This Sonic The Hedgehog LEGO Set Is A Love Letter To The SEGA Mascot
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Featured Image Credit: LEGO, the author
When we first saw the fan-created prototype for a new LEGO Ideas set based on SEGA’s Sonic the Hedgehog, we gasped at its glory. That gigantic Robotnik mech straight out of Sonic 2, the Sonic Mania-inspired Heavy Magician, the cute-as-a-button Moto Bug and the unmistakable Green Hill Zone-themed background looking as fresh as it did in 1991’s original game. Even as a fan-made set, by one Viv Grannell, it looked amazing. But somehow, the official LEGO release that’s come out, based on Grannell’s original design, feels like a slight letdown, at least on a practical level.
Watch the Designer Video for this Sonic the Hedgehog - Green Hill Zone LEGO set, below
Which isn’t to say that this 1,125-piece set - available now - is a disappointment as such. All put together, with Robotnik in his pootling Eggmobile (the first boss of the first game, minus his wrecking ball) and a fairly strict focus on the Mega Drive’s debut Sonic the Hedgehog rather than later games with the inclusion of a Crabmeat and Moto Bug, the set looks great. The environment part of it - the loop, the bridge, the checkpoint marker and the power-ups - is all perfect. But the process just isn’t that much fun.
The chequerboard effect of the scenery is made up of a lot of very fiddly, fingertip-numbing, single-piece flat plates, and with it being made largely of different browns and greens this is a build you’ll want plenty of light for to avoid using the wrong shade by mistake. There are stickers used on the loop, which while labour-saving do mean that it’s hard to perfectly align their pattern with the proper blocks around them. And while swappable screens for the TV-like item boxes and two faces for the Moto Bug - one angry, one slightly less so - are great because options, it means you’ve a few spare pieces to find a home for, once you’re done with the build. There’s no tidy storage solution in the set itself, so I guess… back in the box, never to be seen again?
The set offers some interactivity. The vertically arranged rings are above a flip-operated ‘spring’, which will launch the Sonic minifigure into the air, kinda. The checkpoint marker - called a lamppost in the first game - can rotate to show either blue or red, the latter meaning Sonic’s passed it. The Robotnik figure - sadly I managed to lose a sticker during my build, so mine lacks the usual buttons on his front - can sit in the Eggmobile, which is on a transparent stand of its own, or stand fairly well on his own long-toed boots. And Sonic himself can be affixed to a display stand which also shows seven Chaos Emeralds - while there are only six in the original game, there are seven in its 1992 sequel. The Sonic minifigure isn’t quite the same one released as part of the LEGO Dimensions gaming line, in case you already own that - this Ideas version has buckles on his shoes, no green in his eyes, and a rounder chest piece.
There’s a lil easter egg of sorts around the back of the set, displaying high scores and names and numbers, which you can work out for yourself or look up on this internet thing (I won’t spoil anything, but it’s a sweet touch). As a display piece, this looks good on any shelf - one surrounded by other Sonic or SEGA paraphernalia, a larger LEGO collection, or even on its own. And at an asking price of £59.99, it’s in that range where a payday impulse buy is a possibility, or it can make for a great gift idea without breaking the bank. SEGA and LEGO fans alike will get a kick out of seeing the various sections of the build come together - providing they can deal with the frustration of there being so many tiny pieces, forming that Green Hill Zone pattern. Again, the build isn’t an especially pleasant one, but there’s no denying that the end product looks the business.
Ultimately, there’s a lot of love on show in this set. Some of the vibrancy and spectacle of Grannell’s original concept has been lost, as LEGO has steered the final set more into pure nostalgia than recent-era revivalism, but the mechanical critters are delightful depictions of their on-screen pixel models, and the Robotnik here is full of character despite a lack of articulation (and stickers, boo). It’s quite clearly more than a quick cash-in crossover, and for that it should be lauded; and while it lacks the level of detail seen in, for example, the recent LEGO Ideas set for Winnie the Pooh, it absolutely captures the essence of SEGA’s 16-bit icon. Now, how about a Marble Zone expansion, eh?
The Sonic the Hedgehog - Green Hill Zone LEGO Ideas set was provided to GAMINGbible for this coverage. The set is available now directly from LEGO, priced at £59.99.