Sonic the Hedgehog appeared on the Sega Master System and Game Gear in a pared-down 8-bit version of the 16-bit platform game classic.
The size of the sprites is smaller, the resolution is lower, and the colors are muted due to the differences in hardware. However, despite the necessary downgrades, Sega still managed to make Sonic the Hedgehog still look close to its bigger sibling.
Sega may have never advertised that the Sega Master System had blast processing, but the console still offers quite a bit of speed, especially compared to its mustached competition. All of the hallmarks of a Sonic game are here too, from Sonic rushing through levels to rescue animals from the mad roboticist Dr. Eggman Robotnik to collecting chaos emeralds. This time though, the emeralds are hidden within stages rather than sealed off in bonus rounds.
The music is vastly different than the 16-bit game, but it still remains fantastic. The Sonic the Hedgehog 3 music might have had its similarity to Michael Jackson's songs but the music in Sonic the Hedgehog for the Game Gear bears a similarity to the songs of his sister Janet. It's very 1990s, and very good.
Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Master System and Game Gear is well worth playing. It's quite different from the Sega Genesis game but is recognizable enough to feel like a Sonic game. The stages are designed well, the music is fantastic, and the graphics manage to do a great job of representing the 16-bit style of Sonic the Hedgehog on an 8-bit system. Sonic Origins Plus includes the 8-bit Sonic alongside its 16-bit brother, so it is now easy to get a hold of this game to give it a try.
3½ out of 5
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