Sonic the Hedgehog (series)

Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic-the-hedgehog-logo.jpeg
Developers Sega
Publishers Sega
Creators Yuji Naka
Artists Naoto Ōshima
First release Sonic the Hedgehog
June 23, 1991
Latest release Sonic Generations
November 1, 2011
Official website http://www.sonicthehedgehog.com/
http://www.sega.com/sonic/
http://sonic.sega.jp/

Sonic the Hedgehog is the best selling video game series released by Sega starring and named after its mascot character, Sonic the Hedgehog. The series began in 1991 with the release of Sonic the Hedgehog on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, which was responsible for turning Sega into a leading video game company during the 16-bit era

The Sega division responsible for the first game in the series was called Sonic Team, and the group has since developed many titles in the franchise. Prominent members of its initial staff included programmer Yuji Naka, designer Naoto Ohshima and game planner Hirokazu Yasuhara. Other developers of Sonic games have included the American Sega Technical Institute, Japanese Dimps, Canadian BioWare, and British Traveller's Tales. While the first games in the series were platform games, the series has expanded into other genres such as action-adventure, fighting, racing, role-playing, and sports.

Contents

History

Premise

Title screen from Sonic the Hedgehog, the first game in the Sonic franchise.

Nearly all games in the series feature a blue hedgehog named Sonic as the central player character and protagonist. The games detail Sonic and his allies' attempt to save the world from various threats, primarily the evil genius Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik, the main antagonist of the series. Robotnik's aim is to rule the Earth; to achieve this, he usually attempts to eliminate Sonic and to acquire the powerful Chaos Emeralds.

Sega Mega Drive and add-on systems (1991–1996)

Green Hill Zone from Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)

The first Sonic game, titled Sonic the Hedgehog, was a platform game released in 1991[1] that featured protagonist Sonic running through the game's levels in order to foil Doctor Robotnik's attempt to take over the world.[2] The game focused Sonic's ability to run and to jump at high speeds with the use of springs, slopes, and loop-the-loops.[2] Its sequel, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, a platform game released in 1992,[3] increased the overall size and speed of the series' gameplay[4] and was the second best-selling Genesis game of all time.[5] The game introduced Sonic's sidekick, Miles "Tails" Prower, who followed Sonic throughout the game,[4] and the "spin dash" maneuver, which allowed Sonic to boost forwards quickly when stopped.[4] The next sequel, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, was a third platform game in the Sonic series released in 1994.[6] The game introduced a temporary shield maneuver,[7] added new shield types to the series,[8] and allowed Tails to fly under a player's control.[8] It also introduced a new character, Knuckles the Echidna, who served as an additional antagonist with Doctor Robotnik for the game.[8] Sonic & Knuckles, another platform game in the Sonic series, was released later in 1994.[9] The game introduced Knuckles as a playable character with gliding and wall climbing abilities[9] and allowed gamers to plug in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 to the top of the Sonic and Knuckles cartridge as part of the game's "lock on" functionality. This allowed gamers to play the game as it was originally intended;[9] the games were intended to be one title, but were split due to space and time constraints.[10][11]

There were several Sonic games for the Mega Drive that were not 2D platform games. Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball, released in 1993, was a pinball simulation modeled after the Spring Yard and Casino Night Zones from the first two Sonic games.[12] The game, unlike general pinball simulations, had an overall goal of collecting all the Chaos Emeralds in each level and defeating the levels' bosses.[12] It was one of the few video games that had elements from the cartoons Sonic the Hedgehog and Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine was a puzzle game similar to Puyo Puyo[13] that was set in the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog universe. Sonic 3D Blast, an isometric, 2.5D platform game[14] released in 1996 and developed by Traveller's Tales,[15] featured Sonic running through pseudo-3D environments while trying to rescue Flickies from Doctor Robotnik.[14]

The Sega Mega Drive/Genesis had "add-on" systems that incorporated Sonic titles. Sonic CD, released for the Mega-CD/Sega CD, was a 2D platform game[16] released in 1993.[17] The game introduced the character Amy Rose[18] and featured levels that differed depending upon whether Sonic was in the past, present, or future time frames.[16] Knuckles Chaotix, a spin-off released in 1995 for the Sega 32x,[19] featured Knuckles and a new group named Chaotix fighting against Dr. Robotnik.[20] The game featured a two-player cooperative system in which the on-screen characters were connected by magic rings.[20] There was also Sonic Eraser, a puzzle game released exclusively on Meganet.

Sega Master System and Game Gear (1991–1996)

Due to the success of Sonic games on the Mega Drive/Genesis, the series was introduced to the Sega Master System and Sega Game Gear. Sega began by releasing Sonic the Hedgehog, a 2D platform game, in 1991.[21] The game featured Sonic's ability to run and to jump at high speeds like its Mega Drive/Genesis counterpart but with notably different level design and music.[22] Sega later released Sonic the Hedgehog 2 another 2D platform game, in 1992. The game differed from its Mega Drive/Genesis counterpart with different levels and music and by not including a "spin dash" maneuver. It also featured a different storyline in which Doctor Robotnik kidnaps Tails, who is non-playable in the Master System/Game Gear version.[23] Sonic Chaos/Sonic and Tails (Japan), released in 1993,[24] was similar to the earlier two Sega Master System/Game Gear Sonic games, but featured Tails as a playable character.[25] A sequel, Sonic Triple Trouble/Sonic and Tails 2 (Japan), a 2D platform game, was released in 1994[26] for the Game Gear and introduced a new character, Nack the Weasel, who, along with Knuckles and Doctor Robotnik, raced to collect the Chaos Emeralds. One of the last games for the Sega Game Gear, Sonic Blast, was released in 1996[27] and featured prerendered sprites.

Several spin-off Sonic games were released for the Sega Master System/Game Gear that were not 2D platform games. Sonic Labyrinth, released for Game Gear in 1995,[28] featured an isometric view and slower exploration-based gameplay that resulted from Robotnik's replacing Sonic's shoes with "Speed Down Boots." Sonic Drift was a kart racer released in 1994.[29] It later had a sequel, Sonic Drift 2, which was released in 1995.[30] Tails also received two spin-offs. Tails' Skypatrol, released in 1995,[31] allowed players to control an always-flying Tails. Tails Adventure, released in 1995,[32] featured a mix of platforming and RPG elements.

Sega Saturn (1996–1997)

Few Sonic games were released for the Sega Saturn, and none were a standard platform game originally made for the system. Sonic 3D was released in 1996[33] alongside the Mega Drive version. Like its Mega Drive counterpart, the Saturn edition used isometric, 2.5D graphics, but it added FMV cut-scenes, enhanced music and visual effects,[citation needed] and a real-time 3D special stage.[34] Sonic Jam, a compilation released for the Saturn in 1997, contained the original Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and Sonic & Knuckles, as well as a "Sonic World" mode, which allowed the player to control Sonic in a small 3D world.[35] The Sonic World was mainly a means of accessing the disc's multimedia features, which included character artwork, the soundtrack, and Japanese Sonic videos.[36] Sonic R, a foot racing spin-off and also the Sonic series' first fully 3D game,[37] was released in 1997 for the Saturn[38] and ported to the PC in 1998.[39]

The Sega Technical Institute attempted to develop a Sonic game for the Saturn called Sonic X-treme. It was originally intended to compete with Nintendo's Super Mario 64 and Sony's Crash Bandicoot. However, due to time constraints and issues between STI, the Japanese division of Sega, and Sonic Team, the project was canceled in the latter months of 1996.[40]

Dreamcast (1998–2001)

Sega Dreamcast sales begin to decline after the launch of the PlayStation 2;[41] and therefore few Sonic games were released for the system. Sonic Adventure, then a launch title for the Dreamcast, was released in December 1998 in Japan and September 1999 in North America.[42] The game was the first in the series to feature voice acting. Sonic Adventure was re-released for the GameCube and PC as Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut in 2003[43] and, in late 2010, ported to Xbox Live Arcade[44] and PlayStation Network.[45] Its sequel, Sonic Adventure 2, was released for the Dreamcast in 2001 in North America,[46] and was ported to the GameCube as Sonic Adventure 2: Battle in 2002, featuring several enhancements to the Dreamcast version.[47]

The other Sonic game released for the Dreamcast was Sonic Shuffle, a board game released in 2000 that was very similar to the Mario Party series and featured cel-shaded graphics.[48]

During the period of the Dreamcast, another Sonic game was released on SNK's Neo Geo Pocket Color portable console, Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure.

Game Boy Advance (2001–2004)

Sonic's transition to the Game Boy Advance was completed with Sonic Advance, the first original Sonic title released for a Nintendo console. The game featured 2D platforming, similar to the original Genesis titles, and new gameplay mechanics from more recent Sonic titles as well, such as grinding on rails.[49] It was released in late 2001 in Japan and early 2002 elsewhere,[50] and ported to Nokia's N-Gage on October 7, 2003, as SonicN.[51] Two sequels, Sonic Advance 2 and Sonic Advance 3, followed in March 2003 and June 2004, respectively.

Between Sonic Advance 2 and Sonic Advance 3, two other Sonic games were released: Sonic Battle, a 3D fighting game, and Sonic Pinball Party, a pinball simulation.

GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox (2002–2006)

Sonic grinds down a rail in City Escape, the first level of Sonic Adventure 2.

After the Dreamcast, Sega ceased producing its own video game hardware, focusing solely on manufacturing software for the Nintendo GameCube, followed by releases for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox.

The first game released for the GameCube was Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, followed by Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut, each ports from the Dreamcast. Sega later released Sonic Heroes, the first Sonic game made for the GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox. It was released on all three systems on December 30, 2003 in Japan, with American and European releases following soon after. The game was similar to that of the Adventure games, although the player now controlled the lead character of a team of three, with the other two following behind. The player could then switch to a new leader at any time in order to use that character's special abilities.

Shadow the Hedgehog was released in late 2005 in North America. This game used a similar more advanced engine that Sonic Heroes used. It focused on Shadow the Hedgehog as he tried to uncover his past. The game contained multiple paths and endings, as the player chose to take good or evil paths for each level. It also added hand-held pistols and driving vehicles to 3D platforming.

Sonic Riders was the first Sonic racing game since Sonic R; in contrast to the previous title, the characters used hoverboards, bikes, and skates rather than racing on foot.

Due to the extended life cycle of the PlayStation 2, it also received ports of Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity and Sonic Unleashed.

DS, PSP (2005–2010)

Two Sonic games appeared on the PlayStation Portable: Sonic Rivals and its sequel, Sonic Rivals 2. Both titles were 2.5D style games.

There were a number of different Sonic games released for the Nintendo DS. The first was Sonic Rush, released in 2005, featuring gameplay similar to the Sonic Advance series. It received a sequel, Sonic Rush Adventure, in 2007, which featured some additional new elements, such as the driving of jet skis and submarines. Sonic Colors, released in November 2010, expanded further on the Rush series gameplay with the addition of the use of "Wisps", which gave Sonic various new power-ups and gimmicks.

Along with the Wii, the DS saw the beginning of the Mario and Sonic crossover games. The first, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, was released in late 2007, and featured characters from both series competing in Olympic-themed mini-games. Its sequel, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games, was released in October 2009, and featured an emphasis on winter-based sports.

Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, a spin-off released in September 2008, was a turn-based role playing game developed by BioWare.

Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 (2006-present)

Sonic the Hedgehog was released in November 2006 for the Xbox 360 and December 2006 for the PlayStation 3. Sonic and the Secret Rings, the first game in the Storybook sub-series, released in spring 2007 and was exclusively developed for the Wii. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games was a Mario and Sonic crossover released for the Wii and DS. Its sequel, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games, was released in October 2009 while the another one Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games was released in November 2011. Sonic Unleashed was released in 2008 for the Xbox 360, Wii, PS2 and PS3. Sonic and the Black Knight, the second game in the Storybook sub-series, was exclusively released in 2009 for the Wii. Sonic the Hedgehog 4, an episodic high-definition 2D game akin to the 16-bit Sonic games, was developed for the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, WiiWare, Windows Phone 7, and iOS. The first episode was released in October 2010. Sonic Colors, a game for the Wii, was released in November 2010. It introduced a power-up system in the form of alien beings called "Wisps". Sonic Free Riders was released in November 2010 as a follow-up to the Sonic Riders series, and was developed exclusively for Xbox 360's Kinect system. Sonic the Hedgehog was also featured in Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii.[52] Also Sega Superstars Tennis for the Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2 and Nintendo DS was released in 2008 and Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing for the Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo DS and PC and Apple iOS was released in 2010.

Sega is re releasing Sonic CD in late 2011 as the next edition of Sonic the Hedgehog 4 is going to have elements related to Sonic CD, in other words Sonic CD is being considered a prequel to Sonic 4, Episode II

Sonic Generations is developed for Xbox 360, PS3, PC and Nintendo 3DS in November 2011, featuring both modern and classic interpretations of Sonic.[53][54]

Nintendo 3DS (2011-present) and Future

Even early in the system's lifecycle, a number of Sonic games were announced for the Nintendo 3DS. At E3 2010, an untitled Sonic game was announced for the system, which later turned out to be a portable version of Sonic Generations. A third installment of the Sonic and Mario crossover series, Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games has also been announced for release on the system.[55]

There is also a suggested sequel to Sonic Generations being made for the upcoming Nintendo Wii U set for release in 2012. It also is suggested to be a spiritual sequel to Sonic Colors titled Sonic Dimensions. [1]

Compilations

Characters

Common features

A ring

Rings

One distinctive feature of Sonic games are the collectible golden rings spread throughout the levels. This gameplay device allows players possessing at least one ring to survive upon sustaining damage from an enemy or hazardous object; instead of dying, the player's rings are scattered. In most Sonic games, a hit causes the player to lose all rings, although in certain games a hit only costs a set number of rings.[56][57] When the rings are scattered, the player has a short amount of time to recollect some of them before they disappear.

Some causes of death cannot be prevented by holding a ring, including being crushed, falling into a bottomless pit, drowning, and running out of time.[56]

In line with many platform games, collecting 100 rings usually rewards Sonic or any other playable character with an extra life.[58] Certain games in the series often reward the collection of 50 rings with Chaos Emeralds, access to the Special Stages in which the Chaos Emeralds may be obtained, or utilization of a character's super transformation.[59]

In some 3D games, rings retained by the end of a level are usable as currency to buy things such as Chao food or special abilities. In some games, such as SegaSonic the Hedgehog, Tails & Eggman levels in Sonic Adventure 2 and the Werehog segments of Sonic Unleashed, rings can also be used to restore health. In the Sonic Riders games, collecting rings often increases characters' racing statistics.

Chaos Emeralds

The Chaos Emeralds as they appear in Sonic R—yellow, purple, red, white, blue, orange and green. Starting with Sonic Adventure the orange emerald has been replaced with a light blue one.

The Chaos Emeralds are, in most games, seven emeralds with mystical powers; they are a recurring feature of Sonic games. The emeralds can turn thoughts into power,[60] warp time and space with a technique called Chaos Control,[61][62] give energy to all living things and be used to create nuclear or laser based weaponry.[63]

They are the basis of many of the games' plots, and the player is frequently required to collect them all to fully defeat Doctor Eggman and achieve the games' "good endings", super forms, or both. An exeption to this is Sonic Colors(Wii), in which the player does not need the Chaos Emeralds to fully conplete the game. The method used to acquire the Emeralds and the end-results after collecting them differs between titles in the series. Most early games require the player to find the emeralds in Special Stages,[59] while some modern games implement the emeralds as a plot element. In certain games, such as Sonic R and the 8-bit versions of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the player is required to find the Chaos Emeralds within the zones themselves.

The Master Emerald was introduced in Sonic & Knuckles as a plot element. It resides in a shrine on Angel Island and is guarded by Knuckles the Echidna, as only those of the Echidna Tribe are able to control it.[64] The power of the Master Emerald is what keeps Angel Island afloat in the sky.[65] It can control the power of the Chaos Emeralds,[60] including neutralizing or amplifying their energies.[66]

In Sonic & Knuckles, the Master Emerald is stolen by Dr. Robotnik to power up a weapon/ship known as the Death Egg. In Sonic Adventure, the Master Emerald is shattered, and Knuckles must collect the shards as part of his individual story. The Emerald shows its ability to negate the energy of the Chaos Emeralds in Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2, and empower them in Sonic 3 as well as in Sonic & Knuckles. The Master Emerald can also be used to power mechanical devices, and has been coveted by Dr. Robotnik since his discovery of it. During Knuckles' final boss fight in Sonic & Knuckles, Mecha Sonic uses the Master Emerald to power up into a super form.

Special Stages

Usually, Special Stages were employed as a means of earning Chaos Emeralds.[59] Special Stages usually take place in surreal environments and feature alternate gameplay mechanics to the standard platforming of the main levels. The 16-bit Sonic the Hedgehog consisted of a giant rotating maze, which many considered a major technical achievement.[67] The most common special stages, however, were segments with the character running through a long tunnel to collect certain items. 3D "collect item" levels, as in Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, used the same perspective but had Sonic collecting all the blue-colored orbs on the surface of a giant sphere. Finally, Sonic Advance 2 employed a 3D ring-collecting stage, and Sonic Chaos (Sonic and Tails in Japan) used a variety of gimmicks for its levels. In Sonic Adventure 2:Battle once all emblems are collected with A-ranks on all levels a 3D version of Green Hill Zone is unlocked.

Since Emeralds of the 8-bit version of Sonic the Hedgehog were hidden in the main stages, the game's spring-filled Special Stages were merely used as a means of adding variety, increasing score and earning continues. Similarly, Sonic 3 & Knuckles, in addition to the main Special Stages, featured entirely optional bonus stages, one of which combined the rotating maze of Sonic the Hedgehog with the pinball gambling of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Sonic Heroes contained an alternate Special Stage for a chance of earning additional lives.

Super transformation

A super transformation is a state certain characters go into that gives them incredible speed, near-invincibility and a change in color. In some games, characters are still vulnerable to being crushed, drowning, falling into a pit or running out of time. Depending on the type of transformation, the condition to attain such a form is an individual making contact with all of the Chaos Emeralds, the Sol Emeralds, or the Master Emerald.

Super Sonic with the Master Emerald in the ending for Sonic & Knuckles, moments after defeating the final boss in the Doomsday Zone

Super transformations first appeared in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, where Sonic transforms into Super Sonic if all seven Chaos Emeralds and fifty or more rings are held at the same time. While in Super Sonic form, one ring is lost for every second that passes, and Sonic reverts back to normal if the number of rings drops to zero. In Sonic & Knuckles, Knuckles also has this ability. In Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Sonic and Knuckles can also gain a "Hyper" status after gaining all seven Super Emeralds. The same achievement when playing as Tails only unlocks his Super form.

In most 3D Sonic games starting with Sonic Adventure, Chaos Emeralds are collected in non-interactive cut scenes as part of the story, with Super Sonic and other super characters only appearing in the final boss fights. Most 2D Sonic platform games, like the Advance and Rush series, have retained the gameplay-based emerald collecting, but still have Super Sonic only playable in the "Extra" boss battles. Recent games such as Sonic the Hedgehog 4, Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations once again allow players to play as Super Sonic during normal stages, provided they have all the Chaos Emeralds.[68][69]

Sonic the Hedgehog, Miles "Tails" Prower, Knuckles the Echidna, Mecha Sonic, Shadow the Hedgehog, Blaze the Cat, and Silver the Hedgehog, are the characters that can perform super transformations.

Emblems

Emblems are used in several sonic games. They are awarded once the player either successfully completes a level or achieves an objective.

Item boxes

these are containers hold power-ups and appear frequently throughout the stages. An icon on each box indicates what it contains, and the player releases the item by destroying the box. In the early games, item boxes resembled television sets and could only be destroyed with an attack; in later titles, they became transparent capsule-like objects easily destroyed with one touch. Common items in boxes include rings, a barrier (or shield), invincibility, high speed (or power sneakers) and 1-ups.

The barrier is a spherical energy shield which surrounds and protects the player's character from one attack; when hit, the barrier is lost instead of rings or a life. In Sonic 3 additional barriers were introduced which gave the player special abilities, such as the ability to magnetically attract rings and double jump, breathe underwater, resist fire and even damage nearby enemies (Shadow the Hedgehog).

Invincibility temporarily protects against damage done by enemies and obstacles, and allows the player to destroy enemies by touching them and not lose any rings. Death from crushing, falling, drowning and time-ups, however, are still possible.

High speed boxes give the player character enhanced speed for a limited time.

1-up boxes display the face of the player's character and give the player one extra life. In the event that a player loses a stage, this enables the player to restart the level at the starting point, or, if one has been passed, close to the last checkpoint. Multiple lives can be collected, generally up to 99.

Other item boxes featured include a box with Robotnik's face on it, which cause damage to whoever opens it, and a "teleport box" (Sonic 2's 2-player mode only), which swapped both players' positions.

Giant Rings/Warp Ring

Giant Rings were featured in a few Sonic games, mainly from the 16-bit era. They served as a portal to enter a Special Stage, where the player could collect one of the Chaos Emeralds or, in certain circumstances, Super Emeralds. In Sonic the Hedgehog 3, if all Emeralds have already been found, touching them rewards the player fifty rings. In most games since Sonic Adventure 2, these giant rings have been renamed Goal Rings and serve in place of the old signposts as the end level marker, which ends the level upon touching it.

Checkpoints

Checkpoints are items placed throughout the stages in Sonic games which serve mainly as progress markers. If the player runs through one, their progress through a level is "saved". If the player then loses a life on the same stage, they will start over at the last checkpoint passed. Checkpoints also serve other uses in various games, such as entering Special Stages in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and leveling up in Sonic Heroes. In the 2D games, checkpoints take the appearance of posts, while in 3D games they are either small gates or pads on the ground.

Springs

Springs are a staple in the Sonic series. They are scattered throughout the levels and serve to catapult the player at high speeds in a particular direction. Sometimes they allow the player to proceed further in the level, while other times they are used to hinder the player, usually by sending Sonic towards a dangerous area. Sonic Unleashed in particular features springs with Dr. Eggman's face on them that launch Sonic towards danger or hinder his progress. Springs serve as one of Sonic's special moves in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

Animals

The Sonic the Hedgehog universe is populated with typical as well as anthropomorphic animals. These small animals (referred to as "Sonic's friends" in earlier games) are often used by Dr. Robotnik as "organic batteries" to power his robot armies. The trapped animals can usually be freed by hitting the robot and destroying its metal case. In Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2, the small animals can be given to Chao, altering their appearance and attributes. The small animals were originally the major population of Sonic's world, before Sonic Adventure, which introduced human populations and cities.

A Flicky is one of the most prominently used animals in Eggman's experiments. This small bird's first appearance in a game predates Sonic. Flicky and its respective game were alluded to in Sonic 3D Blast.

Music

Numerous composers have contributed music the Sonic the Hedgehog series. Masato Nakamura of J-pop band Dreams Come True was responsible for the music of the first two 16-bit games. Ys/Streets of Rage composer Yuzo Koshiro composed the tunes for the first 8-bit title, except for what was retained from the 16-bit version.

Sega's in-house music company, Wave Master, composed the majority of the music in later titles. One Wave Master employee, Jun Senoue, is a member of the band Crush 40, and through his ties to the band they have played the main theme tunes of both of the Sonic Adventure games, Sonic Heroes, Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic and the Black Knight. Heroes and Shadow the Hedgehog also featured other bands, such as Julien-K. For the 2006 Sonic the Hedgehog game, Senoue and Crush 40 performed a remix of "All Hail Shadow" to play as Shadow the Hedgehog's theme for the game.

Richard Jacques, a frequent composer of music for Sega games, contributed to the soundtracks of Sonic R, the Saturn/PC version of Sonic 3D Blast: Flickies' Island and most recently, Sonic and the Black Knight. Runblebee has performed songs for Sonic games such as Sonic Riders and Sonic and the Secret Rings, and Steve Conte performed the Sonic and the Secret Rings main theme, "Seven Rings In Hand", as well as its end theme "Worth A Chance".

On several recent games, well-known artists have contributed music to the series. For example, Bowling for Soup lead singer Jaret Reddick performed "Endless Possibility", the main theme of Sonic Unleashed, and former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman played on "With Me", the final boss theme for Sonic and the Black Knight.

Other media

Animation

A number of cartoons have been made based on the Sonic the Hedgehog video games. DIC Entertainment's Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog was an American animated television series that was first broadcast in September 1993, and ran in cartoon syndication for a number of years afterward. It follows the escapades of Sonic and Tails as they stop the evil Dr. Ivo Robotnik and his array of vicious robots from taking over the planet Mobius. The plots very loosely followed the style of the early video games series, but focused very little on character development.

DIC also produced the second Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon, called Sonic the Hedgehog: The Animated Series, which originally aired from September 1993 to June 1995. While Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog is known for its bright colors and whimsical humor, Sonic the Hedgehog featured darker, more dramatic stories which still constitute a departure from the tone of most of the Sonic games. The Sonic franchise was still quite new and lacked both plot and character development, so the show's writers filled in the details. The Sonic the Hedgehog comic book uses several characters from this series.

A two-episode OVA series based upon the game Sonic CD and the video game series as a whole, Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie, was released in Japan in 1996 and released as an English dub in North America in 1999. Unlike the games, the film takes place on a world named Planet Freedom. It was the first to introduce an animated appearance of Knuckles the Echidna, and the first time before Sonic Adventure that Sonic, Knuckles, and Tails were seen as a full team.

The cartoon Sonic Underground ran for 40 episodes[70] in 1999, but bared little relation to other cartoons or video games. The last Sonic series from DIC Entertainment, the show was animated like Sonic the Hedgehog, but was broadcast in syndication, and had major differences, including the absence of Tails and the appearances of Knuckles.

The anime Sonic X is the longest-running animated series based on Sonic to date. It spanned 3 seasons and 78 episodes and was inspired by the plots of the Sonic Adventure series.

Comics

A number of Sonic the Hedgehog comic books and manga have been produced. The Sonic the Hedgehog manga series, published in Shogakukan's Shogaku Yonensei was written by Kenji Terada and illustrated by Sango Norimoto. The manga, which started in 1992, was about a hedgehog boy named Nicky who can turn into Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic fights Eggman, with Tails tagging along to help him.

Sonic the Comic was a British comic published by Fleetway Editions between 1993 and 2002. Labeled "The UK's official Sega comic", in addition to Sonic the Hedgehog stories it also included comic strips based on other Sega games such as Ecco the Dolphin and Decap Attack.

Sonic the Hedgehog is an ongoing series of American comic books published by Archie Comics. All of Archie's Sonic-related publications take place in the same fictional universe, which incorporates aspects of the video games and Sonic the Hedgehog: the Animated Series in addition to elements unique to that comic universe. Archie Comics also published an ongoing Sonic X comic book that supplemented the stories from the animated series of the same name. It began in September 2005 and was originally meant to be a four-part series; however, due to the positive reaction to the series' announcement, it was extended to ongoing status before the first issue premiered. The comic borrowed elements from the animated series' first two seasons and characters from the Sonic Adventure storyline. The comic was eventually canceled, its place taken by the new Sonic comic book series entitled Sonic Universe.

Reception and legacy

Aggregate review scores
As of November 4, 2011.
Game GameRankings Metacritic
Sonic the Hedgehog (1991) (MD) 90.17%[71]
(X360) 77.80%[72]
(Wii) 73.00%[73]
(GBA) 32.50%[74]
(X360) 77[75]
(GBA) 33[76]
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (MD) 91.88%[77]
(X360) 82.30%[78]
(X360) 82[79]
Sonic the Hedgehog CD (MCD) 100.00%[80]
(PC) 50.00%[81]
-
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (MD) 97.50%[82]
(X360) 78.33%[83]
(X360) 79[84]
Sonic & Knuckles (MD) 91.25%[85]
(X360) 65.80%[86]
(X360) 69[87]
Sonic Adventure (DC) 86.51%[88]
(GC) 63.98%[89]
(PC) 61.75%[90]
(PS3) 52.92%[91]
(X360) 52.08%[92]
(GC) 57[93]
(PS3) 50[94]
(X360) 48[95]
Sonic Adventure 2 (DC) 83.78%[96]
(GC) 72.57%[97]
(DC) 89[98]
(GC) 73[99]
Sonic Advance (GBA) 84.11%[100] (GBA) 87[101]
Sonic Advance 2 (GBA) 85.25%[102] (GBA) 83[103]
Sonic Heroes (Xbox) 75.36%[104]
(GC) 74.68%[105]
(PS2) 70.60%[106]
(PC) 60.00%[107]
(Xbox) 73[108]
(GC) 72[109]
(PC) 66[110]
(PS2) 64[111]
Sonic Advance 3 (GBA) 81.41%[112] (GBA) 79[113]
Sonic Rush (NDS) 83.16%[114] (NDS) 82[115]
Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) (X360) 48.74%[116]
(PS3) 46.12%[117]
(X360) 46[118]
(PS3) 43[119]
Sonic Rush Adventure (NDS) 80.16%[120] (NDS) 78[121]
Sonic Unleashed (PS2) 67.00%[122]
(Wii) 66.13%[123]
(X360) 61.90%[124]
(PS3) 56.05%[125]
(PS2) 66[126]
(Wii) 66[127]
(X360) 60[128]
(PS3) 54[129]
Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 (Wii) 75.62%[130]
(X360) 74.85%[131]
(PS3) 73.23%[132]
(Wii) 81[133]
(PS3) 74[134]
(X360) 72[135]

The Sonic the Hedgehog franchise was awarded seven records by Guinness World Records in Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008. The records include "Best Selling Game on Sega Systems", "Longest Running Comic Based on a Video Game" and "Best Selling Retro Game Compilation" (for Sonic Mega Collection). In the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2010, the Sonic the Hedgehog series was listed number 15 out of the top 50 video game franchises. In December 2006, IGN ranked Sonic the Hedgehog as the 19th greatest series of all time, claiming that "although recent 3D entries in the series have been somewhat lacking, there is no denying the power of this franchise."[136]

A common criticism has been that the variant gameplay styles found in recent 3D titles have strayed from the formula of the original series.[137] Specifically, the series' jump to 3D has been noted as a declining point.[138] Many sources pin-point 2003's Sonic Heroes as the beginning of the series' decline.[139][140] In late 2010, Sega delisted several below average Sonic titles, such as the poorly received Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), in order to increase the value of the Sonic brand after very positive reviews for the games Sonic the Hedgehog 4 and Sonic Colors.[141] An article on Yahoo Games titled Then and Now: Game Characters Evolved including many video game icons (Tomb Raider, Master Chief, etc.) stated: "With numerous bad games on his resume, Sega’s speedy mascot has had a hard time recapturing the form that put him on top of the gaming world in 1991. So perhaps it’s best that his next game -- Sonic Generations -- lets the blue blur travel back in time to his younger days." [142]


Aggregate review scores
As of November 4, 2011.
Game GameRankings Metacritic
Sonic Colors (Wii) 77.98%[143]
(NDS) 77.75%[144]
(NDS) 79[145]
(Wii) 78[146]
Sonic Generations (PC) 82.50%[147]
(X360) 78.18%[148]
(PS3) 78.15%[149]
(3DS) -[150]
(PC) 82[151]
(X360) 78[152]
(PS3) 76[153]
(3DS) -[154]


Sales

Units sold
Year Title Sales
1991 Sonic the Hedgehog 15 million[155]
1992 Sonic the Hedgehog 2 6.03 million[citation needed]
1993 Sonic CD 1.5 million[citation needed]
1994 Sonic the Hedgehog 3 1.8 million[citation needed]
1994 Sonic & Knuckles 1.8 million[citation needed]
1999 Sonic Adventure 2.5 million[156]
2001 Sonic Adventure 2: Battle 2.5 million[citation needed]
2002 Sonic Advance 1.5 million [157]
2003 Sonic Advance 2 1 million [157]
2004 Sonic Heroes 5.19 million[citation needed]
2004 Sonic Advance 3 1.5 million [157]
2005 Shadow the Hedgehog 1 million[158]
2005 Sonic Rush 3 million[citation needed]
2006 Sonic the Hedgehog (mobile) 8 million[159]
2006 Sonic the Hedgehog (2006 video game) 1.04 million (PS3)[citation needed]
2007 Sonic and the Secret Rings 1.2 million[160]
2007 Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games 10 million[161]
2007 Sonic Rush Adventure 1.05 million[citation needed]
2008 Sonic Unleashed 2.45 million[162]
2009 Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games 5.67 million[163]
2010 Sonic Colors 1.85 million[164]
2011 Sonic Generations TBA


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