Before Sonic goes full Breath of the Wild in Sonic Frontiers later this year, fans will have a chance to revisit the classics in Sonic Origins. Releasing on June 23rd, this collection offers a selection of titles from the Sega Genesis and Sega CD era with new features and content for Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5, PC and Nintendo Switch. It’s also had a fair amount of backlash due to the DLC but we’ll get to that. Let’s take a look at 10 things you should know before buying Sonic Origins.
As the name implies, Sonic Origins focuses on the original Sonic the Hedgehog titles from the Sega Genesis era (which also includes the short-lived Sega CD). Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic 3 and Knuckles (the combo of Sonic 3 with Sonic and Knuckles), and Sonic CD are all included in one package for $40. These are all remade on the Retro Engine, which Sonic Mania was also developed on. Along with high resolution visuals, each title also has new opening and ending animations.
While you could play each game separately, the new “Story Mode” ties them all together, allowing one to play them sequentially and experience the entire saga with animated cutscenes bridging each game. How does Sonic meet Tails in the lead-up to Sonic 2? How do the two know about the mysterious floating island and travel there? For that matter, how does the conclusion of Sonic 3 and Knuckles tie into Sonic CD? The new Story Mode should hopefully provide the answers to these long-burning questions.
Classic and Anniversary Modes
Each title in the collection can also be played in two separate modes – Classic and Anniversary. Classic is the original version with a 4:3 aspect ratio and limited lives. Anniversary offers the new updated resolution in wide-screen format with no limit on lives. So while the difficulty more or less stays the same for the latter, you’re now welcome to retry as many times as possible. Of course, those who insist on enjoying the games in their original, challenging states are able to do so.
Sonic Mania Developer Involved
Aside from the engine, Sonic Mania has a bit of an effect on Origins with the Drop Dash from the former being incorporated into Sonic’s moveset (but only in Anniversary Mode). That’s not all though – developer Headcannon has also played a significant role in the collection’s development. Along with assisting in pre-production for Sonic CD and co-developing Sonic the Hedgehog 1 and 2, it also developed the Sonic 3 and Knuckles remaster. Considering how much fun Sonic Mania was, it’s good to see the developer being on board throughout Origins and contributing in such a significant way.
If you want to skip through the platforming sections and simply take on each game’s bosses, then there’s good news. Each title has a new Boss Rush mode that lets you do just that. The particulars still need to be clarified though like whether there are leaderboards, if you get anything from completing them and so on and so forth. Will there be a one-hit kill option where you must defeat every boss without taking any damage? We don’t know but it should be fun to find out.
Though these are technically remakes rebuilt on the Retro Engine, they’re still the classics that fans know and love. As such, a lot of this is going to look familiar, for better or worse. If you want to mix up playthroughs of Green Hill Zone and Stardust Speedway, then there’s the new Mirror Mode. This essentially flips the level’s layout, so instead of going from left to right, you travel from right to left. It may sound deceptively simple but may also screw with your muscle memory, forcing you to adapt to the new challenge.
For those looking to further spice up their runs, there’s Mission Mode. This adds several different objectives for each game in the collection, like slaying five Caterkillers and reaching the goal in Sonic the Hedgehog 1. Completing a mission confers Coins. There are four grades based on how well the objective is completed with C being the lowest and the highest being S – higher grades equals more Coins earned. With multiple missions for each game, there’s plenty to keep one busy.
Coins and Museum Content
So what do you spend the Coins on? Content from the Museum, of course. Though Sega has yet to outline all of the unlockable content, it’s confirmed that tracks from other titles (Sonic Spinball) are included. There will also likely be illustrations, wallpapers, animated cutscenes (like from Sonic CD) and other goodies to unlock. Coins can also be spent on playing special stages.
Start Dash Pack, Premium Fun Pack and Classic Music Pack DLC
Here’s where things get very confusing. The Standard Edition only includes the base game but pre-ordering will get you the Start Dash Pack for free. This includes 100 Bonus Coins to start with, a Letterbox Background for playing through Classic Mode, and Mirror Mode unlocked. Mirror Mode doesn’t seem restricted to this pack – instead, it seems that buying it will grant instant access to the same though Sega has yet to clarify.
Then there’s the Premium Fun Pack which can’t be purchased separately at present. It includes Hard Missions for Mission Mode (which, again, can presumably be unlocked through regular play), a Letterbox Background, Character Animations in the Main Menu, camera controls over the Main Menu’s Islands, and Character Animations during the Music Islands. The Classic Music Pack, which also hasn’t been priced separately, offers additional tracks from the Sega Genesis titles. You can get both of these in the Digital Deluxe Edition.
However, if you don’t pre-order the Digital Deluxe Edition (which costs $45), then you’re missing out on the Start Dash Pack’s content. How much that will cost separately after launch also remains to be seen. Not exactly the most ideal breakup of DLC that a retro game collection should have but hopefully most of this will be included in-game and simply requires Coins to unlock.
PC System Requirements
For PC players, Sonic Origins requires an Intel Core i5-2400 3.1 GHz or AMD FX-8350 4.2 GHz with 6 GB of RAM and a GTX 760 or Radeon HD 7870 with 2 GB VRAM at minimum. This is to run the game at 720p resolution and 60 FPS. Recommended requirements include a Core i5-4570 3.2 GHz or Ryzen 3 1300X 3.4 GHz with 8 GB of RAM and either a GTX 770 or Radeon R9 280. You wouldn’t think four remakes of classic titles that are remarkably similar to the originals would need so much RAM but alas, here we are.