Sonic the Hedgehog was released in 1991 for the Sega Mega Drive and the 8-bit version was released for the Master System. Does this fare well to its 16-bit counterpart. By the way, I’m reviewing the Master System version; I brought a Master System II for £9.99 at a second-hand shop and Sonic the Hedgehog just so happened to be built into the console.
Some Robotnik takes some animals and put them into some robots and some blue hedgehog has to rescue them. It’s the exact same plot from the 16-bit game. You play as Sonic as you travel to various levels…it’s like 16-bit Sonic so repeating myself would kind of be a waste of your time, so let’s look at the differences. Green Hill and Labyrinth are in both games, the 8-bit version have different levels to the 16-bit version and vice versa, this 8-bit version has Green Hill, Bridge, which is Green Hill with more bridges, Jungle, and what I got to so far, the dreaded Labyrinth.
The level design is completely different to its 16-bit counterpart which is to be expected but just like the 16-bit version most of the levels do not involve running fast but precise platforming which meant that if you were expecting something like what we were promised, expect to die a lot because precise platforming will be your enemy. For the Master System, it’s very colourful and vibrant when it needs to be but it won’t leave a lasting impression on you.
The controls are…well I’m not a fan of the Master System controller since I find the control pad gummy and the 1 & 2 buttons feel like there’s a delay, meaning that you will prone to fall if you’re a Master System noob like me. The music has a tingly sound to it, making the music sound cutesy, most of the music apart from the title screen, Green Hill and Bridge are very forgettable. The Dr Robotnik bosses are just as challenging as the 16-bit version, the Green Hill boss is probably the easiest bosses ever in a sonic game.
Overall, for an 8-bit version, it’s completely different and has its own identity to the original version, and like the original version, it’s just…ok, it’s not better than the Mega Drive version, but neither is it worse, it’s just a fun little playthrough to see if you like it just as much as the original.
Just don’t think that this is going to be easy because it has a very good difficulty and it gets difficult, but that’s what I thought of the Mega Drive version and I can play-through that with mostly no problems, it’s a game that you have to play several times until you can create your own pattern and you’ll do fine. My problem is that the system can’t handle the speed Sonic can run while the Mega Drive can, when Sonic runs very fast and to his limit he can fly off the screen, which is a very big flaw, however, it doesn’t really matter because it only happens in Green Hill.
If you want to take a look at a version that has limits but could be fun to play if you have the right state of mind, then at least give it a try. I know there was a Game Gear version, in fact, I think it was meant for Game Gear, from what I’ve seen it’s exactly the same game hopefully one day I’ll get a Game Gear, but I wished it had the ability to charge rather than getting 100 batteries to play games every week.
You can get it on the Sega Master System, Sega Game Gear and Virtual Console.