When shrunk down onto a portable there are two options. Make it as close to the home console games as possible, or adapt it so it works to the handhelds capabilities. Mario takes the latter approach, Sonic takes the former. After two port downs onto the Game Gear, Sonic got an original adventure with Triple Trouble. But he still stutters and falls rather than running off at the speed of sound. He’s just a Mega Drive kind of guy trying his best to squeeze into the tiny Game Gear.
Triple Trouble looks great, well, it did back in 1994. Character models are chunky but stay close to the Mega Drive versions remarkably well, the backgrounds simple while resembling the jungles and snowy mountains they’re meant to be to keep it speedy. How it plays is what’s important though, and this is were Triple Trouble falls into trouble. Triple trouble.
Running through stages feels too basic, enemies are rare and so is any distinct sense of challenge. It’s quite possible to blitz through the whole thing within an hour, with only the usual water levels causing any annoyance. There is the option to hunt down the five chaos emeralds and partake in some tacky bonus stages, but this only adds an hour of ball-ache to proceedings as you hunt high and low just to charge through a grimy grey room. Bosses fall as soon as they pop up thanks to being attack shy and the whole experience is enjoyed with some awful 8 Bit music to accompany it. If it wasn’t trying too hard to look like Mega Drive Sonic, it may have been able to use the consoles power to provide a fun unique adventure on Mobius. Sonic’s just too concerned with how he looks! Put that mirror away you vain hedgehog!
It’s a shame as Triple Trouble does offer some surprising moments of fun. Rocket shoes to charge through half the level, a stage which removes movement control and has you jumping over gaps on a speeding train and manoeuvring bubbles through tricky passages make for moments of brief pleasure. Then the mind powers down once more as you hold right and let it all blur by. How troublesome.