By: Matthew Striplen
Spoiler alert! For those of you that have been asleep since the early ’90s, Nintendo beat Sega in the console wars. Shocking, I know; but this game is living proof of Nintendo’s victory. Sonic the Hedgehog 3D is a direct port of the classic Genesis title that initially gave Mario a “run” for his money. Heh, see what I did there? Sorry… Despite being a port, a few things have been tweaked and added here and there. Thankfully, these additions are mostly welcome.
Upon booting up the game, the player will be greeted by a different start screen from the original with four buttons: Start, Settings, Credits, and Special. Don’t worry, you’ll get to see Sonic‘s sassy finger wagging after you press Start. Sonic gives the player the option to change the control scheme since the 3DS doesn’t have the same buttons as the Genesis. All buttons are useable, even L/R.
While Start and Credits is fairly self explanatory, one of the most interesting aspects of this port is the large amount of adjustable settings. Nearly everything is changeable, the Japanese vs. American versions, 3D settings, and emulation type to name a few. It’s certainly cool to be able to control everything, but most of these settings are useless. Playing on a crappy non-flat screen TV again is great for nostalgia’s sake, but I’m not sure I’d want to do so for more than a few seconds.
The strangest button is the Special. When selected, instead of being dropped directly into the first stage, the player is faced with a level select. All levels are unlocked, including bosses and secrets. Being able to skip straight to your favorite level out of the gate is fun, but it changes the overall feel of the game. For those with enough self control, switching the Special button off is simple and original gameplay can be resumed.
The graphics and sound are exactly the same as the original, save for the addition of 3D capabilities. Though it may be a little weird to see 16-bit sprites in 3D, your eyes get used to it after a while. Amazingly, the 3D in Sonic is among the best I’ve seen so far. The screen will noticeably darken when turned on, but this can be easily remedied by increasing the brightness setting. The only time the 3D doesn’t live up to its potential is when using the Classic screen setting (a.k.a. non-flat screen). It just looks weird.
SEGA did a nice job of porting Sonic the Hedgehog 3D to a handheld device while updating it to utilize the 3DS’ additional capabilities. The inclusion of the level select will certainly be a divisive topic, as I’m sure some players will appreciate it while others will complain loudly that their beloved Sonic game has been dumbed down. Since it’s still entirely possible to play the game in its original form, though, I don’t see too much issue here. This is a good port, staying true to the original, while adding modern flexibility. He’s the fastest thing aliiiiive!