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Sonic the Hedgehog (8-bit video game)

Sonic the Hedgehog

Master System cover art

Developer(s) Ancient
Publisher(s) Sega
Programmer(s) Shinobu Hayashi
Artist(s) Ayano Koshiro
Takefuni Yunoue
Composer(s) Yuzo Koshiro
Series Sonic the Hedgehog
Platform(s) Master System, Game Gear
Release date(s) Master System
  • NA/EU October 25, 1991
Game Gear
  • JP December 28, 1991
  • NA/EU December 31, 1991
  • AUS January 3, 1992
Virtual Console
  • NA August 4, 2008
  • JP August 5, 2008
  • EU September 19, 2008
  • NA June 7, 2013
  • JP December 4, 2013
Genre(s) Platform game
Mode(s) Single player

Sonic the Hedgehog (ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ Sonikku za Hejjihoggu) is a 1991 platform video game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series that was released on October 25, 1991 for the Sega Master System and on December 28, 1991 for the Sega Game Gear. Developed by Ancient, it is the distinct 8-bit version of the more popular 16-bit game. In addition to its original release as a cartridge, the game was later built into some versions of the Sega Master System II in Europe. It was the last game released for the Sega Master System in North America.

In 2008, the game was re-released for the Wii Virtual Console (the Master System version) in North America on August 4, 2008[1] and in Europe on September 19, 2008. The Game Gear version has appeared with other titles on Sonic Adventure DX for GameCube and PC and Sonic Mega Collection+ for PlayStation 2, Xbox and PC.


  • Gameplay 1
  • Soundtrack 2
  • Ports and re-releases 3
  • References 4


The game sees players playing as Sonic the Hedgehog as he travels across South Island to steal it from the evil Dr. Ivo Robotnik. Sonic is able to attack enemies by performing a Super Sonic jump Attack, either by jumping into the air or rolling on the ground, the latter of which can also send Sonic off ramps. By collecting rings, Sonic can protect himself from damage from enemies and obstacles. Sonic will lose a life if he is hit without carrying any rings, or if he drowns or falls into a bottomless pit. Items found throughout the game include extra speed, speed shoes, everlasting invincibility, shields and checkpoints. Throughout the game, Sonic travels through six zones, each consisting of two main acts and a boss battle stage. At the end of each main act, the player hits a Goalpost which can award bonuses depending on how many rings Sonic is carrying. If the player has over 50 rings, they can access a bonus stage where more rings and continues can be collected. In each zone, there is a Chaos Emerald hidden somewhere in one of the acts, with a good ending awarded if the player finds all of them and completes the game.[2]


A sample of "Bridge Zone" from the Sega Master System version of Sonic the Hedgehog, composed by Yuzo Koshiro.

Problems playing this file? See .

The game's soundtrack was composed by chiptune musician Yuzo Koshiro. He adapted a few pieces of music from the original 16-bit version by Masato Nakamura, while the rest of the soundtrack consisted of his own original music.[3] One of his original pieces, the "Bridge Zone" theme, was later sampled in Janet Jackson's best-selling single "Together Again" (1997).[4][5] "Jungle Zone" was later sampled in the Australian hit single "Accidentally Kelly Street" by Frente! in 1992.[6]

Ports and re-releases

A few months after the Master System release, the game was ported to the Game Gear. This version contains some slight changes from the Master System version due to the differences in resolution and color pallette.

The Game Gear version was included as an unlockable game in Sonic Adventure DX, released for the Nintendo Gamecube in 2003 and PC in 2004. The Game Gear version was later included as part of the Sonic Mega Collection Plus compilation, released for PlayStation 2 and Xbox in 2004 and for PC in 2006. The Master System version of the game was released for the Wii's Virtual Console service in August 2008. The Game Gear version in 2014 is also available on the Nintendo 3DS eShop.[7]


  1. ^ "One WiiWare Game and Two Virtual Console Games Added to Wii Shop Channel". Nintendo of America. 2008-08-04. Retrieved 2008-08-04. 
  2. ^ "Sonic the Hedgehog (8-bit)". The GHZ. 20 May 2007. Retrieved 27 August 2009. 
  3. ^ Chris Greening & Don Kotowski (February 2011). "Interview with Yuzo Koshiro". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved 2011-06-20. 
  4. ^ "Yuzo Koshiro (Sonic the Hedgehog)". Retrieved 2011-06-20. 
  5. ^ "Janet Jackson". Retrieved 2011-06-21. 
  6. ^ Mr Toffee (November 22, 2010). "Music Box: Hey, That Sounds Familiar". GameAxis Online.  
  7. ^ "Sonic the Hedgehog (3DS eShop / Game Gear) Review". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
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