Something's not right here...

A pirate cart of undetermined origin and, for a short time, a legend among the ROM community.  With complete ROM packages becoming more and more common, though, this game has lost its coveted status.  Now it has been largely pushed by the wayside for other cult classics like Beggar Prince and Umihara Kawase.

Whoever the enigmatic "Somari Team" is, they decided to convert the original Sonic the Hedgehog game to the NES, the gimmick being that Mario would take the place of Sonic.  And on that point, it succeeds; all the usual Sonic trademarks are here.  Running fast, turning into a cyclone of death when jumping, and hopping through obstacle courses of spikes and springboards in your quest to grab rings.  Even the "rotating" animations when Mario does a spin attack and goes through a loop are present.

 But as is the trend with pirate games, the idea of turning out a profit  is not from providing a quality game, but in utilizing their shamelessly stolen source material and characters to pawn off product for a quick buck.  This is evident in Somari; you'll often find yourself diving right into bullets fired by offscreen enemies, randomly being "snagged' on nothing in mid-jump just to be dropped right into spikes or bullets, and not collecting rings that you run directly through. Several times in the process of collecting screenshots, I jumped toward an enemy to take them out, and ended up passing harmlessly through them.  But naturally, if they were to touch me afterward, every ring on my person would go flying.


Not to mention that you can become permanently stuck in spike pits.  You become invincible for several seconds after being hit, and since you can't jump high enough to escape the pit and rings bounce off walls, you can end up collecting the same ring over and over, unable to escape a spike pit due to your effectively limitless immunity to harm.  At that point, you'll either have to wait for time to expire, or hit Reset and begin again.

Yep, even Dr. Robotnik and his wrecking ball are here (only a quarter of which is seen due to sprite flicker).  Pretty much the same story as the Genesis game here; get beneath the platform until he looks away, then smack his backside when he turns.  Repeat several times until he's defeated, at which point you get to rescue the local fauna from a metal canister.

From there, it's on to the next zone, which will not be covered in this review, since the novelty of the game will have been lost long before you get there anyway.

Download the Somari ROM

Rating: 3/10
One-line synopsis: Proof that a game's fame doesn't always mean it's a worthwhile title.

©2005 Spoony