Dash Into Sonic’s Handheld Adventures In Sonic Origins Plus

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SEGA is observing Sonic the Hedgehog’s birthday with another look at his origins—in Sonic Origins Plus, an expansion of last year’s compilation.

Last year SEGA capped the Blue Blur’s 30th-anniversary festivities with Sonic Origins, a comprehensive rebuild of his four (arguably five) original outings on SEGA Genesis and SEGA CD—namely, the Sonic the Hedgehog trilogy, Sonic & Knuckles, and the overlooked gem that is Sonic CD. Now, the celebrations will reignite on Sonic’s 32nd birthday, June 23, with the launch of Sonic Origins Plus.

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Sonic Origins Plus includes all five games and DLC from last year’s compilation, while adding emulated versions of Sonic’s 12 Game Gear outings:

  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  • Sonic Chaos
  • Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine (Game Gear version)
  • Sonic Drift
  • Sonic Spinball (Game Gear version)
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble
  • Sonic Drift 2
  • Tails’ Skypatrol
  • Tails Adventure
  • Sonic Labyrinth
  • Sonic 2 in 1
  • Sonic Blast

It’s worth noting that these Game Gear titles will be available in Sonic Origins Plus‘ Museum mode via emulation—unlike the main games already available, which were essentially rebuilt from the ground up to run natively on modern consoles. The dozen new games will be present with all their warts and nostalgia intact.

Beyond this whopping 16-game library, Knuckles will be made playable in Sonic CD for the first time, while “Classic” Amy Rose will be added as a playable character in Sonic the Hedgehog 1-3 and Sonic CD. Existing Sonic Origins owners can purchase the new content as a DLC expansion pack for $9.99 USD, or Sonic Origins Plus will be available as one new digital package for $39.99.

Dash Into Sonics Handheld Adventures In Sonic Origins Plus 23032203

Perhaps the most exciting part of the announcement, however, is the new physical edition. Sonic Origins Plus will finally be available in a physical form for the first time, and like Sonic Mania before it, this package sounds like a terrific collector’s item for Sonic fans with a 20-page artbook and a reversible coversheet “with new, never-before-seen art.”

The Game Gear titles may not be as inherently exciting as the games already included in Sonic Origins, nor as desirable as some of the other collections that SEGA could compile—who do we have to bribe with chili dogs to get the same treatment for the Sonic Adventure and Sonic Advance series?—but they represent an interesting slice of history nonetheless. The display will probably still feel cramped, but at least fans can explore these unique blasts from the past without tracking down working Game Gears, sacrificing AA batteries by the half-dozen, or struggling to see its backlit screen at the ideal angle.

The Sonic Origins Plus expansion will further cement the original’s legacy as the comprehensive compilation. Unlike previous repackagings, like 2004’s Sonic Mega Collection Plus, this puts the entire Game Gear generation in one place.

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Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine was SEGA’s solution to Nintendo’s Tetris juggernaut, and while the handheld version is graphically inferior to the Genesis, it does include an exclusive puzzle mode; Sonic Drift was originally a Japanese exclusive; Sonic Triple Trouble brought Knuckles and Nack the Weasel, who fans at the time may have known from the Archie Comics, into the fray.

(Of course, it would have been nice to see the worthy Genesis spin-offs Sonic Spinball and Sonic 3D Blast added, but at least they’ll have some representation in their Game Gear adaptations.)

Sonic Origins Plus will be available as a full standalone title digitally and physically, or as DLC in Sonic Origins, on June 23, 2023—via PlayStation 4/5, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Switch, and PC.

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