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Sonic Origins
  opened by paleface at 19:23:00 12/31/23  
  last modified by paleface at 17:12:57 03/06/24  
  paleface [sys=PC; cat=Platformer; reg=NA]
Oh! Sonic Origins isn't emulated versions of original games, it's remakes of them in a custom engine, by several key developers of Sonic Mania (see entry 1714). I haven't gotten along with the emulated Sonics I've tried in GC (see entry 254 and entry 866), PS2 (see entry 985), and PS4 (see entry 1520) collections--but running in Christian Whitehead's engine, yeah, I like the feel, responsive and sharp. : ) Apparently hardcore Sonic fans didn't like the change, but I didn't play Sonic as a kid, so I don't have that particular perspective; to me it feels like they've finally been done up right!
(Fans also didn't like that Origins replaced individually purchasable versions of the old games on Steam and I think the PS Store; mostly cheap emulated versions, although actually the Sonic CD on Steam was a previous port by Whitehead in an earlier version of his custom engine!)
The included games are
(16:9, infinite continues "Anniversary Mode" (or all consecutively as "Story Mode") or 4:3 "Classic Mode," as well as Boss Rush, Mission, and Blue Spheres (Sonic 3) modes)
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic CD
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles
(with the "Plus" DLC: Game Gear games, 4:3)
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Sonic Chaos
Sonic Drift
Sonic Spinball
Sonic the Hedgehog Triple Trouble
Sonic Drift 2
Tails' Skypatrol
Tails Adventure
Sonic Labyrinth
Sonic Blast
Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine
  paleface 14:51:06 01/20/24
I made the entire Sonic CD intro from this into one animated GIF : P :
  paleface 21:45:27 01/22/24

*Sonic the Hedgehog*
This was great! What a fun game! = D Probably a lot easier than the original what with the smoother engine, wide view, addition of spin dash (even in 4:3 "Classic Mode," which only omits Mania's Drop Dash), ability to choose different characters (still not tempted to try the other characters, even hammerin' Amy whom I hadn't played before) and infinite lives.
Marble Zone is so Altered Beast!
Labyrinth Zone underwater distortion effect is really nice.
Going to play the Genesis games in release order (1, 2, CD, 3) rather than the "story" order (1, CD, 2, 3) in which Origins arranges them. : P
The keyboard mappings are kind of a nightmare (WASD and LI...?? default, can't map arrows to game movement, only menu movement, can't map Enter to Start or ESC to Cancel...); fortunately, the DS4 seems to be set up just fine.
The huge Museum section has full scans of all region manuals of the Genesis games; dang the Japanese ones are snazzy.
You can replay and leaderboard time attack any stage you've completed, with any character; the leaderboards only show the top 100 times. : P I've read that level select codes work too, haven't tried those.
Beating Sonic 1 unlocked the ability to play it in flipped "Mirror Mode." There's also a Boss Rush mode available by default for all the Genesis games.
According to Wikipedia--and it definitely feels this way, too--the 12 Sonic Game Gear games added in the "Plus" DLC are emulated, rather than remastered in Christian Whitehead's "Retro Engine" as the Genesis games are. The 12 are listed in release order except, for some reason, Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, which is placed at the end of the list, instead of where it should be in release order: 4th, between Sonic Chaos and Sonic Drift (the Japanese version of Mean Bean Machine, Puyo Puyo, would have been 3rd).
Okay so "Doctor Eggman" was the antagonist's original Japanese name, changed to "Doctor Ivo Robotnik" for the Western localization of Sonic the Hedgehog by Sega USA without Sega of Japan's consent. Later the names were combined, with Robotnik being the "true" last name, and "Eggman" the nickname: "Doctor Ivo 'Eggman' Robotnik"--although "Robotnik" is apparently still little-used in Japan so that was probably just a sop by Sega of Japan to Sonic's apparently much larger Western audience. ; D
Music in several of the Sonic 1 zones spurred copyright claims on YouTube--one from Sony Brazil! = P
  paleface 20:04:22 01/25/24
Download added: 12_s2cityx.jpg (93940 bytes)
  "Sonic 2: City X"

Through the first seven zones, I'm not finding 2 as charming as 1. A few zones I downright disliked. Overall, so far it's okay, I guess.
I heard someone in an old podcast I think saying if you play with Tails along as the CPU he can pick up rings and then drop them if he's hit which can be real bad; I noticed him picking up a ring here and there, but I haven't noticed him dropping any; possibly I've missed it, I dunno.
  paleface 20:57:56 01/25/24
shnozlak says Tails can drop rings in special stages, but not regular zones.
  paleface 20:43:47 01/26/24
California Sega studio founded by Mark Cerny (Marble Madness, later architect of PS4, Vita, PS5), who had moved to Sega and worked on Master System games after Atari. Cerny hires Yuji Naka at double his old salary when Naka quits Sega of Japan after Sonic 1, feeling he wasn't being treated as well the game's success warranted. Sonic 1 lead level & gameplay designer Hirokazu Yasuhara is assigned to work in US, joins STI. They eventually get go-ahead to make Sonic 2. Meanwhile, Sega of Japan will start on Sonic CD, meant to show off Sega CD hardware.
Culture clash between American and Japanese Sonic 2 team members at STI (JP used to staying all night, sleeping in cubicles; STI US locks doors at night), language barrier, Naka seen by US members as arrogant. After Sonic 2, Naka refuses to work on another Sonic game with Americans. US employees moved to Sonic Spinball while JP team makes Sonic 3, absorbs large share of studio resources. Given 9 months to make Spinball, STI switches Spinball's dev language from Assembly to C--faster development but slow performance on the hardware; gets poor reviews but sells well.
Yasuhara leaves STI for Sega of America after Sonic 3 (1994), citing differences with Naka. Naka returns to Japan at the end of the year.
  paleface 20:56:21 01/26/24
Over the next few years, Sega put out Sonic Triple Trouble (GG), Knuckles Chaotix (32X), Sonic Blast (GG, MS), Sonic 3D Blast (Gen, Sat) Sonic Drift 1 & 2 (GG), and Sonic R (Sat), but not main-line Sonic game until Sonic Adventure on Dreamcast; meanwhile Sonic Team had done Nights into Dreams and Burning Rangers on Saturn. I wonder if Naka didn't have confidence he could pull off a Sonic game without Yasuhara.
  paleface 21:07:02 01/26/24
Yasuhara had started as planner for Altered Beast and the roguelike Fatal Labyrinth. After leaving STI, he did some non-lead design work on Sonic 3D Blast and Sonic R, which were primarily developed by Traveller's Tales. He was a designer on Floigan Bros. (Visual Concepts). He reunited with Cerny on Jak II at Naughty Dog, where he was also a designer on the first Uncharted.
After that he did a Pac-Man party game at TOSE, then a Mario and Donkey Kong puzzle game at Nintendo Software Technology in Redmond--Nintendo's Digipen grad studio.
  paleface 23:19:27 01/26/24
Download added: 21_s2bossnotes.jpg (68954 bytes)
  "My notes written to get the 2nd-to-past Sonic 2 boss sequence : P"

I was sort of okay-ish with the first 7 zones of Sonic 2 that I played in the previous session, but hoping the last 4 would charm me more. They were worse. = P And the final two boss fights are a single long insta-death memorization/reflexes session; resorted to pen and paper to get through the two-minute-long 22-step first boss sequence
(wasn't clear how to hit them without dying at first; eventually through trial and error found you can spin-dash them only when they're dashing at you, not when they're at rest--'cause why make sense when you can just kill the player and make them try again : PPP; so the sequence I wrote down of which side they attack from and what their attack is goes (B = ball aka spin dash; D = dash, J = jump):
R - B
L - D
R - D
L - J
R - B
L - B
R - J
L - D
R - D
L - J
R - B
L - B
R - J
L - B
R - D
L - D
R - B
L - J
R - J
L - B
R - D
L - D
), but quit vs the second because it was just pretty obscure how to hit him without dying, in between his long targeting sequences, and redoing the 2 minute first boss every time to screw up my first shot at the second boss was no way to live my life.
So far in Sonic CD I'm being pinballed around blackened and brown "Dark Future" versions of big shapeless stages which is not quite what I would have hoped for. Gotta try to learn how to warp right (they stole the idea from Back to the Future, so apparently you just run for six seconds or so after spinning the right sign in a level : P) and so I can stay in the Present versions of the stages, which hopefully have pretty colors. At least the CD music is nice.
Oh each second in the water water in the special stages takes 10 seconds off the clock; but a special blue 30-sec-bonus UFO appears w/ 20 secs left. And to get the "good" future you've got to go to the past and destroy "a gray cage with electric bars" (FAQ), aka the "Enemy Robot Transporter" (other FAQ), which I guess is what Wikipedia calls "the hidden transporter where enemy robots spawn." Or you can get all seven Time Stones to get "a good future in every zone, unlocking the best ending" (Wikipedia); ending act 1 or 2 with at least 50 rings makes a giant ring appear; grab to go to the Special Stage; destroying the purple UFOs in the Special Stage gets a Time Stone.
  paleface 18:07:22 01/28/24
Download added: 29_cd_sonics.jpg (250172 bytes)
  "Sonic CD: Mini Sonic, etc"

Finishing Sonic CD -- starting with the third Act of the second Zone or whatever you're supposed to call them in this one.
OH so to switch Sonic CD soundtracks (JP/US) you have to start a new Anniversary/Classic game to get to the Sonic CD original game-style menu, scroll it to the right to reveal the "SOUND TRACK" item, select that, and then you get to the JP/US OST toggle screen. : P Looks like I had it set to the US soundtrack. Which was pretty good, definitely my favorite part of the game! According to Wikipedia, the JP composers were inspired by house and techno, while Sega of America decided the game needed something "more 'rich and complex'" (which ended up being a lot more chilled-out).
I sure sucked at the final Metal Sonic sequence. Thought I had to memorize his scripted movement, which I'm terrible at; finally realized I might as well see if I could stay ahead of him, since if he jets into me it only knocks some rings out, whereas Eggy's beam behind me kills me instantly ; P, probably because it was much easier just to kill the player than to try to figure out how to let them live while also making sure they don't fall behind the scripted actors.
Oh, hah, it wasn't the Metal Sonic battle from Generations of which I'd been thinking sort of fondly, it was the Shadow battle -- that 3D race mode worked all right I think. Or am I just getting rose-tinted glasses?
Was getting depressed about this game for a bit there, the last stage or so(?) wasn't maybe so bad though? But a lot of other parts were feeling stuck for a while in holes or lost wandering around shapeless stages, that wasn't super; and most of the boss fights were still kinda bad. The final stage and boss fight were pretty easy, so it felt like the game just ended pretty abruptly--and it really lacked a sense of pacing overall, I suppose. But it was a lot less terrible to me than Sonic 2, so, could've been worse. CD is the odd one out where programmer/director Naka and gameplay designer Hirokazu Yasuhara weren't involved. Will 3 be a return to the delights of 1, or the horrors of 2? = o
(Forgot to mention that a lot of folks may know Mark Cerny--Marble Madness developer, Sega Technical Institute founder, etc etc--better as the architect of the PS4, Vita, and PS5. He also consulted on both the Jak & Daxter and Ratchet & Clank series! (Both he and Yasuhara were on Jak II, as it happens.))
Yasuhara worked (but maybe not still?) in recent years at Unity. Here's his first public English presentation on game design, in 2017--with host Brandon Sheffield of insertcredit / Necrosoft:

According to 6'35 in that, Sonic 2 was going to be a time travel story originally, before its schedule was cut down. (Hm so Sonic 2 had a severely cut schedule and significant team friction, maybe that helps explain why its art and boss sequences were noticeably inconsistent.) So, maybe it was up to Sonic CD to do the time travel. ; )
Buuut Sonic CD's Yasuhara-free time warping between four different time zones thing sure didn't work for me; it just seemed to shift me to uglier versions of the stages so I ended up trying to avoid it entirely. It also meant the stages sort of share the same four tilesets. : P
I made an animated GIF of the ending animation: Finally found out that's what that sweet Sonic / Metal Sonic pixel art GIF animation
was based on.
  paleface 19:56:49 01/29/24
Download added: 30_calendar.jpg (284325 bytes)
  "Calendar illustrations, purchased in Museum"

First four zones of Sonic 3 & Knuckles
Man, getting double the dev time (the game was split into 2, which combined together with an extra cart slot on the top of Sonic & Knuckles) rather than the severely cut dev time they had on Sonic 2 might've really helped; at any rate, I had big problems with Sonic 2 but they've really turned things around here: Sonic 3 is great! Fun, attractive, purposeful levels, uh well not awful bosses, and cool new gameplay gimmicks popping up constantly! Through the first four zones, it's definitely my favorite Sonic game so far! = D
Forgot to mention that this 2022 port was the first port of Sonic 3 since 2011; speculation is that there were legal issues with at least one music track that Michael Jackson may have worked on, uncredited. Certain tracks were replaced in this version.
  paleface 18:45:56 01/31/24
Download added: 33_ice_drop.jpg (319771 bytes)
  "Ice drop I was stuck at; Launch Base & Mushroom Hill are wild; minigame : P"

Ice Cap Zone, Launch Base Zone, Mushroom Hill Zone, and Flying Battery Zone Act 1 from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles
Stuck for ten minutes or something on an icy cave jump. ; D
Man I don't think I'm gonna use coins on continuing special stages anymore, don't particularly enjoy the bonus games and don't really care about super emerald stuff (according to le FAQ , these get you super overpowered forms of the characters : P), would rather use coins to unlock the cool calendar art in the collection's Museum!
Flying Battery Zone is my least favorite so far. Still got half to go! : P Launch Base was pretty epic though, and Mushroom Hill is wild! ^ _^ Espio's stage in Sonic the Fighters is based on it! ; D
  paleface 20:05:56 02/03/24
Download added: 34_bat_sand.jpg (273724 bytes)
  "Flying Battery Zone 2 and Sandopolis Zone"

Flying Battery Zone Act 2 and Sandopolis Zone (Sonic 3)
Flying Battery still not my fave theme, those drill-evators in Act 2 pasted me a few times. ; P Funky boss fight. ; )
Sandopolis is absolutely gorgeous but waaaaay too heavy on memorize-or-get-dusted! ; P Sheez.
  paleface 20:19:00 02/03/24
Oh yeah the bluebird (calendar2 & 3) is Flicky.
  paleface 23:42:55 02/04/24
Download added: 37_s3_degg.jpg (45906 bytes)
  "Sonic & Tales in the Death Egg"

Lava Reef Zone, Hidden Palace Zone, Sky Sanctuary Zone, and Death Egg Zone Act 1
Lava Reef Zone Act 2 is really gorgeous with the color-cycling crystals and all. Some pretty good stages in here, really--big improvement over last session. ^ _^ Nice stuff!
Ohh right, "Death Egg" as in Eggman "Death Star." : P
(Ah I did find a 2.4g pad with symmetrical layout ie d-pad in the upper position: Retro Fighters' "Defender" Amazon reviews are kinda sketchy if you read into them though and selectbutton is skeptical of Retro Fighters in general so hm. Oh yeah that Retro Fighters BrawlerGen USB is ; I'm thinking I really don't want another wired controller though, got too many wires already. : PP So yeah if my hands don't like the d-pad in asymmetrical layout position on the 8bitdo (pronounced "dew" officially--you can hear it from their speaker: ; theory is that it was originally "doh" like "Nintendo" but they were making knock-off Famicom pads and stuff and kind of honked Nintendo off and had to steer clear of aping them too closely : P) eh I'll probably just stick to the DS4 for now.)
Some more animated gifs I've made from these videos:
From the video a couple sessions ago:
- Eggman going down:
- Vine loop:
- New Blue Spheres:
- Wavy Battery boss:
This session:
- Sky Sanctuary crumbles:
- Lava Reef Zone spins:
- Dizzy in Death Egg Zone:
  paleface 21:54:36 02/08/24
The calendar art from the gallery is apparently by Naoto Ohshima, the original designer of Sonic and Dr. Robotnik:
  paleface 21:56:24 02/08/24
Ohshima directed Sonic CD.
  paleface 21:59:24 02/08/24
Gah and those illustrations were for a series of "SegaSonic the Hedgehog" calendars in the '90s.
  paleface 02:25:20 02/11/24
Download added: 40_gg.jpg (338334 bytes)
  "End Sonic 3, various Sonic GG games (Mean Bean at bottom)"

Played the end of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, starting from Death Egg Zone Act 2--but NOT getting The Doomsday Zone, because I hadn't collected all 7 Chaos Emeralds--and then trying all 12 of the emulated Sonic Game Gear games.
The upside-down platforming parts of Death Egg Zone Act 2 made me kinda nauseous--and I just don't like trying to do jumping upside-down anyhow. : PP
There are some really amazing and fun stages in S3&K, but also a fair number of not so great gameplay things, like the bonus stages, the upside-down stage, the squished in sand stage, and the triple final boss sequence with no checkpoint and no ring. I could pick out individual stages in S3&K to replay, but overall I think if I want a good Sonic time, so far my go-to is still gonna be Sonic 1! : D
So yeah there's "The Doomsday Zone" listed at the end of Sonic 3 & Knuckles, and apparently you go to that after the end with Robotnik that I saw, IF you collected all 7 of the Chaos Emeralds. ; D
If you have box art set to Japanese in Sonic Origins' settings, it shows thumbnails of the Japanese title screens (when they exist) for the Game Gear games: Sonic Chaos is "Sonic & Tails," Sonic the Hedgehog Triple Trouble is "Sonic & Tails 2," and Sonic Blast is "G Sonic" (last GG game in Japan!). (Tales Adventure is "Tails Adventures" in both settings, so I guess somebody typoed something.) And it runs the Japanese versions! (There's no "Puyo Puyo" in Japanese for "Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine.) This confused me for a bit.
The Sonic platformers on Game Gear are pretty janky; evidently the hardware--assuming this isn't some monumental failure of the GG emulator used in Origins--just couldn't really scroll the full screen smoothly, at least not at the requisite speed. But they kept trying! : P Eh well say what you want about the pre-rendered 3D Sonic Blast, it's actually more playable than the rest--not that that's saying much.
The Drift games...well, I couldn't even really drift much; doesn't help that the buttons are nutso: Accelerate and Brake together to drift--but the track is kinda too narrow to drift much anyway, and the framerate and control are sluggish enough that you can't really tell if you're drifting or just...not. The button assignments they made for the emulator don't help: they put Accelerate on CIRCLE, and Brake on X! It should be Accelerate on X and Brake on Square, you nutsos! Thumbs don't go the way you think! (I reassigned them in Steam Input but I got it a bit backwards I think; think I just swapped Brake to [] and left it at that, oh well.)
Bean Machine was probably the most playable, but the first match dragged on seemingly interminably against the CPU--not aided by my near inability to make combos and so forth, but, bleh.
  paleface 13:02:07 03/04/24
Considering I only want it for Sonic 1 at this point, the 7.99 GB install size of Origins is a bit much. ; ) Especially considering that Mania is only 202 MB. : PP It's almost enough to make me want to dump a Genesis cart of Sonic 1...but eh then it wouldn't have the quality of life stuff and the graphics would be kinda weird and yeah I forgot about that.
  paleface 17:12:57 03/06/24
Game Gear games Sonic 2, Sonic Chaos, Triple Trouble, and Sonic Blast were developed by Japanese developer Aspect, who did a bunch of other GG games--and a lot of DS games in their last years.,_Ltd.
· SEGA Genesis Classics (PS4)
· Sonic Adventure 2: Trial (PS3)
· Sonic CD Trial (PS3)
· Sonic Gems Collection (GC)
· Sonic Generations (PC)
· Sonic Heroes (PS2)
· Sonic Mania (PC)
· Sonic Mega Collection (GC)
· Sonic Mega Collection Plus (PS2)
· Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I (PC)
· Sonic the Hedgehog: Pocket Adventure (NGPC)

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