Sonic Origins review by jeuxvideo.com

In 2021, Sonic is celebrating its 30th anniversary and many fans are disappointed with the lack of events organized by SEGA. Even if the hedgehog’s aura isn’t the same when it started, we’re still talking about the company mascot! To satisfy the community, the publisher responded with Sonic Origins, another compilation of Mega Drive episodes (SEGA consoles from the early 1990s) and, a remarkable fact to be underlined, the exclusive Mega CD adventure ( additional player piggybacking on Mega Drive). Enough to overcome?

Don’t look at any contempt on your part for real, these words are just a reflection of the feelings of Sonic fans. The latter is looking forward to a festival for its thirtieth anniversary and some announcements surrounding the famous hedgehog have not convinced many people. Also, many are hoping that Sonic Origins will be the final compilation, despite the presence of games that have been seen and reviewed.

The cream of creams?

As its name suggests, Sonic Origins looks at the origins of the hedgehog and combines all of his early adventures. So we found Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic 3 & Knuckles (combining Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles) and Sonic CD. Thus we benefit from increased mascot power and simple good games. The first Sonic lays the foundations of the license, with the universe in the Green Hill Zone, Dr. Robotnik or the animals to be saved. This is followed by two episodes that optimize the game from the original and explore new environments by combining new characters. As many will say right away, with Mario, we hold the crème de la crème of 1990s platform games for lovers of speed, scenery and exploration. On the other hand, you won’t find any episodes released on portable consoles and even less 3D adventures. Sonic Origins is only interested in the genesis of the little hedgehog. It’s all a little light, if you know there’s a bunch of sympathy episodes being published at the same time.

Are games repeated for maximum enjoyment?

Sonic Origins: A compilation worthy of SEGA’s 30th hedgehog anniversary?

The new “star” item allows you to unlock elements in Museum mode.

Inevitably, with such a compilation, we have a right to wonder if it will continue over time. After all, there are only 4 games and Sonic, apart from the Sonic CD and the space-time progression, is unknown in their longevity. Under these conditions, what is left for this combination? Well, it’s simple, each game is divided into two modes: Classic and Anniversary. The first completely transcribes the original game with limited life and the screen in 4/3 resolution (square format). The second, in contrast, gives infinite lives, emphasizes being displayed in 16/9 (rectangular format) and adds a “star” object that allows, once in the menus, to go to the Museum to open the many elements that can crack any nostalgic. fan. Illustrations, videos, music, progress documents, there’s so much to do! This section is a success and pushes you to complete each of the games by collecting all the emeralds (to have a real ending and the most stars).

In addition to all of this, Sonic Origins offers an Adventure mode that allows you to replay all 4 games in one go! For each of the compilation titles there is also a Mission mode (with objectives to be accomplished such as eliminating a certain number of enemies, etc.) and a mode Boss Rush which consists of defeating each boss in record time. Everything is a bit traditional, but it’s great for those who want to prolong the fun. Compared to its smaller counterparts, Sonic 3 & Knuckles also has a section Blue Spheres which takes, in broad outline, the bonus level of the eponymous game by adding two new colors (the green balls as well as the purple balls that act as teleporter). With the Sonic Mania team, SEGA strives to optimize the contours of each game as much as possible and we are happy to try out every option available in the compilation, such as changing characters (playing Tails or Knuckles instead of sonic). Each title is updated with the tools of Sonic Mania and we can only salute the fluidity throughout and the quality of the graphics.

Really new?

If the additions are interesting, it should still be remembered that the games presented actually benefited from the optimizations of the mobile version released in 2013. There is no original version in this collection! Thus players can discover elements that were not in the original versions. For example, in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, it is possible to access Hidden Palace Zonea level that was previously abandoned. There are also a whole bunch of small tweaks, like adding spin dash (when Sonic rolls in place and suddenly speeds up) to the first Sonic in the name. The effort is commendable and the integration is complete from this point of view. On the other hand, there are strange deletions. Except for Sonic 3 & Knuckles, which have basic storage, it’s impossible to save all the time! Same observation for the rewind function (if you lose, you can go back a few seconds to start again) no! Lastly, don’t expect to have fun with graphic filters or various display options, almost none! The only consolation prize: the presence of different frames for 4/3 resolution. Yes.

As for the music of Sonic 3 & Knuckles, which was originally born out of a collaboration with Michael Jackson, it is – for some – gone! The emblematic themes of the levels night of carnival, icecap and LaunchBase replaced by compositions by one of SEGA’s historic musicians: Jun Senoue. If these musics are inaudible, far from it, they don’t have the charm of the melodies before. If we add sound and visual bugs, all of these elements end up in the end making us say that Sonic Origins is probably still worth a few weeks of development.

Good dressing

Sonic Origins: A compilation worthy of SEGA’s 30th hedgehog anniversary?

This observation is all the more unfortunate because the Sonic Mania team has put together new cartoons and a really smooth interface. Players can open a map and move around different islands to enjoy each game, mission or Museum. The developers have even added a small animated island in the background that you can “visit” by zooming in on the different characters operating in their business. Of course, to some people this seems completely anecdotal, but it shows the care taken in compiling when it comes to packaging. From there until it matters? It doesn’t seem …

Sonic Origins: A compilation worthy of SEGA’s 30th hedgehog anniversary? Sonic Origins: A compilation worthy of SEGA’s 30th hedgehog anniversary?

Whether we like it or not, and even if the games on offer are very good, SEGA already offered this kind of gathering twenty -five years ago! For example, in Sonic Jam on Saturn (SEGA’s console released in 1994), players can enjoy most of the games shown here (in their original format) and even a completely free 3D section where Sonic can be wander around and enter buildings to watch videos or illustrations. , listen to music or track license history. Of course, Sonic Origins goes on in terms of content, but the gap isn’t that big in comparison. In a pinch, to have more impact, developers can imagine an improved version of this 3D section of Sonic Jam. Therefore, we will reserve Sonic Origins above all for beginners who want to discover the beginnings of the franchise. Some will go back to their original consoles and games. Note that to get all the content, you need to get the Deluxe version, a little more expensive, which adds Mirror mode (the levels are done from right to left and not from left to right), some animations and music.

Conclusion

Strong points

  • Game interface and skin
  • Very good games in optimized versions
  • Cartoons
  • Different game modes
  • A well-stocked museum

Weak points

  • The music is gone from Sonic 3
  • Very few games
  • Display and sound bugs
  • 16: 9 is not really suitable for 2 player mode
  • A little salt addition (more on the Deluxe version)

Even if it’s a nice homage to the hedgehog’s early adventures, Sonic Origins deserves a better finish. Overall, this compilation is correct, but the options offered are not enough to offset some of the shortcomings. Despite a successful dressing of cartoons and colorful interface, the SEGA game constantly oscillates between good and evil. We were having fun, but for Sonic’s third anniversary, we were right to expect lots of games and surprises. Especially at the price of forty euros.

10

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