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Sonic News Network
Sonic News Network

Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis, referred to as simply Sonic the Hedgehog on the title screen, is a Game Boy Advance port of Sonic the Hedgehog, originally released for the Sega Mega Drive. It was released in November 2006 exclusively in North America to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Sonic the Hedgehog series. There are several differences from the original game.


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

The title screen of Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis.

Like in the original game, Dr. Ivo Robotnik (AKA Dr. Eggman) has invaded South Island to collect the six Chaos Emeralds and conquer the world with them. He also started kidnapping the local Animals on the island to turn them into evil robots.[1] However, the doctor was stopped by Sonic the Hedgehog, who collected the Chaos Emeralds before he did, saved the Animals, and, eventually, restored peace to South Island.


Trying to emulate the physics of the original Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis is a 2D side-scrolling platform video game. As with the original game, the only playable character here is Sonic the Hedgehog. The game also uses an autosave feature that saves the player's progress at certain points.

Like in the original game, Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis is divided into seven Zones, all of which have three Acts each with a battle against Dr. Eggman at the end of the third Act (with the exception of Final Zone, which is a single, short Act).


Button formation Sonic-Icon-Sonic-1.png Movement[2]
Controlpadds.png left/right Walk/run
Controlpadds.png up Look up
Controlpadds.png down Look down
GameboyA.png/GameboyB.png Spin Jump
Controlpadds.png down + GameboyA.png/GameboyB.png Charge Spin Dash
(Anniversary Mode)
Controlpadds.png left/right + Controlpadds.png down Spin Attack


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

  • Due to the screen size in the Game Boy Advance, the screen ratio has been changed from 330x224 in the original version to 240x160.
    • The title screen had to be re-drawn due to this issue. In compensation however, the text "PRESS START", originally removed in the original version, was added.
  • The title cards have been redrawn. They are also much longer than in the original version.
  • All horizontal Springs are now drawn upside down.
  • Sonic's normal death animation is only shown for a split second. Later, the drown animation is shown instead.
  • The music and some sound effects were slightly modified, with some of them being completely missing, along with some sprites and textures.
  • When dying, the title cards will not run, and the music will not restart. Sonic simply respawns at the previous checkpoint with little transition.
  • The game experiences significant lag and the frame-rate quality is poor.
  • Several changes have been made to the physics:
    • Horizontal momentum is now retained when hitting a wall in the air, and if the wall is cleared, Sonic will return to the speed he was traveling at before hitting the wall.
    • Slopes generally have less of an effect on Sonic, and it is now possible to stand still on and walk up slopes that it was not possible to do so on before.
    • Bounce height off monitors is now fixed, which most noticeably affects a section in Star Light Zone.
    • When being knocked back by an enemy, the backwards momentum Sonic receives is carried over into the grounded state, causing him to run backwards when he lands.
    • Changing direction when facing in the direction Sonic is moving in is much faster. Conversely, if Sonic is running backwards, it takes longer to come to a stop and begin running forward.
    • Sonic's speed will drop off more slowly when no directional input is being made.
    • The Power Sneakers appear to have either a reduced effect or no effect at all, aside from speeding up the music.
  • The Debug Mode is now completely removed.
  • If the player quits the game without getting a Game Over, retrying can be selected at the menu screen so that the player can continue the game with any Chaos Emeralds and score, and the player will start on the Act they left off on.
  • The player now has less time to jump into the Giant Ring at the end of acts to access special stages.
  • Some enemies have altered collision detection, sometimes being deceptively large, such as with Batbrain and Jaws.
  • Most bosses (specially the Egg Wrecker in Green Hill Zone) can be easier to defeat since the player can bounce of top of Dr. Eggman and hit him many times in a row.
  • Most of the time, Goal Plates will not be centered when passed through them, and the camera position sometimes will not change, revealing an empty space under the ground.
  • Most items can be seen floating or wedged into the ground.
  • In Labyrinth Zone and Scrap Brain Zone Act 3, the water does not affect the life HUD. Sonic also has a different color palette underwater, and objects are lighter than in the original version.
  • Beating the game with all six Chaos Emeralds collected will not fill Green Hill Zone with flowers.
  • Unlike in the original version, all switches in Labyrinth Zone and Scrap Brain Zone have the same aspect as those in Marble Zone.
  • In the Egg Crusher boss fight, the spark balls are produced a bit slower and more orderly. Also they remain solid and flashing all the time instead of flashing with an electrical ring of energy before descending. The spark balls are also lethal at any given time when they are on-screen (in the original game, the spark balls were only lethal when they were descending).


Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis features four different modes, which can be chosen while on the title screen. These are:

Original Mode

Original Mode[3] is the standard mode of the game, with the same gameplay as that from the original Sonic the Hedgehog.

Anniversary Mode

Anniversary Mode[3] is the same as Original Mode, but with the Spin Dash from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 added.

Juke Box

The Juke Box allows the player to play different soundtracks and sound effects from the game. It is unlocked after completing the game for the first time.


Options[3] is the settings menu for Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis, which features the following settings:

  • SE:[3] Turn ON or OFF the sound effects from the game.
  • BGM:[3] Turn ON or OFF the background music from the game.


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
Metacritic 33%[4]
Review scores
Publication Score
GameSpot 2.5/10[5]
GameSpy 2.5/10[6]
Nintendo Power 60%[4]
Modojo 1/5[7]

Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis received mixed-to-negative reviews, holding an aggregate score of 33% on Metacritic, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[4] Its poor frame rate and bad emulation were the main points of criticism.

Nintendo Power was more positive of the game, giving it a rating of 60%. It wrote that "considering that Sonic Mega Collection for GCN already boasts a perfect version of the original Sonic, this game is a bit of a tough sell, but at least the inclusion of the 'hogs trademark Spin Dash adds some appeal".[4] Play Magazine was a little more negative, rating the game 40 out of 100. It wrote that the "few minor twists featured in Anniversary Mode did not matter when the fundamentals are so thoroughly screwed".[4]

GameSpy was more critical of the game. Though it cited that the graphics looked passable and the levels were short, it panned the low frame rate, the lack of speed, and the sudden "pop-ins" the game had. It also wrote that the game "more closely resembles an adaptation of the Game Gear version of Sonic the Hedgehog rather than the Genesis version". It ultimately concluded that "this doddering version of Sonic the Hedgehog has an appointment with the glue factory for sure".[6] GameSpot gave the game a score of 2.5 out of 10, meaning "terrible game", writing that "the jumpy graphics transform this classic side-scroller into a crushing disappointment".[5] Modojo called it "an insult to the Sonic legacy and the fans alike" and "a piece of garbage port of a fifteen-year old Sega Genesis game with only a battery save and a new spin dash move to spruce it up".[7]


  • This marks the final Sonic game on the Game Boy Advance.
  • The colors on the front box artwork have been edited to be much lighter than the original artwork, mainly on Sonic's body.
  • This is the second Sonic game on the Game Boy Advance to be a reissue, with the first being Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball, which was featured in Sega Smash Pack.


Box artwork



  1. Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis (Game Boy Advance), United States instruction booklet, pg. 4.
  2. Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis (Game Boy Advance), United States instruction booklet, pgs. 5-6.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis (Game Boy Advance), United States instruction manual, pg. 7.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis. Metacritic. Retrieved on 16 June 2021.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Provo, Frank (20 November 2006). Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis Review. GameSpot. Archived from the original on 1 February 2012. Retrieved on 9 June 2019.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Graziani, Gabe . Sonic The Hedgehog Genesis Review. GameSpy. Archived from the original on 6 February 2007. Retrieved on 16 June 2021.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Falcon, Robert (16 November 2006). Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis. Modojo. Retrieved on 16 June 2021.

Sonic the Hedgehog handheld games