Sonic the Hedgehog returned to two dimensions this year, with the release of Sonic Mania. Linked to the upcoming Sonic Forces, Mania is reminiscent of the early 1990s classics. With the Sonic series over 25 years old, there exists a huge community of modders who make their own titles.

Played with a Sega Megadrive emulator, here are a selection of titles to try today…

7Sonic 2 Heroes

A two-dimensional Sonic Heroes, Based on Sonic 2 levels with Sonic 3&K features. Play as Sonic, Tails and Knuckles together, making the most of their abilities.

Download Sonic 2 Heroes here

6Sonic: Scorched Quest

Alternate version of the original Sonic the Hedgehog, in which Dr. Robotnik discovers Flame Emeralds, engulfing the world in err… flames. Mini-bosses after acts are giant badniks, before battles against Robotnik being separate levels. What separates this from others in this list is the volume of cutscenes and detail in story, increasing engagement with player.

Download Sonic: Scorched Quest here

5Sonic 1 Color Contrast

Dr. Robotnik removed colours from the world, up to Sonic to restore. Original concept, focused on exploration rather than speed. Difficult to each of the six monitors scattered throughout levels, but puzzle-style gameplay provides a great alternative.

Download Sonic 1 Color Contrast here

4Knuckles’ Emerald Hunt

Based on Knuckles’ levels in Sonic Adventure series, finding missing shards of the Master Emerald. Emeralds scattered throughout Sonic 2 levels, with personal records saved for each stage. Easy to play, and achieving A-rank on each level provides a challenge which isn’t too frustrating.

Download Knuckles’ Emerald Hunt here

3Sonic the Hedgehog 2: Pink Edition

Sonic 2, with Amy and Cream instead of Sonic and Tails. Example of simple difference can affect entire gameplay. The biggest difference is vulnerability of character open to attack, as Amy doesn’t spin into a ball – either via jump or spin dash – like other characters.

Download Sonic the Hedgehog 2: Pink Edition here

2Big’s Fishing Derby

Big first appeared in Sonic Adventure, in the form of stages resembling Sega Bass Fishing. He returns in the form of this hack, in which he must catch best pal Froggy from the depths of many classic environments. Dr. Robotnik is after Froggy too, appearing as a boss during levels. Also includes a two-player mode, so try this for originality alone.

Download Big’s Fishing Derby here

1Sonic the Hedgehog Megamix

Perhaps the most well-known and best of them all, based on original 1991 title. New abilities, including super peel-out, homing attack and light speed dash. The latter two, which haven’t appeared in official 2D games. Levels are fluent, although the volume of enemies and obstacles takes getting used to if playing for the first time.

Download Sonic the Hedgehog Megamix here