Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sonic: Street Fighter and Kart Racer

Sonic The Hedgehog. A name synonymous with video games. In particular, the character was synonymous with a classic platformers. So, to hear that Sonic had his own fighting game on the Sega Saturn is quite a shocker to the uninformed. Yes children, Super Smash Bros. Brawl wasn't Sonic's first foray into fighting games. Sonic and his sidekick Tails were plugged into a build of Sega's arcade fighting game Fighting Vipers by one of that game's character designers. This caught the eye of both game design legend Yu Suzuki and Sonic creator Yuji Naka. With Naka's blessing, Suzuki created Sonic The Fighters a few years before Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. was released on the Nintendo 64 console. It saw a limited release in American arcades, and was slated for release on the Sega Saturn, but alas, it never saw the light of day. Damn shame too, cause the concept and Sega's history of great arcade games would have made it the stuff of legend.

This isn't to say that Nintendo was the only one guilty of "swagger jacking". Sega released Sonic Drift, a kart racing game featuring characters from the Sonic The Hedgehog universe a full two years after Nintendo released their now legendary Super Mario Kart. Drift was a blatant ripof of Mario Kart, and Sega fanboys ate it up. That game spawned a sequel, also for Sega's portable Game Gear console. This wasn't Sonic's last racing game, as the character was known for having blazing speed, Sonic Drift is important because it kinda made Sonic's fans take notice of the character's speed in a situation that fit it better than a traditional action game. Sonic's next racing game, Sonic R, was another Mario Kart clone, but with one important difference. With the exception of two characters (Amy and Dr.Eggman/Robotnik), the game is a foot race. this gave the player a Sonic The Hedgehog racing experience, which was kinetic, frantic, and at times, great fun.

Sonic's been quite the random guy over the last few years, and hasn't had a good game since the Dreamcast was popping. Hopefully games like these keep the quirky, fun side of Sonic's spinoff games alive, and we can forget Shadow The Hedgehog. Man that game sucked.

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