Sonic the Hedgehog: 30 Years Later – The Best Way to Play

Sonic the Hedgehog - Title screen

Time really does fly. This week marks the 30th Anniversary of the release of Sonic the Hedgehog.

Having released on countless systems, the original Sonic the Hedgehog could be one of the most ported games ever released. Perhaps even giving the venerable DOOM a run for its money!

For those of you looking to get a nostalgia hit by replaying the spiky blue blur’s first console outing, we compiled a list of some of the best, and worst, versions of this 16-bit classic for you to play.

The Good

Sonic the Hedgehog - PAL Box Art

Sonic the Hedgehog

Format: Sega Mega Drive/Genesis | Release: 1991

The classic, and the original. Released on the 23rd June 1991 in North America, this was the title that made Sonic a household name.

Even now, 30 years later, the Mega Drive classic is great to go back to. Sure there’s some pacing issues, but the foundations of the series were laid down right here.


Sonic Jam - Saturn PAL Box Art

Sonic Jam

Format: Sega Saturn | Release: 1997

Sonic Jam for the Sega Saturn was, and perhaps still is, the definitive collection for the classic Sonic the Hedgehog quadrilogy.

Featuring enhanced ports of Sonic, Sonic 2, Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles, Sonic Jam adds the Spin Dash into Sonic the Hedgehog, along with new ‘easy’ modes.

There’s also a fantastic 3D world where you can view a whole range of artwork, videos, adverts and even cheats relating to the classic Sonic series.


Sonic the Hedgehog

Format: iOS and Android | Release: 2013

Playing Sonic on a mobile. You must be mad! Well, the mobile port of Sonic the Hedgehog is one of the most feature packed releases of the original game around!

Want the Sonic 2 Spin Dash in Sonic 1? Want to unlock Tails and Knuckles? Want to use your bluetooth controller instead of on-screen controls? You’ve got it all here!


3D Sonic the Hedgehog

3D Sonic the Hedgehog

Format: Nintendo 3DS | Release: 2015

Released for the Nintendo 3DS, 3D Sonic the Hedgehog puts a new perspective on this beloved classic.

While there’s little in the way of extras, the excellent use of the 3D allow the backgrounds extend out to the horizon. You can also pick this title up as part of the equally excellent Sega 3D Classics.


The Bad

Sega Smash Pack: Volume 1

Format: Sega Dreamcast | Release: 2001

Released almost 10 years after the original, Sega Smash Pack Volume 1 contains the original Sonic the Hedgehog, as well as 11 other classic Sega titles.

It’s just a shame the version of Sonic in this bundle contains poor audio and slow down that wasn’t present in the Mega Drive original. Perhaps there was a reason that there was never a Smash Pack Volume 2 released for the Dreamcast?


Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis

Format: Nintendo Game Boy Advance | Release: 2006

Sonic Genesis was part of Sonic’s 15th Anniversary, having the misfortune of sharing a release date with the infamous ‘Sonic 06’. However, sharing a release date with what is considered one of the worst Sonic titles isn’t there only thing these two have in common.

Releasing with a myriad of technical issues, from a cropped view of Sonic’s world, terrible performance and shockingly poor audio, this is on version you’d be best steering clear of.


The Ugly

Sonic Jam

Format: Game.Com | Release: 1998

Certainly not to be confused with the excellent Sonic Jam on the Sega Saturn. The Game.Com version barely counts as a playable game.

This game is such a train wreck that they actually forgot to include Sonic the Hedgehog in the compilation. Instead you have a barely functional stage from each of Sonic 2, Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles. Avoid!


The Winner

The iOS and Android version is easily the best way to play the classic Sonic the Hedgehog.

With new features such as the ability to play as Tails and Knuckles, the inclusion of the Spin Dash, the ability to switch between the US/EU version and the enhanced Japanese version and true widescreen support. It’s really no contest.

What’s more you can even play for free if you can put up with the ads, or £1.99 to play ad-free.

Then again, this port was created by the talented Christan Whitehead. The same Christan Whitehead behind the amazing Sonic Mania.

Have your say!

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