Sonic the Hedgehog (8-bit)
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From Sonic Retro
Sonic the Hedgehog (ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ) is an 8-bit game based on the Mega Drive game of the same name. It was released for the Sega Master System and Sega Game Gear. The Master System was thriving in Brazil at the time of its launch in that country on October 23, 1991. The Game Gear version was released in Japan on December 28, 1991 and was also released in North America and Europe in that same month.
As was the norm with the early Sonic games, the plot is simple. Dr. Robotnik is menacing South Island and imprisoning animals in badniks; the heroic hedgehog sets out to defeat him, potentially collecting 6 Chaos Emeralds along the way. After Sonic fights his way to Scrap Brain Zone, Robotnik's factory-city on South Island's summit, the Doctor escapes to an airship (Sky Base Zone), where Sonic finally defeats him in the last boss. Robotnik escapes by teleporter; Sonic jumps in too and is deposited back in the Green Hill Zone. If the 6 Chaos Emeralds have been collected, the gems then spiral up into the air and cleanse the black smog and pollution off the Island.
The gameplay is similar to that of the Sega Genesis version. The items available and moves are the same. The gameplay is also similar, although it is slower than the Mega Drive game. There are some differences however: Checkpoints take the form of point arrow monitors rather than posts. Chaos Emeralds aren't found in special stages; rather, one is hidden in each of the six regular zones. The Special Stages exist merely as a bonus stage where players can collect Continues and Extra Lives, and no additional reward is given for collecting all items.
Three of the zones came from the Genesis version of the game. Bridge Zone and Jungle Zone are considered unusual today for Sonic the Hedgehog zones. However, this was Sonic's second game, so such norms hadn't been established yet. Each zone has three acts. The first two acts were standard levels, but the third act was merely a short run up to the boss and contained no rings. Trial and error were required for the player to defeat the bosses. There were three zone names from the Genesis version, all feature a different layout. GHZ (Green Hill Zone) had the 8-bit version of the Genesis version.
Like in the Genesis version, the player can collect 100 rings to earn an extra life; but in the 8-bit version, the ring counter resets to 00 rather than increasing past 99. Additionally, rings dropped after taking a hit cannot be re-collected.
End Level Panel
At the end of Acts 1 and 2 of each level, the player has to spin a panel to continue, with a reward given based on what it lands on:
Differences between the Master System and Game Gear versions
The Game Gear version has a smaller screen resolution, but a higher color palette. Sonic's sprite is smaller and the control feels lighter. In the first zone, warning signs had been placed because the high speed combined with the narrow screen could present problems. Jungle Zone Act 2 allowed for vertical descent without losing a life, which made this stage easier in the Game Gear version. Labyrinth Zone's level design was different in this version also, and the Chaos Emerald is in a totally new location. Several bosses, including the very last one, were modified or even replaced. The special stages also got redesigned. The Game Gear version uses a Sega screen with a jumping Sonic sprite (the Master System version lacks a Sega screen as one is provided by the machine's BIOS). In the Master System version, the levels (and in special the bosses) are more difficult to defeat, due to the increase of the screen in the Master System version.
Also Released On
Master System Version
Sonic the Hedgehog Original Character Design: ©Sega
Game Gear Version
Game Programmer: Shinobu "Machine" Hayashi
Original Sound Version Recordings
See Sonic the Hedgehog (Game Gear Version) OSV for a download page.
Game Gear version
Master System version