Sonic Blast (Gソニック G Sonikku?) is a video game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series developed by Aspect and published by Sega for the Sega Game Gear. It was released on 12 December 1996 in North America and Europe, and a day later in Japan. It was ported to the Master System in Brazil a year later. Sonic Blast was the last Sonic game for the Game Gear.
The game was also ported to the Sega Master System in Brazil by TecToy and released in December 1997, making it the last game ever made for that system.
Sonic Blast was later compiled with other Sonic titles in Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut and Sonic Mega Collection Plus, and a demo of its ending can be unlocked in Sonic Gems Collection. Sonic Blast was released on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console in North America on 20 June 2013.
While this game was released at the end of 1996 in conjunction with the similarly named Sonic 3D Blast, it is worth noting that the two games have little in common. No enemies, levels, or bosses, are shared between the games. The story is also completely different. Sonic and Knuckles join together to collect five of a Chaos Emerald's pieces and confront Dr. Robotnik at Silver Castle.
According to the Japanese manual, renowned resident hero Sonic the Hedgehog was enjoying a nap on his palm tree hammock during a peaceful afternoon on South Island. His repose was interrupted, however, by the blinding flash of a Chaos Emerald. The Emerald shattered into five different-colored pieces with an earsplitting shriek, scattering off into the distance. Suddenly, the booming laughter of Dr. Eggman echoed above him - the villain had been aiming for Sonic with a laser beam, but struck the lone Chaos Emerald instead. Despite his error, Eggman was pleased with the unexpected results. He impulsively wanted to use the five shards of shattered Emerald to fortify his new aerial base, the Silver Castle, which he created after he realized that the other Emeralds began to scatter away from South Island. Just as Sonic prepared to set off in search of the pieces, Knuckles the Echidna stepped out from the shade of a nearby tree, having witnessed the event. The two heroes resolve to foil Dr. Eggman and collect the miniature Chaos Emeralds to restore it.
An alternate, less convoluted storyline is offered in the English manual (released slightly earlier):
- Dr. Robotnik's Latest Scheme
- A mysterious island has surfaced near Sonic's home - an island with a revoltingly familiar shape. The bald dome and walrus shape moustache are a total giveaway: Robotnik has built another floating platform to carry on with his plan to rule the world!
- Sonic the Hedgehog and Knuckles the Echidna decide there's only one thing to do: get to the platform, break inside, and do some serious property damage. Unfortunately, that is precisely what that eggheaded villain is counting on. Robotnik has laid a series of traps he thinks are infallible. His plan is all too familiar: get rid of his nemesis Sonic for good, and once that's done, collect the Chaos Emeralds in order to gain the power he needs to take over the world.
- Travel with Sonic the Hedgehog or Knuckles the Echidna through a maze of traps, evil robots and fearsome scenery, and prove to Dr. Robotnik that there's no trap made that a determined Sonic or Knuckles can't overcome!
Unlike its pseudo-3D counterpart, Sonic Blast for the Game Gear is a side-scrolling run-and-jump platform game. It was among the last new Sonic the Hedgehog games released for the Sega handheld, and sported some of the most advanced features of the 8-bit series.
The two playable characters in the game are Sonic the Hedgehog and Knuckles the Echidna. The object of the game is to collect five pieces of a Chaos Emerald, in stages visually similar to the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Special Stages,but instead, require Sonic and Knuckles to collect rings as in the Special Stages from Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Emeralds can only be obtained in the second act of each level. Finishing a special stage in the first act will gain the player an extra life instead. Similar to Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Special Stages are entered through large rings hidden in the regular stages.
Much like Sonic the Hedgehog Triple Trouble, when you get hit by enemies, you only lose some rings as opposed to all of them (in this game, ten rings per hit). Sonic's maneuvers are similar to those in other games, but he has a special double-jump ability that allows him to reach greater heights, like with the Lightning Shield in Sonic the Hedgehog 3. Knuckles' abilities are his standard climbing and gliding, as seen in Sonic & Knuckles.
- Green Hill Zone boss - Eggman's Mobile with giant boomerang
- Yellow Desert Zone boss - prodding spear mecha
- Red Volcano Zone boss - ball and chain robot
- Blue Marine Zone boss - submarine fighter
- Silver Castle Zone boss - Eggman's Mobile with laser cannon
A prominent feature of this game was its rendered graphics, which had become popular in Nintendo's 16-bit hit Donkey Kong Country (also known as Super Donkey Kong). The rendered graphics give the game a more advanced look than most other 8-bit games. The character graphics also took up a big portion of the screen.
The game received mixed reviews overall. RetroCopy gave it a score of 5/10 praising its level design, music and graphics while criticizing the fact that the character graphics took up a large portion of the screen and that it had slower gameplay compared to previous 8-bit Sonic titles on the Game Gear. Defunct Games gave the game a C-, stating that it offered "a much more traditional affair, the type that would probably appeal to a lot of die hard Sonic fans," but criticizing the game's graphic style, sluggish controls and power-ups. They concluded their review by stating, "That's not to say that Sonic Blast can't be enjoyed, but there are definitely more enjoyable 8-bit platformers on the Game Gear."
- Producer: Hiroshi Aso
- Director: Ryushin Hamada
- Planner: Katsunori Murakami, Hiroaki Suzuki
- Map design: Akira Okamoto, Ken Sasaki
- Chief programmer: Toshiaki Araki
- Programmer: Yoshiaki Makishima
- Chief designer: Fumikazu Sugawara
- Designer: Taro Murayama
- Sound composer: Kojiro Mikusa
- Special thanks: Kazuyuki Oikawa, Aspect, All Staff
- The name of the game's five zones each begin with a type of color (Green, Yellow, Red, Blue, and Silver respectively). These colors relate to the Chaos Emerald found in each zone.
- The game's Japanese storyline might imply that Knuckles quickly tossed a Chaos Emerald between the sleeping Sonic and Dr. Robotnik's laser beam to save him. As a certain game would later indicate, he's not above breaking some Emeralds to scramble the Eggman.
- The ending signposts in the levels are the only appearances of Super Sonic on the Game Gear.