Looking back at Sonic the Hedgehog's most defining moments

By Robert Workman, Feb 06, 2014 5:00pm PST

Ever since his introduction 1991, Sonic the Hedgehog has been on a variety of memorable adventures. Sure, he's had more than his share of stumbles (let's just forget this, shall we?), but today we remember some of his finest moments.

Sonic's Debut (1991)

When Sega needed him the most to define its 16-bit glory, Sonic the Hedgehog arrived with a flash in 1991. Thanks to Yuji Naka and the savvy squad over at Sonic Team, Sonic's debut was nothing short of grand, with just the right amount of terrific presentation and gameplay. It turned into a best seller as a result, and made its stops on a number of platforms, most recently the Nintendo 3DS. And, yes, it remains as great as ever.

What's With the Fox? (1992)

In 1992, Sega released Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Genesis, introducing a quirky sidekick--a two-tailed fox named Miles Prower, or "Tails" for short. He struck a chord with some, while others despised the way he followed Sonic around incessantly. Even death couldn't keep him away--make him fall to his demise and he would appear seconds later.

The introduction of Tails allowed a friend to join in a brand new two-player versus mode. It made for some interesting run-around sessions, and showed that the Genesis could handle split-screen rather handily.

Let's Lock On! (1994)

Sonic & Knuckles introduced a lock-on gimmick that allowed the game to interact with previous Genesis releases. By connecting two cartridges together, Sonic's archrival Knuckles the Echidna would be playable even in the older games. Not only was the lock-on tech novel, it offered an interesting twist on Sonic's older adventures, thanks to Knuckles' ability to punch through walls and climb.

Let's Have an Adventure! (1999)

With Sonic Adventure on the Sega Dreamcast, Sonic Team introduced a 3D action/exploration game, where players would run through huge virtual worlds, in both free-roaming and action-oriented stages. The game received a sequel in 2001, Sonic Adventure 2, which features various playable characters, both good and evil. While some side characters didn't have the most compelling gameplay, the two games are fondly remembered by many fans.

Off to Nintendo Land (2002)

After spending so many years fighting tooth and nail with Nintendo, Sega buried the hatchet in 2002 and began releasing games as a third patty for its platforms. The first game out the gate was Sonic Advance, a well-made 2D platforming adventure for the Game Boy Advance. The title sold very well, leading to sequels in 2003 and 2004.

Welcome To the Next Level (2003)

After porting over the Sonic Adventure games to the GameCube, Sega opted for a completely original Sonic adventure for that system, as well as PlayStation 2 and Xbox. Titled Sonic Heroes, this 3D platformer featured team-style play, not only with Sonic and his squad, but various other players, including familiar characters from Knuckles Chaotix.

If You Can't Beat 'Em... (2007)

Sonic officially buried the hatchet with his former nemesis Mario in 2007, when Sega released Mario & Sonic At the Olympic Games in collaboration with Nintendo. Featuring characters from both popular series, this release would go on to great success, leading to subsequent releases with each passing Olympic contest, both summer and winter. In fact, this past winter saw the release of a Sochi-based compilation for Wii U.

Back To Basics (2010)

Sega, opting to go for a more casual Sonic title following the release of the poorly received Sonic Unleashed, released Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1 for download on Wii, Xbox Live, and PlayStation Network in 2010. The game hunkered back to the classic style of Sonic play, side-scrolling in favor of 3D gameplay. It was well received, as was its sequel, Episode II, which followed in 2012.

The Resurgence of Sonic CD (2011)

Developing a cult-like following since since its original release on Sega CD, Sega brought back Sonic CD to various platforms, after a savvy young programmer named Christian Whitehead remastered the game with improved controls and other options. In addition, the game provided extra characters, including Tails and Knuckles, as well as the ability to play with the Japanese soundtrack for the first time--an option missing from the original game.

Let's Race! (2012)

He may be fast, but Sonic hasn't been synonymous with racing like Mario has over the years. Multiple attempt at racing games were a bust, such as Kinect-powered Sonic Free Riders. However, aping the Kart approach with Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing proved to be a success, prompting Sega to produce a sequel, Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed.

The sequel escalated in a number of areas, introducing "transforming" gameplay between cars, boats and planes, as well as a number of characters from Sega franchises, including Alex Kidd and Samba de Amigo, as well as newcomers such as Wreck It Ralph (from the movie of the same name) and NASCAR superstar Danica Patrick.

What's Next? (2014)

Sonic has already began running in a new project that was just announced, Sonic Boom for the Wii U and 3DS. Featuring an all new look and developer (taking over for Sonic Team), it could provide a new direction for the familiar hero. As for his Xbox One and PS4 debut...well, we'll see what we'll see down the road...

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