Even though it’s easy to forget, the classic games in the Sonic the Hedgehog series did indeed have a storyline. Of the core five titles from the early 90’s, one single invention from the mind of Dr. Eggman dictated the actions Sonic, “Tails” and Knuckles would be a part of over the course of twenty five levels. I am talking, of course, of the Death Egg. Though clearly a Star Wars reference in both style and name, the giant space station (even if it was only in space for roughly ten minutes) was the centerpiece of the action that went on in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and Sonic & Knuckles. So great was its importance that the station would return in numerous spin-off titles, such as Sonic the Fighters, Sonic Drift 2, and Sonic Battle. Heck, it was even meant to be in Sonic X-treme at one point, although we all know what happened there.
So it was head-scratching to think that Archie‘s previous adaptations of Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles completely neglected the use of the Death Egg. Even if the writers hadn’t been able to finish the game themselves, it was mentioned more than once in the instruction manuals for all three games it appeared in. So what did we get instead? Some random ship that wasn’t much bigger than Dr. Robotnik, and a half-baked scheme that turned the bottom of the Floating Island into a death trap. Not exactly the stuff of legends. Even the Fleetway adaptations of those games used the Death Egg, so for us American fans, all we could do was write in and complain to the Archie staff that they had completely forgotten to use one of the most awesome things in the game.
Finally, Archie succumbed to the pressure, and decided to use it, adapting portions of Sonic 2, 3 and Knuckles and introducing the Death Egg into the pages of the comic. And when they did, they did it in a big way. It wasn’t just a random issue of the main series. It wasn’t even a 48-page special that had to share print time with back-up stories about Knuckles the Echidna. It was given the royal treatment. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you SonicQuest: The Death Egg Saga.
So the big day is finally here, and at long last after months of waiting, Sonic Generations is finally here for us all to enjoy – so long as you live in North America, that is. Us poor sods in the Old World have to wait another 3 whole days before we can open our shiny new disk boxes; listening meanwhile in tormented agony to our crowing friends across the pond, blasting their way though Sky Sanctuary and Planet Wisp in glorious HD.
Clearly, we need to find something that only we in Europe (if I’m honest, more specifically the UK, but work with me here) really had, in order to sustain us until Friday finally rolls around (pun totally intended). Ladies and gentlemen, I present the first part of Sonic the Comic‘s finest hour: the adaptation of Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
Everyone loves Knuckles the Echidna. Even if this statement isn’t true today, it was definitely the case back in the 90’s. From the moment Knuckles appeared onscreen punching out Sonic and taking the Chaos Emeralds, everyone wanted a piece of him. They wanted to know more about who he was, what secrets the floating island he lived on held, and most of all wanted to see him and Sonic tangle it up. Sonic 3 & Knuckles delivered on all counts, but that wasn’t enough to satisfy a child of the 90’s. They wanted more, and Sega, knowing the character’s growing popularity, was prepared to give them exactly what they asked for.
This isn’t the best time to get into the short, sad life of the Sega 32X, but needless to say it didn’t do well in any regard. Even though it was on the market for a short time, the powers-that-be knew that some sort of Sonic-related title needed to be released. And what started out as a proof-of-concept having Sonic and “Tails” tethered together turned into the much-forgotten Chaotix, starring Knuckles the Echidna. In the west, the title added Knuckles’ name to the cover, just to remind people that, yes, this was a game with Sonic characters, even though just about every kid in America had no idea what the origins of Charmy, Vector, and Mighty were historically.
I’m sure you can guess by now that Archie had to adapt it.
So we’re back with Sonic the Comic and it’s time for part 2 – Sonic CD!
So we’re back with Sonic the Comic and it’s time for part 2 – Sonic CD!
It’s easy to forget with the ongoing popularity of the Archie Sonic comic that there was a second Sonic comic, by the (self-explanatory) name of Sonic the Comic. Published by Fleetway Editions in the UK between 1993 and 2002, it was officially Sega licensed and did comic stories about not just Sonic and pals (that as a whole tended to stick closer to game canon than Archie did), but also other Sega franchises like Ecco the Dolphin, Shinobi, and more. And naturally, like in the USA, there were a few game adaptions. However, unlike Archie, they tended to be spread over the course of several issues. Many fans still regard the Sonic 3 & Knuckles adaption one of the finest game adaptions that’s been done in printed media.
But that’s not what we’re looking at today – we’re looking at Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Early on in the comic’s history, in issue #6 (with #1 coming out in May 1993, Sonic 2 had already been out for a good 6 months, so the comic from the very start was set post Sonic 2), there was a single-issue loose adaption of the final 2 zones of the game – so, let’s dive in and take a look!
With the excitement over Sonic Generations bubbling all over the Internet, people have been looking back on the classic games, hyping themselves up over what may be coming down the pipeline. What zones might come back, what friendly classic faces they’re going to run across again, hoping beyond hope for Metal Sonic to redeem himself for what he did in Sonic Heroes. Looking back on the classic era, it might be easy to overlook the Master System/Game Gear games, since the first two weren’t as critically hailed as their Mega Drive/Genesis counterparts. But the Sonic & Tails series (known as Sonic Chaos and Sonic Triple Trouble over here in the west for…well, I have no idea why) delivered some amazing moments on its own, even with the restraints by the 8-bit hardware. Many people even think of Sonic & Tails 2 as a contender for the “true” Sonic 4, since it was made during the same era. And it does have Fang the Sniper. Who doesn’t love Fang the Sniper?
So of course, Archie had to make it a comic book.
I’m not entirely sure if Sega asked Archie to make this or not, since it was a Game Gear title and, while a money maker for Sega, not nearly as high profile as their major titles. With a cover date of October 1995 (meaning it came out a couple months before…but still way after the fact when you take the game’s release date into consideration) the cover proudly states its collector’s edition status. The four-part, 24 page tale hiding within, written by Mike Gallagher and drawn by Dave Manak, is sure to be a rip-roaring good time, so without further adieu, let’s jump inside!
People love anniversary issues in the comic book world. Every 25 issues, something intense has to happen. Something crazy. And with the 50 and 100 marks, it has to be even bigger and crazier. Sonic the Hedgehog is no exception to this rule, and his first anniversary issue wanted to be nothing but the biggest and best. Devoting an entire issue to one story, the crew at Archie comics decided to adapt Sonic’s other “best game ever,” the one and only Sonic the Hedgehog CD. And even though it features the Knothole Freedom Fighters, I can say right now that it stays far more faithful than Sonic’s last two outings in the world of game adaptations. With that said, was it any good? Did people care? How was Sonic‘s silver anniversary when all was said and done? Read on and find out, good sirs and madams!
Issue 225 gets closer with every passing moment. Even though you can argue about the quality of the comic (and believe me, I’ve heard it all) you still can not deny that the fact the series has gone on this long is an amazing accomplishment. Every other series of its kind has quietly gone under, disappearing once their show/game/movie was out and done with. The Sonic series, even through the dark times, has been holding on, not only being the longest and most successful video game comic, but still one of Archie’s top sellers. The only good thing about making a comic based on a successful video game series is that there is no shortage of material, with at least one new game coming out each year. And hey, with twelve issues needing to be filled per year, who knows how much you can derive from one game? Two issues? Four? Seven?!
If you’re Archie, you’ll be lucky to fill one.
Sonic the Hedgehog has always been about the games. Say what you will about the comics, or the TV shows, or novels that feature tractors, but at the end of the day, Sonic the Hedgehog is a gaming franchise. While everything else can keep the icon in the public’s mind, SEGA has always been more concerned about how many units they can move than the plot of Sonic Underground. After all, that’s where they make their money. That’s where the state of the franchise is derived. That is what so many blogs and news sites focus on when they think “Sonic the Hedgehog.”
With Sonic’s 20th anniversary, there is going to be plenty of reflection on the franchise. I predict no less than fifty blog sites will put up “the top ten best Sonic games ever” that will feature the genesis games, Sonic CD, and Sonic Adventure in the top spots, with maybe the random “Sonic Advance” or “Sonic Triple Trouble” to break up the monotony. I know that, at least for me, I’m not going to sully the front page of this fine establishment with such a list. That is why I turn my attention for the moment on something that I am far too familiar with…the Archie Sonic the Hedgehog series.