It was released on June 23, 1991 in North America for the Sega Genesis. The European version was released later in June, 1991 for the Sega Megadrive. The Japanese version was released on July 26, 1991 for the Megadrive. Re-released for the Nintendo GameCube in 2002 as part of the Sonic Mega Collection.
The American version lacked parallax scrolling, moving clouds, rippling water, and other minor details. The original Japanese included the details, and the Japanese version 2.0 fixed the "spike bug".
This game was the first game to really propel the Genesis into mass popularity in North America. After it was released, it eventually supplanted Altered Beast as the bundled game with the console.
Sonic the Hedgehog added the element of speed to the standard plaform formula, and introduced other unique elements as well, such as the loops and springboards now permanently associated with the game series.
There was also a version of Sonic the Hedgehog released for the Sega Master System and the Game Gear, which loosely followed the design of the Genesis version, although with some different zones and a level map.
The main villain, Doctor Eggman, has always been called that in the Japanese titles. However, in the European and American versions, his name is localized to Doctor Ivo Robotnik, and has stayed that way until Sonic Adventure, where it has been changed to Doctor Eggman.
Although its Genesis counterpart was extremely popular in the United States, Sonic the Hedgehog only received lukewarm responses in Japan. Sonic wouldn't catch on in that locale until Sonic Jam.
All three versions (American, European/Japanese Original, and 2.0) are availible to play on the Sonic Mega Collection.
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2 Pirated versions
3 Hacks of the game
The game was converted into a Famicom game called Somari by a group of pirates in Hong Kong. The game is mostly playable.
Hacks of the game
Sonic the Hedgehog has been modified by hackers and two hacked versions have been floating around the internet.