In 2021 Sonic celebrated its 30th anniversary and many fans were disappointed by the lack of events organized by SEGA. Even though the hedgehog’s aura is no longer what it was when it started, we’re still talking about the company mascot! To please the community, the publisher responded with Sonic Origins, yet another compilation of episodes of Mega Drive (SEGA console from the early 90s) and, rare to point out, the exclusive Mega CD adventure (additional player on the shoulders). of the Mega Drive). Enough to be conquered?

I don’t really see any contempt from you, these words are just a mirror of the feelings of Sonic fans. The latter were expecting a party for its 30th anniversary and the few announcements revolving around the famous hedgehog did not convince many people. Furthermore, many hoped that Sonic Origins would be the definitive compilation, despite the presence of games seen and reviewed.

The cream of creams?

As the name suggests, Sonic Origins looks to the hedgehog’s beginnings and brings together all of his early adventures. We then find Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic 3 & Knuckles (which combines Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles) and Sonic CD. We thus benefit from the increase in power of the mascot and simply excellent games. The first Sonic lays the foundation of the license, with the universe of the Green Hill Zone, Dr. Robotnik or the animals to be saved. This is followed by two episodes that optimize the gameplay of the original and explore new environments by integrating new characters. Just to say it right away, with Mario we hold the crème de la crème of 90s platform games for those who love speed, entertainment and exploration. You will not find any episodes released on portable consoles and even fewer 3D adventures. Sonic Origins is only interested in the genesis of the little hedgehog. A little light on all of that, when you know that there are a number of cute episodes released at the same time.

Games revisited for maximum pleasure?

Sonic Origins: A Compilation Worthy of the 30th Anniversary of SEGA's Hedgehog?

The new “star” item unlocks museum mode items.

Inevitably, with such a compilation, one may wonder if it holds up over time. After all, there are only 4 games, and Sonics, with the exception of Sonic CD and its space-time progression, aren’t known for their longevity. Under these conditions, what remains of this compilation? Well it’s simple, each game is split into two modes: Classic and Anniversary. The first fully transcribes the original game with limited lives and the screen in 4/3 resolution (square format). The second, on the other hand, grants infinite lives, supports the display in 16/9 (rectangular format) and adds a “star” item that allows, once in the menus, to go to the Museum to unlock a slew of elements capable of making nostalgic crack of the fan. Illustrations, videos, music, development documents, there’s a lot to do! This section is truly a hit and pushes you to finish each game by collecting all the emeralds (for the true ending and maximum stars).

On top of all this, Sonic Origins offers an Adventure mode that allows you to relive all 4 games in one journey! For each of the titles in the compilation there is also a Mission mode (with objectives to be achieved such as eliminating a certain number of enemies, etc.) and a mode Race to the head which consists of defeating each boss in record time. Everything is traditional enough, but works well enough for those who want to prolong the pleasure. Compared to its smaller companions, Sonic 3 & Knuckles also has a section Blue spheres which broadly resumes the bonus levels of the game of the same name by adding two new colors (green balls and purple balls that act as teleporters). With the Sonic Mania team, SEGA has tried to optimize the contours of each game as much as possible and we enjoy trying every option in the compilation, such as changing characters (playing with Tails or Knuckles instead of sonic). Each title has been redone with the tools of Sonic Mania and we can only pay homage to the fluidity of the whole and the quality of the graphics.

Real news?

If the additions are interesting, it is still necessary to remember that the games presented actually benefit from the optimizations of the mobile versions released in 2013. There is no original version in this compilation! Players can thus discover elements that were not present in the original versions. For example, in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 you can access the file Hidden area of ​​the buildinga level that had once been abandoned. There are also a lot of small tweaks, like adding rotation dash (when Sonic curls up in place and suddenly accelerates) to the first Sonic of the name. The effort is commendable and the compilation is quite complete from this point of view. On the other hand, there are omissions that are strange. With the exception of Sonic 3 and Knuckles, which had basic saves, it is impossible to save at all times! Same observation for the rewind function (when you lose you can go back a few seconds to start over) which is absent! Finally, don’t expect to have fun with graphic filters or different display options, there are hardly any! The only consolation prize: the presence of different frames for the 4/3 resolution. Yup.

As for the music of Sonic 3 & Knuckles, originally born from the collaboration with Michael Jackson, it has – for some – disappeared! The emblematic themes of the levels carnival night, ice cap And LaunchBase have been replaced by compositions by one of SEGA’s historical musicians: Jun Senoue. If these music are not imperceptible, far from it, however, they do not have the charm of the melodies of the past. If we add sound and visual bugs, all these elements put together make us say that Sonic Origins would have deserved a few more weeks of development.

Clean dressing

Sonic Origins: A Compilation Worthy of the 30th Anniversary of SEGA's Hedgehog?

This observation is all the more unfortunate since the Sonic Mania team has integrated new cartoons and a really neat interface. Players can thus open a map and move between the 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 going about their business. Of course, to some people this will seem entirely anecdotal, but it demonstrates the attention paid to the compilation when it comes to wrapping. From there to being essential? Probably not…

Sonic Origins: A Compilation Worthy of the 30th Anniversary of SEGA's Hedgehog? Sonic Origins: A Compilation Worthy of the 30th Anniversary of SEGA's Hedgehog?

Like it or not, and although the games on offer are excellent, SEGA already offered this type of compilation twenty five years ago! For example, in Sonic Jam on Saturn (the SEGA console released in 1994), players could enjoy most of the games presented here (in their original format) and even a completely free 3D section where Sonic could roam and enter buildings. to watch videos or illustrations, listen to music or trace the history of the license. Of course, Sonic Origins goes further in terms of content, but the gap isn’t that big in comparison. In a pinch, to have more impact, the developers could have imagined an improved version of this 3D section of Sonic Jam. Therefore, we reserve Sonic Origins especially for beginners who want to discover the beginnings of the franchise. Others will return to their original consoles and games. Note that in order to have all the content, you need to get the Deluxe version, a little more expensive, which adds Mirror mode (the layers are done from right to left and not from left to right), some animations and music.

Conclusion

Highlights

  • Game interface and skin
  • Excellent games in optimized versions
  • Cartoons
  • The different game modes
  • A well-stocked museum

Weaknesses

  • Missing music from Sonic 3
  • Too few games
  • Visualization and sound bugs
  • 16: 9 is not at all suitable for 2-player mode
  • A slightly salty addition (even more so in the Deluxe version)

Despite being a nice homage to the hedgehog’s early adventures, Sonic Origins deserved a better ending. Overall, this compilation is correct, but the options offered are not enough to make up for some shortcomings. Despite a very successful outfit with its cartoons and colorful interface, SEGA’s game constantly fluctuates between good and evil. We’re having fun, but for Sonic’s 30th anniversary we were right to expect more games and surprises. Especially at the price of forty euros.

11.7

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