1996 was better than the last year for Sonic, many games were announced by Sega that just might save the life of the Saturn and give a great Goodbye to the Mega Drive. Some titles were not released, or cancelled due to one reason or another, but there was a surprise Sonic release that hit the nation…
1996: The Year of Cancellations
January: Sonic OVA (Japan)
The two part Sonic Anime OVA is released in Japan. The story goes like this, Dr Eggman tricks Sonic and Tails into going to Robotropolis. Dr Eggman kidnaps the President’s daughter Sara (these two characters are totally new and are only featured in this anime). Sonic and Tails get into trouble as Knuckles saves them from Robo Robotnik (Dr Robotnik in a giant robot).
Sonic, Tails and Knuckles run to stop the robot generator from going off. Dr Robotnik releases his ultimate robot called Hyper Metal Sonic, which is a clone robot of Sonic seen in Sonic CD. Sonic and Metal get into a giant battle at the end of the movie. Both movies cost ¥3,980 each.
May: Sonic X-Treme Announced (USA)
This ever-so-good-looking game was planned for a Saturn release. This was going to be the game Sonic Adventure ended up being (the franchise revival), only on 32-Bit consoles. The world was totally 3D, with rotating cameras, free platforming, the lot. Due to development problems Sega canned this and made Sonic 3D Blast instead. Features that we could have experienced in this game was the Spin Slash, throwing rings and much more.
June: Sonic Championship (Japan)
This appeared in Japanese arcades and was quite successful. Other than the arcades, it made an appearance on Sega TV but was never released on the Saturn as Sega had hoped to. It was a great fighting game and involved Sonic, Amy, Knuckles, Metallix, Bean and Bark along with many others.
November: Sonic 3D Blast (USA, Europe)
This was Sega’s backup plan after they had difficulties developing Sonic X-Treme on Sega Saturn. It wasn’t proper 3D – instead the gameplay was at an isometric angle – but there were polygons involved. This wasn’t created by Sonic Team as most people would believe – the Sonic fan should know that this game was developed by Travellers Tales – although Sega did have a part to play. This was the first of two Sonic games created by the British developer for Sega, the second being Sonic R of course. Although many people were disappointed about X-Treme, Sonic 3D was a great game in its own right, and Sega was able to release this on both Saturn and Mega Drive.
November: Sonic Blast (USA, Europe)
With a surprise release of the game on the Master System by Tectoy in Brazil, and about three years after the last Sonic game, Sega release Sonic Blast. A platformer starring Sonic, but you can also play as Knuckles. It really is quite amazing for any 8-Bit machine to do what Sega have done with Sonic Blast, its really worth checking out. The very last Sonic game to appear on the Game Gear.
November 24th: Sonic Christmas Blast (USA)
Sonic Christmas Blast first aired on USA Network on November 24, 1996 at 12:30 PM/11:30 AM, a few months after AoSTH had ended its original run. Based around The Adventures of Sonic The Hedgehog, although elements from other series were added such as Princess Sally from Sonic The Hedgehog (SatAM). DiC basically merged the two shows to create something like the Archie Sonic Comic Book’s classic issues.
Dr. Robotnik (posing as Robotnik Claus) takes Santa’s place in an evil scheme to have people give him presents, instead of the other way around. Sonic and Tails are searching for a present for Princess Sally (who is the OLD pink Sally and says nothing the entire episode) when they learn that Robotnik Claus has stolen every gift on the planet. Sonic and Tails go searching for the real Santa, who is locked away seven miles South of the North Pole.
Eventually finding him, Santa points out a Special Ring that Sonic is wearing that will give Sonic Super Speed if he passes a few tests. Can he pass and save Christmas?
International / Other Releases
- July: Sonic the Fighters (aka Sonic Championship – USA)
- August 9th: Sonic CD (PC – Japan)
- August 26th: Sonic CD (PC – USA)
- October 3rd: Sonic CD (PC – Europe)
- November: Sonic X-Treme Cancelled (USA)
- November: Sonic’s Gameworld (USA)
- November: Sonic’s Schoolhouse (USA)
- December 7th: Sonic the Fighters Soundtrack (Japan)
- December 13th: G Sonic (aka Sonic Blast – Japan)