Welcome back to Box Art Brawl, the series where multiple regionally variable covers of the same game fight for your vote in a deadly beauty bout to the bitter end.
Last time we had a duel between the East and West: two versions of Super Mario All-Stars went head to head following all those Mario 35th anniversary announcements, which put us in a plumbing mood. It was the manic North American / European cover which walked away the majority of your votes, with the shiny gold Japanese cover failing to catch your eye.
This week, we’re going for a little counterprogramming. Right now, Mario is on the tip of everyone’s tongue, but what about his old platform adversary? Next week is the 30th anniversary of the Mega Drive / Genesis’ UK release, so what better time to bring the blue hedgehog back to the brawl?
We’ve already examined the cover of Sonic’s Mega Drive debut and the third entry in the 16-bit platforming series, so let’s take a look at the iconic game sandwiched between those two…
We begin with the Genesis cover. What can we say? Perhaps it’s the nostalgia speaking, but we love this: the black-eyed Robotnik crushing the giant checkerboard-patterned ‘2’ with his meaty fingers; the pair of heroes posing in front; Tails’ wide-eyed, enthusiastic expression; Sonic all cheeky and chunky.
Top it off with a very solid logo at the bottom, the shining gold SEGA Seal of Quality and the black/grey border and the only thing dragging this down is the Genesis logo at the top. In our opinion, it’s vastly inferior to the sexy Mega Drive logo, but different strokes. It’s still a great cover.
We were almost going to make this a Box Art Brawl: Duel–we’ve done so previously for games when only the border changes colour when you cross the Atlantic–but after gazing upon the yellow-orange border of the European cover, we couldn’t bring ourselves to exclude it.
It uses identical art to the North American version, but the bright border, the classy grid pattern at the bottom (a trademark of Mega Drive boxes of the era), the classic blue and white SEGA logo, and the chrome-like Mega Drive logo at the top combine to make this far superior in our eyes.
And for foot fans everywhere, you get to see the tip of Miles Prower’s right shoe, which is covered on the NA version. Insta-win!
In keeping with the first game’s cover (and Sonic 3, in fact), the Japanese version features Sonic and Tails against an abstract, predominantly black and white background with dashes of colour. The logo features not once, but twice, and there’s also a neat intersection of the words ‘SONIC’ and ‘TAILS’. It doesn’t make much sense, but it looks cool.
Also returning from the previous game’s Japanese cover is the following advice to avoid procrastination:
Don’t just sit there and waste your precious time.
When you want to do something, do it right away. Do it when you can.
It’s the only way to live a life without regrets.
We enjoy the tagline(s), the continuity between covers and the abundance of dotted, squiggly lines. It’s all a little aimless and lacking in context, but then again it’s a game where you run around as a Disney-fied blue hedgehog in red sneakers followed by a two-tailed fox half his size. Context, logic; these things are overrated. Fun is the focus, here.
So, iconic covers for sure, but which one is the best? Pick your favourite from the options below and hit ‘Vote’ to let us know:
And that’s another week over. We hope you enjoyed this brief respite from the jovial plumber. We’ll see you next time for another Box Art Brawl,