I love Sonic. It’s true. Given a choice over all the mascots (Spyro, Crash, Mario…etc), my choice will always be Sonic. It’s something I’ve never wavered in, ever since the 90s. Sonic Origins then, seems tailor fit for a fan like me!

After all, I played the games when they were new on the Mega Drive. I played them again in SEGA’s various retro collections over the years. It’s been a hell of a ride. Why not play them all over again?

With that in mind, how does Sonic Origins fare?

Let’s find out!

What is Sonic Origins?

Sonic Origins is a compilation of 4 Sonic titles (Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic 3 & Knuckles and Sonic CD) with assorted extras. Two versions of each game are available; one in the original format (Classic Mode), and an enhanced version (Anniversary Mode) that has widescreen support, removes lives and allows Sonic to his drop dash move from Sonic Mania.

Sonic, Tails and Knuckles are all playable in the numbered Sonic games, while Sonic and Tails are the only playable characters in Sonic CD.

Sonic Origins is developed and published by SEGA and is available now on PC, Nintendo Switch and Playstation and Xbox consoles.

True story; Sonic the Hedgehog was the one of the first games I got for the Mega Drive.

Along with Runark, Devil’s Crush and Golden Axe II, they were my first forays into 16-bit gaming. I even remember going with my late grandfather to get the console from Parkway Parade.

Ah the memories.

As I play Sonic Origins, I can’t help but be swamped with them. It’s been decades, but I can still remember bits and pieces of the games, of when I played them in my grandfather’s room after school or during the weekends.

I have a ton of fond memories playing the games growing up and Sonic Origins brought them all to the forefront. I know the game’s meant to be an introducing to classic Sonic games for new gamers, but for us old folk who were there at Sonic’s introduction, it’s a time machine back to the halcyon days.

4 great, equally memorable Sonic games in one handy package.

One thing that I totally love about Sonic Origins is how it tries to tie in all the games together.

If you play the game’s Story Mode (which takes you chronologically through the titles), you’ll get cool animated intros and outros that blend the games into one loooooooooooong story. I love the cartoon style, because it harkens back to the old 90s Sonic animated cartoon!

Finish Story mode and you’ll unlock a final ending to the game which is really cool!

Also cool: the Museum!

All the cartoon intros and outros can be viewed there PLUS you can spend Coins you get from playing the games (they’re in specially marked containers or given every time you get 100 rings) can be used to unlock really cool extras like Sonic 30th Anniversary Symphony music videos.

There are even special episodes of the Sonic Mania cartoons that were created to celebrate Sonic Mania Plus’ release included.

Alongside the videos, you can also listen to nearly every track from the games plus have a looksee at the games’ manuals, covers and promo materials.

I really love the Museum but wish that SEGA had done more with it.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s quite a ton of stuff inside it that’s well worth the price of admission…but a ton more are missing. I’m sure that there are developer interviews or other media that could’ve been added in. Perhaps some issues of the comics from IDW or Archie Comics from the 90s even.

The presentation could’ve been better too! Sonic Jam, a SEGA Saturn game had a 3D world you can walk around it to interact with stuff!

I wish Sonic Team and SEGA did something similar for Sonic Origins’ Museum mode too! Selecting stuff via menus is just plain lazy. Sonic deserves better. We deserve better fan service!

Speaking of fan service, the Sonic games have aged pretty well considering they came out in the 90s.

The visuals are still top tier, with impressive parallax and sprite rotation (especially in Sonic 3 & Knuckles).

It might be nothing now, but I still remember my jaw dropping at some of Sonic 3 & Knuckles’ stages back in the day. No other platformer in the 90s looked as good!

It’s not a surprise then that Sonic 3 & Knuckles and Sonic CD outshine the other two Sonic games. Both in gameplay and visuals. The two games have more imaginative stages, and bosses, though the original Sonic still had the best music.

Ok, Sonic 2’s music is pretty damn awesome too but the original Sonic score is leagues away the most iconic.

Gameplay’s the same as ever.

Sonic and the rest move using momentum, which gives them a feel unlike other 90s platformers. It’ll definitely take new players time to adjust for that but it’s fun when you get the hang of it. Or you could always cheat and play as Tails and fly everywhere…momentum be damned.

I’m a bit miffed that SEGA just chose to do two different modes and left it at that.

Capcom’s set the standard for their retro collections with the ability to rewind and speed up gameplay, among other tweaks. I would’ve love a rewind feature honestly! Would’ve made the Bonus Stages for the games (a must to complete for the best endings and to unlock Super Sonic) much easier to play.

Come on SEGA! I paid my dues as a kid, let me wuss out and do stuff the easy way as an adult!

If you’re a Sonic veteran, there’s a new Mission mode for the Sonic Origins that challenges you to complete sections (or stages) with special conditions. Some are easy enough (such as finishing after killing a certain number of enemies) but some are insanely hard! The ones labelled Extreme are just that!

I didn’t even managed to complete one after a ton of tries!

If you think you’re a Sonic maestro, then step right up and test your skill.

The Bottom Line.

The old school Sonic games are still as fun as I remembered and Sonic Origins makes them better by giving them a plot that ties the games together. Having the coins hidden in the game is a cool new twist to keep even seasoned veterans exploring the stages so that they can unlock more stuff in the museum.

I just wish that the Museum had more stuff to unlock. There’s a TON of Sonic stuff that could’ve been added in and I really wished that SEGA and Sonic Team had put more effort into showing off Sonic’s history.

There’s not much to fault with the games themselves, but more bonuses (like different filters or a rewind feature) would’ve been great too!

Despite that, Sonic Origins is still a blast and worthy of a play, whether you’re an old fogey like me or a new gamer who’s yet to experience ‘Blast Processing’.


Great for newbies and veterans alike but Museum mode could use more content.

The Good.

  • Cool animated intros and outros!
  • Coins in the games add replay value.
  • Ability to play as Tails and Knuckles in earlier games.
  • Mission Mode.

The Bad.

  • Museum could be done better.
  • Sonic 3 & Knuckles have some music changed.

Sal's been in the industry since the early 2000s. He's written for a ton of gaming and tech publications including Playworks, Hardwarezone, HWM and GameAxis. Recently, Sal served as a juror for the Indie Game Awards at Taipei Game Show 2020. A geek and hardcore gamer, Sal will play everything, on any platform.