version of Sonic 1.

The evil containment unit!

This version of Sonic 1 can also be found on the Sega Game Gear, that color portable that could well have STOMPED the Nintendo Game Boy in the early 90s, if it's batteries would have lasted more than 5 minutes a time. A Game Gear was essentially a Sega Master System contained in a handheld unit, nearly completely based on the same hardware internally. The Game Gear version of this game is nearly identical, with a few added graphical tweaks (you can see the invicibility stars better when sonic is invincible.)

Gameplay is a little weak. It's a rather simple game. The Genesis game is just plain harder. You can get the hang of this one very quickly, especially if you've played Genesis Sonic the Hedgehog games.

Control is excellent, just as good, maybe even better than the Genesis version. Sound is not so hot, but could have been worse (Though it's excellent compared to other SMS games...SMS has terrible sound overall in my opinion.)

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Page Created 12/11/2005
Last Modified 4/20/2006