Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Sonic the Hedgehog
- For the video game, see Sonic the Hedgehog (Genesis).
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 either stars or plays a role. 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 Oshima 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.
Sega promoted the game's use of "Blast Processing", supposedly a feature of the Sega Genesis which allowed it to draw sprites faster, but which in reality simply referred to the console's fast CPU clock rate.
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, 15 year old hedgehog who lives on the Pacific Ocean (some American and European cartoons featuring the character are instead set on 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 chili dogs.
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. Stay Sonic, a book about the character written by Mike Pattenden and published only in the UK, provided an alternative explanation, which later became the basic origin for all subsequent UK publications. This origin is covered in detail below.
Sonic has numerous abilities, including the Homing Attack (also known as the "Kaiten Jump"), in which he hits enemies with his spines while jumping, and the Light Dash, which allows him to run along a path of rings, even in the air. He is a poor swimmer, however, and will drown in water after a short amount of time, even as Super Sonic. (However, as Hyper Sonic in Sonic 3 & Knuckles, he can stay alive in water.)
In the video games, Amy Rose believes she is Sonic's girlfriend. He is quite repelled by Amy's 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.
Sonic is also incredibly popular with the fangaming community, with possibly more fanmade games than any other video game star.
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 .
Due to the many differences between universes, Sonic's history and world varies greatly. These are some of the backstories.
We know 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. 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 Eggman'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 opening the fridge, the 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 pulled 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 fled from Overlander civilization after some transgression, and was subsequently taken in by King Acorn (Princess Sally Acorn's father) of Mobotropolis. Ivo became an important advisor to the King, but ultimately staged a coup (with the help of his nephew, Snively) in which he seized power and renamed both himself (to Ivo Robotnik) and the city he had come to rule (to Robotropolis).
The premise of the games revolves around Doctor Eggman (Doctor Ivo Robotnik in the earlier releases in North America and Europe) 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 Tails (Miles "Tails" Prower), Amy Rose, Knuckles the Echidna, Cream the Rabbit and a host of other characters. Sonic must collect rings to protect himself from the robots, and as long as he has at least one, he is invulnerable save for drowning or being crushed. He ultimately must collect the Chaos Emeralds from the Special Stages in order to become his most powerful form, Super Sonic. However, Sonic's quest does not necessitate collecting the Emeralds himself; he must only prevent Eggman from collecting them and dooming the world with their power, as well as deal with numerous other foes, such as Metal Sonic (Mecha Sonic), Fang the Sniper (formerly Nack the Weasel in the West, still Nack in the comic books), Shadow the Hedgehog, and Rouge the Bat.
- Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog (AoStH, US) - Sonic voiced by Jaleel White, Robotnik voiced by Long John Baldry
- Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM, US) - Sonic voiced by Jaleel White), Robotnik voiced by Jim Cummings
- Sonic Underground (US, France) - Sonic voiced by Jaleel White
- Sonic the Hedgehog (Anime, Japan) - Sonic voiced by Masami Kikuchi and Martin Burke
- Sonic X (Anime, Japan) - Sonic voiced by Jun'ichi Kanemaru and Jason Griffith
- Sonic the Hedgehog (Shogakukan, Japan)
- Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics, US)
- Sonic the Comic (Fleetway, UK)
Sonic fan-made dōjinshi have also been released in Japan.
A series of six Sonic Adventures gamebooks were published in the UK by Puffin:
- Book 1 - Metal City Mayhem, James Wallis
- Book 2 - Zone Rangers, James Wallis
- Book 3 - Sonic v Zonik, Nigel Gross and Jon Sutherland
- Book 4 - The Zone Zapper, Nigel Gross and Jon Sutherland
- Book 5 - Theme Park Panic, Marc Gascoigne and Jonathan Green
- Book 6 - Stormin' Sonic, Marc Gascoigne and Jonathan Green
- 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.
- 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
- Where's Sonic?
- Where's Sonic Now?
- Sonic Central - Official website.
- The Green Hill Zone - A website dedicated to chronicling every Sonic Team game designed to date, including all of the Sonic games.
- Shadow of a Hedgehog - General fansite
- Sonic the Hedgehog Information Treasury - A Sonic community-driven wiki.
- Sonic CulT - A Sonic game research site.
- Sonic Stadium - A popular fansite.
- Sonic Fan Games HQ - A site containing downloadable Sonic the Hedgehog fangames.
- Sonic Team Speaks - Interviews with Sonic Team and Sega staff over the years.
- The Sonic Art Archive - High resolution artwork.
- Fans United for SatAM - Fansite dedicated to the Sonic the Hedgehog television series
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