SegaSonic the Hedgehog (セガソニック・ザ・ヘッジホッグ SegaSonikku za Hejjihoggu?), also referred to as SegaSonic Arcade, is an arcade game developed by Sega AM3. It was officially released in Japan in March 1993 by Sega. Versions of the arcade game appeared in limited quantities in Anglophone countries, such as London's Sega World and Galloping Ghost Arcade in Chicago. The music for arcade game are composed by Hiroshi Kawaguchi, Keitaro Hanada and Naoki Tokiwa. The game was Sonic the Hedgehog's first major arcade outing, and featured Sega's mascot alongside two new characters: Ray the Flying Squirrel and Mighty the Armadillo.
Sonic, Ray and Mighty have been kidnapped by the evil Dr. Eggman, who uses his large tank vehicle to do so. He takes them prisoners on Eggman Island: an island littered with traps and hazards that can be activated with the push of a button.
Sonic, Ray and Mighty team up to escape the island, as the trio must survive the various hazards of the island and reach Eggman's Tower. As they arrive at the control room, Eggman presses a button that triggers a self-destruct sequence that will destroy the entire island. The trio manage to flee the island before the explosion. The evil doctor also escapes, but suddenly falls into the sea due to his Egg Mobile running out of fuel.
SegaSonic the Hedgehog is an isometric platforming game with three characters who shares identical controls and abilities. The characters are controlled with one action button which lets the player perform a spin jump, and a trackball which is used to move the characters around. Each trackball and corresponding action button are color-coded, meaning the blue ones are for Sonic, red ones are for Mighty and yellow ones are for Ray.
The premise of the game is to reach the end of an isometric course without dying. This objective is similar to other video games in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. Yet, it is also different in the sense that instead of a typical platforming game, the game is centered entirely around running as fast as possible on a linear course from a never-ending barrage of threats, including giant boulders, lava flows, rogue gears, falling stalactites, and other traps. When the player is hit by a dangerous obstacle or hazard, they lose health from the Health Gauge, which can be refilled by collecting Rings that found around the arena. Upon completing each level, the game tallies up how many Rings were grabbed. Extra points are also received if over half of the level's Rings were found.
The game only has a few enemies and one boss that appears midway through the game. At the end of the final level, the player is given twenty seconds to escape from the self-destructing tower. Failure results in an instant Game Over.
Gimmicks and obstacles
The game contains seven stages located on Eggman Island. Between stages, brief cutscenes show Eggman panicking and plotting the player's demise as he tracks the progress of his enemies.
- Director: T.Tsuda
- Program: H.Kawatake, T.Hasegawa, T.Kawauchi
- Design: Manabu Kusunoki ("M.Kusunoki"), Kiyoshi Miyagi ("K.Miyagi"), Masahiro Hoshino ("M.Hoshino"), Satoshi Yamagata ("S.Yamagata")
- Sound: Hiroshi Kawaguchi ("H.Miyauchi"), Keitaro Hanada ("K.Hanada") and Naoki Tokiwa ("N.Tokiwa")
- Voice actor:
- Special thanks: Naoto Ōhshima ("N.Ohshima"), S.Burton, James Spahn ("J.Spahn"), M.Sasaki, E.Taki, Aoni Pro., Recording Studio Tavac
Reception and legacy
SegaSonic the Hedgehog received positive reception. Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the game a perfect score of 10 out of 10. The magazine stated that the game "shatters your perception of what a good game should be", reserving high praise for its graphics and music, and the variety of levels. It also praised the "hilarious" character animations and cinematics, and encouraged readers to play the game. Computer and Video Games offered similar praise and praised the game's attention to detail, "highly recommending" it. The French magazine Mega Force compared the game's isometric graphics to Sega's Zaxxon (1982) and SNK's Viewpoint (1992).
Mighty later appeared as a playable character in the Sega 32X game Knuckles' Chaotix in 1995. Ray did not appear in any games after his debut for a long while but he and Mighty were featured in the Sonic the Hedgehog comic book series published by Archie Comics. SegaSonic the Hedgehog is also referenced in the anniversary game Sonic Generations, where a "missing persons" poster of Ray and Mighty appears in City Escape.
- The use of the trackball has subsequently led to great difficulty in both official and unofficial emulation efforts. Yuji Naka has stated that the reason it was not included in Sonic Gems Collection was because of this.
- This game had a limited release in North America and Europe, but it is identical to the Japanese release, with all the text and voice acting in Japanese.
- The three playable characters wear almost identical footwear. The only difference is that Mighty and Ray's shoes are a slightly darker shade of red than Sonic's.
- This game was the first in the series to feature an ice/snow themed level.
- Eggman's Tower is the only level within the game that prohibits continues should the player die.
- Although Eggman is the main villain, this is the first game in which the player does not have a final confrontation with him.