Jump to content
  • TSS Review: Sonic Origins Plus

    A Rosy update to a stunning classic compilation.

    We already know how big of a deal it is that Sonic Origins exists. We raved about it in our review, after all. Finally getting a Sonic 3 & Knuckles re-release after a decade in legal limbo (and a full-on Headcannon remaster at that)? Experiencing the Taxman and Stealth remasters of Sonic 1, 2 and CD on home console and PC? Some minor bugs aside, the overall quality and sheer importance of this release made it instantly worth buying by default.

    But now, a year later, SEGA is offering an expansion in the form of Sonic Origins Plus. Will it similarly be worth your money? All signs point to ‘yes’ - with some caveats.


    First of all, the headline feature to this add-on pack - Amy Rose is now, for the first time in a classic 2D Sonic adventure, available as a playable character. And in terms of importance at least, that is a very big deal (the Sonic gang has been a sausage fest for way too long) - it’s great to see the Rosy Rascal front and centre of the Plus imagery, right down to the revised Island Tour mode where you can see her posing for the camera.

    In terms of how she plays, it’s exactly as you’d expect. Amy runs, jumps and spins just like Sonic, only with a couple of extra unique skills. By pressing the jump button whilst in the air (double-jumping), you can deploy the famous Piko Piko Hammer which can expand your hitbox reach when trying to tag some mid-air badniks (and sometimes even give you some protection). It was exceptionally useful when tackling the Metropolis Zone boss (and the second-phase Sky Sanctuary boss).

    If you keep the jump button held after this, you can make Amy perform a Drop Dash-style move called the Hammer Rush. This makes Amy move forward with a burst of speed, mashing her hammer on the ground as she goes. Any badniks or destructible objects that get in her way are toast. Unfortunately it doesn’t quite get you around really steep curves or loop-de-loops, but it’s still satisfying to perform.


    You’ll no doubt be wondering if Amy can turn Super in Sonic 2 and 3K. Well, as you probably would have guessed, yes she can! After collecting seven Chaos Emeralds, you can transform into a glowy, faster, more athletic Super Amy as long as you have 50 Rings. In Sonic 2 and Sonic 3, her super powers are pretty straightforward - but if you collect the Super Emeralds in the Sonic & Knuckles half of the game, you get to unlock…

    …Super Amy again. Yep, no Hyper Amy. Which is a bit of a disappointment. But, you do get a sort of ‘Hyper’ power - pressing the Super button while transformed (after getting the Chaos and Super Emeralds) allows you to chuck hammers at your enemies. To be honest, you’ll be going so fast (and be so invincible) that the effect of this new hammer throw ability is close to zero, but the visual chaos you bring to the screen is fun either way.

    And that’s Amy Rose. A “Pink Sonic” - and that’s totally okay! Those of you who are weirdly hoping for some crazy new control gimmick should keep things in check; we’re talking about adding new characters to a 16-bit series whose gameplay design focuses around a single action button. You were obviously not getting a Sonic Advance-style manual control of the Piko Piko Hammer, and nor should you have wanted it anyway - Amy’s momentum-destroying control scheme in Sonic’s debut GBA game absolutely ruins an otherwise excellent platforming experience.


    The other additions that come with Sonic Origins Plus include the addition of Knuckles as a playable character in Sonic CD (probably because SEGA forgot to add him or something), and an archive of 8-bit Sonic the Hedgehog Game Gear games that can be played at any time via the Mission menu. Everything from the main platform games to the more esoteric spinoff games like Sonic Labyrinth and Sonic Drift 2.

    All of the Game Gear games are emulated - they are not remastered in the same way that the 16-bit Mega Drive titles have been. Because of this, all of the titles will run exactly as you’d remember a physical Game Gear would - warts and all. We won’t go into every GG game in this review (you can read our individual reviews for each game to see what we think about those).

    Generally speaking the GG games all feel fine to play, despite some new sound issues (there appears to be a weird echoing from time to time) as well as the usual framerate and screen size awkwardness that comes from authentically emulating SEGA’s 8-bit handheld. It’s hard to complain about the value of 12 extra games being added to your collection, but it’s also a bit heart-breaking to see constant stuttering in the otherwise masterful Sonic 1 GG immediately after completing a buttery-smooth run-through of Sonic CD.


    It seems like some level of bug-fixing has been accomplished here as well, although I can’t exactly tell you what those tweaks are for sure with the exception of one example. In the base Origins game, attempting to Drop Dash in one direction, then quickly trying to Drop Dash in the opposite direction was not possible while playing Sonic 1. This so-called “roll-locking” has been fixed in my experience with Origins Plus, which is a welcome change.

    But besides other possible bug fixes, in terms of new content, “that’s it” (for some of you). Personally, for a $10 upgrade, having playable Amy in all four games, Knuckles in Sonic CD, the Game Gear games, a bunch of bug fixes and a nice unlockable birthday image is pretty good value for money. Of course, your own mileage may vary, depending on whether you feel like much of this should have been included in the base game already.

    For me, it’s not so much the quantity of additional content that slightly irks - it’s the quality. Generally speaking, the Plus content is quite serviceable. But there are just a few little niggles here and there that, while not a huge deal in and of themselves, kind of take the shine off of the whole package when taken altogether.


    The most obvious drawback is the curious omission of the Master System versions of the 8-bit Sonic the Hedgehog titles in the new collection. Not having the benefit of the larger-screen versions of Sonic 1, 2, Chaos, Spinball and Mean Bean Machine to play (not to mention experiencing the difference in gameplay and presentation in some of these titles compared to their Game Gear counterparts) is a real drag, especially on large screens.

    Even just putting in a little work to “hack” in a Master System-style ‘widescreen’ view for each game (as Tectoy did in Brazil for Sonic Blast, in fact - there is a Master System port of that game only made available in that country) would have been a welcome option. As it is though, playing on PS5 on a big monitor with such a small gameplay window can be an intensely claustrophobic experience. I can see the GG games being more fun to play on the Nintendo Switch in handheld mode where this may be less of an issue.

    There are some presentation quirks when playing as Amy too. The odd graphical issue, her Hammer Rush not going up steep curves/loops, the lack of an official ‘Hyper’ Amy in Sonic 3 & Knuckles (which I suspect is an attempt to avoid putting too much work into her sprite set), that the sprite looks too similar across all four games (if there are any differences in sprite art style between Sonic 1, 2, CD and 3K, it’s really not that noticeable)... Individually, these things are insignificant. Put together, it feels like a feature that hasn’t quite been polished to perfection yet.


    It also feels like there isn’t enough documentation or guidance around the new Amy and Knuckles playables modes and abilities. This might sound like an odd gripe, when the Plus package comes complete with a new digital manual (accessible from the title screen) which is a whopping 66 pages long - but I found out about Not-Hyper Amy’s Hammer Throw move by complete accident, and I have struggled to identify any of the marketed significant new routes in Sonic CD made specifically for Knuckles (I might have stumbled upon some by accident, but I wouldn’t have known it). Which, you know, if there actually aren’t any new routes in CD, that’s a slight disappointment in and of itself.

    But back to the point… There’s a dialog box for almost every other action you perform in the main menu - even the act of opening a game (I’m surprised there isn’t one for blowing your own nose) - so it would have been nice to have had some kind of intro or something when first selecting Knuckles in CD, or Amy in Sonic 3 & Knuckles that offers this information. Or perhaps in the Options section there could have been a Tutorial box outlining some hints on where to go in CD as Knuckles.


    The reward for accomplishing all of the (admittedly incredibly easy) new challenges in the ‘Surprise’ mode is (besides the gorgeous artwork you reveal) pretty underwhelming as well (not to spoil it for anyone, but… well, I feel like if you’re reading this, then your reaction to it will likely be “I already know this”). It would have been pretty neat - and not a huge additional lift at all - to have added new content to the Museum collection or have the Surprise unlock an exclusive set of Plus-locked Gallery images. We could have had some of the Sonic Jam media in high-res! Man of the Year in HD! But alas.

    Mind you, these are all minor gripes in the context of an expansion pack that costs a mere $9.99. Sonic Origins Plus is worth getting for the new Amy Rose playable character as-is, and the Game Gear games are the icing on the cake for die-hard fans who have been itching to have a modern way to play the handheld classics since Sonic Adventure DX.

    And for those who haven’t bought into Origins yet, the price of the physical Plus pack is about the same as the base game digitally - and when you factor in our five-star review of the original release, this makes buying Plus a no-brainer.

    Second Opinion

    Sonic Origins is undoubtedly the most comprehensive and polished classic compilation to date. From remastered classics to mirror modes, the game is absolutely jam-packed with extras, artwork, videos, and extras, this is a phenomenal title to discover or re-live the heritage of Sonic the Hedgehog.

    Following in the footsteps of Sonic Mania, Origins is now receiving the “Plus” treatment, which sees a further embellished version alongside a physical release. Classic fans will undoubtedly be delighted to see Amy join the roster, not in just sprite form, but armed with a host of unique attacks and abilities that breathe a new way to play into old classics.

    Equally, Game Gear and Master System fans can be content at finally having a definitive location for those rare and unusual titles, even if only to play five minutes of Tails Sky Patrol before going back to playing something good.

    Disappointingly, it seems that the additional content is also a download for the physical edition, which will inevitably put a future expiration date on much of the bonus features. Moreso, audiophiles will be equally baffled and frustrated by the altered soundtracks and odd stereo effects, that will often detract from the otherwise great job that has been accomplished here.

    Flaws aside, Sonic Origins Plus once supplies fans with a sympathetic and lovingly crafted product, with just about every permutation of experience you could want from the archetypal Mega Drive titles. With a release in which SEGA could have easily created a bad future, they once again emerge smelling of roses.

    Second Opinion written by @T-Bird

    This review is based on the PlayStation 5 version of the game, although the PlayStation 4 version was also playtested in order to support the article. Review copy for this game was provided by SEGA.

    The Sonic Stadium may link to retailers and earn a small commission on purchases made from users who click those links. These links will only appear in articles related to the product, in an unobtrusive manner, and do not influence our editorial decisions in any way. All proceeds will go to supporting our community and continued coverage of Sonic the Hedgehog. Thank you in advance for your kind support!

    Sonic Wiki Database: Related Entries

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    A very well detailed review and on point as well about the Issues of Sonic Origins Plus and the good aspects of the game to. I'm just waiting for my physical copy of Sonic Origins Plus for my Xbox Series X even though I got the digital version last year.

    This what It shouldn't been day 1 a physical version of the game that everyone wanted. Again fantastic review of Sonic Origins Plus I'm looking forward to trying out Amy this time on Sonic Origins Plus.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    "And that’s Amy Rose. A “Pink Sonic” - and that’s totally okay!"

    Unfortunately, this is the part I find most disappointing. While I know the fanbase has an obsession with wanting every character in every game, adding a new character to me, especially in the classic games, represents a new style of locomotion, a new way to navigate the stage. It's one of the reasons why I think so highly of the addition of Ray in Mania, he may have elements of Tails and Knuckles, but the speed of his gliding, the way it controls, and the fact that you can go directly into a spinning jump after you exit really sets his experience apart.

    Even before Superstars was announced, my go-to for what you could add to the games in the collection that probably wouldn't require drastic reworking or break navigation would be a double-jump, just have Amy be an always-accessible magnet shield ability. It seems like she's just in need of something a bit more distinguishing than an hammer and a not-dropdash.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    My most mixed part about the update is the... new games, as repeated by various reviewers, they are just boring and lame and outdated, it's cool they are there and it's definitely a big number of titles... 12, but they still suck, most of them, I will gladly play Tails Adventure, maybe Skypatrol, 1, 2 and of course Triple Trouble, the rest probably not.

    I would have much preferred to have R, The Fighters, or maybe remasters of 3D Blast and 16 bit Spinball, which would have required a lot more effort, they went with the number and mediocrity I guess.

    Amy is cool tbh, I wish there were more changes and some cutscene transitions, but she's playable okay? That was my most wanted thing.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Was hesitant to buy the upgrade at first, but if it's only ten bucks, I don't mind pulling the trigger.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now

  • Create New...

Important Information

You must read and accept our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy to continue using this website. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.