Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic makes his way to the iPhone, but hits several speed bumps along the way.
Sega has brought its 1991 Sega Genesis classic, Sonic the Hedgehog, to various consoles as a part of compilations (like Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection) and as a downloadable title. This week, the iPhone gets a shot of Hedgehog heaven with its own version of Sonic. Unfortunately, a few problems cause him to stumble.
In case you've never played the original, here's the rundown. Sonic's world gets turned upside down when a villainous mad man called Dr. Robotnik kidnaps his animal buddies and turns them into mischievous robots. Sonic vows to stop "Eggman" (since he's shaped like an egg) by any means necessary, although he'll need to collect powerful gems known as the Chaos Emeralds to do this.
Sega did an OK job bringing the game to iPhone. The pixilated graphics are just as much fun to watch as they are on the Genesis, complete with the colorful backdrops of the Green Hill and Star Light Zones (among others), the twisting loops and the cute little animations; leave Sonic standing still for a moment and you'll see what we mean.
Unfortunately, this version of Sonic never reaches full speed because Sega comes up short with the gameplay. There are two control options available, full-screen and arcade. Full-screen features a semi-transparent joypad and button on the corners of the screen, while arcade has a smaller version of the action. No matter which one you pick, though, you'll have trouble moving. Sonic doesn't react properly to your commands, which means he'll accidentally run off a ledge when you want him to stop or hit an enemy head-on instead of rolling to destroy it.
What's even more disappointing is Sega's failure to take advantage of the iPhone's motion controls. Granted, the majority of the game doesn't need it, but the spinning bonus rounds could've easily taken advantage of this. Instead, you're forced to rely on the iffy control pad that leads to scoring the Chaos Emerald out of sheer luck.
What lets us down the most, however, is the lack of speed. This was a huge feature in the original 16-bit game, as Sonic blazes through levels, watching the world go by at a rapid pace. No such luck in the iPhone port, since you'll constantly run into screen-chugging slowdown.
As it stands, we can't recommend Sonic the Hedgehog. All the nostalgia in the world can't make up for unresponsive controls and performance issues. Save yourself the six bucks and remember Sonic's glory days.
What's Hot: Looks and sounds like the 16-bit Genesis classic, two view modes to choose from.
What's Not: Sloppy controls, the game slows down too much, bonus rounds don't use motion controls, costs six bucks.