Xbox Series X/S Review: Sonic Origins

The classic 2D Sonic games are back, but are they Super?

Relive the classic collected adventures of Sonic The Hedgehog, Sonic The Hedgehog 2, Sonic 3 & Knuckles, and Sonic CD in the newly remastered Sonic Origins! From the iconic Green Hill Zone to the treacherous Death Egg Robot, you’ll speed down memory lane to thwart the sinister plans of Doctor Robotnik in polished high definition! This latest version includes new areas to explore, additional animations, and a brand-new Anniversary mode! Explore the classic Sonic titles in high-resolution, with all-new opening and ending animations for each title! New Unlockables: Complete various missions to collect coins to unlock new content, challenges, and Special Stages through the Museum. Classic and Anniversary Mode. Choose to Spin Dash your way through the numerous zones in Classic mode with the game’s original resolution and limited lives, or the new Anniversary mode with unlimited lives and revamped fullscreen resolution.

The original Sonic games are some of my favourites, especially Sonic 3 & Knuckles which I have played more times than I can remember. I was glad to see the classics come to modern systems since it’s been a while since I had played them, but just what is new about this collection?

You can play the games with its original 4:3 resolution or the new 16:9 through the Anniversary mode. The big change is that you can play as Tails and Knuckles throughout Sonic 1, something that wasn’t possible before. The game also includes Missions which are short challenges like defeating so many enemies in a limited time or reach the end with a number of rings and so on. These are a nice addition overall and getting S Rank on them isn’t always easy.

Finishing missions, levels or games will give you Coins which you can use to either replay Special Stages in the game without having to hunt down another Star Post/Giant Ring or to unlock music, artwork and videos from the Museum mode. Each game has their own animated short to introduce and close the game, essentially hinting at the next game and ultimately tying the games together with more plot than the games themselves. These are superb and make me really wish for a Sonic anime in this style, but until that dream is made a reality this will do nicely.

Now for the bad news. While the games have been mostly restored to their classic forms, there are a few issues that will have players scratching their heads. Tails gets himself trapped more often and in one case, actually killed me by standing on a falling platform which crushed me. Star Post checkpoints glitched for me in Sandopolis Zone 2 in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, meaning I had to replay the entire level if I died (which I did a few times due to cheap deaths involving quicksand. I was able to get through it in the end, but I really hope these bugs get patched as it really hurts the overall quality of these classics.

The main controversy over Sonic Origins is of course, Sonic 3 & Knuckles’ soundtrack. The original game supposedly had a helping hand from Michael Jackson and is replaced in this collection with new tracks that haven’t gone down well with fans. I personally agree that the replacement tracks for certain stages aren’t great, but it shouldn’t detract from what great games these are, even if it isn’t how it was originally.

I do commend the developers for making the original games in Widescreen and even replacing the bottomless pit in Mystic Caves with the entrance to cut Sonic 2 level “Hidden Palace Zone”, though the price tag of £30+ feels a bit overpriced for what’s on offer here.

The Verdict

Sonic Origins is a decent collection of the best Sonic games ever, but it’s not without its issues. Glitches and a heavy price point make it a tough sell, plus the change of music in Sonic 3 is far from great. It’s still hard not to recommend though because despite its issues, these are still superb Sonic games and worthy of any fans collection. Let’s just hope they patch the bugs soon so everyone can enjoy the classics without worry.

Score: 8.5