Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis GameBoy Advance Review
I remember my fifteenth birthday party. I was on the verge of just getting into the NES and my mother had picked me up Battletoads at the time, still one of my favorite games for the system. My uncle, however, had a crueler gift in mind -- a sweater. Who in the hell gives someone such a crappy fifteenth anniversary gift? First of all, I don't wear sweaters. Secondly, a sweater?! Buy me a sweater when I move to Anchorage, will ya? (If I move to Anchorage.) Meanwhile, Sega has given their dedicated Sonic the Hedgehog fans a gift that's just as insulting as that itchy bastard- and that's Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis.
THIS is how Sega departs the Game Boy Advance? Not with a classy new Sonic Advance game but with a washed-up port of a fifteen year old classic Sega Genesis game that's not even close to a classic itself? That's like having an employee work for you for fifteen years and then promptly firing him before he can get the benefit of a raise. Ugh. This version of Sonic completely nauseates, what with its many flaws and the mere fact that the game, right from the start, LIES about its representation.
What we have here is not in fact the original Genesis version of Sonic. No, it's a modified version of the Genesis game that fits more closely in the Game Gear mold, with a shrunken screen and not nearly as many details as expected. It's a hack job, so to speak -- and a poorly done one at that. The graphics don't look entirely crappy, but the problems that surround them do. The game actually has slowdown, even more than the original Genesis game had. Apparently, blast processing isn't a key feature for such a quickie release as this one. No, it's more like cheese processing. There's glitches abound as well, mainly in the background and with some animations. Sega and Sonic Team have mastered the GBA through many games now -- there's just no excuse here.
Oh, that original Genesis soundtrack? Not so original. There are tunes within the game that will be familiar to Genesis lovers' ears, but it's tinned out and not really that great sounding at all. The sound effects are minimal, barely spurting out jumping and springing noises. Ugh.
The gameplay hasn't changed at all. Players still speed around, jumping on robots and collecting coins as they get to the eventual showdown with Dr. Robotnik, aka Eggman. The boss encounters are fun, but we've seen them all before, and the fact nothing's changed will mean that they're easily beaten. This version of the game does feature the ability to spin dash right off the bat, a feature not present in the original game, but players are better off just getting a running start and going into a roll. It works better that way.
Past that, zero extras. There's the ability to save your game at any time during an adventure, but that means having to continue it at some point and bring more suffering on yourself. It's bad enough that Sega only included one game in this collection and messed it up. It would have actually been nice to see something along the lines of Sonic Jam done for the GBA. You know, perfect versions of all the 16-bit Sonic platformers, especially Sonic 3 and Sonic and Knuckles. Sorry, pipe dream, kids.
So what does $20 buy you? A piece of garbage port of a fifteen-year old Sega Genesis game with only a battery save and a new spin dash move to spruce it up. That's about it. Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis is a travesty of a game that can't even get up to running speed. Spend your $20 on Sonic Mega Collection instead. Now THAT'S how to do Sonic right.
What's Hot: Kind of serves as a reminder of Sonic's classic platforming days.
What's Not: Slowdown and glitches; terrible sound; this is closer to the Game Gear version than the Genesis one.