SegaSonic The Hedgehog

  • Original platform: Arcade
  • Where to get: Unavailable

I wasn’t able to play this in the fully intended method: this is a Japanese-only arcade game that uses a trackball. The closest I could get is using an analogue stick to emulate a trackpad. This makes it much easier to move at full speed as you just hold instead of having to constantly roll a ball, but at the same time it’s a lot more difficult to control your speed. I would love to be able to try this out with a proper trackball, but they seem to be more expensive than I thought they would be.

SegaSonic the Hedgehog is an isometric platformer made for coin-operated arcades. This means it’s a short game, where each life costs you money. To account for this, Sonic has a health bar that drops when you get hit, or when you fall down gaps (you instantly respawn with less health), so it’s not as strict as it could be. To get a higher score, you have to collect as many rings as possible, with Dr Robotnik laughing at you if you don’t get enough. Enemies also drop rings, so if you want to get to the end you can avoid most of them, but will get a low score.
In SegaSonic the Hedgehog, Sonic (along with Mighty and Ray if you play with more players) is constantly being chased by traps, giant fireballs, collapsing paths. At the start, these shock Sonic as he’s screaming constantly, but he seems to get used as the game moves on. You have to keep moving constantly. It’s a very fast paced game but even with the emulated stick, it felt very precise to move. If you run into an edge, Sonic stops on the edge for a brief second before falling, giving you a chance to move back onto the path.

The game also looks absolutely beautiful. The blocky design is incredibly detailed, and the levels all have a magnificent look to them. Every moment is a marvel to look at, with some stunning animation to look at as well.

I would love for SegaSonic the Hedgehog to get a re-release, and I feel that Sega could get an analogue stick to work better than emulating a trackball works. It’s something that more people should get a chance to play. I suspect playing with a trackball is better, as you will get the excitement from requiring a lot of physical effort for moving faster, but it’s still a nice game to play in the non-ideal way, and is short and sweet.

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