Sonic News Network

Know something we don't about Sonic? Don't hesitate in signing up today! It's fast, free, and easy, and you will get a wealth of new abilities, and it also hides your IP address from public view. We are in need of content, and everyone has something to contribute!

If you have an account, please log in.


Sonic News Network
Sonic News Network
This is a Sonic News Network Featured Article
"Sonic the Hedgehog (video game)" redirects here. For other uses of the term, see Sonic the Hedgehog (disambiguation).

It's Super SONIC

— Tagline

Sonic the Hedgehog (ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ Sonikku za Hejjihoggu?) is a 2D platformer video game developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega for the Sega Mega Drive. Featuring Sega's new mascot, the titular Sonic the Hedgehog, an anthropomorphic blue hedgehog who can run supersonic speeds, the game follows Sonic on his mission to rescue the Animals of South Island from the evil scientist Dr. Robotnik, who is turning the Animals into Badniks during his search for powerful relics known as the Chaos Emeralds. It is up to Sonic to rescue the Animals and secure the Chaos Emeralds before Robotnik can use them to conquer the world. This game served as the launch title for the famous video game franchise known as the Sonic the Hedgehog series.

The game was originally released for the Sega Mega Drive in North America and Europe on 23 June 1991,[2][3] with a Japanese release following a month later on 26 July.[1] Advertising its fast gameplay based on Sonic's extraordinary speed, the concept of a high-speed platform game was unique for its time and solidified the style of gameplay the series would be best known for. Due to the Mega Drive's Motorola 68000 processor, the power of the console would allow for faster gameplay (dubbed by some as "blast processing"), and impressive 16-bit graphics, making it much more powerful than Sega's preceding Master System.

The game was well praised by critics and was a massive commercial success, which gave the Mega Drive, and by extent Sega, a huge boost in popularity, enough so that Sega could directly compete with Nintendo, who soon followed up with the release of their Super Nintendo Entertainment System. This would result in what would be the first counterattack in a long company rivalry that lasted throughout the 90s. In recent years, the game has been ported numerous times on many other consoles, with some ports adding newer features to the original game.


Spoiler warning: Plot, ending details or any kind of information follow.

The title screen of Sonic the Hedgehog.

The story begins on South Island. This island is known for being a treasure trove of ruins and gems. Amongst these gems are the Chaos Emeralds, six gemstones with enough power to bring energy to all living beings, or power nuclear and laser weapons through science and technology. However, nobody really knows how to obtain these gems. This is because South Island is a moving island, with the Chaos Emeralds existing within natural distortions on the island.[6]

One day, danger comes upon South Island as Dr. Ivo Robotnik and his henchmen land on it. Cranky over how his long-time nemesis, Sonic the Hedgehog, always foils his plans for world domination, the evil genius scientist is once again up to his evil ways, intending to crush Sonic with the power of science.[6] Soon after his arrival, the doctor builds a huge fortress on one end of the island and begins to develop on it. He also begins hunting the Chaos Emeralds in order to harness their incredible power, swearing that he will find them even if he has to dig up the entire island.[7]

Upon learning of Robotnik's ambitions through rumors, Sonic rushes to South Island to stop the doctor. However, he notices that, compared to his past encounters with Robotnik, something is different. He soon after finds Robotnik, who gloats that he has caught all the local Animals and turned them into his mindless Badnik servants.[7] Unfazed by Robotnik's taunt, Sonic travels through the various Zones on South Island, freeing the Animals and defeating Robotnik and his various contraptions along the way while hunting for the Chaos Emeralds.

Eventually, Sonic arrives in Scrap Brain Zone. Upon finding Robotnik inside, the doctor presses a Switch that destroys the floor Sonic is standing on, dropping him into the ruins underneath the base. Making his way back into Robotnik's fortress, Sonic eventually enters a trap-ridden room with Robotnik in it. After Sonic destroys the room, a defenseless Robotnik tries to escape in his Egg Mobile. Before the forces of evil can escape, however, Sonic lands a final hit on Robotnik's Egg Mobile, causing him to slowly fall into a pit.[8]

With Robotnik's ambitions (and Scrap Brain Zone) crumbled, peace has returned to South Island, all Badniks have been destroyed, the Animals are liberated from their Capsules, and the island's treasures and jewels are safe once again. Sonic then returns to Green Hill Zone, where he finds the local Animals joyfully jumping around and celebrating his victory.[8] After that, the game's ending will depend on the player's process:

  • If the player did not manage to collect all six Chaos Emeralds, Sonic will give the player an annoyed look for not completing everything, but will nonetheless jump towards the screen and pose while the text "SONIC THE HEDGEHOG" appears to his left. Meanwhile, however, Robotnik will have secured the Chaos Emeralds for himself.[8] After the credits, the doctor will be shown on a black screen juggling the unobtained Emeralds while the text "TRY AGAIN" appears underneath him.
  • If the player manages to collect all six Chaos Emeralds, Sonic will run through Green Hill Zone. He will then release the Chaos Emeralds, which will disappear after filling the entire Zone with flowers. After being shocked by this for a split second, Sonic will then jump towards the screen in the same way as in the bad ending. Following the credits, an infuriated Robotnik will be shown jumping on the text "END".


Sonic in Green Hill Zone, the first Zone in the game.

Sonic the Hedgehog is a 2D side-scrolling platform video game. The only playable character here is Sonic the Hedgehog. The main goal of the game is to get through a series of Acts for different Zones in less than ten minutes. When passing through each Act, the player will be contending with different types of enemies called "Badniks" and various terrains that have different gimmicks and obstacles along them. The level designs all vary, each with different types of gimmicks and layouts that may differ between Zones. Along the way, the player can earn points by collecting items and defeating Badniks. In order to conclude the first two Acts of a Zone, the player has to pass a Goal Plate at the end of said Acts. To complete the final Act of most Zones on the other hand, the player typically has to open a Capsule at the end of the Act, after a boss fight. Also upon completing an Act, the player's overall score will be tallied, with bonus points being granted based on their performance.

Sonic's most basic ability is running, which can reach impressive speeds when momentum is build up, allowing him to run through loops or up ramps and launch himself high up into the air. For offensive maneuvers, Sonic has a full-body rolling maneuver called Super Sonic Spin Attack and a spinning jump called the Super Sonic Spin Jump. These techniques allow him to destroy breakable objects and enemies.

In Sonic the Hedgehog, the gameplay operates on a life system, while Sonic takes damage when touching a Badnik or hazard, or getting attacked by a boss or Badnik. Throughout the Acts however, Rings lie scattered about, which Sonic can pick up by simply touching them. Rings give an extra life after collecting 100 or 200 of them, grant points and protect the player from taking damage. If Sonic takes damage, they will drop all their Rings, though some can be recollected before they disappear. Taking damage without any Rings will cost the player a life. Sonic will also lose a life, regardless of the Rings he holds, if his spends too long underwater without replenishing his air supply (air underwater lasts for thirty seconds), falls into a bottomless pit, gets smashed to the ground by a crusher, or runs out of time. Losing a life makes the player start from the last Lamppost they touched, or from the beginning of the Act if they have not passed any Lampposts. If a player loses their last life, the game will end. Also scattered throughout each Act are Video Monitors which contain various power-ups beneficial to Sonic's performance.

if the player has at least fifty Rings on hand at the end of the first or second Act of a Zone, they will be able to enter one of six Special Stages through a Giant Ring that appears above the Goal Plate. Once the player has cleared all six Special Stages, the Giant Rings will no longer appear. If Sonic does not jump in before the Goal Plate stops spinning, he will automatically run off of the screen, preventing the player from entering the Special Stage. At the end of each Act, the player can also jump through the air during the score tallying to find invisible Secret Bonuses that are added to the score.

Beside the game's main goal, the player can also collect the Chaos Emeralds, which are earned by completing the different Special Stages. Collecting all six Emeralds and completing the Final Zone will unlock the game's good cinematic ending.

Scoring system


Button formation S1-Sonic-Life.png Movement
Controlpadds.png left/right Walk/Run
Controlpadds.png up Look up
Controlpadds.png down Look down/Crouch
A Button (Sega Genesis).svg/B Button (Sega Genesis).svg/C Button (Sega Genesis).svg Super Sonic Spin Attack
Controlpadds.png left/right + Controlpadds.png down Super Sonic Spin Attack



Gimmicks and obstacles


Playable characters

Non-playable characters



  1. Egg Wrecker (Green Hill Zone)
  2. Egg Scorcher (Marble Zone)
  3. Egg Stinger (Spring Yard Zone)
  4. Egg Mobile (Labyrinth Zone)
  5. Egg Spiker (Star Light Zone)
  6. Egg Crusher (Final Zone)


Sonic the Hedgehog has seven Zones. The first six of these Zones contain three full-length Acts, with the third having just a battle against a boss. The final Zone only consists of the final boss fight.

  1. Green Hill Zone
  2. Marble Zone
  3. Spring Yard Zone
  4. Labyrinth Zone
  5. Star Light Zone
  6. Scrap Brain Zone
  7. Final Zone

Special Stages

If Sonic finishes the first or second Act of any of the first five Zones with at least fifty Rings, a large, spinning Ring will appear. If the player jumps into it, they will warp into a "Special Stage", which conceals one of the six Chaos Emeralds. In these stages, Sonic, in ball form, falls through a series of rotating mazes.

If the player can avoid the "GOAL" spheres along parts of the stage's walls, which are presumably labeled as such to entice the player into exiting the Special Stage, they will eventually find the Chaos Emerald encased in colored diamonds; touching the diamonds repeatedly will cause them to change color from blue, to green, to yellow, to pink and then ultimately disappear, allowing access to the Emerald. The stage will end when Sonic either touches the Emerald or hits a "GOAL" sign. If fifty Rings are collected before ending the stage, then a 'Continue' will be awarded to the player, indicated by a brief, distinct change in melody.

There are a total of ten opportunities to get Chaos Emeralds, meaning the player can fail a Special Stage up to four times if all six Emeralds are to be collected before the end of the game. Scrap Brain Zone does not have a Giant Ring at the end of both of its acts even when finishing with fifty rings, despite the acts ending before it. If the player fails a stage, that one is skipped and is returned to after attempting the sixth and final Special Stage.

It is stated in the North American and European manuals that a One-Up item can be found in Special Stages, but they are not seen anywhere unless placed in the game's secret Debug Mode. It is possible, however, to earn extra lives by collecting a hundred Rings in a single stage, indicated by the same sound used in the main zones.


During the 1980s, Sega had limited success with the Sega Mega Drive ports of its games for the Arcade system. Regardless, they sought a stronger foothold against its main competitor, Nintendo.[9] Earlier on, in 1988, Sega of Japan started an in-house competition to find a character that could stand his ground against Nintendo's Mario[10] in a game capable of selling more than 1,000,000 copies. This led to both programmers and designers at Sega working on a brand new character to rival Mario for the next three years.[11] Eventually, in 1990, Sega ordered its in-house development studio to develop a game that involved a mascot for their company.[12][13] Sega wanted a character to rival Nintendo's flagship mascot Mario; Sega president Hayao Nakayama in particular wanted a character as iconic as Mickey Mouse.[9] Sega had previously used Alex Kidd as their mascot, but because he was considered too similar to Mario, he was deemed unsatisfactory.[12]

Over time, the team at Sega would develop ideas for characters, an engine, and gameplay mechanics. Various characters were proposed to star the game. These included a wolf, a bulldog, a robot, and a warrior character. As the game development put emphasis on speed in particular, it prompted Sega to consider fast creatures, such as kangaroos and squirrels, while eliminating character designs not associated with fast animals.[12] One of these ideas involved a rabbit who could grab objects with prehensile ears. It showed potential, but was too complex for the Sega Mega Drive hardware. Afterward, the team narrowed its search down to animals that could roll into a ball, based on the idea for an attack-based move, which led them to consider armadillos and hedgehogs.[9][14] The hedgehog character, which was proposed by Naoto Ohshima,[13] ultimately prevailed, while the armadillo design led to the creation of Mighty the Armadillo, who would debut in SegaSonic the Hedgehog.[12] After that, Ohshima went on vacation to New York, taking sketches with him. There, he went to Central Park, where he would ask locals for their opinions on them, which led to Sonic being deemed the favorite. A man with a moustache, who eventually became Dr. Robotnik, came in second place.[15]

Concept artwork for "Mr. Hedgehog", who would later become Sonic the Hedgehog.

During the design of Sonic, Sonic was originally colored teal.[13] He was later given a light shade of blue, but that got changed to dark blue so he would stand out against certain backgrounds[16] and so that he would match the color of the Sega logo. According to Ohshima, Sonic's basic design was created by combining Felix the Cat's head with Mickey Mouse's body.[17] His shoes, on the other hand, had buckles that drew inspiration from Michael Jackson's boots on the album cover for Bad and Santa Claus's red and white color scheme, whom Ohshima deemed the most "famous character in the world".[13] Meanwhile, his personality was inspired by then-future president of the United States Bill Clinton's "get it done" attitude, who Ohshima felt embodied a modern sensibility of wanting to get things done right away, righting wrongs as they presented themselves instead of letting them linger.[18][19][20] According to Yuji Naka, Sonic's color was also meant to symbolize peace, trust, and coolness, which are the attributes of Sonic's character. Sonic's spikes were emphasized to make him look sleeker, and he was given the ability to spin while jumping so that attacking and jumping could be controlled with a single button.[21] This new character was originally named "Mr. Hedgehog",[22] but the eight-member team[23] changed his name to "Sonic" and took the unofficial name Sonic Team.[9] Ohshima stated that "Sonic" was chosen because it represented speed.[24] However, Sonic was created without the ability to swim because of a mistaken assumption by Naka that all hedgehogs could not do so.[25]

Ideas proposed to flesh out the character included placing Sonic in a rock band, giving him notable fangs, and giving him a human girlfriend named Madonna,[26] but Sega of America scrapped these ideas to keep his identity simple. Sega of America also expressed concerns that most Americans would not know what a hedgehog is and initially proposed a full-scale recreation of the character. However, compromises with Sonic Team led to them making some simple design changes instead.[13] Meanwhile, the main antagonist of the game got named "Dr. Eggman" in Japan and "Dr. Robotnik" in other regions due to a dispute between Sega's American and Japanese divisions.[17]

Having completed their protagonist, Sega would turn to Yuji Naka, a programmer who had impressed them with his work on Phantasy Star and the Sega Mega Drive port of Ghouls 'n Ghosts.[13] With Naka being a fan of Super Mario Bros., but desired something with a faster gameplay, the game was made to play quickly,[27] which was where Naka focused most of his effort.[28] Naka explained that the reason he wanted a fast game was that he had ported Ghouls 'n Ghosts, and wanted to work on its movement, but found it slow.[29]

The game that would become Sonic the Hedgehog was developed by a team of seven: two programmers, two sound engineers, and three designers,[29] although it began with just Naka and Ohshima.[24] People came onto the team as content for the game increased.[24] After being assigned a project with the code name "Defeat Mario", Naka and Ohshima began working together on the game. However, they eventually encountered problems: Ohshima's Rabbit proved hard to program. In addition, catching items and throwing them broke the action's rhythm. Furthermore, Naka stated that the rabbit was not suitable for his game engine and that he wanted the game to be playable with only one button. As such, Hirokazu Yasuhara joined the team to supervise Naka and Ohshima and develop levels. Eventually, his greater experience led to him becoming the game's lead designer. He also found the way to make the game playable with only one button by having Sonic do damage while jumping. From there, the trio came up with the idea of Sonic rolling into a ball. After the hedgehog character was chosen, many characters were redrawn, and the team agreed on the environments' visual complexity, with particular focus on the colors. After this, four people came onto the team to speed up the development.[30]

Because of Mario's popularity, Naka wanted Sonic to take over the American market. Sonic's default speed was set to that of Mario while running. Tests were run using the Genesis' tool library, and problems such as flickering, slow frame rates, and shaky animation soon became apparent. In addition, increasing Sonic's speed caused animation problems. However, Naka would solve this issue by developing an algorithm that would retain fluidity. At the end, all that was left was to optimize the game speed to adhere to the staff's expectations. However, the team noticed that different people had different perceptions of the game's speed: some believed it was too fast, which caused disagreements. Ultimately, it was decided to slow the game's pace down.[30]

The gameplay originated with Naka's tech demo, who developed an algorithm allowing a sprite to move smoothly on a curve by determining its position with a dot matrix. Naka's prototype ended up involving a platform game with a fast-moving character rolling in a ball through a long, winding tube. This concept would be fleshed out with Ohshima's character designs and levels by Yasuhara.[31] Originally, Yasuhara wanted to work on the game for three months due to the delay of his planned move to the United States by the outbreak of the Gulf War. However, he ended up being engrossed in the project for nearly a year.[31][32] His designs for levels were intended to attract both hardcore and casual gamers by integrating occasional challenging set pieces into the mostly accessible level design.[13] The color scheme was influenced by the work of pop artist Eizin Suzuki, and the aesthetics of Green Hill Zone were influenced by the geography of California.[13]

When it came to designing the gameplay, Naka was inspired by Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of the Super Mario games, whose games he had enjoyed playing years earlier. Admiring the simplicity of Miyamoto's mechanics in complex environments, Naka decided that Sonic would be controlled with only a directional pad for movement and a single button for jumping. He also wanted his creation to be more action-oriented than the Mario series;[33] while playing Super Mario Bros., he would wonder why the game's levels could not be cleared faster.[13]

Over time, Naka, Ohshima, and Yasuhara would work nineteen hours a day on the project for several months.[31] Due to the need to demonstrate the Sega Mega Drive's technological prowess, the game underwent extensive testing and redesign, which took over six months. According to Naka, the game had the fastest-ever character speed in a video game and a rotation effect in the Special Stages that had been considered impossible on the console.[33]

The team originally intended to add a two-player mode displayed via split-screen, but Naka's programming knowledge was not enough to implement it. However, a two-player mode would appear in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, whereby the second player would control Sonic's sidekick, Miles "Tails" Prower.[13] Sonic Team also intended to include a Sound Test with animations of Sonic breakdancing to a band of animal characters, dubbed the Sonic the Hedgehog Band; including a crocodile keyboardist who was later introduced to the series as Vector the Crocodile in Knuckles' Chaotix.[34] In the end, the Sound Test was scrapped due to time reasons and Naka used the freed up memory to add the "Se-ga!" chant used in TV commercials as a start-up sound.[34]

One of the concepts for the hero of what eventually would be known as Sonic the Hedgehog. This character would later be slightly modified to become the main antagonist of the game, Dr. Robotnik.

Unfortunately, Naka's relationship with Sega was tenuous during this time, and he received little credit for his work. He left the company shortly after the game's release, although Sega of America hired him later. Before leaving, however, he defied Sega's prohibition of developer credits by displaying a few names in black text on a black background, identifiable only by looking at the code.[17] Naka stated that level design was a major challenge: he created maps much wider than normal and tried to ensure players would not get lost. It took him around eight months to develop Green Hill Zone as he kept restarting from scratch.[28][30] He stated that he found the process "very interesting".[28] Naka also stated that the team was trying to create smooth maps, and that implementing looping structures was a challenge because Sonic would break through them instead of running around them. The backgrounds were also a challenge, as the game's speed created the impression of going backwards.[29] The Zones were based on designs by Naka and Ohshima, with the goal of creating the world's fastest action game. According to Ohshima, Robotnik was based on Humpty Dumpty.[35]

Yasuhara wanted the game to appeal to both Japanese and American players, which led to Green Hill Zone being redesigned many times. Sonic Team also wanted the level to portray the character correctly. Its checkered ground was inspired by 3D image rendering from computers, an idea Naka obtained from Sega developer Yu Suzuki, who used this technique with Space Harrier. The team read Famitsu magazines to stay informed of what their rivals were doing so they could avoid their mistakes.[30]

When it came to the packaging and release, Game-package illustrator Akira Watanabe stated that his goal was to make the characters "colorful", using clear lines and gradation to "finish them neatly".[36] According to Watanabe, the developers asked him to create a package design "similar to pop art;... without being particular to conventional packages" – something "original" and "stylish".[36] However, the game was not revealed until the January 1991 International Consumer Electronics Show because Sega wanted to wait until the right time and because they saw an opportunity to "steal the show". At the show, Sonic the Hedgehog was believed to be the most impressive game shown, and won the CES award for innovation.[37]

Sega of America CEO Tom Kalinske wanted reassurance that Sonic would not fail. The global head of marketing, Al Nilsen, became involved, and play-tested the game across the United States with Mario fans: they were shown Mario and then played Sonic the Hedgehog. Ultimately, 80 percent preferred Sonic the Hedgehog, and the game was shown at the 1991 Summer Consumer Electronics Show.[38] Eventually, Sonic the Hedgehog was released in North America on 23 June 1991,[33] and in PAL regions and Japan the following month.[39][40] In November 1991, Sega of America packaged it with American Genesis consoles,[41][42] replacing Altered Beast. This tactic enabled Sega of America to sell fifteen million Sega Mega Drive units.[37] Mega Drive owners who bought their consoles before the switch could request free copies of Sonic the Hedgehog by mail.[33] Sega of America created a marketing campaign, making Sonic its new mascot.[13]


The album cover for Sonic the Hedgehog 1&2 Soundtrack.

Having connections to the music industry, Sega director Fujio Minegishi suggested that his friend Yūzō Kayama wrote the Sonic score. However, Sonic Team did not think Kayama's music would fit, and so commissioned Masato Nakamura, bassist and songwriter of the J-pop band Dreams Come True.[13][43] Nakamura said he was surprised, as he had just started with Dreams Come True, but accepted as he was inspired by the team's desire to outperform Nintendo. He also stated that the hardest part was working with the limited number of sounds that could play concurrently: being limited to four, he said that his lack of knowledge of music on computers made it "impossible". Regardless, he wrote the soundtrack concurrently with the Dreams Come True album Million Kisses.[30][44] After he finished the compositions, they were digitized using an Atari ST and the program Notator.[45]

The main theme of the game, which would play, among others, on the title screen, would be reused in several subsequent games in the Sonic series and would remain as its hallmark. In addition, another popular song from the game would be the theme for Green Hill Zone, which would be reused and remixed for several other games in the series.

On 19 October 2011, over twenty years after the release of Sonic the Hedgehog, a three-disc compilation of music from Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was released in Japan as the album Sonic the Hedgehog 1&2 Soundtrack. The first disc featured original tracks from both games, the second contained Nakamura's demo recordings before they were programmed into the Sega Mega Drive, and the third had songs by Dreams Come True and their associated Akon remixes.[46]


These are the achievements which add to the player's Gamerscore on the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network versions of Sonic the Hedgehog.

Icon Name Requirements Trophy Class Gamescore
Clear Green.jpg Clear Green Clear Green Hill Zone.
PSN Trophy Bronze.png
Star Light Zone.jpg Star Light Zone Get to Star Light Zone.
PSN Trophy Bronze.png
Spring Yard Zone.jpg Spring Yard Zone Get to Spring Yard Zone.
PSN Trophy Bronze.png
Labyrinth Zone.jpg Labyrinth Zone Get to Labyrinth Zone.
PSN Trophy Bronze.png
Fast Green.jpg Fast Green Beat Green Hill Zone Act 1 in under 35 seconds.
PSN Trophy Bronze.png
Chaos Emerald.jpg Chaos Emerald Get one Chaos Emerald.
PSN Trophy Silver.png
Centurion.jpg Centurion Get 100 or more Rings.
PSN Trophy Bronze.png
Fast Marble.jpg Fast Marble Beat Marble Zone Act 1 in under 80 seconds.
PSN Trophy Bronze.png
Win.jpg Win Beat the game.
PSN Trophy Silver.png
Fast Win.jpg Fast Win Beat the game in under 40 minutes.
PSN Trophy Silver.png
Chaos Master.jpg Chaos Master Get all the Chaos Emeralds.
PSN Trophy Silver.png
Perfect Win.jpg Perfect Win Beat the game without dying.
PSN Trophy Gold.png


Sega sponsored the "Wonder 3" tour of Dreams Come True, painting Sonic on the tour bus, distributing pamphlets advertising the game, and having footage of the game broadcast above stage prior to its release.[47][44]

Cheat codes

  • Level Select: At the title screen, press Controlpadds.png ↑ ↓ ← → then hold A Button (Sega Genesis).svg and press Start.[note 1]
  • Debug Mode: At the title screen, press Controlpadds.pngC Button (Sega Genesis).svgC Button (Sega Genesis).svgC Button (Sega Genesis).svgC Button (Sega Genesis).svg (or C Button (Sega Genesis).svg C Button (Sega Genesis).svg ↑ ↓ ← →) Start then hold A Button (Sega Genesis).svg until the game starts.[note 1]


The regular cover of Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog #288.

Numerous adaptations and references to Sonic the Hedgehog have been made in several spin-offs series for the Sonic the Hedgehog series.

It has been stated that the events of the game have taken place in the Sonic the Comic series published by Fleetway Editions. While no direct adaptation was made, the events of the game were referenced in Sonic the Comic #26, "Kintobor spelled backwards is...".

An adaptation of Sonic the Hedgehog was later made in the Sonic X comic series published by Archie Comics in Sonic X #10-#11, as part of the "No Thanks for the Memories!" storyline. Unlike in the original game however, this adaptation takes place within a virtual world. Archie Comics later made another adaptation of Sonic the Hedgehog as part of their "Genesis" arc, in Sonic the Hedgehog #226-#227. It has also been stated that the events of the game have taken place within the Post-Super Genesis Wave timeline. An adaptation of the game's events in that timeline was later made in Sonic the Hedgehog #288 as the first part of the "Genesis of a Hero" storyline.


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 90.14%[48]
Review scores
Publication Score
Beep! MegaDrive 9.25/10[49]
Computer and Video Games 94%[50]
Electronic Gaming Monthly 9/10[51]
GameSpot 7.3/10[52]
IGN 8/10[53]
Mean Machines 92%[3]
Nintendo Life 8/10 (Wii)[54]
Sega Power 97%[55]
Entertainment Weekly A+[56]
Entity Award
Golden Joystick Awards Overall Game of the Year[57]
Electronic Gaming Monthly Best Game of the Year[58]

The original Sonic the Hedgehog was very well received by critics, scoring 90.14% on GameRankings.[48] The game was an instant success that allowed Sega to wrap their video game business around and have a platformer to compete with Nintendo's Super Mario franchise.[54] The gameplay, audio and graphics were praised by reviewers.

IGN reviewer Lucas M. Thomas gave Sonic the Hedgehog an 8/10, praising the simple but fast gameplay, the soundtrack and commended that "few people realize how difficult it was to create Sonic's graphics engine, which allowed for the incredible rate of speed the game's known for. The technical achievement impressed back in '91, and still does so today."[53] GameSpot reviewer Greg Kasavin gave the game a 7.3/10, praising the great soundtrack and memorable sound effects, the fast-paced, responsive platformer action and cute, colorful graphics [that] have a good deal of charm and personality although he felt that the later levels can get frustrating tough, requiring meticulous memorization.[52] Mean Machines called the Sonic the Hedgehog "the best platform game on the Megadrive!"[3] Sega Power's rating of 97% was their highest score as of September 1991, ending their review by stating: "If you're a Master System owner, then by[sic] a Mega Drive just for this!"


Image Title Platform Description
Sonic Classics 3 in 1 - Sega Genesis.jpg Sonic Compilation
(later re-released as Sonic Classics)
Sega Mega Drive Included along with Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine in 1995.
Sega Classic.png N/A Re-released in 1995 in a new package under a "Sega Classics" logo.
Mega6.jpg Mega 6 Volume 3 Released in 1995 consisting of six Sega games, one of which was Sonic the Hedgehog.
SixPackNA.jpg 6-Pak Released in 1996 consisting of six Sega games, one of which was Sonic the Hedgehog.
Arcade title screen.png N/A Arcade This was one of the games adapted for release in arcades using MegaPlay and MegaTech technology in 1993. The game is almost identical to the console version except Labyrinth Zone and Scrap Brain Zone's Act 3s have been removed.
Sonic Jam USA Cover.jpg Sonic Jam Sega Saturn Playable in the 1997 game, with a new Spin Dash option being added that also fixes the so-called "Spike Bug".
Sega Smash Pack (DreamCast).jpg Sega Smash Pack Volume 1 Dreamcast Included in this compilation that released in 2001.
Sega Genesis Collection.jpg SEGA Genesis Collection PlayStation 2/PlayStation Portable Released in 2006, including 28 different Sega Mega Drive games.
Sonic mega collection.jpg Sonic Mega Collection Nintendo GameCube Released in 2002.
Sonic Mega Collection plus.jpg Sonic Mega Collection Plus PlayStation 2/PC/Xbox Released in 2004.
Sonic Mega Collection Plus, Super Monkey Ball Deluxe 2 in 1 combo pack.jpg 2 in 1 combo pack: Sonic Mega Collection Plus / Super Monkey Ball Deluxe Xbox Released in 2005.
Gc sonic gems collection p o5pa9w.jpg Sonic Gems Collection Nintendo GameCube/PlayStation 2 Includes only the final boss of this game in the museum mode. If the Final Zone is beaten in under the time limit, the player can continue on to the beginning of the game until the timer runs out.
Sonic1-2005-cafe-title.png Sonic the Hedgehog Mobile In 2005, this game was ported to mobile phones and was offered on the Sonic Cafe service in Japan.
Sth Mobile 2.PNG Sonic the Hedgehog Mobile An emulated version of the game that was released for download on Mobile phones in 2005, under the Sega Mobile banner. However, the game is split into two parts. Part 1 contains the first 3 zones, while Part 2 contains the last three.
Sega Mega drive collection 1.JPG Sega Mega Drive Collection Vol. 1 Play TV Legends This is a game console which is part of the Play TV Legends plug-and-play series. It has 6 built-in games that can be played when the console is connected to the TV, with the title game being Sonic the Hedgehog. This was released in Europe and the United States in 2005.
Super Sonic Gold.jpg Super Sonic Gold This is a console that has 4 built in games and no cartridge slot. Released in the United States and Europe in 2005.
Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis.jpg Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis Game Boy Advance While it added Spin Dash and save features, the port is considered of extremely poor quality due to incompetent programming.
Sth iPod.jpg Sonic the Hedgehog iPod iTunes released a "Click Wheel Game" version of the game for download under the Sega Mobile banner. It was compatible with the iPod Nano (3rd, 4th, 5th Generation) and iPod classic (5th Generation). Not to be confused with the iOS port.
Sonic iphone.png N/A iOS Ported to iOS in May 2009. This version's distribution has been discontinued, replaced by an entirely different port using the Retro Engine.
Sonic download.jpg Wii Available for download on the Wii's Virtual Console.
Boxsonichedgehog.jpg Xbox 360 Available for download on the Xbox 360's Xbox Live Arcade service, released on 7 November 2007.[59]
Sonic1PlaySEGA.jpg Browser Made available for the PlaySEGA browser game service in 2008.
SUGC boxart.jpg Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 Released in 2009.
SonicPCCollection.jpg Sonic PC Collection PC Released in only New Zealand and Australia in 2009. This compilation includes Sonic Mega Collection Plus, which features Sonic the Hedgehog.
SCC FRONT 12 2 lrg.jpg Sonic Classic Collection Nintendo DS Released in 2010.
Mega-Drive Classic Collection Volume 1 (UK).jpg Sega Mega Drive Classic Collection - Volume 1 PC This collection includes a total of ten classic Sega titles.
Sonic1 PS3 Icon.jpg N/A PlayStation 3 Available for download on the PlayStation Network service. Available to PlayStation Plus Members (for Free) from 1 March 2011 to 5 April 2011. Available to Regular Users 29 March 2011.
N/A Android (Kyocera Echo only) Available for download on Kyocera Echo via G-Gee by Gmo. It was available for free (including other games by G-Gee and Sega's Super Monkey Ball) for a short period of time.
Gens.png Sonic Generations Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 Playable from the hub world, being unlocked after a Genesis controller is purchased from the Skill Shop. This version keeps track of time (similar to the release of Sonic Jam). In addition, a new bonus feature can be unlocked via the Skill Shop - infinite continues. The Xbox 360 version lacks the level select code, but the PlayStation 3 version has it intact. It is removed from the PC version in favor of slightly enriching the core game experience.
VC3DS 3DSonic1.png 3D Sonic the Hedgehog Nintendo 3DS As a celebration of the Sega Mega Drive's 25th anniversary in Japan, Sega released another port of the original Sonic the Hedgehog, which is part of series of Mega Drive games re-released to take advantage of 3D. The port also features Spin Dash as an optional move, Stage Select feature, input settings, sound settings, the option to toggle the original revisions, and separate display settings with stereoscopic sense to create a 3D experience. It is was released in Japan on 15 May 2013,[60] and in North America and PAL Regions on 5 December 2013.[61][62]
Sega-3d-classics-collection-656x584.jpg Sega 3D Classics Collection This compilation title takes advantage of stereoscopic 3D to create a unique experience.
Sonic-1-Android-1.png Sonic the Hedgehog iOS/Android Developed by Christian Whitehead and Headcannon, this remastered edition of the original game includes several new features; an optional Spin Dash, Miles "Tails" Prower and Knuckles the Echidna being playable characters, and an expanded Level Select and Debug Mode.
Sonic the Hedgehog - Sega Ages.png Sega Ages: Sonic the Hedgehog Nintendo Switch Re-released as part of the Sega AGES line for the Nintendo Switch, this version includes some features such as the Spin Dash and Drop Dash from Sonic Mania, along with two new modes: Ring Keep Mode and Time Attack. It was released on September 20, 2018.
N/A N/A Tesla Arcade[63] On 12 December 2021, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed that Sonic the Hedgehog would be coming to Tesla infotainment systems.[64][65] The inclusion of the game is part of the partnership between Sega and Tesla, as the game would be available in all Tesla models around the world via the built-in display screen in conjunction with a handheld controller connected through the car's USB ports.[66] The port was released on 22 December 2021 in limited form during the Tesla’s 2021 holiday update.[67]
Sonic-Origins-Cover.png Sonic Origins Xbox Series X and Series S/Xbox One/PlayStation 5/PlayStation 4/Nintendo Switch/PC (Steam/Epic Games Store) Released on 23 June 2022 to celebrate the Sonic series' 30th anniversary. In addition to a remaster version of Sonic the Hedgehog, this game in the compilation contains additional modes, new cutscenes, and Missions. Additionally, the game includes Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles as playable characters, and the Drop Dash for Sonic.


  • There are two versions of the game. This revision is common in Japan, but contrary to popular belief it was released worldwide in smaller quantities. This update makes some very minor changes to the game's programming, as well as adds some visual effects such as scrolling clouds in Green Hill Zone or water ripples in Labyrinth Zone. It also corrects the Zone order on the Level Select. This version of the game is used in most subsequent releases. In addition, the scrolling clouds return in most appearances of Green Hill Zone.
  • Rui Sousa holds the high score for Sonic the Hedgehog: 1,559,180. He achieved this on 21 March 2015.[68]
  • Strangely, the PlayStation Network port of the game was rated E10+ by the ESRB. However, that has been changed to an E rating in 2013.
  • In the G4 special Top 100 Video Games of All Time, the game was ranked at #50.[69]
  • The game was listed in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die. In addition, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Sonic Adventure were also listed.[70]
  • The release date of this game, 23 June, is also the canonical birthday of Sonic the Hedgehog.



  1. 1.0 1.1 Does not work on the Xbox Live Arcade or PlayStation Network version of the game, nor in the unlockable mini-game in the Xbox 360 version of Sonic Generations.


  1. 1.0 1.1 メガドライブ カートリッジ(セガ発売) (Japanese). Sega (JP). Archived from the original on 20 July 2020. Retrieved on 23 December 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Dobson, Jason (23 June 2006). Sonic The Hedgehog Celebrates 15th Anniversary. Gamasutra. Retrieved on 27 August 2009.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 "Megadrive Review: Sonic the Hedgehog". Mean Machines (10): 42-44. July 1991. Archived from the original.
  4. Virtual Console, page 1 (Japanese). Nintendo. Archived from the original on 3 February 2018.
  5. Sonic the Hedgehog. Nintendo. Archived from the original on 22 November 2010.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega Mega Drive) Japanese instruction booklet, pgs. 11-12.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Sonic the Hedgehog (Sega Mega Drive), Japanese instruction booklet, pgs. 13-14.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 (in Japanese) ソニックジャム オフィシャルガイド. SoftBank. 2 October 1997. p. 30. ISBN 978-4797303377.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Kennedy, Sam . Sonic Boom. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved on 24 September 2014.
  10. "Sonic: A brief history". MegaTech (No. 26): 24. 20 January 1994. Archived from the original.
  11. "Feature: When did you get yours?". Mega (4): 16–20. December 1992. Archived from the original.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Thomas, Lucas M. (20 January 2007). Sonic the Hedgehog VC Review. IGN. Retrieved on 23 February 2014.
  13. 13.00 13.01 13.02 13.03 13.04 13.05 13.06 13.07 13.08 13.09 13.10 13.11 "The Making of Sonic the Hedgehog". Retro Gamer (Bournemouth: Imagine Publishing) (100): 46–49. February 2012. ISSN 1742-3155.
  14. Sega Visions Interview with Yuji Naka (October 1992). Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved on 28 June 2007.
  15. Sonic the Hedgehog's origin story, according to the devs who made him. Game Developer (21 March 2018). Archived from the original on 1 February 2022. Retrieved on 22 February 2022.
  16. Horowitz, Ken (5 December 2006). Interview: Mark Cerny. Sega-16. Retrieved on 12 October 2014. "Mark Cerny: Sonic had been a lighter blue, but he was very hard to see against the ocean backgrounds, so his color was darkened at the last moment."
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Claiborn, Samuel (26 June 2014). 21 Crazy Facts About Sonic and the Console War He Started. IGN. Retrieved on 13 February 2014.
  18. Sheffield, Brandon . Out of the Blue: Naoto Ohshima Speaks. Gamasutra. Retrieved on 13 December 2009.
  19. Yahoo Playback . Yahoo Playback #94. Yahoo!. Archived from the original on 15 December 2009. Retrieved on 13 December 2009.
  20. Ashcraft, Brian . Sonic's Shoes Inspired by Michael Jackson. Kotaku. Retrieved on 13 December 2009.
  21. Ponce, Tony (27 February 2013). Review: The History of Sonic The Hedgehog. Destructoid. Retrieved on 11 October 2014.
  22. Yuji Naka on Twitter (Japanese). Twitter (24 January 2021). Archived from the original on 24 January 2021. "悔しいのでもう一度挑戦しましたがもっと判らなかった感じです。「セガの看板キャラクターであるソニック。世に出る前に彼に付けられていた名前を選べ」と言う問題が判りませんでした。作った人なのにね
  23. "Interview with Yuji Naka: The Creator of Sonic The Hedgehog". Sega Visions 3, no. 9: 20. August–September 1992.
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 Naoto Ohshima (2013). "The History Of Sonic The Hedgehog". in Les Editions Pix'n Love (ed.)]. Interview With Naoto Ôshima. UDON Entertainment Corp. pp. 96–101. ISBN 978-1-926778-96-9.
  25. Revealed: Why Sonic can't swim (February 2009). Retrieved on 27 February 2009.
  26. Loveridge, Sam (23 June 2016). 14 things you didn't know about Sonic the Hedgehog. Digital Spy. Retrieved on 10 June 2017.
  27. "Sonic Boom: The Success Story Of Sonic The Hedgehog". Retro Gamer Sega Archives (Bournemouth: Imagine Publishing): 50–59. 2016. ISBN 978-1-78546-372-3.
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Yuji Naka (2014). Yuji Naka Game Designer. Read-Only Memory. pp. 278-279. ISBN 978-0-9575768-1-0.
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 Yuji Naka (2013). "The History Of Sonic The Hedgehog". in Les Editions Pix'n Love (ed.)]. Interview With Yuji Naka. UDON Entertainment Corp. pp. 90–95.. ISBN 978-1-926778-96-9.
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 30.3 30.4 Les Editions Pix'n Love, ed (2013). "Zone 1 Genesis". The History Of Sonic the Hedgehog. Ontario: UDON Entertainment Corp. pp. 20–33. ISBN 978-1-926778-96-9.
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 GI Staff (August 2003). "Sonic's Architect: GI Interviews Hirokazu Yasuhara". Game Informer (124): 114–116.
  32. Thomason, Steve (January 2007). "Birth of a Hedgehog". Nintendo Power (Future Publishing) (211): 72.
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 33.3 "The Making of ... Sonic The Hedgehog". Edge (Future Publishing) (101): 118–121. September 2001. ISSN 1350-1593. "Sonic was delivering [the kind of] high speed no other [game] was capable of, and the Mega Drive allowed this stunning demonstration of rotation during the bonus stages. This was said to be impossible on the hardware at the time."
  34. 34.0 34.1 Kemps, Heidi (30 September 2005). Sega's Yuji Naka Talks!. Gamespy. Retrieved on 23 September 2004.
  35. Naoto Ohshima (2014). "Naoto Ohshima Visual Designer". Sega Mega Drive/Genesis Collected Works. Read-Only Memory. pp. 328-329. ISBN 978-0-9575768-1-0.
  36. 36.0 36.1 Sega Video Game Illustrations. Nippon Shuppan Hanbai (Deutschland) GmbH. 1994. ISBN 3-910052-50-9.
  37. 37.0 37.1 Les Editions Pix'n Love, ed (2013). "Zone 2 A New Face In The Magazines". The History Of Sonic the Hedgehog. Ontario: UDON Entertainment Corp. pp. 34–41. ISBN 978-1-926778-96-9.
  38. Stuart, Keith (2014). "The Blue Blur". in Wall, Darren]. Sega Mega Drive/Genesis Collected Works. Read-Only Memory. pp. 20–24. ISBN 978-0-9575768-1-0.
  39. Leadbetter, Rich; Glancey, Paul (July 1991). "Mega Drive Review: Sonic the Hedgehog". Mean Machines (10): 42–44. ISSN 0960-4952. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016.. Retrieved on 9 February 2012.
  40. [セガハード大百科] メガドライブ対応ソフトウェア(セガ発売 (Japanese). Sega. Archived from the original on 24 November 2012. Retrieved on 18 December 2015.
  41. Lynch, Dennis (29 November 1991). Super NES, Sega Genesis in 16-bit duel. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved on 8 September 2021.
  42. "Games for Grown-Ups: Speedy sprites". Popular Mechanics (Hearst Magazines) (168): 76. December 1991. Archived from the original. Retrieved on 3 January 2017.
  43. "ソニックチーム物語" (in Japanese). Sega Magazine (SoftBank Creative): 9–13. January 1997. Archived from the original on 17 December 2019..
  44. 44.0 44.1 Sega of America . Interview with Masato Nakamura. Sonic Central. Sega. Archived from the original on 23 December 2008.
  45. Nakamura, Masato (17 February 2021). "Emerald Hill Zone"! DREAMS COME TRUE. Dreams Come True. Retrieved on 24 May 2021.
  46. 中村正人 from DREAMS COME TRUE / ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ1&2 サウンドトラック【CD】 (Japanese). Universal Music Japan. Retrieved on 20 February 2015.
  47. Masato Nakamura interview (Flash). Sonic Central. Sega. Archived from the original on 23 December 2008. Retrieved on 7 February 2006.
  48. 48.0 48.1 Sonic the Hedgehog for Genesis. GameRankings. Archived from the original on 9 March 2009. Retrieved on 23 December 2014.
  49. "BE Mega Dog Race: ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ" (in Japanese). Beep! Mega Drive 3: 33. August 1991. Archived from the original.
  50. Boone, Tim; Rand, Paul (August 1991). "Review: Sonic the Hedgehog". Computer and Video Games (117): 16-19. Archived from the original.
  51. "Review Crew: Sonic the Hedgehog". Electronic Gaming Monthly (24): 24. July 1991. Archived from the original.
  52. 52.0 52.1 Casavin, Greg (19 November 2006). Sonic the Hedgehog Review. GameSpot. Retrieved on 23 December 2014.
  53. 53.0 53.1 Thomas, Lucas M. (26 January 2007). Sonic the Hedgehog VC Review. IGN. Retrieved on 23 December 2014.
  54. 54.0 54.1 Dillard, Corbie (19 November 2006). Sonic the Hedgehog Review (MD). NintendoLife. Archived from the original on 28 November 2019.
  55. "Mega Drive: Sonic the Hedgehog". Sega Power (22): 9-11. September 1991. Archived from the original.
  56. Strauss, Bob (23 August 1991). Sonic The Hedgehog. Entertainment Weekly.
  57. Douglas, Jim (May 1992). "News: Luvvies! Dahlings!". The One (44): 17. Archived from the original.
  58. "EGM's Best and Worst 1991". Electronic Gaming Monthly (1992 Video Game Buyer's Guide): 60,61. January 1992. Archived from the original.
  59. Xbox LIVE Arcade: Sonic The Hedgehog. Xbox. Archived from the original on 15 July 2008.
  60. 3D Sonic the Hedgehog. Sega.
  61. Sega 3D Classics Confirmed for Western Release. Sonic Stadium (19 July 2013).
  62. 3D Sonic the Hedgehog Altered Beast Hits Domestic eShop. TSSZ News.
  63. Soon, Teslas Will Be Able To Play Sonic 1 For Some Reason. Sonic Stadium (14 December 2021). Retrieved on 14 December 2021.
  64. Richard, Isaiah (12 December 2021). Tesla EVs to Feature ‘Sonic, the Hedgehog’ on Infotainment Says Elon Musk, After Mocking Sen. Sanders. Tech Times. Retrieved on 14 December 2021.
  65. You can play the Hedgehog in Teslas. Game-News24 (13 December 2021). Retrieved on 14 December 2021.
  66. Friscia, John (14 December 2021). Sonic the Hedgehog 1 is coming to Tesla cars via Sega partnership. Nintendo Enthusiast. Retrieved on 14 December 2021.
  67. Lee-Jones, Sarah (22 December 2021). First Look: Sonic the Hedgehog in Tesla Arcade. Tesla North. Archived from the original on 23 December 2021. Retrieved on 27 December 2021.
  68. Highest Score In "Sonic The Hedgehog" With Five-Life Limit (Sega Genesis). Record Setter (21 March 2015).
  69. #50 Sonic the Hedgehog (Top 100 Video Games of All Time). YouTube (21 May 2013).
  70. AdamBC13 (21 February 2011). 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die. Archived from the original on 23 February 2011.
Sonic the Hedgehog (16-bit)

Main article (Blue Sphere) | Staff | Manuals | Glitches | Beta elements | Gallery | Re-releases (2001, 2005, Mobile, GBA, iPod, 2013, 3D, Sega Ages)
Sonic the Hedgehog console mainline games