Hey, we are back once again with a new game, today we will be doing a Sonic Origins Review in this review article I will be giving you some pros, some cons, and some personal opinions about the game.
This is a collection of four, kind of five, classic Sonic games from the Sega Genesis.
They’ve been rereleased so many times that it is hard to count, But what makes this collection different is we’re finally getting all of these games, including “Sonic 3″/”Sonic & Knuckles” in a full widescreen format.
Which, I mean, that’s probably reason enough to buy it for a lot of Sonic fans.
Especially ones like myself who played those games as a kid and returns to them pretty often.
But again, considering they’ve been rereleased so many times at, frankly, much lower price points, other people might need a little more convincing.
Now, there is a ton of fun to be had with “Sonic Origins.”
Sonic Origins Review
There are a couple of strange choices and a few annoying things, and you’ll have to deal with those, but for the most part, it is a good collection.
So let’s get the basics out of the way. “Sonic Origins” contains remastered versions of “Sonic the Hedgehog,” “Sonic the Hedgehog 2,” “Sonic CD,” and “Sonic 3 & Knuckles,” which is technically two games, but one used a lock-on cartridge and you could connect them together, and they were originally planned all to be “Sonic 3.”
But they split the development, so, A, they would have two products to sell, and, B, so that they could work on two deadlines instead of one deadline.
But none of that really matters.
All these games have been remastered with the Retro Engine, meaning that this is not emulation.
They’re new versions of classic games running on an engine created by Christian Whitehead that was used to make “Sonic Mania,” and because of that, the basic gameplay is pretty much at its absolute best. It’s unaltered.
If you played the games way back in the day, you’re not gonna be shocked or surprised by any moment.
Everything runs exactly as it did back then, except better.
You’re still mostly running fast.
You’re still hopping and bopping on enemies, collecting power-ups, fighting bosses, classic platformer stuff.
I’ll give a short review of each game later, ’cause there are minor differences between them, but let’s just focus on the widescreen aspect for now.
It probably doesn’t sound like a big deal, But with Sonic games, it makes a huge difference.
You’re going fast, so having a little extra screen real estate to see what’s coming just feels a lot better, almost as if that’s how it was supposed to be played, like as if it was designed for Sonic to be smaller on the screen and for you to see more ahead of you.
There’s no real way to know if that’s how the idea worked out in anybody’s head a long time ago, but man, does it work well on a widescreen?
It’s easily the biggest improvement and what makes the “Sonic Origins” collection the definitive way to play these games.
The collection gives you a few different ways to play, and this is where the strange choices make their appearance.
So you can either go through all the games in a row with Story Mode, play them individually in Anniversary Mode, or go back and play them the way they originally appeared, with a four-by-three aspect ratio in Classic Mode.
Now, on top of having widescreen, the Anniversary and Story modes also take a modernizing step forward and remove lives.
Instead, you earn coins that can be used to unlock stuff In the museum or to try again if you fail in a bonus stage, stuff that makes these games a lot more user-friendly.
For special stages in “Sonic 1,” it was difficult to get into them to even have the chance to earn a Chaos Emerald, but now, assuming that you have coins, you have the ability to restart these if you don’t get it.
And you get a coin in the exact same way you got an extra life.
Before, you either found it in a monitor or you got 100 rings, and it’s great.
Here’s the odd choice I was talking about.
If you wanna play the game with lives and with widescreen, you can’t do that.
You’d think you’d be able to choose how to play Classic mode, like whether it’s in 16:9 or 4:3, but you can’t, And that feels very unusual.
It’s not a big deal because I’m thinking most people are probably going to want to play without lives anyways, but for those who want the classic experience but also want it in 16:9, it’s not possible, at least not yet.
We’ll see, but I find myself enjoying the coin version.
Sonic Origin Review: Game Mechanics
Now, the controls are really responsive, physics are accurate to the original games, and everything plays exactly how you remember it.
I know these games like the back of my hand.
I know what you need to do to get certain results.
And all of that stuff still happens exactly the same.
But if you are new to these games, there’s a very heavy emphasis on momentum, and it can take a little getting used to, but all in all, these games are great to play.
One cool feature that they added is, A, you can spin-dash in “Sonic 1,” which was something they’ve added to it in previous re-releases, but even better, the drop dash from “Sonic Mania” has been added to all of the games, so you can jump into a spin dash whenever you want, and it just makes this game so much smoother.
Every single one of these titles plays better with the drop dash.
It was such a fantastic addition to “Sonic Mania,” and it basically belongs in these games at this point.
It’s a huge update to the classic Sonic formula, and what I like is if they do decide to do any further 2D Sonic games, it pretty much says, hey, we’re gonna put this in every Sonic game like this from now on, and I’m excited for that.
Now, before we get too in-depth with the games themselves, I do wanna talk about the general presentation. It’s great.
The 3D islands on the menus are charming, and the new animated intros from Tyson Hess are beyond fantastic.
They look very much like the old “Sonic CD” intro, except way, way nicer looking.
But on top of the Classic, Story, and Anniversary modes, you get a couple of other options on the main menu.
There’s a boss rush, there’s Blue Spheres where you can play the bonus game that booted up when you put any non-Sonic games into “Sonic & Knuckles,” which is a neat little bonus, but I doubt there’s anyone who’s dying to play it.
It’s nice that it’s there, but I mean, I’d have to get pretty bored to want to do Blue Spheres.
What would really matter here is if the games hold up.
And for games that are now nearly 30 years old, they hold up, mostly.
There are obviously still tons to like about them, but the first game is the roughest.
Level design, boss design, it’s all a little more archaic than everything else in the collection.
Sonic Origins Review: Mario Influence
There are certain things that will remind you more of Mario because obviously, that was the definitive platforming experience at the time, and it has had influence over every platformer that’s ever existed, so you see more slow platforming and a few things that are gonna remind you very much of how a dungeon works in Mario, especially in Marble Zone.
But I’d particularly like to mention a massive improvement on the Labyrinth Zone in the first game, which was a level that just performed like absolute crap.
The engine couldn’t handle whatever it was they were trying to do, and there was so much slowdown, and none of that is here because there’s no reason for it.
There’s no technical limitation. It’s not built on that old engine anymore. The game is built on a new engine, and it’s so nice to play that level without the slowdown.
It’s still kind of clunky, But it just feels a million times better.
Now, “Sonic 2” is an instant classic.
There’s not a lot more to say about it.
Tails is a really fun addition.
The level design really leans into the speed aspect of the game.
It’s all very good, and they kind of figured out what was fun about a Sonic game here.
These are all these exhilarating sections where you can really go all out and feel the speed.
Now, they do constantly sort of grieve you with speed traps like spiked enemies and bumpers that bounce you backward, But that’s kind of part of the challenge, and the level design, in general, is way better than the first.
Sonic Origins Review: Sonic CD
“Sonic CD” was released after “Sonic 2,” but in terms of development, it was developed in between “Sonic 1” and “Sonic 2,” and it shows.
It’s kind of more convoluted, and it makes itself kind of more of a love-it-or-hate-it type game with these time travel mechanics that show up only in this game.
I personally enjoy it, But it’s a very different experience than “Sonic 2,” and its music is insane good.
On to “Sonic 3 & Knuckles,” which is probably the best game in the series, arguably ever, in my opinion, absolutely.
The level design is better than ever.
Everything’s really polished.
They really understood what a Sonic level should be here.
And the only downside is that a few tracks had to be removed because of potential legal issues.
Yuji Naka on Twitter actually confirmed that it’s because they were written by Michael Jackson, And it seems like Sega doesn’t really hold the rights to that, which really sucks, because the prototype music that they remastered into this game isn’t as good, except Carnival Night.
I think I kind of like Carnival Night better but the Ice Cap Zone, not so much. The loss of that song stings.
It is obviously a matter of opinion, though, and it’s only a few tracks that were replaced.
Most of it is all intact, and it still sounds exactly like it should.
That isn’t to save the experience is perfect, But most of the bugs or weird issues were stuff that the original games had, like the very unforgiving moving hitboxes in Chemical Plant Zone.
They’re death traps. They still are.
Nothing about that has changed, so the games have been pretty accurately reproduced, and that’s for better or for worse.
I would take it that way over if they quote-unquote fixed those things because that’s how the games were.
There are some cool additions, though.
One standout is a new level in “Sonic 2” which can be accessed from Mystic Cave Act 2.
Sonic fans will recognize it immediately.
It’s really cool they brought back this famously dummied-out location.
It wasn’t made specifically for this game.
They actually added it back in 2013, but it’s nice to see it in a full console version of the game.
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Sonic Origins Review: Mission Modes
The new Mission mode’s a nice addition as well. From the descriptions, it sounds pretty basic, but each mission ends up being a pretty fun little challenge, and there’s a pretty good selection of them for each game.
None of this is groundbreaking.
It’s obviously all reused assets from the old games, but they manage to do some creative things that are fun to play and better than what you would think they are from the mission descriptions.
This is not essential, but it’s fun to screw around in.
It’s a solid collection all around, and really, the biggest issue with it is the price.
The base price is 40 bucks, and that’s kind of steep for what amounts to a bunch of games that have been re-released on phones many times at this point.
Yeah, “Sonic 3 & Knuckles” is not one that’s ever gotten the widescreen treatment and that’s great, but all of these other games have come out on phones like a decade ago, some of them even in the Retro Engine created by Christian Whitehead.
The presentation’s really appealing, though, the new cutscenes are charming, and everything about Anniversary mode is great.
But at the end of the day, you’re still paying 40 bucks for some 30-year-old games here, so making the collection almost full price is a little bit pushing it.
Is DLC Worth it?
There is some utterly pointless DLC on top of that, that I don’t know. The $3.99 Premium Fun Pack is kind of ridiculous and leaves a bit of a sour taste in people’s mouths who have seen nonsense things added to games for money for a long time now.
10 additional letter box designs for Classic mode, ooh, character display on the main menu screen, ah, main menu island camera zoom.
I’m not even gonna sarcastically acknowledge that.
They’re literally charging you a premium for some extra characters displayed on the main menu, and you can move the camera around a little.
It seems like the developers were just forced to yank features and sell them as DLC by Sega.
The good thing about that is that if you don’t spend the extra four bucks, you’re not even gonna notice that you didn’t spend the extra four bucks.
The only thing that’s potentially worthwhile about the Fun Pack is some additional harder missions, but the rest of it just adds nothing.
Really, those are the only two issues we had with the collection, the price and the lame DLC model. $40 is just a bit too much, even if it’s really well made, and it is.
A few other important things are missing as well like you could have CRT filters, you could really benefit from save states, these types of things that are common in other collections.
The removal of lives makes the lack of safe states tolerable at least, but it’s just tolerable.
That should be there at this point, and it’s an option that hopefully, they’ll patch in later.
Sonic Origins System Requirements
Minimum System Requirements
- Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
- OS: Windows 10
- Processor: Intel Core i5-2400, 3.1 GHz or AMD FX-8350, 4.2 GHz
- Memory: 6 GB RAM
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750, 2 GB or AMD Radeon HD 7790, 2 GB
- Additional Notes: 720p @ 60 FPS
Recommended System Requirements
- Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
- OS: Windows 10
- Processor: Intel Core i5-4570, 3.2 GHz or AMD Ryzen 3 1300X, 3.4 GHz
- Memory: 8 GB RAM
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770, 2 GB or AMD Radeon R9 280, 3 GB
- Additional Notes: 1080p @ 60FPS
Sonic Origins Review: Conclusion
Wrapping up, if you love the classic Sonic games and take any excuse to replay them, the new widescreen versions of the games are probably enough to pick up the collection again, especially if you don’t have an easy way to play them on any platform currently.
But if you’re new or more casual, you’ll probably wanna wait for a little bit of a discount before picking this one up.
I do recommend it for what it is. It’s just that the current price is just a bit too high for what you’re actually getting.
Still, it’s all of the best games in a great platforming series and really worth having.
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