If there are three things we’re sure of in life, it’s death, taxes and the original Sonic the Hedgehog being ported to just about every Nintendo system.
So what sets Sega Ages Sonic The Hedgehog apart from the billion other ports of the game? Well, it doesn’t just feature the arcade version of the very first Sonic game (Yes, there was an arcade version), but it’s one of the very best ports of the original classic you can get….probably. Not 100% sure because there is a butt-ton of versions out there!
While many versions of Sonic the Hedgehog come with the spindash added (a feature that wasn’t in the original), M2 also added the drop dash from Sonic Mania. This adds a fun spin (pun intended) on the original version that really helps with speed runs and plowing through enemies. You can still opt out of it if you want to have a more original experience but let’s be honest. The original is a bit bland in comparison to it’s sequels and adding the drop dash gives it a bit of spice.
Another new addition is a ring chain count on the bottom of the screen. You can see how many rings you’ve chained together without getting hit and the maximum amount you’ve ever carried. It doesn’t add much, but it’s a fun addition and kept me playing a bit more carefully to see how far I could get. I finished all three Green Hill acts without getting hit and I got up to 323 rings. Besides the original mode, there’s also a “Ring Keep” mode that’s basically an easier version of the game where you only lose half of your rings when hit and a challenge mode that offers two different features. The first is a time attack through Green Hill Zone Act 1 where you use the spin/drop dash to your advantage to get the best time possible. The other feature is a score attack on the Mega Play version of the game where you have a very limited amount of time and can’t lose a single life.
So what’s Mega Play? Remember when I was telling you that there’s an arcade version of Sonic in this game? Well that’s pretty much it. In the settings menu, you can set the original mode to Mega Drive, Genesis and Mega Play. Mega Play was a series of arcade cabinets that appeared in Asia and Europe that would feature condensed versions of Mega Drive classics to help promote the system. The Mega Play version of Sonic shrinks the game by cutting zones down to two acts, removing the special stages, and even completely discarding levels like the incredibly slow-paced garbage that is Marble Zone.
Outside of all those new bells and whistles come the standards. You can go into the settings menu and change the size of the display, you can change the frame around the screen, you have save states, online rankings, graphic filters and even the ability to download speedrun videos so you can get some tips on how to cut your time down.
Now, you might be reading this and saying “But Jason, you handsome, obese devil, you! Should I get this version of the game or wait until the Sega Genesis Classics comes out?” and to that I say, do you want the best version? I’ve played Sega Genesis Classics on the X-Box One and the emulation is a bit mediocre in my opinion. M2 has done a terrific job here and it’s probably the best version you can get with the 3DS build or Christian Whitehead mobile version being a close second. All the new features add to the value of the game and I personally recommend it, but only for the die-hard Sonic fans.
Thanks to Alex Peal (Nuckles87) for helping me edit.