Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)

Sonic the Hedgehog (ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ) is a platform game developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega for the Sega Genesis. The game was first released in North America on June 23, 1991, then in PAL regions and Japan the following July. This is the first game in the Sonic the Hedgehog video game series. The game stars the titular character Sonic and his quest to defeat the evil Dr. Robotnik, who has captured animals in robots and taken the Chaos Emeralds.[1]

Sonic the Hedgehog's music was composed by Dreams Come True bass guitarist Masato Nakamura.



Sound Effects

Sound Test

The Level Select screen from *Sonic the Hedgehog*, which contains the sound test.

In Sonic the Hedgehog, the sound test, called "Sound Select," is part of the Level Select. This is accessed by inputting ↑ ↓ ← → (or ↑ ↓ ↓ ↓ ← → in the Japanese version) on the title screen. A ring chime will sound, and then holding down A and pressing start will enter the Level Select screen.

This is a list of the tracks playable in the sound test:

Soundfonts and Instrumentation

The original demo tracks produced by Masato Nakamura used MIDI versions of instruments.

Alternate Versions and Ports

Sonic the Hedgehog has been ported multiple times to many different systems.

In 2005, Sonic the Hedgehog was offered on the Sonic Cafe service in Japan for mobile phones. Another version called Sonic the Hedgehog Mobile was also released for mobile phones under the Sega Mobile banner.

For Sonic's 15th anniversary, Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis, a port of Sonic the Hedgehog, was released for the Game Boy Advance in November 2006. This version was universally panned by critics, with a 33/100 on Metacritic. Most criticism was focused at the poor emulation, graphical glitches, and audio quality. The music is simpler renditions for use on the Game Boy Advance. Some of the sound effects are sampled from the Sega Genesis, while others are generated from simple square waves and a noise channel. Some sound effects are missing. Music gets out of sync with the game frequently, most noticeably during the credits.

An iPod version of Sonic the Hedgehog was released in 2007 and was compatible with iPod Nano (3rd, 4th, 5th Generation) and iPod classic (5th Generation).

In 2013, an enhanced version of Sonic the Hedgehog was released by Christian Whitehead as a replacement of the 2009 iOS version with new features, settings, and modes. This release features a remastered version of the soundtrack.

As part of Sega's 3D Classics line of rereleases, 3D Sonic the Hedgehog was released on the Nintendo 3DS in 2013.

Sonic the Hedgehog has been digitally released on the Wii, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360.


Sonic the Hedgehog has been ported to many systems as part of compilations. The first compilation the game was part of was Sonic Classics: 3-in-1 which was released on the Sega Genesis in 1995. This featured Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine.

Another Sega Genesis compilation, Mega 6 Vol. 3, was released in PAL territories in 1995 and features Sonic the Hedgehog alongside 5 other games. A similar compilation with a different set of games was also released in 1995 as 6-Pak and still features Sonic the Hedgehog.

Sonic the Hedgehog was a selectable game on both the Mega-Tech System and the Mega Play, two arcade cabinets featuring various Sega Genesis games.

In 1997, a compilation for the Sega Saturn called Sonic Jam was released and included this game alongside Sonic 2, Sonic 3, and Sonic & Knuckles. Audio for Sonic 1 in Sonic Jam is slightly different from the original version. Most music tracks have a delay before playing due to CD loading times, and music fade in and out is missing. Collecting Power Sneakers cause the sped up version of music to load in with the track restarting each time. Sound effects are either of lower quality, different, or missing.

A compilation for the Sega Dreamcast titled Sega Smash Pack Volume 1 was released in 2001 and featured Sonic 1 alongside 11 other Genesis games.

SEGA Genesis Collection, released on the Playstation 2 and Playstation Portable in 2006, also features Sonic the Hedgehog.

Sonic Mega Collection and Sonic Mega Collection Plus (released in 2002 on the GameCube and 2004 on the PS2 and Xbox respectively), includes Sonic 1.

Sonic Gems Collection (demo)

Sonic the Hedgehog is included in Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.

A compilation for the Nintendo DS called Sonic Classics Collection has Sonic 1 alongside Sonic 2, Sonic 3, and Sonic & Knuckles.

Sega Mega Drive Classic Collection - Volume 1 on PC includes Sonic 1.

In the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions of Sonic Generations, the player can use points earned in game to get a fully playable version of Sonic the Hedgehog.


The first album released to feature music from Sonic the Hedgehog was Sonic the Hedgehog 10th Anniversary, a bonus album that came bundled with the Sonic Adventure 2 Birthday Pack special re-release of Sonic Adventure 2 in June 2001. The tracks featured include "Title Music", "Green Hill Zone", "tar Light Zone", "Special Stage", "Final Zone", and "All Clear".

In October 2011, Sonic the Hedgehog received an official soundtrack release as Sonic the Hedgehog 1&2 Soundtrack, a 2 disc album featuring music from both this game and it's direct sequel Sonic the Hedgehog 2. This album contains all the original tracks from the game on the first disc, and has all of Masato Nakamura's demo recordings from the game's development on the second disc.

In December 2011, a compilation album titled History of Sonic 20th Anniversary Edition was released featuring music spanning multiple Sonic games, including "Green Hill Zone".


From the in-game credits:




As the first game in the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, Sonic the Hedgehog musically defined several aspects of the series. The iconic title screen track has become the series's theme song. Green Hill Zones theme has become synonymous with Sonic the Hedgehog. The jingles "Drowning", "Continue", "1-Up", "Game Over", and "Chaos Emerald" have been used on their respective contexts throughout the video game series. "Invincibility" has occasionally been used, but is more often replaced with a similar track that remixes the theme song of the game it is in. The medley format of "Staff Roll" has often been used in later games, albeit using the level themes from each game.

The sound effects of Sonic the Hedgehog have become series staples and are used in almost every single Sonic game. The ring sound has been licensed out by Sega Sammy Holdings, Sega's parent company, and is used by many gas station cash registers in the United States.

The Sega chant that plays when starting Sonic the Hedgehog has been used in the opening credits of most of Sega's published video games since it's initial use in this game.

The website OverClocked Remix currently features over 55 remixes from Sonic the Hedgehog, as well as a full album of remixed tracks titled "Sonic the Hedgehog: The Sound of Speed". Other remixed tracks from this game are featured in their albums "Speeding Towards Adventures: 25 Years of Sonic the Hedgehog", "Select Start", and "The OneUps Volume 2".

The concert series Video Games Live features a segment of music from Sonic the Hedgehog.

Audio Support

Sonic the Hedgehog supports stereo sound. Besides the music, sound effects are also in stereo, with the ring collecting sound alternating between the left and right channels for each ring pickup.

References in Later Games

The success and popularity of Sonic the Hedgehog led to a large franchise with many sequels and has been musically referenced in many games since.

The 8-bit version of the game released for the Sega Master System and Game Gear features 8-bit versions of "Title Screen", "Green Hill Zone", "Stage Clear", and "Invincibility", all rearranged by Yuzo Koshiro. It's ending song also has "Green Hill Zone" in a portion of it.

The soundtrack of the arcade-only Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car is comprised of all remixes from Sonic the Hedgehog. It's title screen and main BGM tracks are "Green Hill Zone". Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car's boss fight track is "Boss", it's ending song is "All Clear", and it's results screen song is "1-Up".

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 shares many jingles with Sonic the Hedgehog. These include "Title Screen", "Invincibility", "Chaos Emerald", "Drowning", "1-Up", "Continue", "Game Over", and "Stage Clear". The staff credits for Sonic the Hedgehog 2, like that of Sonic the Hedgehog, is a medley of the game's zone themes ending with "All Clear".

As an award for collecting all 180 emblems in Sonic Adventure 2, Green Hill Zone is unlocked as a stage, which plays "Green Hill Zone" as the background music.

Music from Sonic the Hedgehog is featured in the Super Smash Bros. series following Sonic's inclusion as a playable character. Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, and Super Smash Bros. for 3DS include "Green Hill Zone" as playable music for their respective Sonic stages.

The initial US release of Sonic Spinball featured music remixed from Sonic the Hedgehog. It used a remixed version of the Sonic 1 title screen music for it's title screen and also used a remixed version of the Game Over track. This initial release of Spinball was swiftly replaced by a different version that replaces these tracks with newly composed tracks for the game. This is due to SEGA not owning the copyright to the music of Sonic 1.

Sonic Battle

Sonic Advance

Sonic Pinball Party

Sonic Advance 3

Sonic Generations

Sonic Dash

Sonic Mania

Sega Superstars Tennis


The "Sonic the Hedgehog Band"; from left to right, Max, Mach, Sonic, Sharps, and Vector.
  • An early idea for the Sound Test menu was to feature animated graphics of the "Sonic the Hedgehog Band," which would consist of Sonic as the lead singer break-dancing, Sharps the Parakeet on lead guitar, Max the Monkey on bass guitar, Mach the Rabbit on drums, and Vector the Crocodile on keyboard/synth. This idea was scrapped due to time constraints and was replaced with the "SEGA" chant.
  • This is the first game to feature the famous "SEGA" chant. The audio file took up one eighth of the four-megabyte cartridge.

Track List

This game has 19 tracks.


This game has 1 artist credited for working on it.

Name Role
Masato Nakamura Composer

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  1. ^ Example reference
Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)
Boxart of the game Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)
Developer Sonic Team
Publisher SEGA
System(s) GEN
Release Date(s) Flag of USA Jun 23, 1991
Flag of Japan Jul 26, 1991
Flag of Europe Jul 1, 1991
Musicians Masato Nakamura
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