Long from the days of Sonic Jam on the Sega Saturn, Sonic Origins is the next logical step for Sega to make to help fans relive the classics in HD. Quality of life improvements, additional features, and museum extras all come bundled in this new package to deliver the classic games from the Sega Genesis and Sega CD consoles. Reliving the childhood of the 90’s in one package rather than a base game with additional DLC titles and skimming through multiple titles is much easier and preferrable to most. Find out our impressions about Sonic Origins here with our review.
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 (reviewed), Nintendo Switch, Xbox Consoles
Release Date: June 23, 2022
Price: $39.99 USD
If you’re ever not puzzled in on the story of Sonic the Hedgehog, this follows all of the 4 games included with animated cutscenes, intros and outros. Sonic is always in a constant battle with Dr. Robotnik (Dr. Eggman), thwarting his plans of kidnapping animals and stealing the Chaos Emeralds. In the games themselves, there’s no text messages on screen, but there are in-game mini cutscenes to give enough context to move forward.
Sonic games have always been a product of the 90’s in which they came out in an era between the “console wars” of Nintendo versus Sega. The games have a simple story that takes you to different locations that have you fight different enemies all made up from Dr. Robotnik.
Some enemies live in lava, some in the ground, and even some live in the past and future. Later Sonic games have given more to the stories of their respective games but these to me will always be unmatched in terms of feeling like the hero of the world at large.
Some of the new features of the game is the ability to play in Anniversary mode which gives you added benefits of 16:9 aspect ratio and “replaces” lives with Coins – which can be used to retry special stages to give extra chances at getting the Chaos Emeralds.
You can switch between the Anniversary mode and the Classic mode which features the game in the original 4:3 aspect ratio and puts back the Coins to extra lives. However, you cannot restart special stages in Classic and you have to have a different “save” to play it since the progress does not carry over between modes.
Sonic Mania introduced a new mechanic called the “Drop Dash” which allows Sonic to spin up a dash midair, and when hitting the ground, zoom away. That has carried over in to each of these older games in Anniversary mode which makes some of the older games play fundamentally different.
Mission Mode and Boss Rush have also been added for those who want to tackle something with more challenge or just fight the boss battles from each game. The amount of added content in this game along with with the classic in one singular package is a great value for any lover of Sonic or someone that wants to experience the franchise from it’s “origin.”
Some technical enhancements have been made too where Sonic games now run at a smooth 60fps, at least in special stages. Drops in performance sometimes occur in the regular spots in the games where they did originally so sometimes it can be a headscratcher when it does happen on modern hardware. I believe it’s because of the emulation of some of the roms but it can hopefully be patched.
The most noticeable flaw of this collection is narrowed in on the soundtrack for Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (& Knuckled). Previously, in the original game, it was noted that Micheal Jackson had reportedly had a hand in composing tracks for some stages. Those tracks have been replaced with something that isn’t even remotely close to the original. It’s one of the negatives that stains this otherwise perfectly fine collection.
There’s nothing wrong with the audio otherwise besides the moments when Tails gets stuck in a deathloop, offscreen. It can be annoying but it was a glitch I was presented with on multiple occasions that made me not want to hear sounds that often. It can be remedied with a patch and I have optimizing that it will be delivered timely. Outside of those small issues, the audio work is still equal to the games of old.
For what it’s worth, the museum acts as a collection of whatever you want to see and hear whenever you want. It crams in some extras that you can use Coins to unlock. Intros, animatics, soundtrack songs, and more can be unlocked for viewing later and gives life back into what some may have missed. There are also special stages in the collection that were cut from their original games but are now playable as Easter Eggs if you know how to access them.
For the price of $39.99 of just the basic version without other small DLC, this is a good collection of games that can be a nostalgia trip and also serve as a celebration of the classics that started it all and introduced the world to the Blue Blur. It’s a fantastic game that has replayability and charm with the only downside being the collision glitches against some walls and platforms and Tails glitching out. Those I have hope will be fixed with patches but even with those somewhat glaring issues, I enjoyed the classic and the new animated cutscenes that breathe new life into the franchise that started gaming career.
Sonic Origins was reviewed on PlayStation 4 using a copy provided by Sega. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. Sonic Origins is now available for Windows PC (via Steam), PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One/S/X, and Nintendo Switch.