Sonic Origins – Test, Plattformer, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch

What’s in it (and what’s not)

It’s no use: The game portfolio of the hedgehog hatched from the egg or Mega Drive in 1991 is so rich that a retro collection with all Sonic parts sounds wonderful, but will probably always remain a dream. Well, then “just” put the 2D parts in a classic collection – how cool would that be! But even this undertaking would be extremely ambitious: Of course, the master system version of the first product, all Game Gear offshoots and the GBA new editions would have to be there. Plus the dual-screen DS Rush episodes, the isometric Saturn adventure Sonic 3D Blast, and best of all, the arcade-exclusive trackball-controlled SegaSonic the Hedgehog. The game archeologist and collector nerd in me twitches at the thought of such a Sonic Collection, but the realist knows that such a diverse retrospective would never be worthwhile simply because of the complex restoration of the different titles. So just eat what’s on the table: And in June 2022 that’s a collection of four (and a half) classic Sonic episodes from the years 1991 to 1994.

This is how Sonic’s career began. Almost. In the original, of course, Knuckles didn’t hop around in Stage 1.

These are: Sonic the HedgehogSonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic CD as well as Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles – the latter two being combined into Sonic 3 & Knuckles, much as was possible in the mid-1990s by plugging the two game cartridges together. All titles have been cleanly ported, look pleasingly attractive in full HD and can be tackled in classic 4:3 mode with limited lives if desired. But I prefer to start in the new 16:9 mode, which makes the oldies on my big TV a bit more sympathetic – moreover, in this variant I no longer have to worry about dwindling lives and can use the brisk drop-dash move Sonic Mania to use.

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Can you still play this?

Very quiet and discreet m

Very quietly and discreetly, Sonic CD would like to tell us: THE 90’S WERE SO COLORFUL!

And the games like that? In short: still good. The Long Version: Personally, I was never the biggest fan of Sonic’s Mega Drive-ra – unfairly placed enemies, annoying spike traps and the constant loss of momentum contrasted with the creative level design, the great feel-good visuals and the fantastic soundtrack. Nevertheless, I don’t deny the quality of the games and of course I know about the importance of the early Sonic games – for the Jump’n’Run story, for the success of Sega but also quite banally for the gaming memory of an entire generation. Sonic was new and cool, keeping the Kyoto competition busy and also flexing its muscles in terms of technology and sound. In fact, the four included Sonic titles are still playable by today’s standards. The level design capers are as fresh as ever, the pace of Sonic is mostly good and there is a lot to offer in terms of paths, secrets and bonus zones. Sonic 2 is known to surpass its predecessor, but the most exciting for me is Sonic CD with its really great 2D look and the weird time travel mechanics; Plus, of course, that’s the title that arouses the most curiosity – who had the Sega CD expansion back then? And of course I also think it’s nice that I can play with all the characters in almost all of the titles it contains – gliding casually through the Green Hill Zone with Knuckles is nice.

The behavior of Tails in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is less nice: From the casino stage at the latest, the AI ​​completely disengages from the flying fox and he regularly lags behind Sonic – this causes annoying sound effects because Tails, who has slipped out of the picture, then constantly tries to to make up lost ground with perennials. In addition, I occasionally noticed micro stutters in the Switch version, but these were not noticeable in the PS5 version. In general, I’m happy about the nice menus of Sonic Origins and the option to play through all included adventures in one story mode and in the right order. Which also brings me to a little gem of Origins: the new sequences. A few short cartoon-style clips were made for each of the included games – the animated intros perfectly match the tone of the template and set the mood for the 16-bit adventures with their 90s charm.

This way please to the Sonic Museum

Found new story sequences

Want new story sequences? The short clips capture the Sonic charm splendidly.

Unfortunately, the Origins Collection does without gimmicks such as filters or rewind functions, so Sega has given it a lavish museum section. There are over 170 pieces of music from the series history to listen to and another 24 to unlock. The artwork gallery is similarly lavishly stocked, this area is also divided into a normal gallery and a premium part, where you pay with the coins you have earned. You get it when you play the included games diligently (and well) and in the special mission mode, where you have to complete small tasks. So Sega may not have a mega collection with umpteen titles here, but they did give the included software gems a lot of love.

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The DLC policy is less lovable right from the start: the “Premium Fun” package that is already available for 3.99 euros has harder missions and additional animations in the menu, while the “Classic Music” pack for the same price adds more pieces of music. You get all of this if you buy the Digital Deluxe Edition, which is five euros more expensive, instead of the standard version.

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