Ah, Sonic Origins a game that was first shown to the public didn’t even have footage of the remastered Sonic 3 which I suppose was a sign of things to come. Sonic Origins is a collection of remasters of Sonic, Sonic CD, Sonic 2 and Sonic 3 & Knuckles using the engine used to create Sonic Mania.
The remasters are releases of the Android versions with Sonic 3 and Knuckles is the only new remaster. There are a few things I will get into with this review but one thing I will say before I get onto the gameplay is just how rushed this port is. The menus used for each game that clearly from their original port and no time was spent making a uniform design and options.
The story is as follows: Sonic is exploring South Island where he discovers Dr Ivo Robotnik (Or Eggman) and his robot army looking for the Chaos Emeralds and kidnapping animals to do so. Sonic finally defeats Robotnik and collects the Chaos Emeralds for them to be released and fly to West Side Island where they are joined by a seventh Chaos Emerald.
In the meanwhile, Sonic travels near Little Planet where he discovers Robotnik is looking for the Time Stones and has created a powerful robot called Metal Sonic who has kidnapped another hedgehog called Amy Rose (Or Rosy the Rascal). In the end, Sonic saves the planet, defeats Metal Sonic in an epic race and saves Amy and disappears once again.
After this Sonic travels to West Side Island where he helps Tails who was being bullied by two other foxes and travels with his new buddy. He discovers that Dr Robotnik is once again looking for the Chaos Emeralds to power his new space station. Once again Sonic collects the Chaos Emeralds, defeats the new Metal Sonic and brings down the Death Egg.
The fourth part of the story has Dr Robotbik travelling to Angel Island and teaming up with Knuckles saying that Sonic is the bad guy and trying to get Master Emerald. Sonic arrives at the island as Super Sonic and is surprisingly knocked out by Knuckles who collect the Chaos Emeralds and hide them across the island.
In the end, Sonic collects them and upgrades them to the Super Emeralds, defeats Knuckles and befriends him and once again brings down the Death Egg while saving Master Emerald with an epic battle in space as Super Sonic. Master Emerald is put back into place for it to be stolen by an Eggbot and a Mecha Sonic who uses it to empower itself into a super form.
Both the Eggbot and the Mecha Sonic are defeated and peace finally comes back to Angel Island and there is where the story of Sonic Origin ends. For a Mega Drive series, this story is pretty solid but let’s be honest we are here for the gameplay!
Before I get onto the gameplay Sonic Origins has cutscenes for the start and end of every game although I am disappointed that Sonic CD cutscenes were not updated to the same style these cutscenes add a bit of flavour to the game and I do hope in future that the “classic style” games are fully made in this style rather than the realistic style they went with for the modern and boost series.
Sonic Origins gameplay focuses on two things – platforming and doing that at speed and you will find Sonic 1 and Sonic CD focus very heavily on the platform while Sonic 2 and Sonic 3 & Knuckles focus on speed.
The idea is to get across the zones and collect the emeralds (Or time gems) to get the best ending or in 50% of the games to transform into a super form. You do all this while defeating badniks, dodging environment traps and otherwise trying to do it as fast as possible. The remake is in widescreen so you can see much more compared to the original game which means you don’t have to remember what is happening. This is slightly sad as that progression is what made the game fun – getting a high score and getting better each time
In Sonic Origins you can play as Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles but sadly no others were added I feel it would have been nice to see Amy (The problem with Sonic Origins) and Metal Sonic but more surprisingly I do not know why Knuckles wasn’t added to Sonic 1 or Sonic CD. It feels like the game was rushed as I have played mods with Amy in Sonic, 1, 2, and 3 where she had full features and it plays just fine heck there are many mods for Knuckles on Sonic 1 and it would have been nice to see him in Sonic 1 even if it “goes against canon” which happened with the lock on with Sonic 2 anyhow.
Multiplayer makes a return but sadly it is only in its original form. This is another reason I feel the game is just different ports with a pretty menu interface as none of the games has a common multiplayer. Sonic 2 still has its races on the main zones, Sonic 3 has limited quick zones while the other two games have nothing. It would have been nice to have an actual co-op experience locally with a split screen
As written a tad bit earlier you can collect the Chaos Emeralds which allows transforming into a super form and then later on into the hyper form but something I found disappointing massively is you can transform into Super Sonic in Sonic 1 if you use the debug menu. Why was this NOT an option in a menu before the game or is it because it was a hidden feature in the Android release of Sonic 1 which once against suggesting it is just a bunch of ports put together in a rush.
The games themselves do have some engine issues as I often found myself dying in places you could get through before, randomly getting struck and other annoying things.
If there is one thing that Sonic Origins brings and that is replayability. The classic Sonic games have many different ways to complete the levels which encourages learning the levels faster to get that quicker time. This adds quite a bit of replay value but imagines doing the same with Tails and Knuckles.
Both of them have different styles of gameplay with Tails being able to fly and swim while Knuckles being able to glide and climb. In Sonic 3 and Knuckles, this opens up different routes with Knuckles even having unique parts of the level and mini-bosses.
Furthermore, there are unlockables and multiple challenges you can complete which reminds me so much of the Sonic VR mod (I promise I will finish this one day!) and I had an addiction to that mod. I wouldn’t buy Sonic Origins for just this mode but it is a welcomed addition to the collection.
The graphics of the game is no different to the originals and there aren’t many filters when they do have them they are different to each other which is further evidence to suggest these are just different ports merged.
The framerate for these is fine and playing them I can’t fault it and I am not the biggest fan of filters such as CRT mode but I would still love to have seen this remake in the style of the cutscenes.
For purists of the original games, you likely will find the odd problem but for general fans or new players, I can’t fault anything.
Before I get into the music I found while playing Sonic Origins there was something weird with the audio. It is hard to explain but things such as hitting a spring sounded more muted if you have never heard of these sounds before you will be okay with it.
The music is sadly something I am disappointed in, can understand why and then be disappointed again. In Sonic Origins the music for Sonic 3 has been replaced with the beta music and the reason for this is believed to be due to Micheal Jackson doing the music for Sonic 3. I can understand that they may not have permission to use it (not sure why as it would have been contracted work) or that they wanted to not use it due to allegations but the music they did use was okay other than for two zones – Icecap Zone and Launch Zone.
What I hate is how the FUCK you mess up Super Sonic. Seriously they had beta music for Super Sonic and they went with a weird remix of Sonic 4’s theme that doesn’t fit the overall theme of the game. It feels lazy and while Sonic 3 is my favourite of the bunch I felt dishearted playing it. Still, if you never played it before you will enjoy it.
The conclusion is based on the idea of the remaster and not on those playing it for the first time.
The games were fun to play again even outside of the minor engine differences but often I would find myself trapped in walls or just frozen in weird spots. The preordering for the game was confusing as feck with many different options and the fact Sega pulled all of the other versions of this game from online stores.
Outside of the game, the menus felt like an afterthought even if it looks pretty and nothing was uniform and even features such as save states do not exist. Why they are missing in a remaster I do not know and while it isn’t something I would use I would have loved for it to save your levels in Sonic 1 and 2 to be able to go back to them without needing to use level selection – something you would need to know how to do from the original games.
I find it weird that other games weren’t included such as the Master System games where they could have just tossed them in on an emulator and called it a day. To me, this remaster felt lazy and it clearly shows it is just the different ports bought together with a fancy UI with a few unlockables – all for the high cost for what it is worth.
I would recommend just downloading an emulator and a ROM hack with widescreen support – modders lately are doing a far better job compared to Sega. If you have played the originals, I am rating them as follows.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
If you have never played the originals before, I am rating it as follows.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Need to reference?
Ellis, M. (2022). Sonic Origins: My Review. [online] Snat's Narratives & Tales. Available at: https://snat.co.uk/reviews/video-games/sonic-origins-my-review.html [Accessed 29 Nov 2023].
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