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Title screen from Sonic the Hedgehog, the first game in the Sonic franchise.
Sonic the Hedgehog (ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ Sonikku za Hejjihoggu ) is a video game franchise created by Yuji Naka, and is developed and owned by Sega. The franchise centers on a series of speed-based platform games, but several are spin-offs in different genres. The protagonist of the series is an anthropomorphic blue hedgehog named Sonic, whose peaceful life is often interrupted by the series's main antagonist, Doctor Eggman. Typically, Sonic—usually along with some of his friends, such as Tails, Amy, and Knuckles—must stop Eggman and foil any plans of world domination. The first game in the series, published in 1991, was conceived by Sega's Sonic Team division after Sega requested a mascot character; the title was a success and spawned sequels, and transformed Sega into a leading video game company during the 16-bit era in the early to mid-1990s.
Sonic Team has since developed many titles in the franchise. Prominent members of its initial staff included Naka, character designer Naoto Ohshima, and level designer Hirokazu Yasuhara. Other developers of Sonic games have included Japanese Dimps, American Sega Technical Institute, Backbone Entertainment, Big Red Button Entertainment, and Sanzaru Games, Canadian BioWare, and British Sumo Digital and Traveller's Tales. While the first games in the series were side-scrolling platform games, the series has expanded into other genres such as action-adventure, fighting, racing, role-playing, and sports. The series has sold 150 million units as of November 2014, making it one of the best-selling franchises of all time.
- 1 History
- 2 Characters
- 3 Common features
- 4 Music
- 5 Other media
- 6 Reception and legacy
- 7 See also
- 8 Footnotes
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Almost 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 planet; to achieve this, he usually attempts to destroy Sonic and to acquire the powerful Chaos Emeralds.
Sega Genesis and add-on devices (1991–1996)
The first Sonic game, titled Sonic the Hedgehog, was a platform game released in 1991 that featured protagonist Sonic running through the game's levels in order to stop Doctor Robotnik from taking over the world. The game focused Sonic's ability to run and to jump at high speeds with the use of springs, checkpoints, and loops.
Its sequel, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, a platform game released in 1992, increased the overall size and speed of the series' gameplay and was the second best-selling Genesis game of all time. The game introduced Sonic's sidekick, Miles "Tails" Prower, who followed Sonic throughout the game, and allowed a second player to control him in a limited fashion. and the "spin dash" maneuver, which allowed Sonic to boost forwards quickly when stopped.
The next sequel, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, was a third platform game in the Sonic series released in 1994. The game introduced a temporary shield maneuver, added new shield types to the series, and allowed Tails to fly under a player's control. It also introduced a new character, Knuckles the Echidna, who served as an additional antagonist with Doctor Robotnik for the game.
Sonic & Knuckles, another platform game in the Sonic series, was released later in 1994. The game introduced Knuckles as a playable character with gliding and wall climbing abilities 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; the games were intended to be one title, but were split due to cartridge space and time constraints.
There were several Sonic games for the Genesis 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. The game, unlike general pinball simulations, had an overall goal of collecting all the Chaos Emeralds in each level and defeating the levels' bosses. 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 that was set in the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog universe. Sonic 3D Blast, an isometric, 2.5D platform game released in 1996 and developed by Traveller's Tales, featured Sonic running through pseudo-3D environments while trying to rescue Flickies from Doctor Robotnik.
The Sega Genesis had "add-on" systems that incorporated Sonic titles. Sonic CD, released for the Sega CD, was a 2D platform game released in 1993. The game introduced the characters Amy Rose and Metal Sonic and featured levels that differed depending upon whether Sonic was in the past, present, or future time frames. Knuckles Chaotix, a spin-off released in 1995 for the Sega 32X, featured Knuckles and a new group named Chaotix fighting against Dr. Robotnik. The game featured a two-player cooperative system in which the on-screen characters were connected by magic rings. There was also Sonic Eraser, a puzzle game released exclusively on Sega Game Toshokan in 1991.
Due to the success of Sonic games on the Sega 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. 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. Sega later released Sonic the Hedgehog 2 another 2D platform game, in 1992. The game differed from its 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. Sonic Chaos/Sonic and Tails (Japan), released in 1993, was similar to the earlier two Sega Master System/Game Gear Sonic games, but featured Tails as a playable character. A sequel, Sonic Triple Trouble/Sonic and Tails 2 (Japan), a 2D platform game, was released in 1994 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 and featured prerendered sprites.
Several spin-off Sonic games that were not 2D platform games were also released. Sonic Labyrinth, released for Game Gear in 1995, 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. It later had a sequel, Sonic Drift 2, which was released in 1995. Tails also received two spin-offs. Tails' Skypatrol, released in 1995, allowed players to control an always-flying Tails. Tails Adventure, released in 1995, featured a mix of platforming and RPG elements.
Sega Saturn (1996–98)
Few Sonic games were released for the Sega Saturn, and none were a standard platform game originally made for the system. Sonic 3D Blast was released in 1996 alongside the Genesis version. Like its Genesis counterpart, the Saturn edition used isometric, 2.5D graphics, but it added FMV cut-scenes, enhanced music and visual effects, and a real-time 3D special stage. 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. The Sonic World was mainly a means of accessing the disc's multimedia features, which included character artwork, the soundtrack, and Japanese Sonic videos. Sonic R, a foot racing spin-off and also the Sonic series' first fully 3D game, was released in 1997 for the Saturn and ported to the PC in 1998.
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.
Sonic Adventure, a launch title for the Dreamcast, was released in 1998 in Japan and 1999 in North America. 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 and, in late 2010, ported to Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. Its sequel Sonic Adventure 2 was released for the Dreamcast in 2001, and was the last game in the series to be released for the Sega platform. In 2002 it became the first game in the series to appear on a Nintendo platform when it was ported – with several enhancements – to the GameCube as Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, and in October 2012 it was ported to Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network with a version released on Steam in November the same year.
The only other Dreamcast Sonic game was Sonic Shuffle, which was released in 2000 and featured cel-shaded graphics and a board game concept similar to that of the Mario Party series. Dreamcast sales began to decline after the launch of the PlayStation 2, and therefore few Sonic games were released for the system.
Move to non-Sega systems (2001–06)
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. It was released in late 2001 in Japan and early 2002 elsewhere, and ported to Nokia's N-Gage on October 7, 2003, as SonicN. 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. The last Sonic game was released for the Game Boy Advance is Sonic The Hedgehog Genesis on 2006, which features the original Genesis game and the 15-anniversary mode with the Spin Dash.
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 and was 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 wielding weapons 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. Two Sonic games appeared on the PlayStation Portable: Sonic Rivals and its sequel, Sonic Rivals 2. Both titles were 2.5D style games.
Modern era (2006–present)
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. 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.
During this timeframe, Sega took the franchise in a number of different directions. First was Sonic the Hedgehog (2006 video game), which was released in November 2006 for the Xbox 360 and December 2006 for the PlayStation 3. It continued in the Sonic Adventure direction, but was heavily criticized for being sloppy and rushed for the launch window of both consoles. Sonic Unleashed was released in 2008 for the Xbox 360, Wii, PS2 and PS3. While possessing the same name and rough themes, the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions were markedly different games from the Wii and PS2 versions.
While the prior game in the era continued the use of numerous playable characters and play styles, the following games would return to only have Sonic playable. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I, an episodic high-definition 2D game akin to the 16-bit Sonic games, was developed for the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, WiiWare. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II was released in 2012 for PlayStation Network, Xbox Live, Android, iOS, and Windows Phones. 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 Generations was developed by Sonic Team for Xbox 360, PS3, PC and Dimps for Nintendo 3DS which was released in November 2011, featuring both modern and classic interpretations of Sonic.
During this time, the franchise also moved into several new spin-off series. The Storybook series, which combines Sonic gameplay with the story and setting of famous books, comprises two games only released for the Wii: Sonic and the Secret Rings (released in 2007) and Sonic and the Black Knight (released in 2009).
Another spin-off series resulted from Sega's collaboration with Nintendo and their Mario series of video games. In the Mario & Sonic titles, characters from the Sonic and Mario universes compete in Olympic Games-themed minigames. The three games in this series are Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games (released November 2007), Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games (October 2009) and Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games (November 2011). Separately from that series, Sega also collaborated with Nintendo to include Sonic the Hedgehog in their 2008 Wii fighting game Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
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.
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. Later on, 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 iOS was released in 2010, followed by a sequel in 2012.
Even early in the system's life cycle, 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 was also released for the 3DS. Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed was released for the 3DS in February 2013, and for the PlayStation Vita in November 2012.
In May 2013, Sega announced a partnership with Nintendo, which established that the next three Sonic titles would be developed exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, with Nintendo publishing the titles in Europe and Australia. The first games to be released was Sonic Lost World in 2013, followed by Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games by the end of the year. Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric for the Wii U, and Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal for the 3DS, based on the new Sonic Boom franchise, together formed the final installment(s) in the exclusivity agreement. In the last quarter of 2014, Sonic also returned as a fighter in both installments of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.
- Main article: Compilations in the Sonic series
- Main article: List of Sonic the Hedgehog characters
The Sonic series has an extensive cast of recurring characters. Among the most frequently recurring and significant ones are protagonist Sonic, his antagonist Eggman, his sidekick Tails, his rival and friend Knuckles, his friend and self-proclaimed lover Amy, and his antihero doppelganger Shadow.
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 of the rings, although in certain games a hit only costs a set number of rings such as ten or twenty. 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.
In line with many platform games, collecting 100 rings usually rewards Sonic or any other playable character with an extra life. 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.
Rings have had other uses in various games as well, such as currency (Sonic Adventure 2), restoring health bars, (Sonic Unleashed) or improving statistics (Sonic Riders).
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, warp time and space with a technique called Chaos Control, give energy to all living things and be used to create nuclear or laser based weaponry.
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. The methods used to acquire the Emeralds and the end-results after collecting them differ between titles in the series. Most early games require the player to find the emeralds in Special Stages, 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. The power of the Master Emerald is what keeps Angel Island afloat in the sky. It can control the power of the Chaos Emeralds, including neutralizing or amplifying their energies.
Usually, Special Stages were employed as a means of earning Chaos Emeralds. 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. 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. 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.
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 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 to normal if the number of rings drops to zero. In Sonic 3 & Knuckles, Tails can also transform after gaining all seven Chaos Emeralds and Super Emeralds. Sonic and Knuckles can also transform into their hyper counterparts with the Super Emeralds.
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,Sonic Generations,and Sonic: Lost World once again allow players to play as Super Sonic during normal stages, provided they have all the Chaos Emeralds.
Sonic the Hedgehog, Miles "Tails" Prower, Knuckles the Echidna, Metal Sonic, Shadow the Hedgehog, Blaze the Cat, and Silver the Hedgehog, are the characters that are known to be able to perform super transformations. Metal Sonic can also use the Master Emerald or Chaos Emeralds to turn Super, and Blaze, instead of using the Chaos Emeralds, uses the Sol Emeralds (her dimension's equivalent).
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.
Ring boxes have a ring in the middle. When opened, they add a set amount of rings to the player's total.
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.
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, a "teleport box" (Sonic 2's 2-player mode only), which swapped both players' positions, and a skateboard box (Sonic Generations only), which allows the player to ride a skateboard for a short time.
Giant rings (Warp Rings) were featured in a few Sonic games, mainly from the 16-bit era. Rather than collecting them, as is the case with the smaller ones, they served as a portal to enter a Special Stage, where the player could collect one of the Chaos 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 serve as the end level marker, which ends the level upon touching it.
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 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.
In addition to anthropomorphic animals, the Sonic universe is also populated with more conventional animals. These small animals are often used by Dr. Eggman 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.
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.
Numerous composers have contributed music to 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 ending 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. Cash Cash lead singer Jean-Paul Makhlouf performed the opening theme to Sonic Colors called "Reach for the Stars" as well as the ending theme "Speak with your Heart" with band member Alex Makhlouf.
A number of animated series have been made based on the Sonic the Hedgehog video games.
Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog
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.
Sonic the Hedgehog (1993)
DIC also produced the second cartoon series, called Sonic the Hedgehog (referred to as Sonic SatAM by fans to distinguish it from Adventures), 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. This adaptation follows Sonic and his fellow 'Freedom Fighters' who attempt to liberate Mobius from the grip of Robotnik, who plans to robotocise everything. The Sonic the Hedgehog comic book series by Archie Comics uses several characters from this series.
Sonic the Hedgehog (1996)
A two-episode OVA series under the same name based upon the game Sonic the Hedgehog CD and the video game series as a whole, was released in Japan in 1996. The episodes were combined and released in North America in 1999 under the name Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie. Unlike the games, this takes place on a world named Planet Freedom. It was the first to introduce an animated appearance of Knuckles the Echidna.
The cartoon Sonic Underground ran for 40 episodes in 1999, but bore little relation to other cartoons or video games. The last Sonic series from DIC Entertainment, produced by Les Studios Tex, the show has a similar premise to Sonic the Hedgehog, albeit in this version, Sonic is joined by two siblings, Manic and Sonia. Together they use the power of music to fight against Robotnik and eventually reunite with their mother.
Sonic X, a television anime series produced by TMS Entertainment, is the longest-running animated series based on Sonic to date, spanning a total of 78 episodes. Bearing much more similarity to the video game franchise, the series revolves around Sonic, his companions, and his enemies, being warped to the human world, where Sonic meets a boy named Chris Thorndyke, who helps him and his friends fight against Eggman. The series originally aired in Japan between 2003 and 2004, spanning 52 episodes, though an additional 26 episodes aired elsewhere as early as 2005, and was licensed in North America and most other countries by 4Kids Entertainment. Saban Brands later claimed the license in 2012, but it was dropped in 2014.
In October 2013, Sega announced on its blog that a new computer animated series, titled Sonic Boom, is being produced by Genao Productions and will begin airing 11-minute episodes on Cartoon Network in Fall 2014. On February 6, 2014, Sega announced that Sonic Boom will become a separate franchise in the Sonic the Hedgehog universe. The new franchise includes two new Sonic Boom video games to preclude the TV series, and it uses redesigns of all the major characters exclusively within the franchise. Cartoon Network began to air the series starting from November 8, 2014.
Sonic, Tails and Eggman also appear in the 2012 Disney animated movie, Wreck-It Ralph. In the movie, Sonic has a small speaking role, voiced by Roger Craig Smith, Tails briefly appear as an image, while Eggman makes a non-speaking appearance as part of Bad Anon, the support group for video game villains.
On June 10, 2014, a film based on the Sonic series was announced. It is being produced by Neal Moritz on his Original Film banner alongside Takeshi Ito and Mie Onishi. Toby Ascher is executive producing, and the film is being written by Evan Susser and Van Robichaux. It's being produced as a joint venture between Sony Pictures and Marza Animation Planet. The film is expected to be a live-action and CGI hybrid.
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. The main series of Sonic stories had their own unique storylines and characters, compared to other Sonic media.
Sonic the Hedgehog is an ongoing series of American comic books published by Archie Comics, which has spawned sister series Knuckles the Echidna (discontinued) and Sonic Universe. 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 a Sonic X comic book that supplemented the animated series of the same name. It began in November 1992 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. Some comics were published in the Jetix Magazine, in UK and Italy. A new comic series based on the Sonic Boom animated series and games began in 2014.
Reception and legacy
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."
A common criticism has been that the variant gameplay styles found in recent 3D titles have strayed from the formula of the original series. Specifically, the series' jump to 3D has been noted as a declining point. 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 positive reviews for the games Sonic the Hedgehog 4 and Sonic Colors. An article on Yahoo Games titled Then and Now: Game Characters Evolved including many video game icons (Lara Croft, 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." 
|1991||Sonic the Hedgehog||Mega Drive / Genesis||15 million|
|1992||Sonic the Hedgehog 2||Mega Drive / Genesis||6 million|
|1993||Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball||Mega Drive / Genesis||1 million in US|
|1994||Sonic the Hedgehog 3||Mega Drive / Genesis||1.02 million in US|
|Sonic & Knuckles||Mega Drive / Genesis||1.24 million in US|
|1998||Sonic Adventure||Dreamcast||2.5 million|
|2001||Sonic Adventure 2 Battle||GameCube||1.7322 million[n 1]|
|Sonic Advance||Game Boy Advance||1.515 million[n 2]|
|2003||Sonic Mega Collection||GameCube||1.453 million[n 3]|
|2003||Sonic Heroes||PlayStation 2/Xbox/GameCube||1.73 million[n 4]|
|Sonic Mega Collection Plus||PlayStation 2/Xbox||1.74 million in US & UK[n 5]|
|2005||Sonic Rush||Nintendo DS||1 million|
|Shadow the Hedgehog||PlayStation 2/GameCube/Xbox||1 million|
|2007||Sonic and the Secret Rings||Wii||2 million|
|Sonic the Hedgehog||Mobile||8 million in US & EU|
|2008||Sonic Unleashed||PlayStation 2, Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3||2.45 million|
|2010||Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing||PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo DS||1.07 million|
|Sonic Colors||Wii, Nintendo DS||2.18 million|
|2011||Sonic Generations||PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows, 3DS||1.63 million|
|2012||Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed||PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, 3DS||1.36 million|
|2013||Sonic Lost World||Wii U, Nintendo 3DS||710,000|
|Mario & Sonic (sub-series)||21.7 million[n 6]|
|2007||Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games||Wii, Nintendo DS||11.31 million|
|2009||Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games||Wii, Nintendo DS||6.53 million|
|2011||Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games||Wii, Nintendo 3DS||2.7 million|
|Series total||85.69 million[n 7]|
- List of Sonic the Hedgehog video games
- List of best-selling video game franchises
- Freedom Planet – an indie 2D platformer similar to the series
- Sonic Adventure 2 Battle: 1.44 million in US, 192,186 in Japan, 100,000 in UK
- Sonic Advance: 1.21 million in US, 204,542 in Japan, 100,000 in UK
- Sonic Mega Collection: 1.38 million in US, 72,967 in Japan
- Sonic Heroes: 1.08 million in US, 600,000 in UK, 48,899 in Japan
- Sonic Mega Collection Plus: 1.44 million in US, 300,000 in UK
- Mario & Sonic series: 21.7 million
- Series total:
- Series total as of June 2011: 80 million ("Sonic the Hedgehog celebrates his 20th birthday". VideoGamer.com. 2011-06-23. http://www.videogamer.com/xbox360/sonic_generations/news/sonic_the_hedgehog_celebrates_his_20th_birthday.html. Retrieved 14 April 2012. )
- Sonic Generations: 1.63 million
- Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games: 2.7 million
- Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed: 1.36 million
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- GameSpot video: The History of Sonic
- Gaming Target: Sonic: A History - From South Island to Cosmic Eternity
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