There’s nothing quite like playing through the original Sonic the Hedgehog games. My very first foray in console gaming came with the blue speedster back on my SEGA Mega Drive, so I hold the original trilogy of games (including the Knuckles expansion of course) very close to my heart. It’s why I especially appreciated the release of Sonic Origins, a neat little package to celebrate thirty years of the iconic gaming megastar that brings all of those titles together with Sonic CD.
Check out some screenshots below:
Sonic Origins features the Mega Drive releases of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and the Knuckles expansion for use in all three titles, as well as the SEGA CD release Sonic CD. I don’t need to go through the ins-and-outs of these titles though, right? We all know how Sonic the Hedgehog looked, played, and felt back in the 16-bit era, with the high-speed escapades across a variety of frantic zones offering some of the best platforming of the era. Everyone has their favourite release in the series (mine has always been Sonic 3) but there’s an air of high quality found across them all. That still remains true today, and Sonic Origins is solid proof that the series has certainly stood the test of time.
Sonic Origins brings with it some fancy additions that help strengthen the overall experience. The biggest addition has to be the Anniversary Mode, which allows players to play through all of the titles with widescreen support and also brings some further enhancements across the visuals and gameplay. Moreso, it also ditches lives and continues and instead allows players to simply re-try any time they die, with life bonuses and 1-up boxes replaced with coins for the player to spend (more on that later). You can even play as Knuckles and Tails across all three games, which offers a whole new way to experience them. It’s a really cool idea that manages to spice up what is otherwise an experience that players might have a lot of familiarity with, with Anniversary Mode undoubtedly the best way to play through each of the games.
Then you’ve got the likes of the Boss Rush mode that takes you through each of the game’s bosses, Mirror Mode that flips the experience around, Mission Mode that gives players different challenges to complete across each game, and Story Mode that plays like the Anniversary Mode but connects each game together as one cohesive story with animated intros and outros. Fans are spoilt for choice when it comes to playing through each of the games, with plenty on offer to ensure you won’t be done after just the one playthrough.
“Anniversary Mode is a really cool idea that manages to spice up what is otherwise an experience that players might have a lot of familiarity with, and it’s undoubtedly the best way to play through each of the games.”
Do you prefer a classic playthrough that’s more like the old Mega Drive releases? Don’t worry, you can have that too, with Classic Mode giving players the old-school gameplay experience (including the original 4:3 aspect ratio). There have been some additions made here (such as including the Spin Dash in the original Sonic), but this is otherwise a representation of the games that feels truest to their original form.
Last but not least, there’s the Museum which offers a wealth of Sonic the Hedgehog content to check out, with music, illustrations, and movies all on show. You can unlock things by using those coins mentioned earlier in the review, with plenty on offer to keep players invested for the long-term.
It’s clear that an effort has been made to ensure that Sonic Origins is an expansive and enjoyable collection, with each of the four games included feeling great to play. Whilst the change of music in Sonic 3 is disappointing (don’t expect those old MJ tracks to be there), the nostalgic bliss of re-visiting such prominent tiles from my childhood all over again always feels special. I’ll never tire of playing these games over and over again, whilst the new improvements and additions here go a long way in making them feel better than ever. Sure, we’ve been able to replay some of these games on the Nintendo Switch in other forms, but never in a way that Sonic Origins offers.
Check out some screenshots below:
There is one big issue that I had with the collection though: it feels incomplete. Whilst Sonic Origins contains the biggest releases from Sonic the Hedgehog’s early days, it’s disappointing to see other Mega Drive titles like Sonic 3D Blast and Sonic Spinball missing. I also think it would’ve been neat to see some of the SEGA Master System games included in the package too, especially since they all released roughly the same time – and hey, if we want consistency, maybe it would have been nice to see a re-release of Sonic the Hedgehog 4? Sonic Origins isn’t cheap (it’s £32.99 on the eShop), and whilst I wouldn’t say I’m not satisfied by what it offers, it could have definitely offered a bit more bang for your buck.
Sonic Origins Review
Sonic Origins gives gamers the chance to re-visit some of Sonic’s best and most iconic adventures, and believe me, they’ve all stood the test of time. All four games are still a lot of fun to play and, with the improvements are enhancements, feel fresher and more refined than ever. Add to that the new games modes and the Museum and it’s clear that Sonic Origins really has a lot to offer.
Admittedly, it is a little underwhelming that it only includes four games (especially for the price), but this is still a package that Sonic fans are sure to love.
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC