Reviews - Updated on July 2, 2022

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Could be better

SEGA’s attempts to publish decent Sonic games time and time again prove futile, and only occasionally diamonds like Sonic Mania appear. Therefore, the company tries to regularly re-release classic blue hedgehog platformers, making them available on all possible platforms. But if usually the case is limited to emulation, then in the case of Sonic Origins, either remasters or remakes turned out – the games are the same, but they look better and boast new features.

Four in one

The collection includes four famous Sonic games: Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic CD, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Sonic 3 & Knuckles. You can choose a story mode in the menu, in which platformers are “glued” to each other, or you can run them separately.

Each game has anniversary and classic modes. Of course, the anniversary one is more interesting – at least with support for widescreen screens. If in the “classic” empty spaces are visible on the sides due to the 4:3 ratio, then the screen is used entirely, which sometimes even simplifies the passage.

Moreover, there are no “lives” in the anniversary mode – if you die, then you simply resurrect ad infinitum next to the last checkpoint. And if you can’t get the Chaos Emerald or the Time Stone at the bonus levels, then for just one coin (from the rings collected at the levels) you can buy another attempt, which you can also do several times in a row. There is nothing like this in the “classic”, but it is not entirely clear why in the anniversary mode there is no way to play by the old rules, but with improved image quality.

Other innovations in the updated versions are related to the gameplay. For example, in all games, the drop dash is available – a twisted jerk after a jump, which first appeared in the series in Sonic Mania. It allows you to activate acceleration before landing, so that you do not have to pause and spin while standing on the ground. Another feature is the appearance of new playable characters. In all games, you can control Sonic, Tails and Knuckles – except for Sonic CD, where Knuckles is not available.

Aside from the resolution, platform games haven’t changed in appearance, except that there are now wonderful animated cutscenes at the beginning and end of each game. Strangely, there are no visual filters in Sonic Origins – only anti-aliasing can be enabled in the settings. But, firstly, it turns bright pixel art into a dull daub, and secondly, you can change this setting only in the main menu, that is, you cannot quickly test it in the games themselves.

The videos are drawn with soul - you even want to review them in the Museum later.

The videos are drawn with soul – you even want to review them in the Museum later.

This is the problem with the collection – there are surprisingly few options that I’m used to seeing in re-releases of classic games. There are no save slots – progress is recorded at the beginning of each level, so there is no need to go through everything in one sitting, plus each game has its own saves both in anniversary mode and in classic. But more flexible options seem to have been forgotten to be added. And the lack of rewinds in general looks strange – everyone knows that the old games were not easy, and here (especially in the first Sonic) losing the collected rings is easy. Since the anniversary mode was “provided” with endless “lives”, then they could add rewind.

More than remasters

With bonus entertainment, the situation is slightly better. In Sonic 2, the Hidden Palace Zone level was returned, which was cut from the original version of the game (and which appeared in the 2013 remaster), and the Blue Orbs mode is available in Sonic 3 & Knuckles – there are like levels from the Sega Mega Drive version , as well as completely new, exclusive stages. Plus, all four games have a mirror mode and a boss fight mode.

Although the menus have been translated, there is no Russian language in the games themselves, even in anniversary modes.

Although the menus have been translated, there is no Russian language in the games themselves, even in anniversary modes.

Most of the effort seems to have been put into the Missions mode – it really can be considered new content for fans of the old Sonic. For each game in the collection, two dozen tests were prepared with completely different conditions. Either you need to defeat the indicated opponents and get to the finish line, then use a certain technique several times, then reach the end of the level in one or one and a half minutes. The faster and more accurately you do everything, the higher the final score. Those who know these games by heart, but would like something fresh with familiar gameplay, such a bonus will surely captivate for a couple of evenings.

And, of course, not without the “Museum”. Almost for every action – from completing anniversary modes to completing missions – they give out coins that are spent on unlockable bonuses. Cartridge box covers, multi-page manuals of that era (both in Japanese and English), all sorts of sketches, concept art, backgrounds, animatics, melodies – there are quite a lot of interesting things. Fans have seen and know almost all of this for a long time, but for a new audience, this is a storehouse of information about Sonic.

You can view everything closer in full screen mode.

You can view everything closer in full screen mode.

In general, it turned out not the worst re-release of classic games, but SEGA managed to spoil it because of greed. The price of the collection is already high ($40 for platform games that have already been re-released many times), and if you pay another $5, you get a Deluxe edition. Without it, missions of increased complexity and some music tracks are not available, and the main menu is less lively – bonuses are, to put it mildly, strange. Moreover, there were also gifts for pre-ordering – including immediately unlocked mirror modes (otherwise they open only after passing) and 100 additional coins.

Sonic Origins was created for all categories of players. Long-time Sonic fans get their favorite games in 16:9 instead of the hateful emulation and bonus entertainment in the Mission mode, and for newcomers, this is a chance to experience the legendary games in the best possible quality. The lack of some options and the controversial pricing policy of the publisher raise questions, and the collection itself could have turned out a little better if it had been given more attention and not in a hurry with the release. But in order to evoke nostalgia and offer the audience at least something new, he does a good job.

Pros: legendary classic platformers in one collection; in anniversary mode, games are played at 16:9, which was not the case in older re-releases; the Missions mode offers fresh entertainment for longtime fans of the series; numerous bonuses in the “Museum”, including multi-page manuals that are interesting to flip through.

Cons: the usual options for such reissues like filters and rewind are missing; high price; the existence of a deluxe edition and pre-order bonuses seems like a joke.

Screenshots of the game

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