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11-20-19 01:19 PM

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01-17-16 05:41 PM
01-17-16 05:41 PM

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Game Review: Sonic the Hedgehog (Genesis)


01-17-16 05:41 PM
janus is Offline
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Sonic is (was?) to Sega what Mario is to Nintendo: the mascot. It is therefore no surprise that the blue hedgehog was among the first to make the transition to 16 bits with Sonic the Hedgehog 1. In retrospect the soundtrack has not aged well – the arrangements sound old and sometimes empty – but they are still worth the detour. Here is my review.

1 - Title Screen

This is what I mean by “empty” arrangements. The drum track starts rather dryly and ends as sharply. The Sonic 2 version was much better in that respect. But hey, it is only 12 seconds so do not sweat it. It is still a good intro.

2 - Green Hill Zone

Many gamers may not know this, but this track is the 16-bit version of the Green Hill Zone theme from Sonic 1 on the Master System and Game Gear! Anyway the track is excellent and you can feel the greenery that surrounds you thanks to a light main track. The drums in the background set the tempo right.

3 - Marble Zone

A more intriguing track that has a slower tempo. It sounds more Egyptian than Greek for a zone full of marble columns and lava, but I like it anyway. The main track has a mysterious feel to it, perfect to explore this underground temple.

4 - Spring Yard Zone

The obligatory zone with 10-point star balls. Despite its age the track still has a carnival / casino feel to it. The drum tracks is at the right tempo and volume, while the main track sounds like a real casino (although it improved with time).

5 - Labyrinth Zone

The obligatory zone that is under water. I find the synth too heavy and repetitive (especially in the background). However I find the arrangements perfect for this underwater labyrinth.

6 - Star Light Zone

This is my second favorite track. The main track really makes you feel light, as if flying in space among the stars. The drum track helps to keep this quieter, relaxing mood carried by the track.

7 - Scrap Brain Zone

My favorite track. The heavy synth in the background is just perfect for this high-tech plant you are exploring. The main track in the first part sounds both epic and sad to reflect the pollution the plant is making. The second part, on its side, has a more quiet side I find interesting.

8 – Boss

While the constant drumming is perfect for a boss theme, I found the main track a little clumsy, as if the composer had been afraid to make the track more dramatic.

9 – Continue

When you are given the option to continue or not after you died. Although the arrangements sound primitive, it is actually the best version of the theme. It progressively accelerates to remind you that you must quickly make a decision or start all over again.

10 - Game Over

It is more elaborate than in the Mario games, and I like it that way. The start of the loop is nagging you about your death, while the conclusion shows you that it IS over.

11 - Act Cleared

This time, it is shorter than in the Mario games. And once again it is perfect that way, although it sounds less triumphant than the Super Mario World version.

12 - Special Stage

The track, along with the Special Stages themselves, sound like you have taken hallucinogenic drugs. It is a very slow waltz with a repetitive organ that is still interesting.

13 - Extra Life

Another thing Sega had better than Nintendo. It sounds much grander than the Mario games, which had the 1-up track sound like a coin on the SNES and a slot combination on the NES.

14 – Invincible

Another example of an “empty” track. After a brief drum roll, the arrangements cut very sharply to jump to the core of the loop, a remix of the intro song. Once again, Sonic 2 did it much better.

15 - Final Zone

It indeed sounds very final. The main track sounds both very epic and dramatic, while the background drum gives just the right tempo.

16 – Ending

When you run around Green Hill to celebrate the liberation of the flickies. After a drum track you hear a remix of the intro theme that actually sounds quite triumphant.

17 - Staff Credits

The traditional mix of all (well, most) of the tracks on the album. They are well incorporated until the Spring Yard, which had drums trying desperately to integrate it to the mix. It was not well done, but the rest was done well (except for the heavy synth effects at the end).

Final diagnosis: this soundtrack is well-worth Sonic fans’ money. It is a nice improvement from the Master System heavy drum tracks and set the tone right for the following games.

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