Sega's iconic mascot made his first appearance on the Sega Genesis in June 23, 1991, with the game Sonic the Hedgehog. It was Sega's second highest selling Genesis game with 4 million copies sold, second only to Sonic 2, selling 6 million copies. He went on to be featured in several games, cartoons, books, and in two ongoing comic book series. Sonic has also been featured in Super Smash Bros. Brawl along with Snake, and competes head-to-head with long-time rival Mario in Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games.
Sonic the Hedgehog was first conceived by the pioneers of the Sonic Team: artist Naoto Oshima, designer Hirokazu Yasuhara and programmer Yuji Naka.
The first game in the franchise was released on June 23, 1991. He was created as a response to Nintendo's Mario, and to replace Sega's current mascot, Alex Kidd.
Some early designs were an armadillo, a dog, a rabbit that could grab objects with its ears (a concept that would later resurface in Sonic Team's next game, Ristar) and a character resembling Theodore Roosevelt that later became Dr. Eggman. After several designs they came up with Sonic the Hedgehog although he was initially called "Mr. Needlemouse". He was colored blue to help players better identify with Sega.
Sonic the Hedgehog
The first adventure started when Sonic learned the evil Dr. Eggman was turning his home of South Island upside down looking for the mystical and powerful Chaos Emeralds, which he intends to use to further his world domination plot. Being a mad scientist, Eggman had captured all of Sonic's animal friends and turned them in to mechanized robot slaves to aide him in his search. In the end, Sonic finds the emeralds, rescues his friends, and teaches Dr. Eggman a lesson.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
While he was traveling the world in his personal biplane, Sonic came across West Side Island and landed there to rest and explore. While there, he befriended Miles "Tails" Prower. The pair eventually realize that Dr. Eggman has launched a new evil scheme for world domination, this time using his "Death Egg" space station to wreak havoc and once again initiate a race for the Chaos Emeralds.
While visiting the mysterious "Little Planet," where the laws of time and space are constantly in flux, Sonic the Hedgehog realizes that Dr. Eggman has already moved in and taken over. Even worse, Dr. Eggman has brought his newest creation with him: Metal Sonic, a robot designed to match Sonic in wits and speed. A fanatic girl named Amy Rose has also followed Sonic to Little Planet, and she ends up captured and used as bait in order to force Sonic in to a final confrontation with Metal Sonic. Using the Little Planet's time travel powers, Sonic must travel back to the past and stop Dr. Eggman's plot before it ever truly begins.
Sonic the Hedgehog 3
After the incident with The Death Egg, Sonic and Tails discover that ancient legends of a floating "Angel Island" might be true, and seek it out only to discover Dr. Eggman has already set up shop there and is working on capturing its "Master Emerald," a jewel with more power than all of the Chaos Emeralds combined. Eggman has enlisted the skills of Knuckles the Echidna, who is supposed to protect Angel Island from intruders looking to steal the Master Emerald. Being tricked in to thinking Eggman is a friend, Knuckles battles Sonic in an effort to keep him away from the mad Doctor.
Characteristics & Abilities
Sonic resides in the Green Hill Zone on the South Island, which he steadfastly defends. Sonic is best known for his speed; he is able to run so fast that his legs blur and he can run across the surface of water. He is allegedly faster than the speed of sound, and in Sonic CD his pace is so incredible that it facilitates time travel.
Sonic can also roll into a ball to smash through objects, defeat enemies, and crack open discarded TV screens to obtain bonuses and items. His Super SpinDash allows him to build up power and speed. Sonic is known for both his quick movements and quick thinking, and he has little tolerance for being made to wait around.
When Sonic collects all 7 Chaos Emeralds he transforms in to "Super Sonic" - a faster golden Hedgehog with invulnerability and the ability to fly. Sonic can also collect golden rings which are littered around Mobius' several zones. 50 rings will allow Sonic to enter the bonus level which grants him the chance to reach a Chaos Emerald. An extension of this power is his ability to become "Hyper Sonic", a being impervious to all damage save being crushed or falling into bottomless pits. This form is accessed when Sonic collects all 7 Super Emeralds in the Sonic 3 & Knuckles game. He also gains the ability to cause a shockwave, killing all on-screen foes.
According to the Sonic the Hedgehog comic books, Sonic obtained his green eyes when he originally fought the monster Chaos. When jumping through Chaos, part of the monster was absorbed by Sonic, turning his eyes from black to green.
100 Rings grants Sonic an extra life. If Sonic is hit by an enemy he will drop all his rings, and has only a short amount of time to collect them before they disappear. If Sonic is hurt when he has no rings, he will lose a life and be dropped back to the latest checkpoint.
One of Sonic's closest friends is Miles "Tails" Prower, who usually accompanies Sonic on most adventures as his sidekick. Tails is incredibly smart and a good mechanic, and is usually the one piloting Sonic's airplane, the Tornado.
Though Knuckles the Echidna is extremely gullible and tends to be a bit of a hot head, he and Sonic begrudgingly became friends when they teamed up to stop Dr. Eggman. However, he and Sonic do not always see eye-to-eye, leading to some tension between them.
A Love Interest...?
Amy Rose is almost constantly one step behind Sonic, who she believes is destined to fall in love with her. For his part, Sonic generally seems to be uninterested in having anything to do with Amy, and usually tries to find ways to leave her behind when possible. Despite this, when Amy is in trouble, Sonic is usually the first one on the scene to bring her to safety, making his true feelings a bit of an unknown.
Sonic's nemesis is Dr. Ivo Robotnik (aka Dr. Eggman), an evil scientist who seeks nothing less than world domination. Though Dr. Robotnik is an unparalleled genius, he is often stubborn and childish when it comes to his constant defeat at the hands of Sonic.
On more than one occasion, Dr. Robotnik has had to ally with Sonic as forces greater than them both threatened the fate of the world, such as in Sonic Adventure 2, when The Biolizard intended to crash the Space Colony ARK in to the earth to destroy it.
Sonic frequently taunts Dr. Robotnik, giving him the nickname of "Dr. Eggman." Though his true family name is Robotnik, even he has begun referring to himself as "Dr. Eggman."
- Adventures Of Sonic the Hedgehog - A lighthearted series of adventures where Sonic and Tails are aided by a mad professor to battle Dr. Robotnik and his clumsy sidekicks Scratch and Grounder. Sonic was voiced here by Jaleel White (most famous for portraying Steve Urkel in Family Matters).
- Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM) - An edgier series in which Dr. Robotnik is portrayed as a grim dictator. Together with his team of rebellious Freedom Fighters, Sonic attempts to take down Robotnik's regime and destroy his dangerous Roboticizer. Occasionally referred to by the shorthand of "SatAM," for its origins as a Saturday Morning Cartoon.
- Sonic Underground - A spin-off series of SatAM. Sonic learns he is royalty and teams up with his brother (Manic) and sister (Sonia) to form a magical traveling rock and roll band as they search for their mother, Queen Alicia. Sonic and his siblings (even Sonia) are also voiced by Jaleel White.
- Sonic X - This anime sees Sonic and friends transported from their dimension to Earth, where they befriend a young boy named Christopher Thorndyke and go on adventures to stop Dr. Eggman and ultimately return home.
- Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie (Sonic OVA) - Sonic is enlisted by the President of "The Land of the Sky" to rescue Princess Serah and stop Dr. Robotnik's newest creation: Metal Sonic.
- Sonic Boom - Sort of a spiritual successor to Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic and friends (including newcomer Sticks the Badger) must defend Bygone Island from the "evil" schemes of Dr. Eggman and his sidekicks, Orbot and Cubot.
- Sonic the Comic (Fleetway, UK) (1993-2001)
- Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics, 1993-present) - One of the longest running licensed comic books in American Comic Book history, second only to Conan the Barbarian.
- Sonic X (Archie Comics, 2005 - 2008)
- Sonic Universe (Archie Comics, 2009 - Present) - A companion series to Sonic the Hedgehog, featuring multiple-issue side stories to the main series.
- Sonic Boom (Archie Comics, 2014 - Present)
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Dash & Spin / Super Fast Sonic!!
- Sonic cannot swim due to mistaken assumption taken by Yuji Naka that the hedgehog is naturally unable to do so by its own will.
- In 1996 Sonic became the first video game character to feature in a Rose Parade.
- The Anime TV show Sonic X was heavily edited in the US in an extreme effort to "localize" the show. Episodes were shortened, dialog was significantly re-written, and all of the music was replaced with a newer, more "cartoony" soundtrack.
- Sonic became one of the first video game characters to feature as a balloon in a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
- Sonic was featured in the inaugural "Walk Of Game" in 2005.
- In October 2008 Sonic was voted the most popular Video Game character in the UK with 24% of the votes. (Mario only got 21%)
- There is a Gene discovered in fruit files that deals with the proper growth of digits on limbs as well as brain formation called the Sonic Hedgehog gene.