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- Any self-respecting "Sonic the Hedgehog" fan deserves to treat themselves to this Lego set.
- This $70 Lego set features easter eggs and Sonic lore to uncover, but sadly also uses some stickers.
- Overall, this set should be a blast for all Lego-loving fans of the blue blur of '90s gaming.
Over the 2021 holiday break, I fell back into a childhood love of mine that's now become a new hobby: Building Lego sets. Over the past 4-5 weeks at the time of writing, I've built about four sets from a classic-inspired castle to a replica Infinity Gauntlet from the Marvel "Infinity War" movies.
But there's one I've had the most fun building: A gorgeous, meticulously detailed set based on the first level of the first game in the ubiquitous "Sonic the Hedgehog" series for the Sega Genesis: Green Hill Zone.
As far as Lego sets go (at least the ones that appeal or are marketed to mostly adults), $70 for this 1,124-piece set isn't too steep. That's especially considering what you'll soon see is a work of love by Lego fan designer Viv Grannell – through the Lego Ideas program (that allows regular folks to pitch their own Lego builds for official release) – and the Lego product team.
The set comes in a box that's reminiscent of the 1991 "Sonic the Hedgehog" game box and the associated Sega Genesis bundle pack that was released around the same time.
The cover of the build instructions is a screenshot of the original Sega game's welcome screen before the game begins, and likewise building this Lego set is somewhat game-like.
The instructions also contain some loving words for the game's recent 30th anniversary, tracing its impact across the past three decades of gaming. Once the building begins, the intrigue and attention to detail do not end.
Sonic's famously-coveted Chaos Emeralds are "discovered" throughout building the diorama – almost as little rewards for hitting certain milestones in the overall build.
I must say that while I appreciate the attention to detail in the built-out models, I do wish building out the foundation of the diorama wasn't quite so tedious.
Each facsimile of a brick you see in the foundation was created by placing tiny blocks in patterns over, and over, and over again. However, the end result is well worth it.
The set makes a great decoration for a gaming den or particularly nerdy basement (of which I have one space that serves as both).
Even better is that the spring within the diorama is functional: It can launch the Sonic mini-figure into the air so as to "catch" the rings. It's not particularly accurate, but it's a neat parlor trick.
I particularly like the Sonic Lego mini-figure included in the set – especially that they went with the cuter, friendlier original character styling and not the early aughts edgy overhaul he received.
As for Dr. Robotnik (not Eggman), I'm not too impressed with his styling in the brick-made approach. While certainly not a mini-figure, I feel like this one could have been done differently – he doesn't even have a mouth.
Another thing about this set that's a bother is the inclusion of a few stickers rather than elements printed directly on the plastic of the bricks. There aren't a ton of stickers to apply, but certainly enough to be annoying. For instance, the power-up box icons are stickers, and my butterfingers managed to goof up a few.
All told, I had a blast building and arranging this set for display on my work desk up high so everyone can see, and $70 isn't too steep a price for a few nights of Lego building.
Regardless of just how nerdy you get with it, building Lego has proven to be quite a relaxing and – dare I say – therapeutic outlet for me during some particularly tough times. If you can manage to swing it, and naturally happen to be a Sonic fan, you'll likely have fun building this set, too.
Other Lego sets that I've built recently
This usually $100 set can be built in three different ways, but primarily as an extensive, three-dimensional castle with detailed interiors.
For the Marvel Cinematic Universe fans out there, this $70 replica Infinity Gauntlet is a fun build and a shiny display item.
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