|Developer: Aspect Co. Ltd|
|System(s): Sega Game Gear, Sega Master System|
|ROM size: 1 MB|
|Genre: 2D Platform|
Sonic Blast is the fifth and final "traditional" Sonic the Hedgehog game to be released on the Game Gear, and was developed during the same period of the similarly named Sonic 3D Blast (Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island outside of North America). The two share a desire to portray Sonic in a pre-rendered 3D style, similar to the groundbreaking visuals seen in 1994's Donkey Kong Country, however are otherwise completely unrelated games with different developers and different styles of gameplay.
Sonic Blast builds on some of the ideas seen in Sonic Chaos and Sonic Triple Trouble, however aligns itself more with the Sega Mega Drive Sonic games (Sonic & Knuckles being the driving influence). Miles "Tails" Prower is replaced with Knuckles the Echidna as a playable character, and several of the Game Gear-exclusive features of Triple Trouble are omitted, being replaced with more traditional special stages and boss fights.
Players control as either Sonic the Hedgehog (armed with a a double jump (press or / in mid-air), or Knuckles the Echidna (who can both glide and climb up walls). Through five stages, each with three acts. As with Chaos and Triple Trouble, the pair can spin dash, however unlike other Sonic games, getting hit only deducts a maximum of 10 rings, leading to an arguably easier experience.
Chaos Emeralds are found in special stages, which can be entered through giant rings hidden in the first two acts of each level. Blast is unusual, however, in that only the special stages in the second act will award the player with an emerald - those in the first act only reward an extra life.
At the end of Acts 1 and 2 of each level, a panel is spun, with a reward given based on what it lands on:
The decision to use pre-rendered graphics comes at a cost in Sonic Blast, as to ensure the detail is visible, Sonic and Knuckles' sprites are bigger than their counterparts in earlier titles. This in-turn makes the game appear more "zoomed-in", and as a result, less of the level is visible at any one time during play. This can be a problem on the Game Gear, as players are often unable to see what is coming, and can be subjected to cheap hits and deaths.
On the Master System, the increased screen resolution mitigates some of these problems, however is fraught with its own issues, mainly due to the slap-dash nature of the port. Menus, title cards and the special stages were not optimised for the Master System, and so are identical in appearance to their Game Gear counterparts, just with added borders. The in-game HUD was also not moved, and unusual artifacts can also be seen in areas normally hidden for Game Gear users.
Unlike a game such as Sonic Chaos where Master System code was ported to the Game Gear, here the reverse is true, and as Sonic Blast was designed to make use of the Game Gear's extended colour palette, the conversion to the Master System leads to less detailed and more contrasting graphics.
Producer: Hiroshi Aso
Director: Ryushin Hamada
Planner: Katsunori Murakami, Hiroaki Suzuki
Map Design: Akira Okamoto, Ken Sasaki
Chief Programmer: Toshiaki Araki
Programmer: Yoshiaki Makishima
Chief Designer: Fumikazu Sugawara
Designer: Taro Murayama
Sound Composer: Kojiro Mikusa
Special Thanks: Kazuyuki Oikawa, Aspect All Staff
|Sonic games for the following systems|
| 1991 Sonic the Hedgehog 1992 Sonic the Hedgehog 2 1993 Sonic Chaos | Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine 1994 Sonic Drift | Sonic Spinball | Sonic the Hedgehog Triple Trouble 1995 Sonic Drift 2 | Tails' Skypatrol | Tails Adventures | Sonic Labyrinth | Sonic 2 in 1 1996 Sonic Blast |
Prototypes Sonic the Hedgehog (Game Gear prototype) | Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (8-bit) AutoDemo | Sonic Chaos Sample | Sonic Drift (demo) | Sonic Spinball (8-bit) Prereleases | Sonic Triple Trouble Prereleases | Sonic Blast Prereleases
Unreleased Sonic's Edusoft