Sonic Mania – A Love Song to Sonic Fans

Sonic the Hedgehog has had a rough ride since the 1990’s era games and there’s no one better to tell you than myself. I gotta tell you a bit about my past so we can appreciate what Sega has given us today.

Back in the 1990’s I was a much younger lad that today and often to give our parent’s a break we’d be shipped off via FedEx to our grandparents and aunt’s for a week or two for “vacation”. Well I don’t know if Mom was in on it or what but we always had a blast at our grandparent’s. Sadly neither are around anymore to share this with though likely they’d just smile and nod as they never got in to video games.

Anyways, the thing we looked forward to most was, well actually was the water bed, but that’s not what this story is about. The second most important thing was video games. In the basement, our aunt had a lair. A lair full of intrigue and wonder.

Who am I kidding? She had an old school CRT TV (that I eventually inherited later in live) and hooked to that she had a Nintendo Entertainment System. That was something we loved to play ourselves and was our first introduction to Final Fantasy.

One year we arrived and after work she brought down something new to us. A model 1 “High Definition” model Sega Genesis. I wouldn’t be surprised if I drooled. Anyways she let us hook it up, as we were more than eager to do, and power it on with the first of many games she eventually purchased for the console – Sonic the Hedgehog.

We were blown away by the speed of the game. The fastest game we ever played was Super Mario Bros 3 on the NES and the only way to go fast in that game was to hold the B button the whole game. Sonic just went faster and faster and faster. The colour in the game too was so vibrant. And that speed. Oh yeah, I said that already.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was always my favourite. I liked the look of the sprites and backgrounds the best here. The levels seems to flow the best and the music. Oh the music. It was amazing! Chemical Plant Zone anyone?

The move to 3D was done on the Dreamcast with Adventures 1 and 2. I will always remember my cousins showing me Sonic running from the shark on that pier. Classic. After that though I lost my interest in 3D.

In fact the only 3D Sonic game I ever enjoyed was Sonic Generations. It took old school Sonic levels and made them 3D. Pretty good though the physics just weren’t the same.

In comes Sonic Mania. Christian Whitehead had done a few Sonic ports in the past on Gameboy Advance and he designed a prototype of Mania back in 2016 using the Retro Engine. Of course the game was just released on the Playstation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. PC coming in a couple weeks.

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The game takes advantage of the power of the new consoles with fully animated sprites and more colour. Blessedly, developers had the forethought to keep the physics from the the original games. It feels very much like playing Sonic 2 or 3.

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The levels are great with nods to levels from the original trilogy and remixed versions of their level music. We also see remixed bosses throughout the game that queue memories of my past.

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I ordered the collector’s edition off Ebay and I gotta tell you, it was totally worth it.

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Awesome reproduction style cart.

The edition comes with a digital download code for Sonic Mania (there is no physical copy of this game sadly), a metal collector’s card, a dummy reproduction Genesis cartridge for the game with a metal golden ring inside and a foot tall Sonic standing on top of a full size Genesis replica that says “SEGA” when you add two double A batteries in the compartment underneath.

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Beautiful representation of the Sega Genesis Model 1 / Mega Drive.

The game sells for $25 CAD alone and I think it’s totally worth it. I would love to see perhaps some DLC with remade levels from the original games but this game is so good. I haven’t played a game so hard since, well, maybe Persona 4? Pick it up even if you aren’t a huge fan.

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The Sonic statue compared to my Aunt’s Sega Genesis.

Have cheer Sonic fans. Sonic Mania is finally gives us a Sonic the Hedgehog game to be proud of once again.

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