Blink and you’ll miss it; it’s the 12 best Sonic ROM hacks of 2021!
Hopefully, you’ll read a lot slower than Sonic runs. It takes a while to put together these articles, you know!
Sonic has appeared on multiple consoles over the years, brining joy, thrills, and angry outbursts to both handhelds and console gamers all over the globe.
Keen to keep the blue peril ever in the hearts and minds of the people, the retro gaming community have worked their magic once again, creating crazy crossovers and brand-new Sonic adventures for us to sink out teeth into.
From Street Fighter-style action to a new mod that’s so unreal you’ll have to see it to believe it, this list of the best Sonic ROM hacks has something for everyone.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s kick off with Number 12 already!
12. Tails 64 Revamped
Tails 64: Revamped kickstarts this list of the best Sonic ROM hacks of all time!
There’s no prizes for guessing which game this is based on. This is the revamped sequel for an SM64 mod called Super Tails 64.
It’s not exactly a direct character replacement though. T64R has five unique levels with new collectibles to… well, collect.
We’re talking rings, star emblems, and mixed up levels that compliment both Mazza’s and Sonic’s worlds.
Ok, so it isn’t the most adventurous mod, but it’s nice to see Tails in the limelight for a change. He should get a chance to shine more often!
11. Metal Sonic: Hyperdrive
If you’re a big fan of the first Sonic the Hedgehog game but know it like the back of your hand, then you need Tails and his homemade Metal Sonic touch.
That’s right; after sneaking into Robotnik’s lab and nicking a load of parts, he builds Metal Sonic to save the day.
This game might look similar to the original at first glance, but it features all new zones and music for you groove along to.
Heck, it’s even got new playable characters and guest stars Kirby for those extra mash-up feels!
It’s Sonic 1 with a twist that should keep die-hard Sega fans happy.
Still, if you like sacrilegious crossovers, then why not try the next entry on our list of the best Sonic ROM hacks…
10. Luigi In Sonic The Hedgehog 1
Oh yeah! If we’re talking about seeing sidekicks taking the reins, then there’s no other mod like Luigi in Sonic the Hedgehog 1.
I have zero idea how Luigi could ever end up here in the Green Hill zone from the Mushroom Kingdom. Maybe it’s some parallel ring-warp from the place with all the mushrooms Sonic talks about in the movie.
Y’all know these plumbers love anywhere where mushrooms grow, right?
I know this isn’t a brand new game or anything original, but just like the game at Number 2 in this list of the best Sonic ROM hacks, seeing a crossover that could have made the console wars erupt like Mount Vesuvius makes me super excited.
And to be honest, Luigi looks like he could totally take Robotnik in his stride. Just look at the concentration on his face!
9. Sonic Time Twisted
Back in the 90s, there seemed to be a new Sonic game coming out every month, let alone every year. But the next title in our compendium has been in development for well over a decade.
This Sonic adventure is sweet to play from start to finish. It’s almost a little like a hall of fame play through of Sonic adventures; it feels familiar yet new at the same time, boasting ‘past’ and ‘future’ versions of exciting levels.
So what other exciting features make an appearance? Well, there’s time travel for a start.
Yeah, I know right, though I guess that much was obvious from the title…
Expect new shields based on the elements and some spectacular 3D stages that are bound to blow your mind. It’s the real deal and a mod that you definitely need in your life.
8. Sonic World
Next up on our list of the best Sonic ROM hacks is Sonic World, a mod that I’ve got a real soft spot for.
Just look at that world above! The graphics on this ROM are fantastic, with levels boasting lots of thrills and hidden wonders along the way.
Listen, I’ve made it clear throughout all of my articles that I love the Sonic Adventure titles. In my opinion, the 3D adventure games are some of Sonic’s finest moments.
This mod takes everything that we loved from games like Sonic Adventure 2 Battle and supercharges it to all to 11, bringing us 50 brand new stages and a whopping 40 characters to play with.
Seriously, it’s one of the biggest mods going!
Still, I bet there’s not a Chao Garden. That’s what you’re all thinking, right?
Well, there is! And it boasts online play too for high-speed hedgehog action with mates!
7. Sonic Utopia
Ever thought about your perfect Utopia? If it also features Sonic, then this game could be right up your street!
Rather than using Unreal Engine, this game uses a brand new engine to make a title that is quite simply mindblowingly fast
It’s almost like if you dropped an old Sonic game into Breath of the Wild, with enemies to bounce on and lots of rings to collect as you zoom around.
The levels themselves look super slick as well, with the sun’s rays bouncing off the water, different reachable levels, and lots of cool places to explore.
Get ready for one of the most harrowing adventures of your life.
You know those Itchy and Scratchy sketches from the Simpsons episodes where one of them gets brutally murdered? Well, that basically the premise of this game.
Sonic is evil in this ROM hack. It all started from a glitch where someone thought they saw the blue wonder with creepy bleeding eyes.
And now, the monstrosity is real… IT’S ALIVE!
Play as Robotnik, Tails, and Knuckles as you try to avoid having your insides pulled out by a demonic Sonic.
I’ve had nightmares ever since playing this one!
5. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Complete
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Complete takes the greatest cartridge combo in the world and gives it a special wash and polish.
Of all the mods in this list, this is the one that most of the Sega fans out there got the most excited about.
Let’s step back a second.
Sonic 3 & Knuckles came from combining Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, two of the best Sega Genesis games of all time.
This mod takes away all of the cartridge-locking faff and improves the resulting game tenfold.
We’re talking smoother gameplay, better graphics, and hundreds of customisable features in the options menu that can change the game to your individual specifications.
For the ultimate old-school Sega side-scrolling fan, there isn’t a better mod out there…
… still, please carry on reading until the end though… otherwise I’ll have done all this for nothing!
4. Streets of Rage 2: Robotnik Wars
How many times have you played Streets of Rage and wished that the baddies were replaced with Robotnik’s minions and Miles Prower was the one running around with a pipe?
Well, all your dreams can now be answered!
Play as everyone from Sonic to Amy as you move through a brand new game based on Streets of Rage 2.
Push back Robotnik’s army with weapons and from the classic Sega series as you get your hands dirty down shady alleys and parking lots.
It’s weird to see Sonic characters in a game that has such brutal (albeit pixelated) gameplay.
Still, this gimmick is more than just a flash in the pan; I absolutely love seeing Tails and Shadow laying the smackdown on robo-dweebs as they move every closer to thwarting Robotnik.
Same premise, better action. That’s my four word review; do you need any more persuasion?
3. Sonic Smackdown
Speaking of laying the smackdown, that’s exactly what players need to do in this next title on our best Sonic ROM hacks list!
When Sonic hit the world of Super Smash Bros., I think we all lost our minds a little bit. Sure, him and Mario are best buds after the whole Olympic Games thing, but I never thought he’d feature in the Nintendo smash-a-thon!
Well, it looks like he got a taste of the Smash life and doesn’t want to give it up!
Sonic Smackdown is basically Street Fighter with Sonic characters. Play as Knuckles, Amy, Sonic, and 9 other characters from the Sonic universe in side on 3D fighting action.
Pull off epic combos, button mash like your life depends on it, and try to be one with most health left at the end of the round.
It’s simple to understand (to everyone that’s ever played a fighting game, at least) and tonnes of fun to play!
Now, I wonder if Tails can pull off a Hadouken?
2. Super Mario 64: Sonic Edition
Super Mario 64: Sonic Edition takes the silver medal in our blue hedgehog-based ROM list.
Sorry Tails, but Sonic’s Mazza adventure was always going to rank higher than yours… no offence.
Listen, there’s few mods out there as good as this one. I’m going to go as far as to say that I like it just as much as the original game…
… there, I’ve written it down for all to see, and I stick by that decision.
With new moves, an updated narrative, and super-fast speeds, Sonic brings a new level of humour and action to such a memorable game.
Roll down hills, use the epic spin dash by button-mashing the B button, and pull off a homing-attack on enemies on both land and water.
Is there nothing Sonic can’t do?
… bet he’s not as good as Mazza at plumbing!
1. Sonic Infinity+
And finally, the top spot in our list of the best Sonic ROM hacks of 2021 goes to Sonic Infinity+!
The Sonic Infinity engine makes for some of the most stunning Sonic scenescapes we’ve ever seen. Even the cliffs have that trademark battenberg effect going on from the early Sonic games, although this time they look uber realistic!
It’s not just the graphics that in Sonic Infinity+ that are unreal though. In fact, the whole game was built using Unreal Engine 4 (see what I did there?).
And, the gameplay feels better than you could even imagine too. The whole thing works seamlessly.
Play through fan-made levels in glorious textured environments. The project might still be in in its infancy with a full game still on the horizon, but this is certainly one of the greatest mods I’ve ever had the pleasure to play.
It’s well worth a download if you’re a fan of HD sneakers and super fast speeds!
Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 31 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.