Watch a Sonic fan try to perfect-run the glitchy, obscure, handheld Sonic 1 in front of a Sonic skeptic. What could possibly go wrong?

OK, so Sonic Week was only one day during our actual Mario Week. And that single day was last Thursday. Needless to say, we intended to post this then, before Gamescom and technical issues meant it didn't happen on time. But that's actually quite fitting - this 'perfect run' attempt is anything but perfect, so let's just classify it as a 'catalogue of errors' and accept it for what it is: A video with us in it, as I try to finish an ancient Sonic game without getting hit.

So here it is: The whole 1991 classic from start to finish, with myself and Sonic skeptic Dave Houghton providing commentary:

A little background, if anyone actually cares. The game in question is Sonic The Hedgehog on Game Gear - a different game entirely than the Genesis/Mega Drive version, though sharing some level themes and music. It was the second Sega game I personally owned (Super Monaco GP was the first) and, as such, much of 1991 was spent learning this game's ins and outs.

The game is probably the best of the 8-bit Sonics, with a superb structure and exceptional replay value thanks to the hunt for the emeralds. The 'perfect run' attempt was meant to emulate what I had achieved the weekend before on an actual Game Gear - getting all the way through the game with all 6 Chaos Emeralds, all extra lives hidden in the levels and bonus stages... without getting hit even once by an enemy. Just to prove it happened:

But alas, this time it didn't quite pan out that way. Still here are...

Some things to look out for

On our 'preview window' during recording, the alternate frames of Sonic and his shield meant that we were stuck looking at only the shield sprite for most of the time, but the final video is fine. So sorry that we lost the shield deliberately, but it had to be done.

5:17: Witness a rush for every single ring in the special stage that ends with three seconds left on the clock. Skill.

14:50: We break the game by rolling across the long bridge before the second boss, resulting in the game's memory screwing up and the boss and end of level cage behaving in an 'interesting' manner...

17:25: Dammit.

26:20: A glitch in the Gamecube emulator (not in the original game) that causes the entire level to flood, drowning Sonic. Poor little mite - never stood a chance.

40:40: A strange glitch that makes sonic suddenly be running at full speed for no reason, at exactly the point of the game that you need that not to happen. Meh.

42:00: Winess Dave's explosion of incredulous rage as he sees a bit that's like Super Mario Bros 3. Hehehe.

And... that's that. It's surprising just how many glitches and bugs are actually in there when I play it through for someone else. To me, they're just quirks to work with or avoid. But I maintain it's still a great game, and I hope it comes to 3DS soon (minus the Gamecube's water glitch of course). Do you? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Justin Towell

Justin was a GamesRadar staffer for 10 years but is now a freelancer, musician and videographer. He's big on retro, Sega and racing games (especially retro Sega racing games) and currently also writes for Play Magazine,, PC Gamer and TopTenReviews, as well as running his own YouTube channel. Having learned to love all platforms equally after Sega left the hardware industry (sniff), his favourite games include Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams, Zelda BotW, Sea of Thieves, Sega Rally Championship and Treasure Island Dizzy.