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Sonic the Hedgehog: What Did the Critics Say in 1991?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on April 07, 2014   |   Episode 26 (Show Archive)  


Sonic the Hedgehog (Genesis)
Ever wonder what Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro and other popular magazines thought of your favorite 8-, 16- and 32-bit games? Now you can find out, thanks to Review Crew! This is the only show on the internet that is willing to go back in time to find out what old school critics thought of retro games at the time. Did they pan your favorite game? Did they love something terrible? Find out every week as Defunct Games presents Review Crew!

After striking out with Wonder Boy and Alex Kidd, Sega needed a mascot character that could finally take on Super Mario. What's more, the Genesis needed a game that could challenge Nintendo's upcoming Super NES. Sega's prayers were answered with the release of Sonic the Hedgehog, an instantly likeable mascot that is still getting work today. But what did Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro, CVG, Mean Machines and other old school magazines think of Sonic at the time? And more importantly, did they like Sonic more than Super Mario World? The answer may surprise you!

(NOTE: Although we occasionally cut for length, no other edits are made to the review. Defunct Games does not change any of the wording, grammar or punctuation use. Also keep in mind that our score is the average of all critics at the time, not just the sample that is reprinted on this page. If you still have more questions, I recommend you check out the Review Crew FAQ, where we address the review guidelines, converting scores, magazine covers and more.)

Sonic the Hedgehog
[ Company: Sega | Console: Genesis ]

(1992 Video Game Buyer's Guide)
Best Game of the Year

"The popular comparison may be Mario 4 on the Super NES vs. Sonic the Hedgehog on the Genesis but when it comes right down to it, Sonic is the clear winner. The hog isn't a rehash of an old 8 bit game, rather, he is new, innovative and most importantly, fun to play. The game requires technique but it's still suitable for players of all ages. Good job Sega, now bring us the Mega CD version of Sonic 2!"

MEGA PLAY (July 1991)
10 out of 10

"Sonic the Hedgehog is the best Sega adventure yet! Music, graphics, and control are spectacular, and trying to achieve the best ending is a tough challenge indeed! Adios Mario!" -Mike

GAMEPRO (June 1991)
5 out of 5

"Sonic the Hedgehog is a class act all the way. It shows what determined programmers, artists, and game designers can do when they really set out to produce a winner. Don't hedge your bets on Sonic the Hedgehog!" -Boogie Man

96% out of 100%

"Considered by many to be the ultimate Mega Drive game. Amazing graphics, great sound and mind-numbing speed combine to make a brilliant game."

9 out of 10

"Definitely, without a doubt, positively the most incredible action game ever created for the Genesis! Incredible speed, plenty of technique and more than enough challenge await our super sonic hero as he collects rings and discovers hidden rooms. Excellent, excellent, excellent!" -Steve

94% out of 100%

"He's finally here! Sonic has at least made it onto the Megadrive -- and how! Better than Mario? I honestly wouldn't like to say. What I will say, however, is that Sonic The Hedgehog is streets ahead of every game of this genre currently available, and I for one am looking forward to the further adventures of this garden-trashing little tinker!" -Paul Rand

9 out of 10

"The Genesis has been hit by a Sonic boom. He faster than anything you've ever seen. If you thought the Enterprise was quick, wait til you see Sonic at warp speed. This game is absolutely unbelievable! If you don't buy it it's because you don't have a Genesis ... yet." -Martin

(The Essential Sega Guide)
85% out of 100%

"Sonic the Hedgehog is a blinding game. The graphics are great, and the sound bops along infectiously. Every level is well designed and packed with features, and the whole thing is a hell of a good day. However, it must be admitted that Sonic's first outing is a little easy. A superb platform game that every Megadrive owner has to experience. It's the essence of Sega." -Rich

85% out of 100%

"The game that was designed to show off the Mega Drive's abilities at their best is ageing now and has been surpassed by more recent releases. Will Sonic 2 change that situation?"

83% out of 100%

"Sega's hyped-beyond-belief character stars in a game heavily inspired by Nintendo's Mario platform game platform game series [sic]. It's very addictive with brilliant graphics and speed. However, the gameplay is frustrating at times and experienced gamers should have this one licked within days."

MEGA PLAY (July 1991)
8 out of 10

"Sonic will put the Genesis ahead of the pack! The graphics and sounds are spectacular and the technique is truly top class. The game suffers low difficulty, but otherwise is a winner." -Dave
REVIEW CREW AVERAGE: 90% - While critics may not be too keen on Sonic the Hedgehog's newest adventures, they absolutely fell in love with the original Genesis game. In fact, Electronic Gaming Monthly went as far as to name Sonic the Hedgehog the best game of the year, beating out the mighty Super Mario World. And they weren't the only magazine gushing over Sega's speedy mascot, it's impossible to find a bad word said about this 1991 platformer.

It certainly didn't take long for America to fall in love with the blue hedgehog. Between the U.S.-based publications (GamePro, Electronic Gaming Monthly and Mega Play), the average score is 91%. EGM called it "Definitely, without a doubt, positively the most incredible action game ever created for the Genesis!" Mega Play added, " Adios Mario!" Those are strong words.

However, across the pond, the UK average is a slightly lower 88%. While Computer & Video Games and Sega Pro both gave the game high marks, Mean Machines Sega, MegaTech and Mega Drive Advanced Gaming brought the average down with their relatively low scores. Some of these magazines noted that it's a good game, but felt burned by the hype. Mega Drive Advanced Gaming, on the other hand, was already planning for Sonic 2. Talk about being impatient.

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG ARCHIVE: Want to see how this Sonic the Hedgehog game stacks up against the rest? Below you will find every Sonic game currently in the Review Crew archive. Read the original reviews and see if you agree with the old school critics.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2
What Did Critics Say Back in 1993?
Sega Genesis 93%
Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine
What Did Critics Say Back in 1994?
Sega Genesis 92%
Sonic the Hedgehog
What Did Critics Say Back in 1991?
Sega Genesis 90%
Sonic CD
What Did Critics Say Back in 1994?
Sega Sega CD 87%
Sonic Spinball
What Did Critics Say Back in 1994?
Sega Genesis 76%
Knuckles' Chaotix
What Did Critics Say Back in 1995?
Sega 32X 67%



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