Sonic the Hedgehog (Sniper)
Genre: 2d platformer
Developer: Ancient
Publisher: Sega

Ancient, who were contracted to do this Master System adaptation of the Genesis hit, didn't stray too far from the source material, theming almost all of the zones after those from this game's aforementioned Mega Drive title. The art team, led by Ayano Koshiro, did a great job, giving the game a very nice "pocket-flavored, little brother" vibe, which comes off particularly well on a handheld like the Game Gear!

The famous Yuzo Koshiro set about putting his magic touch on the Sonic formula, and comes out with predictably excellent results; some of the songs are mixed Mega Drive tunes, while others-- such as the super memorable Bridge and Jungle zones-- are original works. Sound effects are outstanding-- never grating, and keeping with the spirit of the Genesis original.

Ancient was tasked with making a Master System adaptation of the Yuji Naka-written, Genesis Sonic engine, and they did a great job getting comparable physics. Probably the tricky part with this project was developing levels that work well with the Game Gear's limited screen real estate. This is accomplished very well, although the game is rather lacking in difficulty.

This 8-bit Sonic the Hedgehog port is fun, because it takes what made the Mega Drive version enjoyable, but adds enough of its own sense of style, and its own mechanics, to differentiate it. There are some faults however; some of the stages-- particularly the under water ones-- are just a bit too plodding and slow, and the game is perhaps a little too long, and too easy. But for a handheld platformer, this is an ambitious, generally well executed title.

Sniper's verdict: