Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis

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Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis
Sonic GBA.jpg
"Sonic's 15th anniversary really sucked." — Nahum "Charriii5" Luna, 2018
Genre(s): Platform
Platform(s): Game Boy Advance
Release: November 14, 2006
Developer(s): Sonic Team
Publisher(s): Sega
Country: Japan
Series: Sonic the Hedgehog
Successor: Sonic the Hedgehog 2
"We all know what day it is today, and I wanted to make an attention-grabbing thumbnail, reel you all in, wind you up by saying that this is the greatest Sonic game of all time, then go 'JOKE!' One-minute annual compulsory prank video done. But even on April Fools Day, this excuse of a game doesn't even deserve that sort of praise! It's that bad, it's universally hated, and it's one of the subjects that nearly, I say nearly, all Sonic fans can agree on."
redhotsonic, Sonic Genesis GBA is... something...

Sonic the Hedgehog is a 1991 platform game developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega initially for the Sega Genesis. The game has received multiple ports, including the Game Boy Advance version titled Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis, which was meant to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise along with Sonic '06, both of which were released on the same day. Unlike all the other ports of the original Sonic the Hedgehog game, this port was released only in North America, being the only game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series that was released exclusively in North America.

Why It's Too Slow

  1. Like Sonic '06, this game was rushed. This time, it took only one month for them to make this port. This caused most, if not, all of the issues below.
  2. The game feels more like a bootleg rather than an officially approved game by Sega.
  3. The game was adapted from the J2ME Sonic the Hedgehog port, rather than just using the game's original source code which would have been much closer to the original if it was ported properly.
  4. Poor frame rate and considerable lag which creates a sense of inconsistent speed, which is surprising as the Game Boy Advance is more powerful than the Sega Genesis and the Super Nintendo.
  5. The save system does not save score or the Chaos Emeralds, unlike the later ports.
  6. A pointless level select screen, since you can only get the good ending by playing from the beginning as you need all six of the Chaos Emeralds.
    • Not to mention, in the good ending, the Chaos Emeralds do absolutely nothing.
  7. The remixed music from the original game is absolutely terrible, as it sounds like it belongs in an old Java mobile phone game from the 2000's, due to the soundtracks (except Starlight Zone) sounding like horrible MIDI files. The instruments are incredibly muffled and the wrong instruments tend to be playing.
  8. Horribly downgraded sound effects. Obviously, since it is on the Game Boy Advance which didn't have the same sound hardware as the Sega Genesis, the sound effects sounding slightly different can be excused. What can't be excused is the fact that lots of sound effects are clones of other existing sound effects when the original game had a different sound effect. Also, the sound that occurs when Sonic inhales an air bubble is incredibly cartoonish, sounding like it belongs in an anime.
    • Moreover, several sound effects from the original are missing. An example is the goal sound effect in the Special Stages.
  9. Due to Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis being rushed, there are numerous bugs and glitches that can make the game virtually unplayable or even crash. For example, Sonic can fall through the walls of the Special Stage, causing him to activate a Goal block which kicks you out of the stage without you being able to collect the Chaos Emerald in the stage, or fall out of the entire stage and continuously fall until the game crashes and starts making a horrid noise as if you've ejected the cartridge. Another glitch causes Sonic to be crushed to death when he is merely touching the corners of two separate platforms, and also the Marble Zone glitch where the graphics are glitched, no floor, and Sonic can glitch out.
  10. Glitchy physics that hardly match the first Sonic the Hedgehog game, despite being a port of the original game on the Sega Genesis. Downward slopes don't actually speed Sonic up when he runs down, and rounded edges somehow slow him down when he goes along them.
  11. All of the boss fights (including the Star Light Zone one) can be easily beaten by bouncing on them, due to the aforementioned horrendous physics, combined with low FPS, this can be easily exploited and causes most battles to end in a few seconds.
  12. Sonic does not drag his feet on the ground to slow down when you stop holding the directional buttons, thus making him continue moving for tens of seconds when in the original game he would have stopped in less than a second. His momentum makes it much harder to make jumps, in a platforming game that requires you to make accurate jumps in some sections.
  13. Horrible screen crunch, which comes to a horrendous conclusion at the end of Act 3 of Labyrinth Zone. In this part of the zone, you're required to go up to catch Dr. Robotnik and stay above the water. The screen crunch prevents you from seeing objects above you before you can react and avoid the object, causing cheap instances of losing rings and cheap deaths unless you can memorize the placement of the traps.
    • It also makes it much easier for enemies to snipe you from off-screen, such as the fire statues in Labyrinth Zone.
  14. The seesaw in Star Light Zone is broken to the point that it rarely brings you to the correct height to reach the next platform. You could spend over five minutes just trying to get past this part.
  15. The electric damaging poles in Scrap Brain Zone do not work at all.
  16. Two days after the port's release, the Sega Genesis Collection was released for the PSP with a decent version of Sonic 1, which made this port pointless. The game was also available on the Wii Virtual Console in North America five days later and cost $8 with better emulation with Japan and Europe receiving it the following month.
  17. The spin dash feature was already added to Sonic the Hedgehog in the Sonic Jam compilation of games, and this was the only feature added for the anniversary mode.
    • Speaking of the Anniversary Mode, as it only has one additional feature, it makes the mode the same game with an addition.
  18. Awful sound looping. Once a song is finished, there's just silence for a few seconds.
  19. When a jingle plays, it will pause the game's music and then reset it from the beginning.
  20. Some backgrounds are either not ripped properly or do not animate at all. Both Star Light and Scrap Brain have glitched tiles that don't appear in the original game. Act 2 of Scrap Brain and Final Zone also lose their animated backgrounds.
  21. It was pretty late to be released on the GBA, the Nintendo DS was already out after 2 years.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. The game's graphics are almost exactly the same as the original Genesis game.
  2. Unlike the original, there is a game save option that allows you to start only at the beginning of the Zone rather than the game, unless you got a game over in the Green Hill Zone.


Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis was universally panned by critics, gamers, and fans alike, with a Metacritic score of 33/100; the chief complaints concerning its poor conversion to the Game Boy Advance (resulting in a slow frame rate), poorly remixed music, and poor preservation of the original gameplay. While it does have some improvements in comparison to the original, such as a save system and being able to use the spin dash, the Game Boy Advance port is still considered one of the worst Sonic games, next to the version of Sonic Jam, Sonic '06, Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, Sonic Labyrinth, and Shadow the Hedgehog.

Web reviewer SomecallmeJohnny considered this game as "The worst port I've ever seen in my life!".


Simon Thomley (also known as Stealth), the same person behind the "Knuckles in Sonic 1" ROM Hack and founder of Headcannon (one of the co-developers of Sonic Mania, along with Christian Whitehead and PagodaWest Games), made a much superior proof-of-concept GBA port of the game, showing just how much Sega dropped the ball.





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