In addition to the re-released titles, the developers added new levels and the Sonic World feature, which are based on those from the 16-bit games in the Sonic series.
List of games
The games included in the compilation are as follows:
By selecting Sonic & Knuckles, the player can use the "Lock-on technology" from its original cartridge version in order to link up to the other three games in the collection, making the following games also playable:
- Sonic Jam includes the main Sega Mega Drive games from the Sonic the Hedgehog series, which includes the classic saga of mainline games. Sonic Jam, however, includes customized versions of the games, with redesigned Zones that have the following levels of difficulty: Original, Normal, and Easy. When played in "Original" mode, the games are identical to their original Sega Mega Drive releases. "Normal" difficulty adds extra Rings and alters other aspects of the design to remove some of the challenge, with these versions of the Zones being used when playing Sonic Jam's Time Attack mode. "Easy" difficulty removes certain Zones entirely, making the games much easier to complete.
- Implemented into Sonic Jam is the option to use Sonic's Spin Dash, in the original Sonic the Hedgehog; originally, it did not debut until Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (16-bit).
- The compilation includes a three-dimensional "Sonic World", where the player can freely move around as Sonic the Hedgehog. This feature allows players to access virtual museums which include the history of the Sonic series, artwork, music, promotional materials, as well as refreshed animated scenes from Sonic the Hedgehog CD. In addition to functioning as a hub, Sonic World also functions as its own game, utilizing missions such as Ring-collecting, reaching markers, or finding Tails. Completing all the missions would unlock the credits for Sonic Jam.
- The game fixes of some glitches, particularly in Sonic the Hedgehog 3. The games were not simply direct emulations like in later compilations, but rather elaborate ports to utilize the Sega Saturn hardware.
- Due to the fact that the Sega Saturn uses CD audio files, some of the audio in Sonic Jam is presented slightly different than they originally were on the Sega Mega Drive system. The version of Sonic the Hedgehog (16-bit) in this compilation uses the Invincible jingle from Sonic the Hedgehog (16-bit), though the VS mode uses the jungle from Sonic the Hedgehog (16-bit). The speed-up music is also a separate track on the CD, so the game restarts the Zone music when that power-up is used. There are some enhanced sound effects, particularly in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles where the sound effect for explosions (from monitors and enemies) is completely different.
- While the graphics are replicated perfectly on the Sega Saturn, there is one additional visual effect in original Sonic the Hedgehog. While Sonic halts to a stop while running, he leaves behind skid marks just like in later games. This is an effect from the original game's ROM, but never implemented in the game. So far, Sonic Jam contains the only version of the original Sonic the Hedgehog where this lost graphic appears.
Some of the port implementation is imperfect, however. In some moments, slowdown does occur where it did not in the original games. If too many sound effects are going on at once, the sound may glitch up as well. If the player crashes the game in debug mode of any game, the entire CD freezes as well. Finally, there are some additional graphical errors, most notably in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles - if Knuckles manages to trigger Dr. Robotnik as his opponent in Mushroom Hill Zone, the fought character will use both Robotnik and EggRobo's sprites.
|Saturn Control Pad||3D Control Pad|
(o mode)[note 1]
|Analog Thumb Pad||Move|
Enter building (Sonic World)
|Left/Right Shift Buttons||Triggers L/R||Rotate camera|
|X/Y/Z||Display button functions|
Change camera angle (Sonic World)
|Computer and Video Games||4/5|
|Electronic Gaming Monthly||8.125/10|
|Sega Saturn Magazine (JP)||8.33/10|
|Sega Saturn Magazine (UK)||92%|
Sonic Jam received generally positive reviews, holding an aggregate score of 77.55% at GameRankings, based on four reviews. The Sonic World was compared by many to the likes of Super Mario 64.
Lee Nutter of Sega Saturn Magazine in the United Kingdom gave the game a 92%, praising Sonic World above all else by saying that it "features some of the most astounding graphics witnessed on the Saturn." The next month's issue of the magazine would then come with a demo CD featuring Sonic Jam alongside Sonic 3D and two other games. Electronic Gaming Monthly would also cite Sonic World as the game's best trait, though they wondered why Sonic CD had not been included in the compilation.
- Sonic Jam was originally going to be called "Sonic Ages."
- In the Japanese version, the Character House in Sonic World lists Sonic's age as "15~16." However, the North American and European versions list his age as simply "16." Sonic's age would be officially established as 15 as of Sonic Adventure.
- An out-of-bounds glitch is present in Sonic World, where the player can find their way out of the stage and find endless land stretching in front of them.
- This game is the only instance of the original full name "Ivo Robotnik" appearing in Japan.
- The music that plays in the virtual museum is remixed for Sonic Generations, though the track itself is a mellowed-out version of the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 "File Select" theme.
- Unlike the Sega Saturn versions of Sonic 3D Blast and Sonic R, Sonic Jam did not get a port to Windows PCs, making this the only Saturn Sonic game to not be released on that platform.
- In the Game Select, the Japanese and European versions of Sonic Jam will display the American logos for each game rather than matching with those from the corresponding regions.
- When in + mode, the controls are the same as the standard Saturn Control Pad.
- Sonic Jam (Japanese). Sega. Archived from the original on 26 February 2000. Retrieved on 28 February 2022.
- Sonic Jam (Sega Saturn) United States instruction booklet, pgs. 3-4.
- LucasSaturn (31 October 2014). The Sonic Adventure Beta. Retrieved on 17 April 2018.
- Sonic Jam. GameRankings. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016.
- Lomas, Ed (September 1997). "Review: Sonic Jam". Computer and Video Games (190): 66-68. Archived from the original.
- "Review Crew: Sonic Jam". Electronic Gaming Monthly (99): 52. October 1997. Archived from the original.
- Special K (November 1997). "ProReview: Saturn: Sonic Jam". GamePro (110): 153. Archived from the original.
- Bumblebee Man (October 1997). Where's the Sonic Peanut Butter?. Game Revolution. Archived from the original on 18 June 2001.
- Rubenstein, Glenn (10 July 1997). Sonic Jam Review. GameSpot.
- O'Leary, Steve (October 1997). "Review: Saturn: Sonic Jam". Hyper (48): 72-73. Archived from the original.
- "Sega Saturn Soft Review: ソニックジャム" (in Japanese). Sega Saturn Magazine 21: 155. 27 June 1997. Archived from the original.
- Nutter, Lee (August 1997). "Sonic Jam". Sega Saturn Magazine (22): 68-69. Archived from the original.
- "NEXT MONTH A STUNNING DEMO CD". Sega Saturn Magazine (22): 3. August 1997. Archived from the original.