A look at Sonic the Hedgehog

An article about Sonic the Hedgehog in his glory days.
February 15, 2008
Hi. Dalmatianlover here. I've been on a Sonic the Hedgehog kick lately, so I thought I'd do a little article based on Sonic's glory days and sort of his history showing his rise and fall. I know, davidyck wrote his own article on this, but if you've read it, you may already know that it was too short and not very well-researched. Well, hopefully, this article will be an improvement. I'm not trying to brag like "I'm better than you!"; it's just an article I felt like doing, and I'm not going to point at davidyck at this anymore.

This whole thing started in 1990, when Sega released the 16-bit Sega Genesis system. Sega kept bragging how much better it was with it's anti-Nintendo campaign. I'm sure a lot of you remember "You can't do this on Nintendo!" and "Genesis does what Nintendon't!"

Nintendo still had the better games, but this was all until 1991 (the same year the Super NES was released) when Sonic the Hedgehog was born. At the time, this game really got player's attention. With it's bright colors, more detailed graphics, awesome sound, and "blast processing", Sega had a right to brag!

The original "Sonic the Hedgehog" had a bunch of cool levels, each with a totally awesome song along with it. The Green Hill Zone was so classic, the Marble Zone had cool music, the Spring Yard Zone was fun, I remember the Labyrinth Zone being extremely hard (and what better way to end it than with a hard boss?), and the Star Light and Scrap Brain Zones are just as great. When this franchise all started, there were only two characters: Sonic and Dr. Robotnik.

In 1992, Sega released a sequel to this game: "Sonic the Hedgehog 2". Now, this game was a big deal! All my friends have rented this game lots of times! So what made this game such a big deal?

Well, first of all, it introduced Sonic's little sidekick, Tails. This started an opportunity for multi-player action. The 2-player vs. mode was surely something that made this game cooler than it's predecessor. Even the 1-player mode can be 2-player. Sonic has Tails alongside him basically just mimmicing everything he does, but Tails can be controlled by the 2nd controller so that Sonic could have an ally (and he's invincible, which could make boss battles a lot easier). This game also introduced Sonic's spin-dash attack, which became very useful.

But, really, the best thing that got player's attention on this game are the 3D special stages! Yeah! Definately an improvement over the special stages in "Sonic 1"!

One thing that really annoyed me about this game is that every time I played it, and someone was watching me, whenever I went into the water, they'd always tell me, "Don't stay in the water too long!" I mean, it's like, "I know that! I'll drown! I've played it tons of times, I think I know that!"

Speaking of bugging, one thing that really bugged me about the game was the Metropolis Zone. That level was so huge and full of crap that it caused a lot of glitches in the game! If anyone knows how to get to the Hidden Palace Zone in this game, I'd really like to know!

The following year, 1993, is when Sega introduced it's lock-on system, the Sega CD. I never owned one, and I don't think anyone else I knew ever owned one. Probably because the games sucked, with the exception of one. "Sonic CD" is said by most Sonic fans as the best Sonic game of all time. Now that I know this, I've been tempted to play it.

The Sonic game I got that year was "Sonic Spinball", which was basically a small Sonic adventure played in the style of a pinball game. This game was really hard because half of the time, you can't control where Sonic is going, and it's close to impossible to get all the emeralds. In my opinion, this game is not as memorable as the other Sonic games.

If you've played the first two Sonic games, you may have noticed that they both have similar graphics and most of the same soundtrack. Well, when "Sonic the Hedgehog 3" came out, that's when things started to change.

Released in early 1994, "Sonic 3" had a new graphic design and a completely new soundtrack. I found this game to be the most interesting game of the trilogy. In the first two Sonic games, you just played through the game and you find out in the end if you won or not depending on if you found all the Chaos Emeralds or not. However, in "Sonic 3", for the first time, players can save their game. That way, when they complete the game, they can go back to any of the zones and try to collect any emeralds that they missed.

Probably the best thing about this game is that it introduced Knuckles the Echidna. Knuckles started out as a bully to Sonic since he's the one who stole all the Chaos Emeralds. In the 2-player competition mode, players have the option of playing as Sonic, Tails or Knuckles, but it sucked that you couldn't play Knuckles in the main game.

Sonic also has all these cool new moves like his new insta-shield (double jump). There are also three types of shields: flame, water and lightning, which have protection against various things and allow you to do all these cool moves with them.

It kinda sucks that Tails can't do all the same double-jump moves that Sonic can, but that doesn't matter, because he can fly! This is an advantage as Tails can help Sonic reach areas out of his range. That's kinda neat seeing Tails carry Sonic like that, even though Sonic probably outweighs Tails.

This game's also pretty fascinating because there are these cut scenes inbetween levels, which shows how the levels connect with each other. Also, each zone has 2 acts: At the end of Act 2, you fight Dr. Robotnik, and you fight a mini-boss at the end of Act 1, and the mini-boss music is that totally radical hip-hop song! My least favorite zone in this game has always been Carnival Night Zone! That place gave me nightmares! There has always been this one part that I'd always get stuck at, and it was so frustrating, I kept running out of time at that part! Remember, there was no Internet to look up strategy guides back then, so I had no clue what I was supposed to do!

Later that year, Sega released another game called "Sonic & Knuckles". I consider this game to be "Sonic 4", since it continues where "Sonic 3" left off, plus we find out that Knuckles' job on the Floating Island is to protect the Master Emerald, while Sonic's is to stop Dr. Robotnik. This game introduced a new kind of lock-on technology. It had a special lock-on system so that you can play as Knuckles in "Sonic 2" and "Sonic 3". Too bad it doesn't work on any other Sega games.

The cool thing about Knuckles is that he could explore new areas in the levels that Sonic and Tails couldn't or that gamers didn't even knew existed! The main thing that sucked about Knuckles is that he was not as high a jumper as Sonic, but hey, he can glide, climb walls and break walls without having to spin-dash! In addition, if you may have noticed, when you play as Knuckles, the levels are easier, and the bosses are harder.

I think "Sonic & Knuckles was really made to be an expansion pack to "Sonic 3", while it was just a bonus for "Sonic 2". What was nice about having it lock on with "Sonic 3" is that "Sonic & Knuckles" fixed a lot of the errors that "Sonic 3" had (although, this game had some flaws of its own). Too bad they changed the mini-boss music.

In 1995, Sega released a game on the 32X (another lock-on system for the Genesis) called "Knuckles Chaotix". This is sort of a spin-off of the Sonic series, and it introduced Knuckles' friends, the Chaotix: Espio the Chameleon, Mighty the Armadillo, Vector the Crocodile and Charmy Bee.

Each Chaotik (sp?) had they're own individual cool move, and while the game was really long, it was still fun to play. There was actually going to be a Sonic game in this kind of format called "Sonic the Hedgehog 4", which was scrapped pretty quickly. I'm glad they made this game instead!

The last Sonic game to make a release on the Sega Genesis was "Sonic 3D Blast". This game also came out on the Sega Saturn the same year. It was released in 1996, and it's voted by many as one of the worst Sonic games ever. I personally don't blame them. The designers of this game took everything we loved about Sonic and didn't use any of it in this game!

Ever since the Saturn's release, all the Sonic games were going downhill. In 1999, "Sonic Adventure" came out on the Dreamcast, which was a pretty good game. "Sonic Adventure 2" came out in 2001, and that was an ok game. Somewhere inbetween all that was "Sonic Shuffle", which was a lame rip-off of "Mario Party".

In 2001, Microsoft entered the video game competition by releasing the X-Box, and things started getting out of hand, so Sega discontinued it's Dreamcast and started making games on other game systems. One of the earliest was "Sonic Advenutre 2 Battle" on the Gamecube. That's a game I never got. What's the "Battle" in that game?

There was never a "Sonic Adventure 3", unless you count "Sonic Heroes", which came out in 2004, long after Sega became no longer an independent company. The only real nice thing about this game is that it's the first time the Chaotix were brought back, but a lot of fans were pissed off that Mighty didn't come back. Mighty was a fan favorite and the 2nd most popular Chaotik (right under Espio).

Well, this sums up my article. I know that I probably left out a lot of other Sonic games, but I just wanted to talk about my favorites. In conclusion, the Sonic series is overall a very interesting series. There are a lot of great characters that we can grow to love, but the earlier games have always been the best. Sonic had several different cartoon series' as well, but most of which had characters that would not recurr in future games. Maybe if you ask me really nicely, I'll write an article about the Sonic cartoon series'. Well, that's all I gotta say about our favorite blue speedy hedgehog. Gotta speed, keed!
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