Sonic Jam

From Sonic Retro

For the version of the same title, see Sonic Jam ( For the unlicensed Sega Mega Drive game, see Sonic Jam 6.


  • NTSC-U
  • NTSC-J
  • PAL
Sonic Jam title.png
SonicJam Saturn JP Title.png
SonicJam Saturn EU Title.png
Sonic Jam
System(s): Sega Saturn
Publisher: Sega
Supporting companies: Sega Digital Media[1] (audio, visual materials)
Game total: 4
Sound driver: SCSP (1 track)
Peripherals supported: 3D Control Pad
Genre: Compilation, Action[2][3]
Number of players: 1-2
Release Date RRP Code Rating
Sega Saturn
1997-06-20[3] ¥4,800 GS-9147
Sega Rating: All Ages
Sega Saturn
1998-07-23 ¥2,800 GS-9200
Sega Rating: All Ages
Sega Saturn
1997-08-22[4] $39.99[5] 81079
ESRB: Kids to Adults
Sega Saturn
1997-08-28[6] €? MK81079-50
Sega Saturn
1997-08-28[6] £39.99[6] MK81079-50
Sega Saturn
199x  ? STJSE0681
Sega Saturn
1997 239 ?

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 the Echidna in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles are also playable. The North American 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 succession for each game. It is also possible to disable Time Overs and allow the player to spend more than 10 minutes in a level.

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.

Easy and Normal modes

Sonic the Hedgehog on Easy mode

Unique to Sonic Jam are the additions of "Easy" and "Normal" difficulty options (in addition to an "Original" mode which plays identically to the Mega Drive originals), both of which change the placement of obstacles and fix numerous bugs present in the original versions. The Easy mode dramatically reduces the difficulty across the four Mega Drive titles so as to help less experienced players. In this mode, many levels are skipped, any encountered bosses only take three hits, and much of the level design is tweaked for easier play, be it the removal of obstacles, or the addition of more helpful objects such as monitors.

It is not known how much thought was originally given to the chosen Zones in Easy mode; while one might expect Easy mode to stick with the first Acts, if not just because these lack bosses, a mixture of Acts 1, 2 and where applicable, 3 are used. A notable omission includes Wing Fortress Zone which is missing entirely in Easy Sonic 2.

Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles use the same Easy levels as Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Sonic the Hedgehog 3/Sonic & Knuckles, respectively. Skipped levels were not made easier for this mode, so if the player attempts to access one through a level select code, they will just get the Normal mode layout (and rules).

Sonic the Hedgehog
Level Zone
1 Green Hill Zone Act 1
2 Marble Zone Act 1
3 Spring Yard Zone Act 2
4 Labyrinth Zone Act 3
5 Star Light Zone Act 2
6 Scrap Brain Zone Act 1
7 Final Zone
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Level Zone
1 Emerald Hill Zone Act 2
2 Chemical Plant Zone Act 1
3 Aquatic Ruin Zone Act 1
4 Casino Night Zone Act 1
5 Hill Top Zone Act 1
6 Mystic Cave Zone Act 1
7 Oil Ocean Zone Act 2
8 Metropolis Zone Act 1
9 Sky Chase Zone
10 Death Egg Zone
Sonic the Hedgehog 3
Level Zone
1 Angel Island Zone Act 1
2 Hydrocity Zone Act 2
3 Marble Garden Zone Act 2
4 Carnival Night Zone Act 2
5 IceCap Zone Act 2
6 Launch Base Zone Act 2

"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".

Differences from Mega Drive games

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

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 is 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
Source: In-game credits[7]


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


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


Sonic Retro emblem.svg Main article: Sonic Jam/Hidden content#PC content

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
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.jpgSonic Jam Saturn US Cover Front.jpg
Saturn, EU
Saturn, PT
SonicJam Sat PT cover.jpg
Sonic Jam (E) disc.png
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
Video coverage

Hidden content

History of Sonic the Hedgehog

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