It Really Is His World

HIGH Game Gear!

LOW So we’re still doing 16:9 only, huh?

WTF Can I beg for 32X and Dreamcast ports now?

Last year I reviewed Sonic Origins, a compilation of classic Sega Genesis-era Sonic games. It’s a neat little collection offering a comprehensive look at the blue blur’s history thanks to a bunch of bonuses like production photos, music and even new hand-drawn cutscenes. 

It was flawed in its presentation and had some weird DLC options, but I was still satisfied with the final product. Even so, I lamented the lack of other features, like non-Genesis games. Funny enough, it seems like Sega had the same idea. Sonic Origins Plus is a new package that can either be bought as DLC for existing owners of 2022’s Sonic Origins or as a complete package with the original game. 

Everything in the base game is the exact same, including the title list. Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic 3 & Knuckles and Sonic CD are all included, now with the added bonus of being able to play as Knuckles in CD and as fan-favorite Amy Rose in every game. It’s cool that every entry has been retroactively tweaked to work with each character’s playstyle — new pathways are available in CD to accommodate Knuckles and his gliding, climbing and digging ability, for example. It’s a neat feature giving newcomers a chance to play with their favorites while giving vets a refreshing new way to play. 

On the other hand, the same issue of the presentation being stretched to fit 16:9 screens in Anniversary mode is still present, and I’m bummed Sega didn’t give me an option to play in a much-preferred 4:3 aspect ratio. It’s not a dealbreaker, but for those who had hoped for updated visual options are going to be disappointed.

Despite that, the absolute best new addition and the main star of this DLC are the Sega Game Gear titles now included — they are the very thing I asked for in my previous review, and the results are interesting. For those who might not know, the Game Gear was Sega’s 8-Bit handheld designed to compete with the GameBoy. Reception of the machine was mixed at best, but Sega enthusiasts still hold it dear to their hearts, and the included titles in this collection are a great history lesson for Sonic fans and retro gaming nuts (like me!) 

The 8-bit versions of the first two Sonic games and Tails Adventure are delightful, if simple, platformers that deserved a proper place to experience them. Even oddities like the Sonic Drift series offer an early look at how the Game Gear could handle a kart racer. Sure, a lot of these experiences aren’t the deepest (although Puyo Puyo and puzzle fans might get addicted to Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine — I did!) but the fact that there’s a decent collection to simply preserve these older titles is a good thing. I hope Sega considers more collections for their other legacy systems.

While I don’t think Sonic Origins Plus will convince doubters of the initial release to convert and I still have my qualms over some of the presentation choice, there’s no doubt that Sega managed to make a solid package even better.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Disclosures: This game is published and developed by Sega. It is available on PS4/5, PC, XBO/X/S, and Switch. This copy was obtained via publisher and was reviewed on PS5. Approximately 5 hours were spent in single-player and the games were not completed. There is multiplayer but it was not tested for this review. These games were previously played and 8 hours were spent on the initial release. 

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated E for Mild Cartoon Violence. This game is perfectly fine for young children, as the violence is very minimal. 

Colorblind Modes: Colorblind modes are not present in the options menu.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Gamers: I spent most of my time playing the game on mute and found no issues. Everything has some visual cue, though there’s no way to resize text. As no audio cues are needed for play, this game is fully accessible.

Remappable Controls: The controls cannot be remapped and but there are control diagrams for each game. Most consist of moving a character with a d-pad/stick and the face buttons handling jumping and other relevant functions.

Cj Salcedo
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