Welcome back to Adi’s Time Tunnel. For those of you who are new to my content this is the feature on this website where I take a look at a technology from the past. This is a special edition because this week we had a major event in the history of one of my favourite video game franchises. That’s right! earlier this week Sonic The Hedgehog celebrated it’s 25th Anniversary. I guess the best place for me to start this one is at the beginning.
The very first sonic the hedgehog game came out in the middle of 1991 in North America on the Sega Genesis and on the Mega Drive in Japan and Europe(the Mega Drive was the equivalent of the Genesis for most areas outside of North America).
The whole plot of this game is that Dr Ivo Robotnik(AKA Dr. Eggman) has held animals captive. You play the role of the blue hedgehog known as Sonic. Of course your job is to free all the animals and fight Dr Eggman. However, your job would not be easy because you had to defeat a wide variety of Eggman’s minions.
The game starts off in the Green Hill Zone (the first of six zones in total). Along the way, you can collect rings. However, if one of the many enemies along the way get one hit then you lose all your rings. Some of them can be retrieved though. Each zone has three stages(AKA acts). Each act had a check point around half way through. Get to that and you could continue from the check point when you die. At the end of the third act you have to face off against Dr Eggman. If you defeat him you get to move onto the next stage. Be warned though, these fights against Eggman get progressively harder and force you to think differently about how you fight him.
At the end of every act is the finishing post. If you collect 50 or more, then you get a huge ring appearing. Jump through that ring and you get a special stage. The aim here is to collect the so-called chaos emeralds.
In order to get the true ending, you have to get all six chaos emeralds and win the final battle against Dr Eggman.
There was even a stage select screen that could be accessed using a special cheat code on the Mega Drive.
Sonic the Hegdehog 2 saw the introduction of a new protagonist that the player could use called Tails. He was a fox. The bonus stage was a little bit different and required more work. You needed to have 50 rings by the check point and then jump into the circle of stars. Do that and you get transported to a never-ending half-pipe with rings and bombs. Your aim was to meet a certain quota at the end of a lap. If you do that you get to move onto the next lap. If you don’t then the bonus stage ends. Make it to the end of the third lap and you will get a Chaos Emerald.
The other thing that was introduced was super sonic. This was Sonic’s powered up form. If you collected all seven chaos emeralds, then you would need to collect 100 rings in a stage in order to turn into super sonic. At any point, you could then power back down to regular Sonic if you wanted to. Incidentally this was also the first game where two players could work together to serve up some beat downs on Sonic 2.
Of course, this leads us to the last of the initial trilogy, Sonic The Hedgehog 3. The special/bonus stages are a little different here. You have a never-ending globe with red and blue spheres. You have to collect a certain number of blue spheres. Once you do that you get your chaos emerald.
There was another Sonic game called Sonic and Knuckles where the player could use Knuckles for the first time in a Sonic game.
There was a very early attempt at a 3D sonic game, called Sonic 3D Blast. Here, rather than just getting to the finishing post, you had to collect these birds called Flickies. Once you collect enough of them you can then jump on a huge ring in order to advance to the next act.
The late 1990s came along and with it, the release of the Sega Dreamcast. It was a console that was ahead of its time. Sonic Adventure was one of the many titles that launched alongside the Sega Dreamcast. Believe it or not, it was originally supposed to be an RPG game for the Sega Saturn. However, the concept of that RPG game where you had a story made it through to Sonic adventure.
Then, we come to the more modern version of Sonic called Sonic Heroes. This was released on PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC and GameCube. This involved certain team mechanics where you had to rely on one character to do one part of a stage and then another character to do another part. Once you filled up a certain meter you could do a team blast, where you could obliterate any enemies around you.
Of course, there were more modern sonic games in the series released such as Sonic The Hedgehog 2006, Sonic Colours, Sonic Unleased as well as the two “episodes” of Sonic the Hedgehog 4. There were various mobile/handheld sonic games released including Sonic Blast, Sonic Rush and Sonic Advance(for the Gameboy advance).
You can still play the older versions of the Sonic games by buying them from the Steam Store. At the time of writing, Sonic 1 and Sonic 2 are available . Of course, what Sega have done is emulated the Sega Mega Drive and allowed you to legally play the original sonic the hedgehog games. Over the years, the original sonic games have been re-released in various packages. One of them being Sonic Jam, which is a compilation of the first three Sonic games. On the steam versions of the original sonic games you can even download modified versions of Sonic the hedgehog.
In terms of the later sonic titles, Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 can also be found on the Steam Store. There were also various spin-off games. These included Sonic Spinball(a pinball game – also available from the steam store), Sonic R(a racing game) and Sonic the Fighters(a fighting game) to name but a few.
Again, I think that Sonic is one of my favourite video game franchises of all time. Other than Super Mario World it was one of my first platforming games. I used to go to an after school club and they had a Sega Mega Drive there. Everyone could play on it, however you had to write your name down. When your turn came round you had 10 minutes to enjoy your game. I always challenged myself to get as far through the six acts of the original sonic game. With that being said, I only ever got to the end of 1nd act of the Marble zone. However, I think that it was after Sonic Heroes that the series had lost its magic.
In the next edition of Adi’s Time Tunnel I will be having another special on the Nintendo 64, which recently passed it’s 20th birthday.
What is your favourite sonic game of all time? Let me know in the comments!