Changes Made to the Games

sonic’s 2D outings from the Genesis era have generally been regarded as the Blue Blur’s high point. Some fans may extol the Adventure games, gold Sonic Colorsor even Sonic: Lost World. But none of them really beat the magic of those early games. sonic 1 was special on its original release. Then sonic 2 was even better, sonic cd became a hidden gem, and Sonic 3 & Knuckles was the biggest and most refined entry in the series.

Related: Easter Eggs: Video Games That Took Hidden Content to Historical Levels

So, their return in Sonic Origins was a welcome treat. It brings those classic games back for Playstation 4 & 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch and PC. But it’s no mere emulation like previous ports. These are all new renditions of Sonic’s early games made on the Retro Engine. As such, it’s received a few tweaks. Here are some changes Headcannon Studios made to these classic games.

7 Altered Animations

Sure, players could play through each game separately like in any other collection. However, Origins also provides a new Story Mode, where they can through all the games in order. They even have new cutscenes linking them together. Written by Ian Flynn (Sonic’s Archie and IDW comics), and with art by Tyson Hesse, they add an extra chunk of charm and lore to the hedgehog’s adventures.

That’s on top of a few neat cosmetic touches, some of which are admittedly (and bafflingly) locked behind DLC like the animated menus. Still, some come fresh with the game, like Knuckles giving a little 1-2 punch shuffle before taking Sonic’s emeralds in Sonic 3&K. Though oddly, while sonic cd‘s original cutscenes return, they’ve cut out Dr Eggman’s parts in them. His new ones are charming enough, but it would’ve been nice to see him as he originally appeared in Sonic’s CD-based outing.

6 Death Is No Obstacle

Being a series of early 90s platformers, the sonic games had a few features that are now considered outdated. Like having a Lives system (keep hold of them, or it’s game over), Continues (get to bounce back from a game over), and Time Overs (beat the level within 10 minutes or lose a life). They were getting dusty even back in 1994 when Sonic 3&K introduced a Save System where the player could continue whenever after a Game Over anyway.

Old school players can still play the games this way in Origins‘Classic mode. Everyone else can opt for the new Anniversary Mode, which gets rid of all of that. Players can die without any extra punishment and play a level for however long they like. They can even retry the Special Stages or buy Museum items if they collect Coins, which replace the old Lives monitors. It even widens the screen to 16:9! So, it’s a much more welcoming mode for newcomers.

5 Cheat Codes Made Easy

A classic video game without cheat codes is like a hot dog without sauce. Tea sonic games were full of them, yet they could be a little convoluted. The Level Select in sonic 3 (without Knuckles) involved pressing Up, Up, Up, Down, Down, Down, Up, Up, Up really fast in the split-second between Sonic appearing, then the main screen popping up. With Sonic & Knuckles attached, it was simplified to starting Angel Island Zone, going to one of the swinging ropes, then pressing Left, Left, Left, Right, Right, Right, Up, Up, Up.

Related: Sonic Origins: Cheat Codes

Sonic Origins simplifies it to just pressing Up, Up, Up, Down, Down, Down, Up, Up, Up on the main screen. No quick timing or obstacle finding involved. Likewise, the Super Sonic cheat code was changed to just playing 04, 01, 02, 06 on the Level Select screen’s Sound Test for Sonic 1, 2, 3&K. This isn’t the only perk either.

4 Spinning Around At The Speed ​​Of Sound

It can be hard for players to return to sonic 1 because it was made before many of Sonic’s trademarks became established. Tails isn’t there, neither is Knuckles. There’s only one type of Shield, and Sonic’s speed on the ground and in the air was capped. He couldn’t even spin-dash! Players had to move back and forth across the level to build up enough momentum to break through objects.

Origins fixes this by making it a toggleable option. If players put in sonic 1‘s Level Select code (Up, Down, Left, Right, then Square/X/Y), they can switch the Spin Dash on, alongside switching off the Speed ​​Caps, add items from other games, or go Super Sonic. They essentially turn sonic 1 into a completely different game from its original 1991 release.

3 Drop Dash In Every Game

Even if players don’t want to cheat, they can go to the regular options mode and enable sonic mania‘s Drop Dash instead. Just hold the jump button while in mid-air, and Sonic will rev along the ground once he lands. It only works in Anniversary Mode, and it’s a Sonic-only skill. Tails can fly, and Knuckles can glide & climb, so they already have their perks.

It can really help smooth progression out once the player gets used to it. In fact, it can make time travel in sonic cd easier. Previously, players had to look for a good spot in the level to build up enough speed without crashing into a wall or an enemy. Now, if they jump and Drop Dash back and forth, they’ll zip back to the past or future with little fuss.

2 The Un-Hidden Palace

There is a level in Sonic 3&K called ‘Hidden Palace Zone’ where the hedgehog finally gets to cross spikes with Knuckles. But that name was originally used for a level designed for sonic 2. It’s since turned up in prototype versions of the game online. Players in the know could even hack their way into it through the original Genesis version. But it was incomplete, so there wasn’t much to see. Headcannon Studios brought it back in their mobile phone port of sonic 2finishing it off and even giving it its own boss fight.

They brought it back for Sonic Origins too. To get there, players have to reach Mystic Cave Zone Act 2, and follow the lower path before reaching a deep pit. Usually, the player would pull the lever to bring the bridge down and move on. But don’t do that. Jump into the pit and the player will reach Hidden Palace Zone. This only works in Origins and Sonic 2 Mobile. It’s just a spike pit in the original sonic 2.

1 Sonic 3 & Knuckles’ Stage Music Got Swapped

This is the big one, and it could make or break the game for the biggest diehard fans. Due to complicated King of Pop reasons, the music for Sonic 3&K’s Carnival Night Zone, Ice Cap Zone, and Launch Base Zone got changed. Instead of the original tracks, they play new remixes of 3&K‘s PC port tunes. The port’s tunes were originally used in sonic 3‘s prototype, but the sound team decided to spruce them up for 2022.

Still, it is a shame. The original Ice Cap Zone tunes by Brad Buxer were a fan favorite. For a bright side, the vocals for sonic cd‘s Japanese intro and ending were reinstated after being missing from its 2013 PS3/360 release. So, modern fans can ponder what “doom, room, cosmic zoom. Heads up J, it’s Sonic Boom!” means.

Sonic Origins is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

More: Sonic Origins: Things That Hold Up Well About These Sega Classics

Leave a Comment