ASM to Sega Genesis Platform

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ASM to Sega Genesis Platform

All about assembly programming in the Sega Genesis console.

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    Sonic 1 8-bit review


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    Sonic 1 8-bit review Empty Sonic 1 8-bit review

    Post  Ravenfreak Fri Jun 19, 2020 12:21 pm

    Today I'll be sharing with you my review on the 8-bit version of Sonic 1. I'll primarily be focusing on the Game Gear version, but the Master System is nearly identical, aside from a few graphic changes, and a few design changes here and there. You may think the 8-bit version is the same as it's 16-bit brother, but alas it isn't. Without further ado, let's get on with the review!

    Back during the 90's it was common practice for companies such as Sega and Nintendo to come out with games for each platform. While most of the time the 8-bit versions of games that share the same name are essentially a demake of sorts for the less powerful platform, Sonic 1 offers new zones over it's 16-bit counterpart. Also, the game focuses more on slower paced platforming, but still offers some speedy platforming that the 16-bit version has. You've got slopes that may even make Sonic outrun the camera, and can help the player finish the zones faster than intended. The badniks make their return in the 8-bit version, and you'll see the same badniks appear in this version of the game that were in the 16-bit version. Robotnik even has new mechs in the game, so your experience will not be the same if you have played the 16-bit version. With that tidbit out of the way, the presentation of this version of the game really stands on it's own. Even the zones that do appear in both versions add new gimmicks to the zone, and in some cases even adds new music to the zone that reflects the new version of the zone. So what exactly is so different about each zone? I'll go over the major differences in the next part!

    Like the 16-bit version of the game, Sonic's journey starts in Green Hill Zone. GHZ is a lucious island filled with palm trees, and the 8-bit version still has that eye popping checkerboard pattern on the foreground that players of the 16-bit version are all too familiar with. The only difference is that this version of the zone lacks loop-de-loops, and they're completely absent from the entire game. To make up for loop-de-loops, large slopes appear in GHZ. Act 1 takes place outside like in the 16-bit counterpart, but unlike that version, parts of Act 2 take place in a cave, that has pools of water. However Act 3 is short, and is used for the fight against Robotnik. This goes for the rest of the game as well, so don't expect a long Act 3! Speaking of Act 3's boss, Robotnik doesn't have any weapons like the wrecking ball in the 16-bit version. Instead, he just hovers and moves across the screen, which makes it easy to hit him. The Master System version has a higher resolution, so you have to wait for him to slowly move towards the ground before you can attack him. However, in the Game Gear version, the resolution is smaller and thus Sonic can easily destroy his mech before he's even able to go charging towards him. It's literally the easiest boss I have ever dealt with in a video game. I'm not sure why the developers didn't think to give him an actual weapon to attack Sonic with, or why they couldn't change the boss a bit for the smaller resolution of the Game Gear... After defeating Robotnik you free Sonic's friends who have been captured and put into a capsule, just like in the 16-bit counterpart. So now it's onto the next zone in the game, which is Bridge Zone!

    Bridge Zone is a brand new zone not seen in the 16-bit version. Here Sonic runs through a grassy terrain near a river, and if you fall in said river you die instantly! There are the usual platforms that move back and forth, but the new gimmick in the zone are springs with weights that allow Sonic to reach higher platforms. They act similar to sesaws found in Star Light Zone. Act 2 adds a new element to Sonic, autoscrolling. What exactly is autoscrolling? It's a game play style where the camera moves on it's own and it's up to the player to dodge obstacles while making sure the camera doesn't push them into spikes, a death pit, or badniks. Not the best game play style for a platformer that is marketed for it's speed, but again as stated above this title defintely has more traditional platforming elements more than the 16-bit counterpart does. I'm sure the devs wanted to try something different for 8-bit Sonic, and since even Super Mario on the NES has autoscrolling sections I guess they though Sonic needed it too. Thankfully this is the only time this new gimmick appears in the game. After Act 2 is complete, this is where things get different between the Master System and Game Gear versions of the game. Robotnik has the same mech in both versions,however the actual boss arena is different. In the Master System version, the player needs to jump on Robotnik as soon as he pops up from the river. They have two platforms in which they can stand on. However in the Game Gear version, the platforms are replaced with a bridge. Robotnik pops up from the water still, but the bride has slopes that allow the player to make Sonic roll, and he can land some hits on the doctor's mech. This makes the Game Gear version's boss easier yet again. At least the doctor actually attacks Sonic with projectiles that appear from the top of his mech, and just doesn't try to ram Sonic with it. Perhaps the devs thought the smaller screen would make the boss more difficult if they kept the arena the same between versions, so they decided to try something new. Anyways once Sonic frees his friends again from the capsule, it's on to the next zone which is Jungle Zone!

    Jungle Zone is yet another brand new level that doesn't appear in the 16-bit counterpart. As the title states, Sonic must make his way through the jungle area of South Island to get one step closer to the Doctor's base. Sonic must travel through water by running on a log in some places of the zone. The zone is almost identical between the two versions, however one tiny difference between the Master System version and Game Gear version exists. In act 2, Sonic must make his way up a waterfall by jumping on stationary platforms. In the Master System version, if he falls off the platforms he dies instantly. However, in the Game Gear version, he just simply falls to the bottom of the waterfall,and must make his way back towards the top. It would have been a nightmare if the devs kept this zone the same between versions, so thankfully they changed this a bit. Once Sonic is done climbing,it's time for act 3. To make it towards Robotnik, Sonic must jump on some vines. Once he makes it to Robotnik's new mech, he must avoid bombs the doctor drops on the vines. The vines in this zone act like slopes, so the bombs will slide down them, towards Sonic if he's in the middle. The boss is identical between versions, so it's best to run up the slopes but just be careful not to fall off them, otherwise Sonic will die. It's nice when the devs use the game's terrain when designing bosses. Anyways, it's off to the next zone which is Labyrinth!

    Labyrinth has made it's return in the 8-bit version, which many people probably not too thrilled about seeing it again. Sonic's creators thought that hedgehogs couldn't swim, but you probably knew that since in the 16-bit counterpart, Sonic needed to collect air bubbles to continue underwater. The same concept applies here as well. Though the zone has a new layout in each act, but there are no new gimmicks added to the zone itself. All the badniks from the 16-bit counterpart appear here too. Though the zone has a new track, which sounds much catchier than it's 16-bit counterpart! The boss is similar to Bridge zone's boss, but Robotnik has a new weapon, a homing misile. Also Act 3 takes place entirely underwater, but Sonic can mysteriously breathe underwater in Act 3. In fact, the Bridge and Labyrinth bosses share the same assets in the game, makes sense to reuse assets to save space in the ROM. Also it should be noted that Labyrinth is even slower in the 8-bit version, so you'll experince lots of lag during this zone. Really the only thing I like about this Labyrinth zone is the music. Anyways after Sonic frees his friends again, we go off to Scrap Brain Zone!

    Yep Scrap Brain makes it's apperance again in this version of the game. However, unlike the 16-bit version Sonic must make his way through a maze to get to Robotnik's newest hideout. The same traps appear from the 16-bit version, aside from saws that buzz towards Sonic. You've got your fire traps, electrical traps, and of course the badniks. Also the music is different in this version, makes me wonder why Yuzo Koshiro created new tracks for some of the reused zones, but ended up using the same iconic theme for Green Hill Zone... (Also a fun little tidbit, Marble Zone's music appears in the game! That would have been interesting to see return, but I can only guess the devs ran out of time to add the zone to the game.) The mazes can be a bit tedious to go through, as Sonic must find buttons to open doors. Act 3 consits of a bigger maze of doors, but there isn't a boss fight in this zone. The graphics look great on the Game Gear and SMS counterparts, so the sprite artists did a great job recreating the zone for the less powerful machine. There isn't much to say about Scrap Brain Zone, so once Sonic makes his way through the maze it's off to take on the Doctor himself, in his now floating hideout which is Sky Base!

    The devs put more thought in the final zone of the 8-bit version of the game over the 16-bit counterpart. Sky Base is a full zone complete with new hazards, and Sonic gets absolutely no rings while traversing the floating base. So this defintely adds a challenge to the game! Sure the 16-bit version's last zone also didn't have any rings but it was just a boss arena. Act 1 has Sonic chasing after the base itself, so it takes place completey outside. Since Sonic is high up into the sky, he needs to avoid lightning strikes in certain parts of the zone. Once he makes it to Act 2, he finally makes it to the Sky Base, but he needs to avoid running into turrets! Floating platforms help the blue hedgehog climb the base, and the ship itself constantly rocks up and down to add to the illusion of being on an air ship. Finally act 3 takes place inside the base itself. Robotnik traps himself inside a cylinder, however bursts of flames and electrical spheres try to stop the blue hedgehog. Unlike in the 16-bit version, Robotnik is stationary in the cylinder which means you don't need to wait for him to continue to pop up. Just keep avoiding the spheres and flames, and then Robotnik will finally be defeated after hitting him a few times, his mech explodes and once again Sonic chases him however this time he is chased into a teleporter. This transport both Robotnik and Sonic to Green Hill zone, and then the score tally runs and then the credits roll!

    There is one other zone that I haven't mentioned yet. Special stages of course! They do make their apperance again in this version, however they're used to grant the player extra lives and continues. Yep, they do not contain the six chaos emeralds! The way to enter the special stages is similar to the 16-bit counterpart, but instead of jumping into a giant ring after reaching the signpost, if Sonic has at least 50 rings a exclamation mark appears on the signpost and he gets teleported to a Special Stage right after the score tally is done! But wait, you may be asking "well if the chaos emeralds don't appear in special stages, where are they? Do they appear in this version?" They do, however all 6 of them are hidden inside one act of each zone! This adds a new element to the game, there's only one chaos emerald in each zone. You must keep your eyes peeled and explore each zone to obtain them. Chaos emeralds never appear in Act 3 of any zone. Like in Sonic 1 on the Genesis, they're not special. They give you the good ending and that's about it really. You don't unlock a new zone nor get any power ups. So it's ultimately up to you if you want to collect them or not.

    So now that I've given a basic rundown of the entire game, how does this 8-bit version compare to it's older sibling? I think it's a great 8-bit platformer that while keeps some of the elements from the original, branches off into new territory. Since it's not a direct port of the 16-bit version, it stands on it's own. The game offers new gimmicks to make up for some that just couldn't be implemented, whether it be due to time or the limitations of the hardware. Many different people often say that they prefer the 8-bit version over the 16-bit version, and it's often regarded as one of the best 8-bit Sonic games to ever grace the Sega Master System and Game Gear. 8-bit Sonic 1 does things that are great, but also did some things that weren't that great either. For example, I don't like the autoscrolling section of Bridge Zone. I don't think autoscrolling should exist in a Sonic game, and while you don't see it return in most future 8-bit titles, it does return in Sonic 2 on the Genesis (and again in Tails' Skypatrol, but that's an entirely different style of gameplay.) I also think that the devs should have changed Green Hill's boss in the Game Gear version, because it's just too easy due to the screen size. One thing I do like that the devs added were warning signs near death pits on the Game Gear version. Also it's a shame that the devs couldn't optimize the game to run smoother during underwater sections. Plus, adding Marble Zone would have been great. The game has a wonderful soundtrack, and I honestly like the new versions of Labyrinth and Scrap Brain over the 16-bit tracks. Yuzo Koshiro did a wonderful job reimaging the zones with new tracks, and he did a great job representing the new zones as well. Overall 8-bit Sonic 1 is my second favorite 8-bit title in the Sonic series. I highly recommend checking it out sometime, because the 8-bit Sonic titles often get overlooked. If you think the 16-bit counterpart is a bit too fast for your tastes, give this one a go. It's much more slower paced, but it doesn't make it a bad platformer. Overall I'd rate the game at a 8 out of 10. Hope you enjoyed this review!

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    Sonic 1 8-bit review Empty Re: Sonic 1 8-bit review

    Post  Jdpense Fri Jun 19, 2020 1:30 pm

    Damn that's one long review... xD

    Anyways, I've remembered beating Sonic 1 8-bit at least once for the GameGear

    ... I should reply several times before I give my full thoughts on it

      Current date/time is Mon May 27, 2024 4:56 pm