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Sonic News Network
Sonic News Network

Feel the need for speed!!! Sonic is back at his best for the NEOGEO POCKET COLOR!

— Tagline

Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure (ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグポケットアドベンチャー Sonikku za Hejjihoggu Poketto Adobencha?), also known as Sonic Pocket Adventure, is a platforming game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series and the only Sonic game made for the Neo Geo Pocket Color handheld console. Released on 3 November 1999 in United States, the game was developed by SNK Product Development Dept. Division 1 and is the second Sonic game to be released on a non-Sega system (the first being Sonic Jam for

Sonic Pocket Adventure borrows several gameplay elements from the original Sonic the Hedgehog titles for the Sega Genesis, using similar graphics, music tracks, Zones and enemies. The game also contains exclusive content such as puzzles and multiplayer modes.


The title screen of the game.

Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure is a side-scrolling platforming game with graphics and gameplay heavily similar to Sonic the Hedgehog (1991) and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Sega Mega Drive. The game's objective is to reach the end of each Act of a Zone (a level in the game) in ten minutes. The game's main feature is the single player mode. Here, the player takes control of Sonic the Hedgehog who is controlled much like he was in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles. His moveset includes classic techniques like the Spin Jump, Spin Attack and Spin Dash. Momentum physics in the game are nearly the same as in earlier games, except that Sonic is slightly heavier.

The game borrows several gimmicks and items from Sonic the Hedgehog (1991) and Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Like in earlier games, Rings can be found everywhere in the Acts and will protect the player from taking damage, though they cannot protect from drowning, bottomless pits or Time Overs. Collecting them adds points at the end-of-Act score tally, and collecting a hundred grants an extra life. When taking damage, Sonic loses all his Rings. Getting hit without Rings costs the player a life and make them restart from either the beginning of the Act or the last passed Star Post.

The game also features Item Boxes containing the basic power-ups, such as Super Rings (grants extra Rings), Shields (protects against damage), 1UPs (grants an extra life), Power-Sneakers (increases speed briefly) and Invinsible Protect (grants brief invulnerability). Each Act also has several Star Posts which save the player's progress when passed. Additionally, there are 96 hidden photo pieces throughout the game which can be collected to assemble pictures in the Puzzle Room.

Sonic running in Neo South Island Zone.

When reaching the end of an Act, the player either has to pass a Bonus Plate or open a Capsule after beating a boss to clear the Act. The player can also collect the Chaos Emeralds by completing the Special Stages and clearing the semi-final Zone. Collecting all seven Emeralds will unlock the game's good cinematic ending.

Scoring system


Button formation Movement
Sonic-Icon-Sonic-Pocket-Adventure.png Sonic the Hedgehog
Controller stick left and right Walking/Running/Pushing
Controller stick up Looking up
Controller stick down Crouch
A Button (Sega Genesis).svg/B Button (Sega Genesis).svg Spin Jump
Controller stick right/left + down Sonic spin
Controller stick down + A Button (Sega Genesis).svg/B Button (Sega Genesis).svg Spin Dash
OPTION button Pauses the game



Gimmicks and obstacles


Playable characters

Non-playable characters



Secret Plant Zone boss.


Sonic in Aquatic Relix Zone.

Sonic Pocket Adventure consists of nine Zones. Some are made up of two Acts while others only have one. The majority of these Zones involve standard platforming. At the end of each Zone (except Aerobase Zone), the player has to fight a boss with either Dr. Robotnik in one of his machines (which are completely new to this game) or an entirely different opponent.

All Zones in the game are directly inspired by those in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 with graphics of the first Zone being duplicated from Sonic the Hedgehog (1991). While most Zones are unlocked as the player clears them, the player has to gather all seven Chaos Emeralds (see the Special Stages sub-section) to unlock the last Zone. All the Zones in order are:

  1. Neo South Island Zone
  2. Secret Plant Zone
  3. Cosmic Casino Zone
  4. Aquatic Relix Zone
  5. Sky Chase Zone
  6. Aerobase Zone
  7. Gigantic Angel Zone
  8. Last Utopia Zone
  9. Chaotic Space Zone

Special Stages

By holding onto 50 Rings at the end of each Zone's first Act (including Sky Chase Zone) and leaping into the Giant Ring that appears, the player can enter one of six Special Stages. In these stages, the player can collect a Chaos Emerald. The seventh Emerald is kept by Dr. Robotnik and is obtained from the boss of Last Utopia Zone.

Special Stages in Sonic Pocket Adventure heavily resembles the ones in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Here, Sonic runs through a 3D half-pipe littered with Rings and bombs. Collect the requisite amount of Rings to cross each checkpoint and obtain a Chaos Emerald: fail to amass the quota and the player will fail the Special Stage. There are three checkpoints per round and Ring requirements become increasingly stringent as the game progresses. There are also sparkling flower objects exclusive to this game, which reward the player with Continues.


The "Room Select" menu.

Aside from single player mode, Sonic Pocket Adventure features other playable modes, referred to as "Rooms", which can be accessed by selecting the "Go To Room" option on the title screen. The Zones available in the Rooms depend on how far the player has gotten in single player mode.

Trial Room

Trial Room is a Time Attack feature which allows players to replay previously cleared Acts with the aim of beating their record. The best times are recorded on a score screen with the overall performance graded with medals: bronze, silver, gold, or platinum. Two modes are available:

  • Time Trial: The basic Time Attack mode for each Act available.
  • Advanced: Same as the Time Trial mode, except the player is required to reach the end of an Act with at least fifty Rings for their score to be recorded.[1]

A rankings option is available to view the best time records for both Time Trial and Advanced. A Top 5 Update feature is available to connect with other players and exchange or combine each other's rankings by using link cable for the Neo Geo Pocket Color.[2]

Duel Room

"Get the Rings", one of the two multiplayer modes in the game.

Duel Room serve as the multiplayer component of Sonic Pocket Adventure which allows multiplayer gaming for two players. In order to compete, both players are required to have a Neo Geo Pocket Color and a copy of the game, and one link cable. In both two player versus modes, Player 1 controls Sonic and player 2 controls Tails. Other than that, the two characters share the same moveset. Duel Room features two modes:

  • Sonic Rush: Players race to reach the goal at the end of each Act first.
  • Get the Rings: Similar to Sonic Rush, except the players race to amassing a quota of Rings. If one of the players has obtained the specified Rings first, they are declared the victor and the other automatically loses. Players will also lose if they lose too many Rings to the point that the Act has inefficient amount of Rings.[3]

Puzzle Room

Puzzle Room is where all the 96 photo pieces found in the single player mode are gathered and placed into six character images, each containing sixteen photo pieces which can be initialized at any time. The Room features three modes:

  • Build Puzzle: Players can build the puzzle by using the pieces the player found throughout the game.
  • View Puzzle: Players can view the puzzles they have completed.
  • Puzzle Initialize: Allows the player to release all the puzzle pieces back to be found again.

By assembling all six images, the player can unlock a separated Special Stage mode where the player can play through the game's six Special Stages in succession.

Game Option

Game Option is the settings menu for Sonic Pocket Adventure. Here, the player can change the game's difficulty between Easy or Normal (Easy mode removes several obstacles in the Zone), turn on or off the Time Outs, start the game with either a single, three or five lives, or turn on/off the Auto Power. After clearing the game once, the Sound Test become available, where the player can hear the game's sound tracks.


SNK Product Development Dept. Division 1 is the developer behind Sonic Pocket Adventure. Yuji Naka from Sonic Team is credited as supervisor and producer. The game was originally announced in February 1999, when SNK revealed Sonic to be among the upcoming titles for their handheld system. The game was later unveiled in early August in the same year, revealing plenty of the game's first level as well some of the various gameplay modes (with the misnomer "Puzzle Mode"). More of the game was revealed shortly afterwards up until its release.[4]

With the game released on November 30 in North America and on December 3rd 1999 in Europe, the original release in Japan was originally set to be December 1. However, the release date was moved to the 16th and again to its final release on the 11 of January 2000.[4]


All music tracks are 8-bit arrangement of pieces of original soundtrack from Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic Jam.


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 83.00%
Review scores
Publication Score
Allgame 4/5 stars[5]
GameSpot 8.3/10[6]
IGN 10/10[7]
Pocket Magazine 4.67/5[8]
Computer and Video Games Magazine 5/5 stars[9]
Retro Gamer 4.67/5 [10]

Sonic Pocket Adventure received high positive reviews during its release. IGN acclaimed it with the 10 out of 10 score, praising the game's high capabilities on the handheld, multiplayer modes and replay value.[7] Pocket Magazine gave the game 4.67 stars.[8] Dean Scott of Computer and Video Games Magazine gave the game 5 stars, praising the single player mode being familiar to the original three 16-bit games.[9] Christian Huey of AllGame gave the game 4 stars of out of 5, stating that the game is a "dumbed down version" of the Sonic the Hedgehog 2 on Sega Mega Drive.[5]

Gamespot gave the game an 8.3 out of 10, praising the game for its graphics, multiplayer modes and puzzles, while stating the only criticism being the game's short length.[6] Daily Radar gave also positive review, as stating the game being "awfully good. We'd love to say it's the single best reason to buy a Neo Geo Pocket."[11] Chris Murphy of Retro Gamer gave the game 4.67 out of 5, stating the game to be reasonably substantial and concluded the review: "If you're a Sonic fan, this is definitely high on the roll of honor in his CV, and you owe it to yourself to play it." [10]

Sonic Pocket Adventure was one of the games from the Neo Geo Pocket Color to be included in IGN's DSi Virtual Console Wishlist.[12]


  • There is a common misconception for the game being developed by Dimps, the game developer studio behind the Sonic Advance and Sonic Rush games. The development studio itself was not found until several months later after the game's release in March 2000, though many of studio's people are known to be former SNK and Capcom employees.
  • Sonic Pocket Adventure is notably the only Sonic game to this day for mixing both the classic Sega Sonic and the recent modern post-Dreamcast designs. Sonic, Tails and Knuckles in-game sprites are based on their classic sprites, but with the colored eyes that they were given in Sonic Adventure (although Tails' eyes are colored black on his sprites for piloting the Tornado), while the title screen, menu, puzzles and cutscenes show them with their post-Dreamcast designs. Dr. Robotnik, who is wearing his classic outfit while riding Egg Mobile and many of his vehicles, has his outfit changed to his post-Dreamcast attire minus grey goggles when Sonic has reached to the Gigantic Angel Zone. Also, the Tornado uses its design from Sonic Adventure. Only Animals and Badniks have the same designs from the original games.
  • The title screen is directly duplicated from the title screen of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 along with the 8-bit variation of the same music track.
  • Sonic Pocket Adventure is the last game for eight years to feature Sonic as the only playable character until Sonic and the Secret Rings.
  • Many Badniks from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 appear in the game's Zones which are similar to ones where they originally appeared in.
  • Rocky is the only Animal who does not appear in this game.
  • In the North American version of the game, the Advanced menu picture in the Trial Room shows Sonic with blue arms. Also, one of the puzzle photos with Sonic and Tails on a green background shows Sonic with blue arms as well.
  • When the Sonic the Hedgehog Encyclo-speed-ia was released, Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure was one of the notable games to be left out the book. When asked about the games that were not included in the book, the book's writer, Ian Flynn, mentioned that the game was out of limits for Sega at the time, even going further by stating that the game was not even allowed to be mentioned by name.[13]



SNK Neo Geo Pocket Color Commercial


  1. Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure (Neo Geo Pocket Color) instruction manual pg. 12-13.
  2. Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure (Neo Geo Pocket Color) instruction manual pg. 14-15.
  3. Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure (Neo Geo Pocket Color) instruction manual pg.16-17.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure. Sonic Next. Retrieved on 16 November 2015.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Huey, Christian. Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure. AllGame. Archived from the original on 14 November 2014. Retrieved on 9 Desember 2018.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Gerstmann, Jeff. Sonic the Hedgehog: Pocket Adventure Review. Archived from the original on 1 March 2012. Retrieved on 16 November 2015.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Craig, Harris (7 December 1999). Sonic Pocket Adventure. IGN. Retrieved on 16 November 2015.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Kiwi (1 February 2000). Sonic Pocket Adventure review (French). Pocket Magazine. Archived from the original on 12 May 2013. Retrieved on 9 December 2018.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Computer and Video Games Magazine, Issue 220, pg.100 Sonic Pocket Adventure: Spikey Speedster Gets shrunk in the Wash.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure. Retro Gamer. Archived from the original on 24 July 2013. Retrieved on 16 November 2015.
  11. O'Connor, Frank. Sonic The Hedgehog Pocket Adventure. Daily Archived from the original on 2 March 2000. Retrieved on 16 November 2015.
  12. The DSi Virtual Console Wishlist. IGN. Retrieved on 2013-10-26.
  13. BumbleKast Priority Q&A for December 20th, 2021 (1:21:35). YouTube (20 December 2021). Retrieved on 21 December 2021.

External links

Sonic the Hedgehog handheld games