Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble (Game Gear) Review

By Shane Jury 04.05.2012 3

Review for Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble on Game Gear

One of the greatest rivalries in gaming history played out between the mascots of SEGA and Nintendo, and it is one that continues to this day, albeit in a friendlier sporting fashion. The playground arguments over whether Mario’s or Sonic’s games were best fuelled the vast majority of one-console ownerships, and eventually this thought process migrated over to handheld machines when both companies brought their respective headliners to the Game Boy and the Game Gear. History deemed the Game Boy as the sales victor, largely owing to its superior library of games and wiser consumption of battery power, but the Game Gear’s colour screen certainly gave the line-up it had a noticeable leg-up over the competition. Sonic the Hedgehog was definitely no stranger to the system, starring in his own brand of racing games and Master System ports, with Sonic Triple Trouble in particular being a direct sequel to Sonic Chaos, and the first to be made solely for the Game Gear. Now, many years later, when SEGA’s hardware creations are but a memory, Sonic Triple Trouble takes centre-stage to represent the Game Gear catalogue on the 3DS Virtual Console. Is the second time on handhelds still a charm, or is this three-way now a mess?

As with most of the earlier 2D Sonic games, the plot of Sonic Triple Trouble is kept straightforward and is by no means a central focus. Big bad guy Dr Robotnik (or Dr Eggman to a future generation) has scattered the fabled Chaos Emeralds after failing to use them properly in one of his machines, and it’s up to our blue spiky hero and his mutant fox friend, Tails, to gather them all up. Making up the title of the game are two other foes besides the moustachioed one: Knuckles the Echidna, who has once again been duped into believing Sonic wants the gems only for himself, and franchise-dodger Nack the Weasel, who is also after the emeralds with money as his sole motive.

Triple Trouble follows the established formula of the 2D Sonics; the main objective being to reach the end of the level in one piece, collecting rings along the way to act as your damage absorber, mowing through hoards of badnik robots, and, provided you’re adventurous enough, entering the Special Stage for a chance to earn a Chaos Emerald. Stages are split into three acts, the first and second being standard stages, with the third housing the obligatory big robot fight. It’s rare that a classic formula needs changing, and this is no exception, with each stage being perfectly structured for portable play, even when not considering the on-board 3DS enhancements. The original screen ratio and resulting zoom-in view that the game had to work with does unfortunately obstruct a good portion of upcoming obstacles and enemies, but only losing a portion of your ring total instead of all of them when getting hurt helps alleviate some of the resulting frustration.

Players can choose either Sonic or Tails to play through the game with, and their differences are as you’d expect; the former possesses greater speed, and the latter can fly, making those Special Stages somewhat easier to find depending on how the acts are approached. Both are simple to control, with the Circle Pad on the 3DS being surprisingly robust for precise movement.

Screenshot for Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble on Game Gear

Sonic Triple Trouble’s introduction to the 3DS library certainly bodes well for the future of the Game Gear catalogue on the eStore, if the emulation in this one is anything to go by. As with all downloadable retro games on the service, the 3DS suspend features are here in force, with the regular sleep mode function from closing the lid or making a save state at any point in the game being your choices, eliminating any issue the game would have once had with the lack of saving on its own. Aside from that, though, SEGA have gone above and beyond Nintendo’s Game Boy emulation by allowing the player to tailor-make their Triple Trouble session with just about every toggle-able function one could think of. Whilst there is nothing wrong with the button mapping the game has already, players can switch them around to their heart’s content. The game isn’t a full 3D enhancement, but the slider can still come into effect when selecting how the game can be displayed on the top screen. The image can be left in its original aspect ratio to fill up only the middle of the screen, or stretched to widescreen, though this larger focus doesn’t leave a good impression on the pixels as it is easier to notice the details in the levels. Or you could go for the third option which renders a Game Gear frame on the top screen with the game now rendered to its original size. A blurring option can make that Game Gear nostalgia complete, or it can be turned off for a completely solid frame rate and clear screen. The list of options on offer here to customise your gaming is certainly impressive, and a clear kick in the butt for Nintendo’s comparatively sparse feature offerings across its Virtual Console emulations.

Whilst Sonic Triple Trouble is by no means a quick-fire title, a skilled player will be able to nab all of the emeralds and beat all the stages with relative ease, far more so now with the 3DS extras. The key to replaying this one lies in the many paths each act has, with multiple plays yielding quicker routes to shave off those seconds on level times. Sonic’s introduction to the eShop acts as an effective showcase not only for the future potential of Game Gear representation, but as a step forward for emulation on the service as well, even if the title itself is merely a solid, if not spectacular, adventure.

Screenshot for Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble on Game Gear

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

As Sonic the Hedgehog’s first portable venture onto a Nintendo downloadable service, Sonic Triple Trouble serves as not only a keen insight into the classic style of Sonic games with spin-dashes, loops and badniks abound, but also as a tantalising teaser into how older handheld games can be emulated to a quality that far overcomes the limitations of their original hardware.

Also known as

Sonic & Tails 2






2D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


Never got my mitts on this - looks a lot like the Master System variety, which I felt were good but not quite up there with the MD games - as can be expected though. Would like to give it a go, but almost a fiver to play is a little too much!

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

It is a fun game...but the thing I can't get by is the first 2D Chaos Emerald challange room. I'm playing as Tails this run but I get towards the last part of the level & get stuck hitting a spring when I'm trying to squeeze through a small gap I get sent up....a little help please...?

It is not wise to speak on subjects you do not know all facts about, nor is it smart to judge a game based on looks alone. PSN: Nintendo_Gamer 3DS: 4296-3029-7422

Spits all over Sonic 4. Tis very good. Smilie

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