The Sonic the Hedgehog Series and Spin-offs: 1991-1999

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Sonic the Hedgehog games

Sonic the Hedgehog is one of the most iconic computer characters of all time, and has come to be the mascot for the Japanese Sega1 company. Sonic was created to sell Sega's 1989 Mega Drive, the first true 16-bit games console, but his success has far outlasted that of the console he was created for.

The Mega Drive

The Mega Drive2
was a development from Sega's System 16 16-bit coin-operated arcade games. However although many popular existing arcade games were transferred onto games cartridge for it, on its launch it lacked an iconic mascot that could compete with rival Nintendo's plumbing Mario Brothers. To fully sell the console, Sega needed to do more than offer up home versions of existing games. As well as the old and borrowed, they needed something new, something blue, something sonic.

Sonic's Development

One of Sega's most talented professionals, Yuji Naka, led a team dedicated to creating a rival for the Nintendo Entertainment System's Mario Brothers. From the beginning they wanted to emphasise that, as a 16-bit machine, the Mega Drive was far faster than its rival, and so their initial idea was reportedly a rabbit, as rabbits are fast animals that are good at jumping. They then struggled on deciding how the rabbit could attack its enemies, and so settled on a hedgehog. Hedgehogs can roll into balls to protect their vulnerable stomachs and have spikes on their backs, the perfect defence. As hedgehogs are passive creatures, instead of Sonic killing animals, he rescues them from the evil experiments conducted on them by his deranged nemesis, Doctor Robotnik. Sonic retained the speed and jump of the initial rabbit concept and, as hedgehogs are traditionally slow animals, no character like Sonic had ever been seen before.

Yuji Maka's group of talented programmers and animators were then renamed Sonic Team. They spent the rest of the decade dedicated to the development and manufacture of Sonic the Hedgehog games.

Characters in the 1990s

  • Sonic the Hedgehog – The titular blue hero capable of jumping, rolling and, from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 onwards, even faster spin-dash travel. When in possession of the Chaos Emeralds, Sonic transforms into Super Sonic.

  • Doctor Ivo Robotnik – Also known as Dr Eggman3, Robotnik is the mad scientist whose hobbies include turning the innocent animals of Mobius into evil half-robot monstrosities known as Badniks, as well as constructing various contraptions to fight Sonic with, all of which are vulnerable to being jumped on.

  • Miles 'Tails' Prower – a red flying fox introduced in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and Sonic's constant companion. In later games he is even capable of carrying Sonic short distances. Tails is a skilled pilot, including his Tornado biplane.

  • Knuckles – An echidna who jealously guards the Master Emerald and believes Sonic to be his enemy.

  • Metal Sonic – Just like Sonic, but metal. First seen as 'Silver Sonic'.

  • Amy Rose – A pink, female hedgehog who longs to be Sonic's girlfriend.

  • Mighty the Armadillo – A black and red armadillo and occasional member of the Chaotix gang.

  • Flicky – A blue, often flightless bird that was the main character in a Master System game designed by Sonic's creator, Yuji Naka. Flickies live on Flicky Island and regularly appear in Sonic games.

Many of the Sonic the Hedgehog series' most popular characters would not be introduced or created until the 21st Century.

Other Consoles

The Mega Drive was not the only Sega console that the Sonic the Hedgehog games could be played on during the 1990s. Others included the two extensions to the Mega Drive, the Mega CD and the 32X, as well as four other Sega consoles; the Master System, Game Gear, Pico and Saturn.

  • The Master System was an 8-bit cartridge and card based games console first released in 1987. Although very popular in Britain, Ireland, France, Australia and Brazil, in the key markets of Japan and America it was less successful, losing out to its rival, Nintendo.

  • The 8-bit Game Gear was essentially a portable hand-held Master System. Unlike the Nintendo Gameboy, it was bright and colourful, and you could even convert it into a portable television. It did suffer from poor battery life and was more expensive than the Gameboy, but sleeker and easier to hold.

  • Mega-CD4 – a revolutionary CD-ROM extension to the Mega Drive released worldwide in 1993, the first CD-ROM based games console. The extension was expensive and although over 200 games were developed for it, few caught the public's attention. It was released with Sonic CD.

  • 32X - The 32X was an this expansion pack designed to convert Mega Drives into 32-bit consoles. Very expensive to purchase and released just before the Sega Saturn console, only 34 games were made for this before it became obsolete.

  • Pico - Arguably more of a toy aimed at 2-8 year olds than a games console and designed to resemble an electronic book, the Pico was nevertheless cartridge based and two Sonic-related 'games' were released for it.

  • The 32-bit Sega Saturn was released around the world in late 1994, shortly before the Sony PlayStation was launched in December 1994. The PlayStation was cheaper and had better games on launch. The Saturn never successfully competed and came a distant third behind the PlayStation and its other rival, the Nintendo 64.

Sonic the Hedgehog (Mega Drive - 1991)

Sonic the Hedgehog was the game that started it all. Sonic was very different to his contender, Mario. He ran fast, looked cool and was thin. The catchy background music for Sonic was done by Japanese band Dreams Come True. The game started off quite easy but got considerably harder as you played on5.

The Chaos Emeralds featured in this game but had little effect when you got them all. The only difference was that at the end after a quick run in Emerald Hill celebrating the defeat of Final Zone, Sonic wouldn't just tap his foot then do a jump-pose for the screen. He would first let the Emeralds float up and flash making the flowers in the level grow bigger, and then do the jump pose. Also after the credits Robotnik, rather than juggling the Emeralds, would be jumping up and down on the 'The End' logo.

Early versions of Sonic had some minor differences which never made the final cut. They were mostly small but leave you wondering what may have been in store if the game stayed the way it did. The ball Robotnik uses in the very first boss in Green Hill Zone originally had a large role. Sonic once had a celebration pose too for the end of levels along with different looks for levels and names. Marble Zone once had UFOs in the background, Green Hill once was a night time level and had signs, two levels Spring Yard and Brain Scrap were originally called Sparking and Clockwork.

Sonic the Hedgehog (8-bit) (Game Gear & Master System - 1991)

The Game Gear and Master System version of Sonic the Hedgehog was very different to its 16-bit brother, sharing only the title screen, characters and first level, the Green Hill Zone, in common. The Special Stage only existed now for points, as the Chaos Emeralds are located in the main levels. Sonic's mission is to make his way up south island to the top, ridding South Island of Robotnik's robotic mess. At the top lies Doctor Robotnik's new base, the Sky Base Zone, where the confrontation between hedgehog and egg takes place. That was all there was to it.

Although Sonic 1 8-bit was a bit harder than the 16-bit, it is still fun to play and the music is nice to listen to as well.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Mega Drive - 1992)

As the title suggests, Sonic 2 was the sequel to the popular game. It was released on the same day worldwide, 'Sonic Twosday', 24 November, 1992. It introduced Sonic's new friend Miles 'Tails' Prower, a cute orange two-tailed kitsune fox, allowing two people to play the game even in the 'one player' mode, one of the original's few drawbacks. However, if Tails and Sonic separated, the person playing Tails would have to wait for Sonic to stay still long enough to allow Tails to catch up. Sonic could now do an ultra-fast spin-dash, making him even faster. Tails too shared this and others of Sonic's abilities, as well as benefiting from an infinite number of lives when played as Sonic's side-kick.

The levels in the actual game were bright colourful and when the mood was needed, Metropolis Zone, for example, dark and dull coloured. One level, the Casino Zone, would inspire a spin-off, Sonic Spinball.

The Chaos Emeralds played a larger role in this game. When all Emeralds were collected (in new bonus stages where Sonic runs through half-pipe lines) Sonic could become Super Sonic as long as he had at least 50 rings. Super Sonic was yellow, had Spikes sticking up and hovered or flew rather than run and was almost invincible, though still vulnerable to drowning. Super Sonic would 'bleed' rings, losing one ring a second, and returning to normal Sonic as soon as the Sonic's ring collection is depleted.6. The music was once again provided by Dreams Come True.

The game also boasted a 2-player mode. This allowed you to race either as Sonic or Tails in a split-screen game where you ran though three of the game's levels as well as two special stages. At the end of these a winner was determined based on time taken completing the race, number of rings collected and other factors.

When Sonic 2 was in development, many proposed levels did not make the final game. Some, such as Wood Zone and Hidden Palace, instead appeared in either Sonic and Knuckles or Sonic 3. Others included Genocide City and Dust Hill.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was the best-selling game for the Mega Drive.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (8-bit) (Game Gear & Master System - 1992)

The 8-bit Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is a completely different game to the Mega Drive version. The bosses and levels are amongst the hardest to complete of any Sonic game of the decade. This game marked the debut of Tails on the 8-bit format, however he wasn't playable. This time Sonic has to rescue his best friend from Robotnik, who demands the seven Chaos Emeralds in exchange. The Game Gear and Master System version does not feature special stages. Instead, the Chaos Emeralds are hidden in the game's levels. Sonic cannot spin-dash but instead travels in mine carts and hang-gliders, and meets the metal 'Silver Sonic' for the first time.

SegaSonic the Hedgehog Arcade (Arcade machine - 1992)

A limited-edition arcade game. This appeared in Japanese arcades and, in Britain, only in SEGAworld London. Using a trackball rather than D-Pad, and with only one jump/attack button, the gameplay was different to standard Sonic games. Playable for up to three, it featured Sonic and two new friends, Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Squirrel. Players navigated a pseudo 3D world, racing against time. Unusually, each player had a life bar which could be restored by collecting rings. There were also obstacles in the way that you had to guide the characters away from.

Sonic CD (Mega-CD - 1993)

Sonic CD, also known as Sonic the Hedgehog CD was released for the Mega-CD and is the first Sonic game to be played on a CD-ROM rather than a cartridge. It introduces two 'new' characters; one is Metal Sonic, essentially the 8-bit Sonic 2's Silver Sonic rebranded. The other is Amy Rose, Sonic's close friend and would-be girlfriend, who loves Sonic to bits!

Sonic again runs though levels, collecting rings and freeing animals from robots. One difference to the game though was that sonic could time warp using speed and 'Time Stones'. Sonic not only tries to save Amy from Metal Sonic but also travels to the past and future to try and liberate Little Planet too (this being achieved by destroying certain things in past, present and future). Sonic therefore visits each level in the Past, Present and two versions of the future – a good and bad future. Collecting all seven Time Stones will complete the game and ensure a good future, as will completing all levels of the game.

It had been proposed that Sonic CD could, using the time travel idea, be linked to the events of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic 2 as the 'past', although this was not developed. The game features more anime than previous games in the series, especially in the introduction and two ending sequences (bad and good depending on whether all the Time Stones have been collected and the mission completed. This takes advantage of the CD-Rom format's greater memory capacity7. Even after the game's completion, other things can be unlocked, for example beat the secret times in the time attack and you get all the movie clips from the game and a pencil test.

Sonic CD was the most popular game overall for the Mega-CD. This was also the first Sonic game to be made available for a non-Sega platform when it was released for the PC in 1996.

Sonic Chaos aka Sonic and Tails (Game Gear & Master System - 1993)

Sonic Chaos, also known as Sonic the Hedgehog Chaos and Sonic and Tails was the first game in the series to be released purely for the Master System and Game Gear, and not have a Mega Drive version. It was also the first game for those systems where it was possible to play as Tails.

This time Robotnik has had enough of being defeated. He steals the Red Chaos Emerald. This upsets the balance and sends the five others out into different lands, causing catastrophe. Sonic has to save South Island from sinking.

Tails makes his first 8-bit playable appearance, and has also acquired an ability to fly while being controlled by the player. He is now slower than Sonic, who for the first time in an 8-bit game can do the spin-dash move.

The music on this game is okay and graphics are good for an 8-bit game. Sonic's sprite has been slightly modified, which takes some getting used to, although Tails looks like his Mega Drive counterpart. The game is short but more difficult than equivalent Sonic Mega Drive games.

Sonic Spinball (Mega Drive, Master System & Game Gear - 1993)

This is the first Sonic game to really separate from the normal gameplay system. Loosely inspired by the popular Casino Zone in Sonic 2, this takes the concept further with a whole game revolving around the concept that Sonic is a ball in a pinball machine, doing his spin-dash.

Sonic and Tails are investigating Dr Robotnik's Veg-o-fortress, constructed in Mount Mobius, when Sonic is shot at and knocked out of Tails' biplane. Luckily, Sonic's aquatic friends save him from drowning and take him inside the fortress. Sonic then has to make his way though 4 levels of pinball, acting as the ball, though Sonic does move on foot every now and again, collecting emeralds along the way too.

A sequel was released for the Game Boy Advance in 2003, and the game even inspired a rollercoaster named the Sonic Spinball at Alton Towers theme park.

Dr Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine (Mega Drive, Master System & Game Gear - 1993)

Essentially a cross between Tetris and Connect 4, the plot being that Dr Robotnik is turning the beans who live in Beanville into slaves. To defeat Dr Robotnik, the player has to place beans of the same colour next to each other. Sonic does not appear, although characters from the television series Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog do. As the whole game revolves around placing identically coloured beans next to each other, it is a frustrating experience for colour-blind gamers.

Sonic Drift (Game Gear - 1993)

Released only in Japan, this is a go-kart racing game starring Sonic, Tails, Amy Rose and Dr Robotnik. Sonic Drift is notable for being the first game in which players could play as Amy Rose.

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (Mega Drive – 1994)

Set immediately after Sonic 2, Sonic crashes onto a flying island, the home of Knuckles. Knuckles the Echidna, guardian of the Master Emerald, makes his first appearance in this game. He is the Guardian of Angel Island, which floats in the sky, powered by Chaos emeralds and a big green one called the Master Emerald. Robotnik has tricked Kunckles into thinking that Sonic wishes to steal Knuckles' emeralds, saying Sonic had stolen the Chaos Emeralds. Knuckles takes the Chaos Emeralds that Sonic already has at the beginning of the game, and Sonic chases after him to recover them.

The look of the game has changed slightly. Sonic himself looks older and has gained a little weight. The Star lampposts from the first two games were changed so they took you to bonus stages where you could earn extra goodies like Rings and Shields in a slots game and a strange one to do with magnetised electric balls. The Chaos Emerald stages were changed to big rings. This time in order to get Emeralds Sonic runs on what's best described as a chequered table cloth, collecting blue spheres while avoiding red spheres.

This time round Tails was of more use, rather than just being able to do what Sonic could do, Tails could now pick up Sonic and fly him places that Sonic is unable to reach.

The 2-Player competitive mode returns, with Knuckles playable too, although the levels for this mode were new and not from the game. The game's graphics were top notch for the time and the animation was impressive and fluid.

Originally Sonic 3 was going to be a combination of both Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic 3 combined, but the game was not completed in time, and so the levels left out of Sonic 3's release were combined into this separate game. The level select on Sonic 3 lists levels that you cannot access in that game that are levels in Sonic & Knuckles and in Sonic 3, Super Tails can be accessed but his sprite gets messed up rather than seeing his super form. If you use a cheat, you can play as Knuckles but the sprite you get is Sonic's, as Knuckles' sprite system isn't complete in the game.

Sonic and Knuckles (Mega Drive - 1994)

Shortly after Sonic 3, Sonic and Knuckles appeared on the scene. Sonic and Knuckles was a good game, but a bit short, owing to its origins as being the 'other half' of Sonic 3.

The cartridge had unique 'lock on' technology which allowed other games to be fitted into a slot located on the top of the cartridge. If you inserted Sonic 2 into Sonic & Knuckles, you could play as Knuckles in Sonic 2. Combining Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles made a bigger impact; you got all the levels from Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles in one game, with extras. There were new Emerald stages where you got 'Super Emeralds' the emeralds all had an effect on a character. Tails could now become Super Tails, who flashed from normal orange to neon and he was surrounded by flickys that would attack badniks for him. Super Sonic could become Hyper Sonic who flashed multi-colours and, when moving, had multiple images of him trailing and had a flash jump that took care of anyone near him. Knuckles turned to Hyper-Knuckles, similar to Hyper-Sonic but flashing red and neon pink.

Sonic & Knuckles is one of the first add-on packs for a console game and can be seen to be an early precursor to the modern Downloadable Content8 trend which allows existing games to be extended.

Sonic Triple Trouble (Game Gear - 1994)

The second Sonic Game Gear game. Loosely inspired by Sonic 3, the Chaos Emeralds are scattered again and need collecting, while Knuckles and Nack the Weasel appear on the Game Gear for the first time. Players can play either as Sonic or Tails, who can fly. For the first time, when hit the player does not lose all the rings collected during the game, losing only a maximum of 50.

Sega Club Wacky Worlds Creativity Studio (Mega Drive – 1994)

Not really a 'game', more an interactive art sketchbook where different characters can be placed on screen to create pictures. It featured many different Sega characters including Sonic, Tails and Dr Robotnik from the Sonic series, as well as Toejam and Earl and Ecco the Dolphin.

Sonic Gameworld (Pico – August 1994)

Very basic mini-games aimed at a young audience on the child-friendly Pico, with a 'plot' stating that Sonic is in an amusement park and must find a Chaos Emeralds on each level.

Tails and the Music Maker (Pico – September 1994)

Tails had one more adventure on the Pico called Tails the Music Maker. It is about making music and features Tails.

Sonic Crackers (Mega Drive – 1994, never released)

This game was never to see the light of day, although as far as they got, with a very basic demo version, was made available. This shows that Sonic Crackers was much like the 32x game Knuckles Chaotix in concept. Sonic and Tails are linked together by a power ring and had to work together to get though each level. In the demo version, the levels here have no real end and the first level and fun fair-esque levels are both repeated 4 times. In between these stages lies a pseudo 3D stage like the stages in Sonic 3D, but while the design is present, there wasn't anything you could do there but continue on. People usually think of this game as an intended Sonic 4 or as a beta of some sort for Chaotix. Though there isn't much to say about this game except that the repetitive demo gets rather boring after 10 minutes due to lack of variety and bugs.

Knuckles Chaotix (32x - 1994)

This is the game that took the place of Sonic Crackers. It featured Knuckles with four new friends; Mighty the Armadillo (he's not exactly new really, having showed up in SegaSonic arcade) Espio the Chameleon, Vector the Crocodile and Charmy Bee. These four make up the Chaotix gang.

Like Sonic Crackers, the elastic-ring system was there again but had a few other uses. For example, one could hold while the other ran and then stop holding thus propelling themselves faster than usual. Robotnik this time has taken over part of Angel Island and set up a carnival of sorts full of badniks. After rescuing the Chaotix, Knuckles must save Angel Island from Metal Sonic MK I, returning from Sonic CD, and new copy Metal Sonic MK II.

There are screenshots in existence that reveal different working concepts behind the game while it was in development. One of the original working titles was apparently Knuckles' Ring Star. Following on from its earlier incarnation, as Sonic Crackers, Sonic had been originally planned to have been in the game. After this, Espio the Chameleon was once considered to be the main character.

The ring system is more advanced than Crackers and there's much to do in the levels. The graphics are very nice and detailed for a Sonic game. The special stage this time was a 3D course in which any of the characters ran in tubes filled with holes and flat land with gaps collecting blue spheres and rings. Completing the levels rewarded you with crystal rings rather than Chaos Emeralds as in other Sonic games. The music is wonderful to listen to as well.

The only problem with the game are the badniks and bosses. There weren't enough of them and the bosses were a bit too easy. The hardest things to get though here where the special stages, you were only given time according to how many rings you had when you entered the stage, and time could be taken off if you were hit.

Sonic Drift Racing (Game Gear - 1995)

Also known as Sonic Drift 2, this is a go-kart racing game sequel to the Japanese Sonic Drift. As well as Sonic, Tails, Amy Rose and Dr Robotnik, this game also features Knuckles, Metal Sonic and Nack the Weasel9.

Tails Sky Patrol (Game Gear - 1995)

Tails took to the skies this time. Tails was armed with a power ring to bop baddies with and to catch onto objects that could either help or hinder his journey. Tails had to keep flying the whole time and wasn't allowed to land in a level; if he did, you lost a life. Also Tails had to keep his strength up by collecting energy power ups came in the form sweets, if his energy level dropped, Tails would fall off and you lost a life too. This wasn't to be the only time Tails would go on a adventure without Sonic, though...

Tails Adventure (Game Gear - 1995)

Another game released on the Game Gear. Tails had to use equipment he collected to get rid of the evil bird bots that were trampling his island, named Tails' Island, which he was taking a holiday on. This game features Tails' submarine, the Sea-Fox. The graphics on the game are quite lush for a 8 bit game and tails looked even cuter than he does in the Sonic games. You had to do a lot of thinking to get though some levels and get extra power ups. Again not much to say about this game, just go play it.

Sonic Labyrinth (Game Gear – 1995)

A maze like game where Sonic, devoid of his trademark speed by Dr Robotnik, who has imprisoned him in 'slow down boots', rolls his way across a pinball-like landscape full of obstacles.

Sonic Xtreme (Saturn, never released)

By the mid 1990s, Sega began to lose focus as a company. Since the launch of the 32-bit 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, Sega knew they needed to develop a more powerful console. While the American Sega division created the 32X to upgrade existing Mega Drives, in Japan, Sega created a whole new console, the Saturn. They then announced they would release the Saturn on 'Saturnday', a Saturday in September 1995, but later decided to release the Saturn several months earlier, hoping to get a headstart on their rival, the PlayStation. Many of the games intended to be launched with the Saturn were not ready, including Sonic Xtreme.

Sonic Xtreme began development as a 32X game, but halfway through development it was intended to be the Saturn flagship Sonic title. This change of direction caused several problems, and the game was still in development when the Saturn was prematurely released. It was cancelled soon after, leaving the Dreamcast without a game featuring Sega's superstar.

Sonic Xtreme had unique 3D graphics and was set in a 3D world. Sonic could run up walls, on the side of them and it had a 'Fish-Eye lens' camera. The badniks would be given more personality. There was even a supposed love interest in the works by the name of Tiara. Due to Sega's internal conflict, eventually the game was canned. In its place Sonic 3D took centre stage.

Sonic 3D Flickies Island aka Sonic 3D Blast (Mega Drive, Saturn & PC - 1996)

The last Sonic game to be released for the Mega Drive, the console that began Sonic's career. In countries where the Master System had been popular, such as in Europe, it was subtitled as Flickies Island, a reference to the Master System game Flicky. In countries where gamers were not likely to get this reference it was known as Blast.

This game not only appeared on the Mega Drive but was upgraded for the Saturn10 and even PC too. Sonic 3D on the Mega Drive was slightly different to the Saturn and PC versions, though. It had the same game play and levels but had a different Chaos Emerald stage and a different, simpler intro movie that the Mega Drive could handle. The Saturn version had extra animation, a better intro sequence and music. TJ Davis did the credits song, 'You're my Hero'.

The objective in Sonic 3D was to free 5 flightless birds known as flickies from badniks, then get them into a big ring which leads to their dimension. Super Sonic made no appearance here, even when you got all the emeralds. Tails and Knuckles were your route to the Chaos Emerald stages this time too. In the Mega Drive copy you had to run a course getting rings and missing spike balls. For the Saturn you ran a course like Sonic 2's Emerald stages but with twists and the PC one was a mix of the Mega Drive and Saturn versions but without twists. Because Sonic's speed was lost, the game was completely different from the other Sonics, a factor that meant that this game didn't do very well.

Sonic Blast (Game Gear – 1996)

Despite a similar title and release date, Sonic Blast was a completely different game to the game known as Sonic 3D Blast in America. A standard 2D platform game featuring Sonic, Knuckles and Tails, who enjoy a 3D appearance. The aim is to collect Chaos Emeralds and fight the evil forces of Dr Robotnik.

Sonic R (Saturn and PC-1997)

Sonic and co finally get to race. Unlike Sonic Drift, where the characters drove cars, all characters run apart from Robotnik and Amy Rose. There are five characters to unlock: Metal Sonic, Tails Doll, Metal Knuckles, Eggrobo (a Robotnik look-a-like) and Super Sonic. Robotnik was also an unlockable character but featured in the game, the robots only showed up in races when you unlocked them. There was also one extra course called Radiant Emerald. This level was multicoloured and took place out in space. The music rocked; pop/techno songs that matched each level done by TJ Davis. Possibly the easiest Sonic game to complete.

Sonic Jam (Saturn – 1997)

As the name implies, a jam-packed compilation, featuring the previous Mega Drive Sonic games for the Saturn:

  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 2
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 3
  • Sonic & Knuckles as well as the Knuckles versions of previous games

Television Spin Offs

Several animated television series featuring Sonic the Hedgehog were made in the 90s. These are:

  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog - 66 x 22-minute long episodes featuring Sonic, Tails, Dr Robotnik and his robots, Scratch and Grounder, first shown in 1993.

  • Sonic the Hedgehog - 26 x 22-minute long episodes. Dr Robotnik has captured the planet Mobius, having turned animals into robots. Sonic, Princess Sally Acorn, Bunnie Rabbott, Tails and Sonic's uncle, Sir Charles Hedgehog fight back to restore freedom. This was shown in 1994.

  • Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie - an hour long anime adventure dating from 1996. Dr Robotnik creates Metal Sonic and kidnaps the President and his daughter, Sara. Sonic, Knuckles and Tails go to the rescue, survive being double-crossed by Dr Robotnik, fight Metal Sonic and save the day.

  • Sonic Underground - a television series of 40 x 22-minute long episodes dating from 1998. Sonic and his siblings Sonia and Manic, mother Queen Eleanor and friend Knuckles fight the evil ruler, Dr Robotnik.

Looking to the Future

As the 1990s drew to a close, Sonic the Hedgehog's future looked secure. On the horizon was a new, highly-anticipated and pioneering Sega console, the Dreamcast. A new game, Sonic Adventure, was already released in Japan and would surely help secure the new console's future.

No-one could have foreseen that shortly into the 21st Century, Sega would abandon the manufacture of games consoles altogether and before the following decade was out, Sonic and his greatest rival Mario would appear together in a joint game series.

1Short for Service Games.2In Asia, Australia, Europe, Japan and South America the console was known as the Mega Drive, however in North America Sega failed to gain the legal right to use that trade name and instead it was called the Genesis.3Goo goo ga joob.4Known as the Sega CD in America.5Many players have used the famous up, down, left, right level select cheat to skip to the final level.6Super Sonic was a homage to Super Saiyans in Dragonball Z.7Mega Drive cartridges held 16 megabits of data, while Mega-CD games could hold up to 5,120 megabits.8Sega were early proponents of Downloadable Content, known as DLC. In America the Genesis allowed games to be downloaded via television cable connections known as Sega Channel. Their Dreamcast console was the first to allow online gaming and additionally supported downloadable content.9Also known as Fang the Sniper.10The planet with rings is an appropriate name for a console associated with Sonic, who likes collecting rings.

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