It’s a free update to the previous train wreck that was on the App Store before, of where it was an emulator with a ROM image of Sonic 2. Once it’s updated, you’re brought to the familiar screen just as in Sonic 1. It’s also Universal once again, so it’s native on iPad, and iPad Mini as well.
Menu is the same as before, but with the stage select, time attack, comes two new features.
Boss Attack enables you to do a whole run of all 10 of Robotnik’s end of level traps, and a leaderboard is shown to see who’s the fastest amongst your friends.
Two Player Mode not only works but its incredibly enhanced. Not only does bluetooth work with someone next to you, but it’s also online, so you can face a random opponent anytime you like.
Instead of just playing as Sonic or Tails, Knuckles is also in the mode, along with much more stages than the three found in the Mega Drive release.
I tried it 5 times, and twice it worked. Perhaps it’s because of it only being released this morning, or just a missed bug, but its really promising at the moment.
All the improvements in Sonic 1 are here, such as widescreen support, much better audio, and some surprises which really increase the replay value after 21 years. It’s still surreal to see a game I’ve been playing and coming back to over 20 years to get this kind of treatment, and it’s when you go back to the Mega Drive version (or one of the thousands of ports to different systems over the years) that you’d want that widescreen enabled.
Original version with emulator:
The Special Stages are remastered to a point where they are fully rendered in 3D. Everything pops out at you, and you can see bombs and rings up ahead without panicking. Really nice effect, and you can really tell the attention to detail the developers ‘Taxman’ and ‘Stealth’ have passionately done.
But, they’re still my least favourite out of the 3 Sonic games, but these improvements help all the same.
So, the elephant in the room.
Only yesterday I was talking of the fabled zone, ‘Hidden Palace’, of where it was meant to be one Act where you would then gain access to Sonic’s super form.
All the art is restored, with the paths shown in the beta fully playable, and weave in and out perfectly to the new enemies and loops that await you. A great, fun level.
Even Robotnik appears at the end, and after a few maddening tries, I finally succeeded.
The boss method reminded me of a game called ‘Ristar’, with some bosses using the same approach there, but perhaps that’s for another time. The only negative for me, is that the unused song, is still unused, which is a shame. I’m hoping it was a bug, but after the immense time and care taken into this restoration, I doubt it would be an afterthought.
I’d rather not spoil how to get there, but it’s not by collecting all seven of the Chaos Emeralds. How it is done though, is really smart, innovative, and I want to see ‘Dust Hill’ and ‘Genocide/Cyber City’ Zone make appearances in some way too down the road.
As this was the entry in which Super Sonic made an appearance, he comes in full force here, not by way of a setting in Sonic 1 Remastered.
Collecting all 7 of the Chaos Emeralds will result in you transforming after gathering 50 rings, and the music plays once again.
With day one bugs it’s only understandable that they will be fixed in time, but it’s an incredible effort to a 21 year old game.
There is a hint, right at the end, which hopefully means, we may see a release of the sequel.
With its 20th anniversary coming up in February, I think it’s only a matter of time before we see the same care and surprises given to the past two games to Sonic 3.
I for one, am looking forward to when that occurs.