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Sonic the Hedgehog

From Academic Kids

For the video game, see Sonic the Hedgehog (Genesis).
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Sonic.png
Sonic, shown in a promotional image for the original Sonic the Hedgehog game. Artwork by Akira Watanabe.

Sonic the Hedgehog is the flagship character and mascot for the video and arcade game company Sega, which has released a series of video games in which he appears. Sonic was competing head-to-head with Nintendo's mascot Mario for over a decade until Sega left the console market. His games are now on various other consoles.

Sonic replaced Alex Kidd, who was Sega's mascot prior to 1990. Naoto Ohshima designed the character while Yuji Naka (who would later become head of the Sonic Team division) was the main programmer. The "game planner" was Hirokazu Yasuhara. The music of the first two Sonic the Hedgehog games on the Megadrive and Genesis was composed by Masato Nakamura of the Japanese band Dreams Come True.

Contents

Identity

Sonic was an early example of the "obscure anthropomorphic animal starring in a platform game" character archetype that was later seen in characters such as Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, Blinx and Sly Cooper.

Sonic is a blue hedgehog who lives on the Pacific Ocean (some American and European cartoons, comics, books and translations of the game manuals state that his home is the planet Mobius). He has the ability to run at supersonic speeds, hence his name. American sources often claim that Sonic's favourite food are chilli dogs. In early artwork, Sonic had no visible irises; later, they were shown to be green (the first game to display this was Sonic Adventure, though his eyes are visibly green when he is in his "Super Sonic" mode and in motion in earlier games).

His blue pigmentation was explained in an issue of gaming magazine GamePro as being the result of getting caught in an explosion involving cobalt, but this is probably not canonical. An alternative explanation was given in a promotional comic for the original game featured in Disney Adventures, which was later elaborated upon in Mike Pattenden's Stay Sonic, a book about the character published only in the UK. This later became the basic origin for all subsequent UK publications, and is covered in detail below.

Abilities

Sonic is well known for his various abilities, however, none more so than his claim to the title of 'fastest creature on the planet'. Quite apart from his speed is his rolling jump (also known as the "Kaiten Jump"), the Spin-Dash (allegedly taught to him by Miles "Tails" Prower, as noted in the western Sonic 2 instruction manual, albeit nothing in-game or from Japan confirms this), and the Insta-shield (A.k.a. W Kaiten), which tends to appear and reappear with each game (first seen in Sonic 3). His newest special abilities, acquired in the later installments of the series, include the Homing Attack, in which he propels himself towards the nearest enemy while jumping, and the Light Speed Dash, which allows him to run along a path of rings at light speed, even through the air. But due to his sleek bodily design, Sonic sinks in water and will drown in a short amount of time, even as Super Sonic. (However, as Hyper Sonic in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, he gains the ability to breathe underwater.) In more recent games, landing in water is the equivalent of dropping down a pit, meaning instant death.

Romance

In the video games, Amy Rose believes she is Sonic's girlfriend. Although Sonic far from dislikes Amy, he is still quite repelled by her constant advances. However, in the anime series Sonic X, there is a mutual vibe between the two characters. In the SatAM cartoon, Sonic's love interest is Princess Sally Acorn. The Adventures of Sonic the hedgehog cartoon features a girlfriend named Breezie Hedgehog, while the Archie comics series featuring Sonic includes both Sally Acorn and Mina Mongoose and also contains Amy Rose and her repelling ways.

Popularity

  • Sonic was popular enough, that the release date of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (November 21, 1992) was dubbed Sonic 2's day, which was yet another pun on a major game release day.
  • Sonic was the first video game character to be seen in a Rose Parade in 1996.
  • Sonic is also incredibly popular with the fangaming community, with possibly more fanmade games than any other video game star.

Voice

In all games after Sonic Adventure, Sonic is voiced by either Jun'ichi Kanemaru or Ryan Drummond. In the TV shows, he is voiced by five different actors (specific to each show): Jaleel White, Masami Kikuchi, Martin Burke, Jun'ichi Kanemaru and Jason Griffith.

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Sonic_12.jpg
A promotional image of Sonic from Sonic Heroes.

Origins

Due to the many differences between universes, Sonic's history and world varies greatly. These are some of the backstories.

Games version

The player knows very little about Sonic's past; he was supposedly born on Christmas Island and that he has frequently visited South Island, and that he and Dr Ivo Robotnik (nicknamed "Eggman") have a fierce rivalry. Beyond that, though, his past is a complete mystery. Sonic is something of a nomad; he travels from area to area of the Earth searching for new things to see and do, rarely stopping for anything or anyone unless he's needed, often times getting himself involved in Robotnik's schemes to take over the world.

Former US/UK version

The origin of Sonic's blue colouration and super speed was first featured in a promotional comic strip in the US Disney Adventures comic and later described in more detail in Mike Pattenden's Stay Sonic book. It was used in most subsequent UK publications (including Sonic the Comic and the "Martin Adams" series of Sonic novels published by Virgin). Although an official Sega book, it should not be taken as canon for anything else; neither the video games themselves nor their translated manuals make any mention of it, and the Japanese backstories were adopted for the Sonic Adventure games.

Sonic was originally an ordinary brown hedgehog with few remarkable qualities. But one day, he accidentally burrowed his way into the secret underground lab of Doctor Ovi Kintobor, a kindly scientist who wanted to make the world a true paradise by removing all evil from it using his Retro-Orbital Chaos Compressor machine. Of course, Sonic found that a laudable goal, and helped Kintobor by searching Mobius for the seventh and final emerald that he required to contain all the negative energy that he had gathered using the ROCC. Kintobor also helped Sonic to increase his speed using a treadmill he designed himself. Sonic eventually ran so fast that he broke the sound barrier, the resultant shockwave fusing his quills together and turning his body cobalt blue.

Sonic failed to find the seventh emerald, but Kintobor apparently deduced a way to complete the transfer of the chaotic energy to the six emeralds without it. Before initiating the process, the pair planned to eat - but upon opening the fridge, they found it to contain only one rotten egg. Holding it in his hand, distracted by it, Kintobor walked back over to the ROCC, only to trip on a cable and fall, his hand slamming into the ROCC control panel. The machine overloaded and exploded, bathing Kintobor - and the egg - in chaos energy, and scattering the golden rings that comprised it across the planet. Doctor Ovi Kintobor had been transformed into the evil Doctor Ivo Robotnik.

Sonic the Comic version

Sonic the Comic's version is identical to the former US/UK Version, but it also later featured a story involving time travel that revealed that Sonic himself was responsible for Kintobor's accident. His foes, the Brotherhood of Metallix, had travelled back and removed the rotten egg from the fridge, preventing Robotnik from being created and leaving them free to dominate the planet. In order to prevent this future, Sonic had to replace the egg and pull the cable that tripped Kintobor - thereby making himself responsible for the creation of his greatest enemy.

Archie Comics version

The Archie comic series offers another angle on the origins of the person who would become the dreaded Dr. Robotnik. On the planet Mobius, humans (known as "Overlanders") existed for a time in a state of hostilities with the anthropomorphic animal beings Sonic and his friends represented. Julian Ivo Kintobor fled from Overlander civilization after some transgression, and was subsequently taken in by King Acorn (Princess Sally Acorn's father) of Mobotropolis. Julian became an important advisor to the King, but ultimately staged a coup (with the help of his nephew, Collin Kintobor, Jr., known better as Snively) in which he seized power and renamed both himself (to Ivo Robotnik, Robotnik being a reversal of Kintobor) and the city he had come to rule (to Robotropolis).

Eventually, in issue 50, Sonic and his friends finally succeeded in killing Robotnik and recapturing the former Mobotropolis. They restored the former king to the throne, but in the process were forced to contend with a sorcerer named Ixis Naugus, who was formerly an advisor to the king's father.

Eventually, in issue 75, it was revealed that Robo-Robotnik, an alter-ego from another reality, had been plaguing Mobius with artificial satellites. Robo-Robotnik was actually pretending to be the real Robotnik since issue 23 or 24, after he had sent him to another dimension that the real Robotnik had accidentally made a passage to. Reformatting himself, he attacked the newly restored Mobotropolis and forced everyone in the kingdom to take refuge in Knothole Village, the original headquarters of Sonic and his friends while fighting the original Robotnik. Since, he has been the main foe, although others (such as Shadow the Hedgehog) have made an appearance. It is still unknown to us if Shadow is a villain, since he has been involved in many controversial battles with Sonic, and his friends. As the comic progresses we discover more about Sonic's present, and future life. In a special series of comics set 25 years into the future, we see Sonic eventually becoming King of Mobius, but at the same time having a bad relationship with his previously good friend Knuckles, whose right eye he blew off after thinking he was going to harm others around him with his chaos powers, which he somehow got back. The Sonic comic does not hesitate to put others in the main light of the story. Examples are: Tails learning that he is the chosen one from Knuckles' Great-Grandfather, Athair, Shadow investigating his true origins after having many confusing memories in issue 145 and previous issues, Lara-su (Knuckles' daughter) going back in time to prevent her father's first death and a few others. It has also recently been said in issue 148 that Robotnik might have a relationship with Ivan Kintobor, who was born on Earth on June 6, 2006. He was heralded as a great scientist, but after using and killing an alien from another planet in an experiment, that planet's civilization asked the Xorda to use a Gene Bomb on Earth, with the intention of killing all of the humans. This destructive bomb killed around 98% of the humans on Earth and also accelerated the evolution of the animal kingdom, which formed its own civilization under the kingdom of Acorn many millennia later, after Robotnik came and the Freedom Fighters had fought against him. Yet Sonic is always there somewhere in the spotlight, to support or save his friends from Dangerous Forces.

In addition to Sonic's tale, Archie comics also tells the story of Knuckles the Echidna. In these comics, Knuckles faces off against foes such as the insurmountable Enerjak and the evil Dark Legion. He also discovers his heritage, and struggles to control his growing Chaos powers. This is also the only series to feature Echidnas besides Knuckles, Tikal and her tribe, or Athair from Sonic Underground.

Games

Story

The premise of the games revolves around Doctor Ivo Robotnik (nicknamed Doctor Eggman), trying to take over the world by turning the animals into robots (often called Badniks, though this is an US/EUR term and hasn't been used since Sonic Adventure). Sonic is charged with saving them. In later games he is joined by Miles "Tails" Prower), Amy Rose, Knuckles the Echidna, Cream the Rabbit and a host of other characters. He usually collects the Chaos Emeralds (usually from the Special Stages) in order to become his most powerful form, Super Sonic. In this state, he is completely immune to all enemies and obstacles (although he can still be killed by falling into pits, being crushed and drowning), gains the ability of flight in certain circumstances, and the unique skill of breathing in space. However, Sonic's quest does not necessitate collecting the Emeralds himself; he must only prevent Eggman from getting them and dooming the world with their power, as well as deal with numerous other foes, such as Metal Sonic, Fang the Sniper (formerly Nack the Weasel in the West, still Nack in the comic books). Shadow the Hedgehog and Rogue the Bat generally oppose Sonic, but will assist him if the situation calls for it.

Playability

Sonic games feature platform controls, but thanks to Sonic and his friends' speed, they usually also include the ability of running on slopes, walls, and even ceilings. Roller coaster-like loops are also common in Sonic games.

In order to go ahead in his missions, Sonic must collect rings to protect himself from enemy robots and traps, and as long as he has at least one ring he is invulnerable, save for drowning or being crushed.

In the classic Sonic games there was a time limit of ten minutes in each stage, after which point Sonic would die. In newer games, however, this limit was removed.

Some Sonic games feature different gameplay styles, such as Isometric Platforming, Kart Racing, Board Gaming and even educational gaming.

Music

The music of the Sonic series is considered one of its strong characteristics. Sonic games have featured tunes composed by a variety of people; it started off with Dreams Come True doing the first two games, with Sega's in-house music company, Wave Master, doing the majority of the music in later titles. One Wave Master employee, Jun Senoue, is part of the band Crush 40, and through his ties to the band they have played the main theme tunes of the two Sonic Adventure games, Sonic Heroes, and the upcoming Shadow the Hedgehog game. Heroes also featured other bands, such as Julien-K. Composer Richard Jacques contributed to the soundtracks of Sonic R and the Saturn/PC version of Sonic 3D Blast: Flickies' Island.

List of games

See List of games featuring Sonic the Hedgehog

Books/Television

Television series

Books

Comic books

Sonic fan-made dōjinshi have also been released in Japan.

Game books

A series of six Sonic Adventures gamebooks were published in the UK by Puffin:

Novels

  • Stay Sonic, Mike Pattenden. Developed the "Kintobor origin" (first introduced in the Disney Adventures comic) in more detail. This background was used as the basis of most subsequent UK Sonic stories.

James Wallis, Marc Gascoigne and Carl Sargent (under the pseudonym of Martin Adams) wrote four Sonic the Hedgehog novels based on the origin established in Stay Sonic. They were published in the UK by Virgin Publishing.

  • Book 1 - Sonic the Hedgehog in Robotnik's Laboratory
  • Book 2 - Sonic the Hedgehog in the Fourth Dimension
  • Book 3 - Sonic the Hedgehog and the Silicon Warriors
  • Book 4 - Sonic the Hedgehog in Castle Robotnik

Michael Teitelbaum also wrote a series of Sonic novels:

  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Robotnik's Revenge
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Fortress of Fear
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Friend or Foe?
  • Sonic & Knuckles
  • Sonic X-Treme

Others

  • Where's Sonic?
  • Where's Sonic Now?
  • The Simpsons Christmas episode

See also

External links

  • Sonic Central (http://www.sega.com/sonic/) - Official Ocidental website.
  • Sonic Channel (http://sonic.sega.jp/) - Official Japanese website.
  • The Green Hill Zone (http://ghz.emulationzone.org/) - A website dedicated to chronicling every Sonic Team game designed to date, including all of the Sonic games.
  • Shadow of a Hedgehog (http://www.planetdreamcast.com/sonic) - General fansite
  • Sonic the Hedgehog Information Treasury (http://shit.sclassic.net) - A Sonic community-driven wiki.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog Wiki (http://sonicwiki.porplemontage.com/index.php/Main_Page) - A wiki on Sonic the Hedgehog, run on MediaWiki software
  • Sonic CulT (http://www.sonic-cult.net/) - A Sonic game research site.
  • Simon Wai's Sonic 2 Beta Page (http://www.sws2b.com/) - Game research site, focusing on Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (Megadrive/Genesis)
  • Sonicology (http://sonicology.fateback.com/) - Mainly a game research site
  • Sonic Stadium (http://www.sonicstadium.org/) - A popular fansite.
  • The Sonic Center (http://www.soniccenter.org) - Time attack competition for the series
  • Sonic Fan Games HQ (http://sfghq.emulationzone.org/) - A site containing downloadable Sonic the Hedgehog fangames and tutorials about how doing them.
  • Sonic Team Speaks (http://homepage.ntlworld.com/big_smile/web%20site/sts/index.htm) - Interviews with Sonic Team and Sega staff over the years.
  • The Sonic Art Archive (http://ssrg.shadowsoft-games.com/art/) - High resolution artwork.
  • The Sonic Foundation (http://www.sonicfoundation.org/) - Abandoned since 2003. Contains pictures, fan art, fan fiction, articles and news.
  • TSFM Radio (http://www.live365.com/stations/tsfm) - An online radio station playing music from Sonic games old and new.
  • SEGA SONIC Radio (http://radio.emulationzone.org/chan0/) - Another online radio featuring music from Sonic and other Sonic Team games.
  • Sonic Heroines (http://groups.msn.com/SonicHeroines/) - A group and site about the female Sonic characters.de:Sonic

fr:Sonic The Hedgehog ja:ソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ pt:Sonic fi:Sonic the Hedgehog sv:Sonic the Hedgehog zh:刺猬索尼克

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