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Monday, March 7, 2011

Review: Sonic the Hedgehog (PSN)

The original Sonic the Hedgehog is, quite rightly, a genuine classic. The speedy little blue hedgehog’s breakthrough release has since been released in just about every classic compilation on every console Sega could think of, including – now – the PlayStation Network.

That’s a big problem, and Sonic is not worth buying again. Enough is enough, and anyone who actually pays to download this is getting a raw deal considering you can get the game, and a whole host of other games on the retail (or PSP download) release Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection. As part of a compilation, you'll be paying a fraction of the asking price of this here download.

Here we go around the bend. Again.

So this review is not a criticism of the game itself. After all these years Sonic the Hedgehog remains a compelling platformer. There’s something about speeding through levels, learning routes and pulling off impressive leaps of faith that keeps bringing people back. It’s the ying to Mario’s more measured yang – a free flowing pakour experience before pakour become cool.

The problem is we’ve played it, replayed it, and everyone who reads this probably owns at least three different versions somewhere. Most Sega fans probably already have the Ultimate Collection. Yes, the PlayStation Network release has a very few bonuses – a trophy set that won’t take veterans long to earn, the ability to save your progress for coming back to later (not that this game takes that long to play through), and online leaderboards for showing off awesome high scores.

This exact same game is literally on every device known to man. Here is the Apple version

They’re nice additions, but not worth paying any money for. I can’t help but compare to Square Enix’ management of Final Fantasy. Equally you can buy that game on just about every platform but from difficulty level, to visual updates, to additional dungeons, there’s always tweaking going on. The differences aren’t huge, but if you own three versions of Final Fantasy, chances are each has something different about it.

That tweaking puts off the faithful, but then they already have the original game to play. The updates, remakes, and digital download rereleases are there to appeal to a more modern audience, and introduce newcomers to a more relevant game than a straight retro release.

Except if you’re Sega and trying to gouge for a few extra pennies.

This review hurt to write. How about a little fan service for a change, Sega?

If Sega took the time and effort to reorchestrate the music and bring the visuals into the 21st Century, it would easily be an essential title, if only to see how the classic game looks with a modern coat of paint. THAT would be worth the small asking price. As it is, PlayStation Plus members (at least, those in Australia) can download it for free currently. Do so while you can, because this game will not be worth paying actual money for. 



Review: Sonic the Hedgehog (PSN)
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