Often forgotten Sonic the Hedgehog “3D” title Sonic Labyrinth is set to race back onto pocket consoles on May 16th. After last being released in 1995 on the SEGA Game Gear, the spin-off to the popular gaming franchise will become available for one more round through the Nintendo 3DS eShop, starting in Japan.
Forsaking the traditional side-scrolling platform action, which recently enjoyed a return to form with the Sonic 4 series and Sonic Generations, Sonic Labyrinth was displayed in a three-dimensional isometric angle like many games of the 80s such as Q-Bert and more recently The Sims series. Familiar Sonic iconography such as the rings, robotic foes and looping scenery were only briefly referenced and the fast-paced style of play was replaced with puzzle-solving and key-finding. This SEGA attributed to the games theme – Doctor Robotnik (Eggman) had stolen Sonic’s trademark sneakers, replacing them with an inferior and slower pair!
This brought Sonic Labyrinth heavy criticism at the time for lacking the fundamentals of its predecessors. However, it was never claimed that this was a true Sonic sequel in the same vein as earlier titles to feature the SEGA mascot and all in all it wasn’t a bad game if you thought of it away from the series as a whole.
The Sonic spin-off was flipped off for Sonic Pinball and all was forgiven, but Sonic Labyrinth remains a part of the character’s 20 year history and with a release through the Japanese Nintendo 3DS eShop on the Game Gear Virtual Console we’d like to think this one gets a second chance in the west as well.