Published on June 30th, 2023 | by Gareth Newnham
Sonic Origins Plus Review
Summary: As a complete package Sonic Origins Plus is a decent collection for series fans and newcomers alike. But as a DLC its merely a collection of curios you can probably do without.
For just a few dollars more
Sonic Origins Plus is a tricky package, your mileage will vary wildly depending on how much of a Sonic fan you are, and if you already own last year’s Sonic Origins.
For those new to the collection it’s a fairly easy sell. Sonic Origins Plus is the best way to play arguably the best games in the whole Sonic series. (AKA the Megadrive/ Genesis ones).
However, if you already own Sonic Origins, paying an extra $10 to have Amy as a playable character and a dozen emulated Game Gear games you will probably only play for five minutes is a package I can only recommend to the most ardent Sonic fanatics.
The meat of the package though is still solid. Sonic 1-3, CD, and Knuckles. Natively ported to the hardware in widescreen, with some great quality-of-life features like being able to replay special stages by spending coins collected during the main game, as well as infinite lives and the ten-minute time limit has also been removed.
Admittedly I would have liked to see a rewind feature like the one found on the Switch Online version of Sonic 2 for reversing those occasional cheap deaths the series is famous for, but hey ho.
The biggest change, however, is the ability to easily play as tails, knuckles, and now Amy, in every mainline Sonic game included in the collection. It’s a lot of fun playing through the original Sonic and CD using Knuckles or Amy because they have different move sets to Sonic which the levels were initially designed around. Playing as Knuckles in Sonic CD in particular makes the game feel more manageable since it’s far easier to explore each of its maze-like levels when you can glide and climb walls.
But if that sounds like utter blasphemy to you, you can also play each of the games in classic 4:3 scale, with lives and continues, as the Gaming Gods intended.
This being one of those retro collections, there’s also a museum that features artwork, illustrations, and design documents from the entire Sonic series. As well as a music player for when you just want to kick back and listen to the Chemical Zone theme.
What is curious though, is that the museum also features documents from several sonic games that are absent from the collection including the Megadrive version of Sonic Spinball, Sonic 3D Blast, and the 32X exclusive Knuckles Chaotix.
This cuts to the heart of the problem with Sonic Origins Plus; there simply isn’t enough of it. After being marketed as the definitive collection of Sonic’s early adventures, There are a few titles missing that fans would love to be able to play easily on modern hardware.
I want to be able to play Knuckles Chaotix and Sonic 3D Blast not just listen to the soundtrack. Why not give us a port of SegaSonic The Hedgehog, why not include Sonic R or Fighters that were included in the Sonic Gems Collection on the PS2, so there surely shouldn’t be any problem getting them to run on much more advanced hardware.
We do however get the 12 Sonic games to be released on the Game gear. Though many will not have played these games and they are a great set of curios, you probably won’t want to play them for very long because there has been no attempt to improve their poor presentation or performance, which includes barely being able to see where you are going thanks to the Game Gears tiny boxy aspect ratio and frequent slowdown.
They’re a set of games that its kind of incredible they exist at all considering the hardware limitations at play. They also have a slightly different approach to the series as they focus more on platforming than pure speed. For example, Sonic 2 on Game Gear is a completely different game from the Megadrive version and opens with a series of minecart levels. They certainly are worth a quick flick through. But worth spending the extra cash on the Plus DLC? Now that’s the $10 question.
Sonic Origins Plus is an easy sell for fans who haven’t already checked out this latest collection of Sonic’s 16-bit adventures. The addition of Amy and the 12 Game Gear games is merely the icing on an already delicious cake.
However, for those who already have Sonic Origins, it all comes down to how much you think an extra playable character, and 12 games that are little more than curios are worth to you.