It’s hard to believe that we’ve been playing Sonic the Hedgehog games for 26 years now. Sega’s iconic character recently celebrated his anniversary marking the fact, with his start on the Sega Genesis and his many adventures appearing on that and other consoles since that time. And things aren’t slowing down for him in 2016 either, as he’ll be seeing not one but two adventures on consoles and PC this year, including the retro-tastic Sonic Mania and the Sonic Generations-esque sequel Sonic Forces.
But with that, there might have been some games you may have missed. Granted, some of the more popular adventures, like Sonic Generations and Sonic the Hedgehog 2, have been celebrated, and rightfully so, but he’s also starred in a number of other games that didn’t quite get the exposure that was expected, either because they weren’t properly hyped or appeared on platforms that not everyone had.
Not to worry, though, as you still have ample time to celebrate these games and see what they’re all about. So let’s take a look now at five great Sonic the Hedgehog games you might have missed the first time around…but shouldn’t have!
Sonic CD (Sega CD)
At the time of Sonic the Hedgehog’s glorious heights in 16-bit land, one adventure kind of went by unnoticed by some, mainly because they didn’t plunk down the cash on a Sega CD add-on at the time – probably because they weren’t too fond of its many full-motion video ventures. But Sonic CD was a worthwhile addition to the series, a fun platformer with time-traveling elements, 3D bonus stages and a great Japanese soundtrack (and a weirdly Americanized one) that delivered a sensational experience. Fortunately, Sega gave this game a re-release on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC and mobile, so gamers could catch back up with whatever they missed – and with that awesome Japanese soundtrack!prevnext
Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega Master System)
Before Sega released the Genesis, it tried its luck on the 8-bit market with the Sega Master System, a console that just couldn’t keep up with the more popular Nintendo Entertainment System. But it had its fair share of great games, including Sonic the Hedgehog. Despite the fact it was graphically inferior to the Genesis version, this game ran like a dream. The system was capable of keeping up with Sonic’s zippy speed, and the level design showed some great intuition, even in the face of the more superior edition on the market. If you’re looking to check this out, hunt down the Game Gear edition of Sonic – it’s virtually identical.prevnext
Sonic Pocket Adventure (Neo-Geo Pocket)
Yes, SNK actually had a handheld system on the market at one point, and it had plenty of great experiences, including a few fighting games. But there was also a Sonic game, and it was outstanding for its time. Sonic Pocket Adventure recreated the fun 2D platforming we’ve come to expect from the Blue Wonder, along with great visuals and music that really brought out the best from the little handheld. Of course, visually, it couldn’t keep up with newer platforms at the time, but it’s still a retro-fitted wonder that’s worth checking out, especially if you actually own the Pocket or its Pocket Color spin-off.prevnext
Sonic R (Sega Saturn)
When you think Sonic and racing games, you may recall Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed more than anything, if only because it’s a hell of an alternative to the Mario Kart games. But before that, Sonic appeared in a foot-racing game alongside members of his respective universe, in the form of Sonic R. While it’s a bit unpolished compared to some of the speedster’s latest efforts, it still has some nostalgic charm to it, and its soundtrack is something else, with songs like “Living In the City” and “Super Sonic Racing” backing it up. You can also check it out in the Sonic Gems Collection for GameCube, if you prefer.prevnext
Sonic 3D Blast (Sega Saturn)
Another Sega Saturn gem that you may have missed out on is Sonic 3D Blast, a wonderfully polished port of the Sega Genesis game of the same name. Whereas the 16-bit version relied on a much more simpler design, the Saturn port had a lot more going for it, including better visuals, 3D bonus stages ripped straight from the cancelled Sonic X-Treme project, and a superb soundtrack that added to the game’s moody atmosphere. Even if the isometric set-up isn’t for everyone, Blast has its fair share of quality that fans won’t want to miss. You can find a copy for pretty cheap, too, alongside a Sega Saturn system. Worth the hunt.prevnext
BONUS: Sonic Chronicles: The Brotherhood (Nintendo DS)0comments
What if I told you that the studio behind such efforts as Mass Effect and Dragon Age once worked on a Sonic the Hedgehog game? You’d probably think I was crazy, but, surprise, Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood is actually a thing. Built as an involving role-playing adventure with a unique battle based system and great storytelling, the game is virtually BioWare at its best, even in the face of stronger games that came years after this one. It’s really a one-of-a-kind gem, and though we likely won’t get a follow-up (with BioWare working for Electronic Arts and all), it’s still got hours of gameplay that make it a must-have.
While you’re at it, be sure to check out our five great Sonic the Hedgehog games special we posted earlier this year!prev