Nicole Branagan

Sonic the Hedgehog 1 for Master System Level Editor Project Revived!

A level editor for Sonic 1 Master System, showing the Sky Base Zone.

Personally, I’ve always felt that the 8-bit Sonic the Hedgehog games for Master System and Game Gear deserve more attention. Evidently Master System virtuoso Maxim of SMS Power agrees, as he’s picked up a defunct level editor project, STH1EDWV, and started working on it again. While the editor is being made primarily for the benefit of an ongoing project, Sonic Genesis for Master System, that tries to bring the game closer to the 16-bit experience, it should be useful for anyone looking to make some ROM hacks of the game.

STH1EDWV window showing a tile from Bridge Zone, and its solidity setting

Not only does is there now a very thorough level editor allowing for changing not only the level and enemy layout, but also tile features like solidity, the editor also features the ability to import and export the games’ graphics into a PNG format. This is a great boon as is the norm with Master System games, the game’s graphics are compressed. Getting the graphics to fit within the space limitations can be a bit finicky at the moment, but Maxim seems to be working on an improved resource packer that should help with that.

A graphics editor for Sonic the Hedgehog 1, showing a sprite editor

Like all ROM hacking tools, STH1EDWV is a bit finicky, and saving frequently to avoid losing your work in a crash is a must. Still, what’s been built here is pretty impressive, and while I don’t do much ROM hacking these days myself, I look forward to see how it evolves and what hacks come out of this.

STH1EDWV screenshot, showing a text editor. "GREEN HILL" has been changed to "GROAN HILL".

Even better, Maxim is developing the project in the open; you can check out the source, written in C#, on GitHub. This is also where you’ll find binary downloads for Windows, requiring the .NET Framework. Very nice work!

An edited level in Sonic the Hedgehog for Master System

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