Japanese Cover Art
|Series||Sonic the Hedgehog|
Sonic Jam (ソニックジャム Sonikku Jamu?) is a compilation video game for the Sega Saturn developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega. It was released in Japan on June 20, 1997, in North America on July 31, 1997, and in Europe on August 28, 1997.
The games included in this collection are:
Furthermore, upon selecting Sonic & Knuckles, the player has the option to emulate the original cartridge's "lock-on technology" functionality and link up Sonic & Knuckles to any of the other three Sonic titles in the collection. This makes the following games also playable:
Sonic Jam also includes the option to play the games using three different difficulty settings. When played in "Original" mode, the games are identical to their original Mega Drive/Genesis releases. "Normal" difficulty adds extra rings and alters other aspects of the levels' design to make them less challenging, while the "Easy" setting further reduces the challenge of progressing through the games by entirely omitting certain stages. Sonic Jam also includes a Time Attack feature which saves the player's three fastest completion times for each Act; this mode utilizes the altered level variants from the Normal difficulty setting.
Sonic Jam implements the ability to use Sonic's signature Spin Dash maneuver in Sonic the Hedgehog (on any of the above difficulties); originally, it did not debut until Sonic 2. Sonic Jam also fixes certain bugs, particularly in Sonic 3. Unlike later Sonic compilations, in Sonic Jam the Mega Drive games were not simply emulated, but instead were ported to the Saturn hardware.
Sonic Jam also includes digital editions of the English-language and Japanese versions of the four games' original instruction manuals.
The compilation also includes a 3D "Sonic World" mode, which allows players to access virtual museums featuring Sonic the Hedgehog history, art and music, as well as videos such as advertisements and remastered and uncut versions of the animation sequences from Sonic the Hedgehog CD. In addition to functioning as a hub for these extras, the Sonic World environment also contains several time attack missions, which challenge players to tasks such as ring-collecting, reaching markers, or finding Miles "Tails" Prower. Completing all the missions unlocks the credits for Sonic Jam.
Some of the audio is presented slightly differently from on their original system due to the CD format. The version of Sonic 2 in this compilation uses the invincibility tune from Sonic the Hedgehog. The reason for this is unknown, seeing that the invincibility music from Sonic 2 is actually on the CD. Making this issue even more confusing is the fact that the proper music for invincibility plays during 2 player mode. There are also some enhanced sound effects, particularly in Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles where the sound effect for explosions (from monitors and enemies) is completely different. While the graphics are replicated perfectly on the Saturn, there is one additional visual effect in Sonic 1. While Sonic halts to a stop while running, he leaves behind skid marks just like in later games.
The Saturn versions were released in Europe, Japan, and North America, and have different graphics and sound:
- The European version featured the European "Mega Drive" carts in the select menu, and everything else according to the European release, e.g., manuals and sound.
- The Japanese version featured the Japanese "Mega Drive" carts in the select menu and was mostly in Japanese.
- The North American version featured the "Genesis" Sonic game carts in the select menu.
The Tiger Electronics Game.com version features Sonic 2, Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, though different from the Mega Drive/Genesis originals. This version's box art features the same render found on the packaging for Sonic R. This game and Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure are now considered the first two Sonic games ever to be released on a non-Sega video game console.
- "The Yuji Naka Inquisition!". Sega Saturn Magazine (EMAP) (36): 20–21. October 1998. "SSM: What were the beginnings of taking Sonic into a 3D world? YN: The first starting point were experiments in which I tried to see how the Sonic system would work in 3D... SSM: Was the 3D section of Sonic World, seen in the Sonic Jam compilation, a part of these experiments? YN: You got the point - that was actually part of the experiments I carried out to see how Sonic would work in 3D."