Sega’s have been quietly producing some excellent ports to Nintendo’s 3DS Virtual Console service for a while now; from arcade hits like Super Hang On and Space Harrier to a whole slew of great Game Gear titles. The latest title goes live on the 15th of May (Japan) and it’s a good one – the original Mega Drive Sonic the Hedgehog; not only in 3D but with a set of brilliant options to satisfy even the most dedicated hedgehog fan.
I’ll start with the general options: the first is the ability to switch between the Japanese and overseas versions of the game - the differences are minor (especially in Sonic), but it’s always welcome especially when it’s such a trivial thing to include these days. Then there’s the choice of completely original gameplay or allowing the use of Sonic 2’s spindash move to speed things up a bit (and to make some of Green Hill’s hills a little less cumbersome if you find yourself stopping short half way). It’s not exactly a new feature for a Sonic 1 port, but it’s good to have and it at least proves that they haven’t just bundled the ROM with a thrown-together emulator (this time). The sound menu has a general volume slider and a far more interesting “Balance Sample” option – the Mega Drive went through several revisions during its lifespan and there’s a noticeable difference in the way games sound on a Mega Drive compared to a Mega Drive 2 – this option lets you choose whichever of these two you prefer.
The visuals weren’t neglected either; in addition the the expected 3D effect (with two options to either enhance depth or zoom) there’s also the option to simulate a CRT TV, complete with slightly rounded edges and the blurring you get from using the pack-in cables.
Other appreciated but less interesting features include button reassignment (simple but often overlooked), the ability to save mid game and a “special” option that takes you to the stage select without having to remember the button code.
This looks like another stellar port from Sega, and a great way to revisit a classic game!
(All screenshots and images were shamelessly pinched from the official website)