Sonic the Hedgehog C64 and C128 Port [UPDATE]

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Back in the day, a Sonic the Hedgehog C64 version seemed completely unlikely. But now, 30 years after the computer ceased production, it’s on its way.

Incredibly, a Commodore 64 port of Sonic the Hedgehog has been completed and tested, and will soon be is now available to download for free.

To be honest, if you had said to me in 199-whatever “here’s a copy of Sonic the Hedgehog for your 64″ I’d have probably said “no thanks.” After all, owning a computer was a step up from owning a game console. With a computer you could *do things* that you couldn’t with a console. Even if all you ever did was play games, you had other options.

But these days, I’m far more relaxed about things. While I still can’t get along with Sonic (that’s another story), it doesn’t take much to appreciate the impact of this port.

Running on Commodore 64/128 with a RAM Expansion Unit (REU) or a suitable emulation system, the game is a direct port of the SEGA Master System 8-bit version. The C64 RAM Expansion Unit is really difficult to get hold of these days, so if you don’t have £150 to spend on eBay, the emulated option is far more affordable. Significantly, this is the first C64 game to rely on an REU, although BBC Micro, Spectrum, Amstrad, and even Atari systems have had enhanced games developed using memory expansions since retro gaming became a thing.

But is the game legal? Could SEGA pull Sonic the Hedgehog C64? It seems unlikely. The Social Media Manager for @sonic_hedgehog writes:

Hey Sonic fans – I appreciate you all reaching out with concerns over fan games and monetization! So long as no profit is involved, there is usually* no issue with y’all using our blue boy to hone your art and dev skills. *((for legal reasons I can’t promise all content is ok))

The game’s impending release was announced on Lemon64’s C64 Forum. Lead developer mrsid:

We’re proud to announce Sonic the Hedgehog for Commodore 64/128 + REU (PAL and NTSC). This is the first game that has exclusively been designed for the REU, to make a fast and smooth full-screen scrolling version of Sonic with little compromises. This game is a direct port of the SEGA Master System 8-Bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog, with about 64 KB of code hand-translated from the Z80 to the 6502 architecture. The game will be released as a free download in the coming weeks (exact release date to be announced). It requires a C64 or C128 (in C64 mode), a compatible REU of at least 256 KB, a compatible drive (.d64 and .d81 images will be provided) and any joystick or gamepad (no extra buttons required). On NTSC, a C128 or other CPU accelerator is highly recommended.

The Sonic the Hedgehog C64 port has been tested on VICE, U64, and original hardware. Meanwhile, firmware v1.5.2 for THEC64 and THEC64 Mini has a flag that can be appended to filenames to enable REU emulation.

Download the Sonic the Hedgehog C64 Port

Keep your eye on the Lemon 64 website for the download file for Sonic the Hedgehog on the Commodore 64, coming soon!

The reaction to Sonic the Hedgehog since release has been astounding. On CSDb (C-64 Scene Database) it is pulling in 10 star ratings on every review. The following team worked on this free, celebratory game:

Code …. Mr. SID of HVSC Crew, Megadesigns Incorporated

Music …. Encore of Kollektivet, Undone

Graphics …. Veto of Oxyron, PriorArt, Tristar & Red Sector Inc.

Loader …. Krill of Plush

Test …. Encore of Kollektivet, Undone JackAsser of Booze Design Retroluzzer of Excess Veto of Oxyron, PriorArt, Tristar & Red Sector Inc.

Help …. JackAsser of Booze Design

You can download your copy of Sonic the Hedgehog for C64 from CSDb and celebrate the 30th anniversary of the game’s SEAGA Master System release today!