Sonic Jam : SEGA Saturn : Sonic Team 1997

Sonic Jam

Sonic Jam was released in 1997 and was the second Sonic game for the Sega Saturn. It is a compliation disk featuring the four classic 16-Bit Sonic games; Sonic the Heghehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic and Knuckles. Also present is Sonic World. A 3D environment based upon seemingly the orignal Green Hill Zone of the original Sonic the Hedgehog.

HISTORY

Sonic Jam was slammed a little at the time of it's release because the general thought was it were too early for a Sonic compliation game. Sonic afterall was only 6 years old in 1997 when the game was released.

With the news of a compilation disc some fans thought that perhaps the Sonic character was being put to rest. If anything, the way Sega had treating their spikey blue mascot through te Saturn era certainly aroused suspicion. Yet apparently Sonic Jam was desgned to be a summation of Sonic history and be the beginning of a new breed of Sonic titles to reign on the Saturn.

The Saturn had actually proved to be more popular in Japan than the Mega Drive had been and the legacy of Sonic was built around the success of the 16-Bit Sonic titles. Sonic Jam was to give the players who missed the popularuity explosion of Sonic on the Mega Drive in the western markets a chance to catch up as well as dispel the notion that the Saturn could not create a 3D world befitting of our spikey blue hero.

GAMEPLAY

The gameplay of the all of the Sonic games remain unchanged. You start on each level ultimatly moving from left to right destroying evil mechna-cronies, collecting rings with a couple of play items along the way in the best possible time with a limit of 10 minutes. Each game is a pixel-perfect conversion of the originals and Sonic the Hedgehog gets a few tweaks to it's sound fx.

Each game has a few tweaks available for selection by the gamer. You can now select a difficulty level.

You now have the option to include the Spin Dash in the original Sonic the Hedgehog - a great tweak to the game, however, with this turned off (as default) it enforces the double spike bug from previous versions of the game.

Under the option selection of the menu the 10 minute time limit for each level can be removed.

You can also Time Attack the levels of each game. You can only Time Attack the levels you have previously completed in each of the games. The special stages can be played as well. These options are not available for Sonic and Knuckles and Sonic 3 and Knuckles. They can be selected from the title screen of each of these games.

The Sonic and Knuckles lock-on technology is perfectly replicated. Sonic and Knuckles was a game with a passthrough connector allowing the older Sonic titles to have the Knuckles character as the player as well as being a stand alone title. Sonic and Knuckles is best used when connected with Sonic 3 for the ultimate Sonic adventure.

A welcome feature is your progress in each game can be saved individually. This is done automatically as you progress through each zone of a game. When a game has been saved the option of Saved Game appears before you start. When a game is continued you will begin on the first act of the zone that was saved.

The graphics for the games are virtually identical. The only difference is that they are a little sharper than the originals due to the Saturns slightly higher operating resolution than the Mega Drive. Every sprite, every frame of animation, sound effect and tune have been perfectly ported maintaining Sega reputation for making perfect conversions.

SONIC WORLD

Sonic Jams claim to fame is it's Sonic World looking very much like Green Hill Zone repleat with checkered hills, palm trees and wooden rope bridges with Flickies hovering around the structures and Tails makes a fly through on occaisions. Sonic World simply put is a 3D environment serving as an elaborate front end to the features and Sonic related reference material in the game. The controls for Sonic alter slightly for the 3D environment. Moving Sonic forwards is done by pressing up on the D-Pad while level and right are used for directions. Buttons ABC are jump with XYZ changing the camera view. The L and R triggers rotate the playfield around Sonic. If the D-Pad proves a little tricky then the NiGHTS analogue pad is compatible.

There are a set of goals to achieve in Sonic World. By jumping on the red and white button at the entrance. You are then given a set list of tasks to complete in a certain amount of time. If you complete these tasks then you are given a 'reward'.

Located around Sonic World are panels. These contain the cheats for the Sonic games on the disc.

Sonic World Features

Character House

Character House

In the character house your can view the character boise for Sonic, Tails and Knuckles and a couple of the friends of the series. Sketch drawing of when the characters were being conceived can be viewed.

Art Gallery

Art Gallery

A collection of various Sonic art.

Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame

Follow Sonic from the days of him being created right up until the release of Sonic Jam in 1997. The section features case scans of Sonic games from all regions they were released in and the dates of major Sonic events.

Music Shop

Music Shop

Listen to all of those classic Sonic tunes from Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic 2, Sonic 3, Sonic and Knuckles and Sonic Jam. Every sound effect and background tune is available.

Movie Theatre

Movie Theatre

Playback a collection of Sonic movies including those zaney Japanese TV adverts:

Seclections:
Sonic CD - Opening and Ending (uncut versions)
Promo for Japenese Sonic Animated Series
American Sonic Animation - Inspector Gadget style
Unpublished CG Image - Green Hill Zone Ride

Adverts - Jap TV
Sonic the Hedgehog A ,B - x2
Sonic 2 A B
Sonic 3
Sonic Spinball
Sonic CD
Sonic Chaos
Triple Trouble
Sonic Drift

Game Contents

Sonic The Hedgehog Feature Sonic The Hedgehog Feature

Sonic The Hedgehog

The original Sonic the hedgehog. Classic game and a must for everybody to play. Stop Robotnik from imprisoning all your animal friends.

Sonic The Hedgehog 2 Feature Sonic The Hedgehog 2 Feature

Sonic The Hedgehog 2

The game that broke all records. More levels, more speed, more action. Stop Robotnik with your new pal Tails. Collect all the Chaos Emeralds to become Super Sonic.

Sonic The Hedgehog 3 Feature Sonic The Hedgehog 3 Feature

Sonic The Hedgehog 3

Sonic and Tails return. Massive levels, fantastic speed and a new enemy, Knuckles the Echidna. Play the game, complete the game..only half the story....

Sonic & Knuckles Feature Sonic & Knuckles Feature

Sonic & Knuckles

Play as either Sonic or Knuckles in this adventure. Lock-on Sonic 2 to play as Knuckles and lock-on Sonic 3 for the ultimate Sonic adventure. Collect all the Super Chaos Emeralds for Hyper Sonic, Hyper Knuckles or Hyper Tails.

Round Up

As a game on it's own Sonic Jam is excellent value if you do not own the original Mega Drive titles. If you have never played a Sonic game before then you have a small library of excellent Sonic titles to play as well as the little extras polish the game nicely. People who own a Saturn know there are some top quality titles available for the machine and Sonic Jam is one such example.

For those who do own the orignal games then Sonic Jam is definatly for the fans. The gameplay remains unchanged yet being able to view the history and the movies ( the jap ones are quite funny) and to see the (supposibly) humble Saturn pumping out the polygons in Sonic World matching anything the Playstation has to offer is worth the price of the game alone.

The games are nowhere spoiled by the fact that there are on CD. Loading times are very fast and there is only loading when you start a game. There is no other loading until you finish. Sections in the various houses in Sonic World are very quick loading also.

It is unfortunate that the promise showed in Sonic World did not appear full Sonic game somewhere in the future. The canned Sonic Exxtreme was alledgedly very similar to this and it is rumoured that Sonic World is a section from the aborted game.

For those interested in wanting to obtain a copy it can probably be picked up between 15 and 20 at CEX or similar place and you get four games.

Sonic Jam comes as yet another highly reccomended Saturn title and a necessity for the Sonic Fan.

Cheats and Stuff

The cheats for the games in Sonic Jam are the same as the orignal cartridges. Check out those pages via the title screens above.

Extra Mission

On the title screen highlight Sonic World. Hold down A and press start. You now have 60 seconds to collect 100 rings for no decernable reason.

Goodies on the CD

Available on the disc is a few pictures of Sonic art in bitmap format. They are in both 256 and 16 million colours. Put the CD in your PC and look in the extras folder. They make some good desktop pictures.

Watching the Movies

The movie sections of the game such as the intro sequence and some of the TV adverts etc can not be played back on a PC using standard players such as Windows Media Player and Quicktime, however, there is a player specific to Saturn codecs that can be used to view these files. You can download it from Sega Exxtreme. It is called True Motion Player.

Game.com Release

Sonic Jam (Games.com)

Noted as one of the more pointless Sonic releases, it is a pseudo collection released for the Tiger Game.com, a mono handheld console that saw some quirky releases but ultimately went nowhere.

Although this title shares the same name its content in totally different. The games exist as five levels inspired by the original counterparts and there are three selectable characters; Sonic, Talks and Knuckles who is stripped of his wall climbing and gliding abilities.

Release Dates

Europe - August 97
US - August 97
Japan - June 97

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