Sonic Jam

From Sonic Retro

This article is for the Sega Saturn version of "Sonic Jam". For the version of the same title, see Sonic Jam (


Sonic Jam title.png
Sonic Jam
Publisher: Sega
Publisher(s) of original games: Sega
Developer(s) of original games:
Sonic Team, Sega Technical Institute
Game total: 4 (7 including lock-on)
System(s): Sega Saturn
Original system(s): Sega Mega Drive
Release Date RRP Code Rating
Sega Saturn
1997-06-20[1] ¥4,800 GS-9147
Sega Rating: All Ages
Sega Saturn
1998-07-23 ¥2,800 GS-9200
Sega Rating: All Ages
Sega Saturn
1997-08[2] $39.99[2] 81079
ESRB: Kids to Adults
Sega Saturn
1997-08-28[3] €? MK81079-50
Sega Saturn
1997-08-28[3] £39.99[3] MK81079-50
Sega Saturn
199x  ? STJSE0681

Sonic Jam (Japanese: ソニックジャム) is a 1997 Sega Saturn game. Primarily it is a compilation containing the four Sega Mega Drive Sonic platform games - Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and Sonic & Knuckles, however it also contains bonus content in the form of Sonic World and a number of different gameplay options.


Unlike later compilations, Sonic Jam does not emulate Mega Drive hardware - the games have been re-written for the Saturn, though behave almost identically to their original counterparts. It is especially beneficial to PAL users, as the games have been optimised for 50Hz refresh rates (the original PAL versions perform 17.5% slower than their NTSC counterparts and contain borders, as little optimisation work was done between the two versions).

Each of the games benefit from the Lock-On technology introduced in the Sonic & Knuckles cartridge. This means Blue Sphere, Knuckles in Sonic 2 and Sonic 3 & Knuckles are also playable. The US English and Japanese instruction manuals for each of the games are also included in a digitised form. The game also sports Time Attack modes, and an option to play each Special Stage in order for each game.

Sonic World

Another addition to Sonic Jam is "Sonic World", which is accessed at the title screen menu. A 3D adventure world with many buildings containing art, history, music, movies and character profiles is contained within, plus the mission mode where the player must complete certain missions in the quickest time. At the time of Sonic Jam's release this game was a selling point as gamers were eager to see Sonic in 3D for the first time.

Sonic World is said to have been the basis for Sonic Adventure.

Differences from Mega Drive games

Sonic the Hedgehog on Easy mode

The 2D Sonic games in Sonic Jam are ports of their Mega Drive counterparts, optimised for Saturn hardware, but largely unchanged in other areas. The most significant additions in Sonic Jam are the inclusion of "Easy" and "Normal" modes (in addition to an "Original" mode which plays identically to the Mega Drive), both of which change the placement of obstacles and fix numerous bugs present in the original versions.

"Easy" effectively halves the amount of levels in each game (by skipping what were presumably considered the "difficult" Acts of a Zone), reduces the hit count of most bosses to just three hits, and adjusts the placement of objects so as to help less experienced players. The Acts chosen for easy mode vary depending on the game - the original Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 usually have the player run through the first Acts, while Sonic 3 opts for second Acts, save for cases where it makes less sense (such as Angel Island Zone, where starting from Act 2 would omit the introduction).

"Normal" Acts as essentially a bug-fixed version of the original game, though some layout changes were made to address concerns with the original releases. As an example, more platforms were added in Sonic 2's Chemical Plant Zone to reduce the chances of the player drowning in the level's second Act - it means on the whole, "Normal" is easier than "Original", but harder than "Easy".

Also included as part of the package are time trials and a Chaos Emerald mode, where the user plays through each Special Stage in succession. It is also possible to disable the Time Over screens and allow the player to spend more than 10 minutes in a level.

Some of the audio in Sonic Jam is different from the original Mega Drive versions, with most music tracks having a slight delay before playing (likely due to CD loading times). This is particularly noticeable when collecting Power Sneakers, as rather than speed up the music already playing, a different, faster version of the tune is swapped in (and subsequently swapped out), with the track restarting each time (it can also cause results screen music to start playing for a second time if an extra life is obtained).

Many sound effects have been sampled at a lower quality (or seemingly replaced, as is the case with many explosions), while others are missing, such as the sound for transforming into Super Sonic. While players can still charge Spin Dashes, the pitch of spin noise no longer rises when doing so.

The ability for music to fade in and out is also removed in Sonic Jam, however as there is no longer a need to share audio channels, sound effects cannot interfere with music playback.

Sonic the Hedgehog

The original Sonic the Hedgehog sees the most obvious changes in its transition to the Saturn, being built on the later REV01 revision of the game, complete with extra scrolling with the clouds in Green Hill Zone and extra water effects in Labyrinth Zone. An option to toggle the Spin Dash ability (which is absent from the Mega Drive release) was added, and like later games, clouds of dust are created when Sonic skids to a halt.

The notorious "spike bug" is fixed in Sonic Jam, however some sound effects are missing, most notably the noise of the waterfalls in Green Hill Zone.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2

Sonic Jam's port of Sonic 2 uses the invincibility tune from the original Sonic the Hedgehog, presumably by accident as the Sonic 2 track in on the CD and used in the two player versus mode. Thanks to the increased processor overhead, the versus mode also lags less often than in the Mega Drive version of the game.

In the original Sonic 2, the "SEGA" jingle plays at a slightly higher pitch than its siblings. This is fixed in the Sonic Jam release.

Wing Fortress Zone has the distinction of being the only Zone completely skipped in any of Sonic Jam's Easy mode games. No attempt was made to finish this seemingly incomplete stage - there are still no sound effects for the boss battle for example, though extra platforms were added in Normal mode to reduce the chances of falling off.

This version of Sonic 2 is based off REV02, seen elsewhere in Sonic 2 for Mega Play, Knuckles in Sonic 2, and Sonic Classics.

Sonic the Hedgehog 3/Sonic & Knuckles

Being effectively two halves of the same game, Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles share many changes, though aside from different sounds for collecting blue spheres, most of the improvements involve fixing bugs and exploits which are far more common than in the two earlier Sonic titles.

Issues known to have given the developers grief, such as Knuckles' green socks in Sonic 3, are not addressed in Sonic Jam, and are sometimes complemented with new palette errors.

The infamous spinning barrel in Carnival Night Zone (which forces the player to learn it can be controlled with Up and Down) is completely removed from the non-Original versions of Sonic 3.

Despite Sonic & Knuckles Collection (released around the same time period) skirting around what are thought to be music tracks produced by Michael Jackson, Sonic Jam makes no significant changes to Sonic 3's audio, save for changes mentioned above which affect all the Mega Drive games.

Production credits

Sonic Theme Song '93
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 CF


Sonic Retro emblem.svg Main article: Sonic Jam/Manuals


Sonic Retro emblem.svg Main article: Artwork from Sonic Jam


Promotional material


Physical scans

Sega Saturn
88 Sonic Retro Average
Based on 1 review
Publication Score Source
GamesMaster (UK) 88 №58, p36/37
Saturn, JP
Sjam sat back cover.jpgSjam-box-jap.jpg
Sjam jp cd.jpg
SonicJam Sat JP manual.pdf
SonicJam PromotionalPoster.jpg
Saturn, JP (Satakore)
SonicJam Saturn JP Box Back Satakore.jpgNospine-small.pngSonicJam Saturn JP Box Front Satakore.jpg
Saturn, US
Sonic Jam Saturn US Cover Back.jpgNospine.pngSonic Jam Saturn US Cover Front.jpg
Sjam us cd.jpg
Sonic Jam Sega Saturn US Manual.pdf
Saturn, EU
Sonic Jam (E) disc.png
SonicJam Sat EU manual.pdf
Saturn, PT
SonicJam Sat PT cover.jpg
Saturn, EU (promo)
SonicJam Sat promo cover.jpg

Technical information

Save data

The game makes use of the Saturn's internal battery back-up as well as the Sega Saturn Back-Up Ram Cart to save data for all of the games as well as progress through the challenges in Sonic World.

Sonic Jam Save Data
Name Comment File Size


Sonic Jam
Sonic Jam title.png

Main page

Promotional material
Magazine articles

Hidden content

Sonic games for the following systems
Sega Saturn
 1996  Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island     1997  Sonic Jam | Sonic R    
 Unreleased  Sonic X-treme | Sonic Saturn