Sonic the Hedgehog (JP) is the platform game that launched the career of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic Team, initially released for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive in 1991 and later re-released on the Wii Virtual Console.

This game was the first game to propel the Genesis into mass popularity in North America. After it was released, it eventually replaced Altered Beast as the bundled game with the console. The game featured many novel elements which contributed to its popularity and helped to promote the uptake of 16-bit consoles.


Doctor Eggman (aka Doctor Robotnik) has trapped all Sonic 's animal friends on South Island and enslaved them by turning into robots. Sonic must beat Dr. Robotnik back and liberate the South island from his diabolical schemes!



Sonic the Hedgehog added the element of speed to the standard platform formula and introduced other unique elements as well, such as the loops, springboards, high-speed devices, and rings now permanently associated with the game series. This game has power-ups such as invincibility, speed sneakers, and shields. The rings act sort of like health in that you can take an additional hit if you have at least one but, you drop all your rings if you get hit. The rings dropped can be collected if grabbed within a few seconds before they disappear. The rings will also give you a life when you collect 100 of them.

In addition, there are six Chaos Emeralds for players to collect. Reserving at least 50 rings to the end of a stage (excluding Scrap Brain and Final) would make a large ring appear. Jumping into it will have you guide the hedgehog through maze-like courses until you collect the Chaos Emerald. Collecting all six will grant you a good ending.


This game was the very first game to feature Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic was made to compete against Super Mario, and as such, Sega took the basic ideas of Mario, and twisted them around into something new. The game was made with several things in mind. The first was the element of speed. Sonic was inspired by Yuji Naka's tendency to speed run the first stage of the original Super Mario Bros. However, what made Sonic's speed different than his Italian rival was that Sonic was built around the fact he had no run button. He had a steady acceleration, and speed was not a part of his move set, rather, a key element that was earned by mastery of the controls and level memorization. Super Mario was very linear, with one or two secret rooms on one main path. Sonic the Hedgehog incorporated sprawling worlds for the player to interact with, without going into the non-linear genre as say, the Legend of Zelda. There were generally three planes; the normal path, the high path, which was a reward for keen observation and skill, and the bottom path was designed to be the most difficult, serving as a punishment for lack of skill.

However, debateably the largest difference between Sonic the Hedgehog and his competition was the first profound physics engine, at least in a platformer. This aspired the morphed level design, filled with curves, half-pipes and loops, over the traditional block-like levels.

Sonic the Hedgehog had six Chaos Emeralds for players to collect. By reserving at least 50 rings to the end of a stage (excluding Scrap Brain and Final) would make a large ring appear. Jumping into it will have the player guide the hedgehog through maze-like courses until he/she collects the Chaos Emerald. Collecting all six will grant the player the good ending.

Reception and legacy

Sonic the Hedgehog met critical acclaim when first released, with both critics and fans praising the sense of speed the game offered, and momentum based gameplay that was unseen of at the time.

Sonic would later become Sega's flagship character, and a worldwide icon and influence, which peaked at 1992, where it was revealed through a poll that Sonic was more recognisable to kids than Mickey Mouse. The franchise has sold over 150 million copies, placing it as the 7th best selling video game franchise, and as the best selling Sega franchise.


  • Compilations that include the game are Sonic Compilation (1995) and Sega 6-Pak (1996) for the Genesis; Sega Smash Pack (1999) for the Sega Dreamcast; Sonic Mega Collection for the GameCube; Sonic Mega Collection Plus for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC, and Sega Genesis Collection for the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable (2006).
  • In November 2006, Sega re-released a version of Sonic the Hedgehog entitled Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis for the Game Boy Advance. This game includes the original game as well as an Anniversary Mode, wherein the player can use the Spin Dash. The port was critically panned for slow-down, various glitches, chunky music quality, and screen cropping.
  • It has also been released as a 3D Classic on the 3DS eShop titled 3D Sonic the Hedgehog and adds extra options such as "spin dash" and "level select".


  Main article: Sonic the Hedgehog (video game)/gallery


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