The game features a standard direction pad and 3 buttons, "Tails", "pick", and "spin". Both consoles also contain four function buttons to turn off the system, toggle sound effects, pause the game, and turn on the console and start the game. The standard version requires two AA batteries to operate. The background of the game is a rendering of the Blue Sphere, with the floor of Hydrocity Zone. When the game starts, the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 title screen theme is heard. The level theme is the Angel Island Zone theme.
Players control Sonic the Hedgehog through 6 Zones. Tails is also in the game but only appears when called for with the "Tails" button and can only be called up to 3 times. He will airlift Sonic through the sky; the primary use for this is to airlift Sonic out of underwater segments. The pick button is actually used to pick up rings and Chaos Emeralds found in each level. Sonic starts with 4 lives but can gain more by picking up 1-up icons scattered in each level. If 10 rings are collected a star ring will show up, which will warp Sonic to the Gumball Machine bonus stage. However, if a player is hit while holding rings they will be lost, and if none are held then a life will be deducted. Several power-ups can be found in the game: Invincibility, Super rings (worth 4 rings), Flame Shield, and Lightning Shields. Level length is determined by time; later levels have a longer time limit exposing Sonic to more traps. Sonic moves by pressing the right or left key, though the level only scrolls when Sonic moves right. This can expose spikes or water traps.
Levels contain underwater segments which will cause Sonic to drown unless he collects air bubbles or jumps out of the water in time or has a Water Shield. The underwater timer acts separately from the normal game timer; the player can spend additional time underwater than the normal stage time, which can be used to rack up the score but exposes Sonic to more traps.
The gumball bonus stages are similar to the console version as items will fall out of the machine after Sonic jumps up to hit it. Sonic can bounce against the bumpers on the side of the stage to gain height as well as jump up to reach it. The stage ends after a 1-up power up appears (after 8 "gumball rings"), or if the time runs out, suggesting that Sonic had fallen to the bottom of the stage.
The list below shows the points that can be gained by completing certain objectives.
- Collect a Ring = 50
- Defeating Rhinobots, Coconuts, Catakillers, and Bugernauts = 100
- Defeating Mega Chopper, Pointdexter, and Tunnelbot = 200
- Defeating boss and collecting Chaos Emerald = 2,000
- Defeating final boss and collecting Chaos Emerald = 4,000
|LCD, US (Pocket Arcade)|
|Sonic LCD Games|
|Tiger Electronics||McDonald's LCD games|
Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)
|2003||Sonic Speedway | Shadow Grinder | Knuckles Soccer | Sonic's Action Game | Tails' Skypatrol|
Knuckles Treasure Hunt | Sonic the Hedgehog Extreme Boarding / Sonic Skateboard | Amy & Rouge Volleyball / Amy & Rouge Tennis | Big's Fishing | Shadow Hockey / Shadow Basketball | Tails Soccer | Cream Flower Catch | Knuckles Baseball
|2005||Tails Sky Adventure|
|Other Manufacturers: SegaSonic the Hedgehog (1992) | Amazing Sonic (1994) | Sonic Blast (1994)|