We were a bit slow to mention this yesterday, our bad!
So yeah, right after the Nintendo Direct, the demo of Shattered Crystal finally came out on the eShop in NA and EU.
Fellow staff member Brad transcribed the contents of the demo’s digital manual:
Amy is kidnapped by Lyric because “she’s a history buff who has studied the legends and lore of this mysterious island… and a menacing reptile has taken notice.”
Lyric The Last Ancient is the last of his kind who lived on the island a millennium ago. His race was devoted to perfecting technology using organic energy to power their creations and invention. Lyric rose to power and tried to use this technology to conquer all other races, but this went against his peers’ beliefs so they captured and imprisoned him. Now he’s back and seeking to reclaim the forgotten technology to unleash a terrible robotic army on the world.
There are 6 islands (zones) in SC: Seaside Coast, Scrapyard, Shadow Canyons, Ancient Ruins, Volcanic Crater and Cloud Sanctuary.
Adventure Stages are the main gameplay levels, where you switch between the four team members.
Badges are needed to unlock levels and progress through the game. They are attained by completing level challenges on the Level Stats screen.
You can collect broken fragments of the Lost Crystal in adventure stages to prevent Lyric from obtaining them. You take them to Sticks.
Blueprints are found similar, and are to be collected and given to Tails.
Connecting to Wii U unlocks specific character upgrades.
Streetpass can earn you additional Tokens to be used in Q-N-C’s Toy Shop.
In other news, Sega also confirmed that a demo of Rise of Lyric on Wii U IS on the way… except it’s coming AFTER the game’s release date. The demo will be out on Dec 4th.
But wait, THERE’S MORE! On November 11th, Sega will release a StreetPass Puzzle Swap puzzle of Shattered Crystal AAAANNNNDDDD a free Sonic Boom theme for your 3DS menu!
Have a look at the theme:
And the puzzle:
Finally, Sega provided more info on air times and when other regions will get to see the show:
For the first time ever, the rich realms of the franchise’s Wii U and Nintendo 3DS titles will be blended with Sonic’s first CG-animated TV series, debuting on Cartoon Network! The series will premiere on Saturday, November 8 at 7:00 AM in the U.S., with a global rollout in France on Canal J on November 19 and on Gulli in spring 2015. The Middle East will launch in spring 2015 with other territories to follow in fall 2015. Be sure to tune in!
Hello all! It’s Jono, here again to provide a very unique instalment of ‘A Not so Little Look at’.
Today, we’re going to be looking in depth at something that many people who know about the Sonic franchise won’t normally get to see: A style guide. In this case, a style guide to Classic style Sonic the hedgehog.
A style guide is a book, that is sent to merchandise companies to help them create products and packaging that will fit within the brand requirements set out by the license holder. This ring-bound style guide contains many things on how to go about creating Sonic merch; including character artwork, slogans, borders, typefaces, packaging ideas, and even a character height chart as well as a whole host of other information.
With so much information, the book is actually fairly weighty (about 80 pages in fact), and is certainly comprehensive. It’s really a fascinating thing to look through, and to notice all the little touches mentioned in this book seen in real-world products. Paladone certainly would have used this guide when creating their lines of Sonic gear.
You may also notice that this guide contains no references or images of Modern Sonic at all. This is because there is in fact a separate style guide dedicated exclusively to Modern Sonic products (which would you believe, is even more extensive than this guide!) In fact, this guide specifically requests that the Modern and Classic Sonic be kept entirely separate from each other.
Below is a complete set of scans from the book (with some blank pages omitted). Have a read!
Not since the Sonic and the Secret Rings Target exclusive has Archie comics content been included in a Sonic video game but this November, you won’t need to go to any one store to enjoy an exclusive Archie Sonic Boom Story written by Ian Flynn and art by Evan Stanley. IGN has a full article and coverage of several panels from the included comic. As you can see, they are all in a letterbox format to fit the 3DS screen. What I wonder is, will the Comic Art be in 3D as well? Also, will it be available from the start or as an unlockable?
While at the San Diego Comic Con today, I decided to head to the Nintendo Lounge to see if the Sonic Boom demo had been updated at all from the E3 build. I found out that there was some differences made since the E3 build. I can honestly say that I did see some improvements made, a brand new level and one omission most likely due to the feedback from E3. Here is a list of the few differences I noticed.
1.) First off, the original speed level has been replaced with a brand new one that starts out in a cave. You can smash some boulders and there’s some small secrets around the cave. Before I hit the boost pad, I was switching around characters and ended up with a glitch where Knuckles and the others were halfway through the floor. I ran up to the front and hit the speed boost and it fixed the glitch. The speed section itself is a bit more difficult. There are more obstacles in the way and at least one or two alternate routes. The level did seem shorter though. I will say the best part was riding the enerbeam out of the cave and into the lush jungle. It was really a breathtaking scene.
2.) There were only three choices for levels compared to the four from E3. This is because they took out the Knuckles mine cart level from the E3 demo. I think it was a wise choice not to show the level that got the most negative reaction from E3 when showing off the game to the public. It’s a very slow and plodding level and they only need to really show one adventure level so it might as well be the more action packed one.
3.) It might just be the TV, but the visuals seem to be a bit improved. The colors really popped out more and the lighting seemed better. The E3 demo’s colors seemed bland but as I said, that could have been the screen too.
4.) Again, it might be me, but lassoing the robots seemed to be a faster experience from before. At least in the Sonic/Amy level. The fight with Eggman seemed exactly the same as before.
And there you have it. New speed level, no Knuckles mine cart level and some slight graphical improvements…..I think. If I hadn’t played the original E3 demo, this would have left me with a slightly more positive view of the game. As of now, my view of the game is just a bit more positive.
Welcome to the first episode of Sonic Boomcast! A monthy podcast dedicated to the Sonic Boom franchise where we’ll be talking all things Sonic Boom related along with a few other Sonic things should the need arise. Hosted by me, Jason Berry of that other Sonic podcast (Sonic Talk). I’ll have a slightly different roundtable of guest hosts each month with some staying for the long run. This months hosts include Shayne Edwards, Lidice Garcia, Tanner Bates (Oglvie in the SSMB) and Christian Gausin. You may know them as the folks who helped bring the first big Sonic convention “Sonic Revolution” to life in Southern California. This months episode focuses on the history of the franchise from before the major announcement back in February all the way to the recent comic book announcement. So listen in, and I hope you enjoy!
Sonic fans, get ready to open your wallets a little more to make room for THREE monthly Sonic titles. While not officially announced yet, Archie Comics own website has a brand new Sonic Boom comic available for subscription with the first issues cover officially revealed. Here’s the official description.
Here comes the BOOM! Get in on the ground floor with the ALL-NEW ONGOING SONIC COMIC BOOK SERIES from Archie Comics based on the new hit TV series and video game: Sonic Boom! This ground-breaking new chapter in the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise puts a new “spin” on all your favorite heroes and villains—plus new faces and hilarious new stories chock-full of action—and it’s all brought to you by the folks that bring the hit series Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic Universe to you each and every month! Subscribe today and own a piece of Sonic comic history!
But “GASP!” does this mean that Sonic Universe could be cancelled as some have pondered?! The bigger question is, why would it? It’s not like regular, old Archie has a million other titles under his belt and Ian Flynn’s written four books a month before. Not only that, but Sonic X has a had several writers during it’s short tenure. As this is based on a show known for short stories, the basis could be the same here. Myself, I wouldn’t be surprised to see two or three short stories in each issue.
Big thanks to SSMB poster PC The Hedgehog for finding this on Archie’s site.
If anything positive can be said, it shows how much a game’s look can be improved in just a short time (or it could be the effects were turned off to help stabilize frame rate). In the meantime, check out both videos below to see some of the other differences.
One of the things I miseed while at the Sonic Boom booth yesterday was this huge blackboard which appears to be from Tails workshop where he appears to be studying some of the enemy robots and making a little robot buddy of his own. Also, Sonic, Knuckles and Amy leave some comments of their own on the board as well, with their chalk representing their color. I haven’t seen it around on the internet, so I thought you’d enjoy it in full form.
First off, sorry for the quality of these pics as they were taken off my iPod. Second, I’ll have more high quality photos as soon as I can get the picture from Nuckles87. I knew you guys would want to see the new toys as soon as possible and I couldn’t wait to show them to you. There’s quite a lot of toys and vehicles that will be available including the entire known cast. Look out below for some more pics. UPDATE: Speaking of, I just got Alex’s pics from him.
Some plushies of Amy and Tails
This fuzzy picture really burns my bot!
Now you can play “pick-up Sticks”…at the toy store.
Tails and Knuckles
Listen you swindlers. You expect me to buy Eggman in his Eggmobile and then buy him again with Orbot and Cubot?!! Okay.
Tails plane includes Sonic instead of Tails. That makes sense…..somewhere.
OH GOD! HE’S POSSESSED!
A large, articulate Sonic.
Plush Sonic and Knuckles
IT’S THE LAUNCHY THING WHAT LAUNCHES THINGS!!
Knuckles is a Free Rider.
Order from Amazon, and you too can ship Sonic and Amy together.
The waters begin to boil over in this month’s issue!
Tensions are rising in Meropis, and Uproxx has an exclusive preview of the next part of the undersea adventure. Coral has been approached by the royal guard for her failure to reincarnate the ancient chao, so Sonic and Amy go with her and Razor to confront the rulers of the underwater city. But can they win over the government when friction is at an all time high? And what of the Dark Gaia Monsters lurking outside? Find out in “Waves of Change”: part 2. Meanwhile, Sally, Antoine and Tails continue their mission for a Chaos Emerald within Eggman’s base in “Light in the Dark”: part 2.
(W) Ian Flynn, Aleah Baker (A) Evan Stanley & Various (CA) Matt Herms, Tracy Yardley
Dive into the action in ‘Waves of Change’ Part Two! Sonic, Amy, and Rotor-in the deep sea and in deeper trouble! When their new friend Coral has run afoul of her government, will Sonic and the Freedom Fighters stand by her side? Or will they risk becoming fugitives? Then, in ‘The Light in the Dark,’ Sally’s simple raiding plans take a turn for the worse! Featuring new cover art from Sonic superstar Ben Bates and a hilarious new ‘Is it Summer Yet??’ Variant cover by Tracy Yardley! and Matt Herms!
Sonic the Hedgehog #261 is out digitally and in stores this Wednesday. Drown yourself in the experience by picking it up!
So many branches of the franchise, you can’t help but step on one.
Sonic Boom! Exciting prospects, huh? Officially its own branch in continuity with a huge media push behind it. It’s far from the first time that the series has dealt with alternate media though. Currently active is the Archie Sonic comic that gets covered on our site, and in the past there have been programmes like Sonic X (pretty much as big as Sonic Boom when it was announced), the Sonic OVA and the western cartoons. But aside from these, there are yet more branches along the path where either original Sonic stories have been told or other stories have been altered so much that they become their own thing. In this article, I will be covering five pieces of alternate media that may not be so familiar to the average person.
1. Sonic the Comic
1993 was quite a busy year for alternate media. SatAM and AoStH came out and managed to get video game tie-ins in some form, and the Archie comic was launched toward the end of the year which combined the setting and tone of the two cartoons together, at least at first. While this was all well and good for America, what could be used to fill the void for Britain? Enter Egmont Fleetway and their own comic adaptation of the property called Sonic the Comic.
Unlike the Archie comic, Sonic the Comic was a weekly instalment. In return, the individual Sonic stories were generally shorter than their American counterparts, which meant more space for other character stories (sort of like a mini-Sonic Universe) and even stories on other SEGA franchises like Kid Chameleon and Decap Attack (although for this overview, I will not be covering them). It lasted for 223 issues until its eventual cancellation in 2002, although the comic had become mostly reprints by as early as the 180’s which was more due to the management of the company.
The tone from the very start varied between shorter comedic pieces and more serious story arcs, and stayed consistent with the entire run. The setting for the comic has far more game elements in it than Archie did at the time, but it also has a very unique British flair (not that surprising). The art matches that setting to a tee, although whether you like it or not really depends on your taste for the “surreal” interpretation for a lot of the material. The writing also matches the British edge…which means that there are times that characterisation and tone are quite a bit more cynical than other media, to the point that it can come off as strange (for example, Sonic is less social and friendly here than most other interpretations, to the point that his best friend Tails is often the outlet for his verbal frustration).
Speaking of which, talking about the game characters here first is warranted to go at length about the differences of the adaptation of elements.
Sonic, despite his more Marmite personality, is ironically the most similar to the games in every other respect. He is a hero from Mobius who opposes Dr Robotnik’s schemes to take over Mobius, and his super form works differently to other media. What differs most is the origin; he used to be a normal hedgehog who gained his colour and power through an experiment done by the kindly (and thin) Ovi Kintobor.
The downside is that not long after, an accident (set up by Sonic and the Chaotix in the future) made Ovi Kintobor into the mad AoStH-looking Dr Robotnik. Despite looking more like the clownish cartoon incarnation, this man is not to be messed with.
Sonic’s best friend is Tails, a fox from the Nameless Zone who has to prove himself a hero to his peers back home since he claimed to be the hero of Mobius (not unlike game Tails wanting to prove himself). His real name here might as well be Pixel Brain.
Amy used to be the helplessly smitten fangirl before she took up the crossbow part way through the run and became part of the girl power movement. She is also good friends with a comic-exclusive character, Tekno.
Knuckles is an Echidna from the ancient past, reincarnated through various vessels. He also has a neck ring in place of a marking. Tikal summoned Sonic from the past and told him this, while Chaos was a Drakon (Fish monster thing) Prosecutor who was unrelentingly evil.
The Chaotix herald from the Special Zone, which contains important locales like New Tek City. Mighty and Espio are hot-headed rivals, Vector is the leader, only sane man and technical planner, and Charmy is…dumb, hyper and hated by everyone else (this was in 1995, remember. Not something Sonic Heroes influenced). Fang was a member in his comic début, but he quickly showed his true nature by betraying them to Dr Robotnik. They also have a powerful computer-like being with them called the Omni-Viewer.
Metal Sonic isn’t one character. Instead, they’re a whole army of them called the Brotherhood of Metallix. Their power here cannot be overstated, and in one story the only way to stop them was to go back in time and make sure Ovi got caught in the transforming accident (ain’t time a harsh mistress).
Outside of the game cast carried over from the games, there’s a huge array of exclusive characters to add to the mix. Forefront of the lot are the other Freedom Fighters of this continuity; Tekno the Canary, a gadgeteer who is best friends with Amy and often supports Shortfuse both in and out of his armour. Johnny Lightfoot the Rabbit, a friendly rival to Sonic (as friendly as Sonic can be) who is (was) generally a nice guy. Porker Lewis, also a tech expert later on, but is foremost a bit of a scaredy-cat. Finally, Shortfuse the Squirrel Cybernik, a hot-blooded scrapper and good friend of Tekno who was used in an experiment which had him fused with cybernetic armour, although this was reversed near the end. Robotnik’s right-hand man, maintaining the similarities to SatAm (likely because they’re derisive of the same American concept bible), is Grimer. Intelligent and slimy, he’s often the voice of reason for Robotnik, although he’s also very intelligent and loyal to his master. This is probably why he was allowed to shine when Robotnik was out of commission for a while. Dr Zachary is the only other surviving Echidna and is purely out for his own gains. He makes a powerful adversary to Knuckles through how tricky his tactics are. These are just the tip of the ice berg of the cast, which is absolutely huge in part due to how many one-time characters there are.
As said before, the plot varies between a comedic tone (usually in one part comics) and larger, more narrative-based arcs. To sum up the story throughout the comic, the first few issues had Sonic doing his usual job of going around zones and freeing his fellow animals from Badniks, which is revealed to have been a result of him being stuck in a six-month time warp due to shenanigans which let Robotnik conquer. Over this period, a lot of the recurring cast are introduced and there are plenty of lighter stories and game adaptations. It also introduced a fair few of the oddball villains of the comic. The first big game changer was the arrival of the Metallix (which forced Sonic and the Chaotix to go back in time to make sure the accident occurred and thus stopped the evil army’s time meddling) which made Porker Lewis leave the Freedom Fighters, a super Badnik called Brutus being allowed to strike out on his own and forcing Tails to stop him on his own, and Sonic’s super side going a little out of control and leaving him trapped in the Special Zone as Omni-Viewer held said super side.
With Sonic out of the equation and dealing with problems in the Special Zone (mostly New Tek City), Robotnik was free to wreck even more havoc, with only the remaining Freedom Fighters left to control things. Knuckles was occupied with the newly introduced Dr Zachary so couldn’t really help lest Zachary boy got his way and annihilated Mobius. While the Freedom Fighters led on with a rebellion, the situation eventually got resolved when Super Sonic (still separate from Sonic) was sent back to Mobius and the energy shorted out Robotnik’s entire army. This led to a new Robotnik-less period with many minor villains and crooks trying to get a piece of the action, and a group called DRAT working to revive Robotnik back to power. Robotnik himself had gone to the Drakons for help, and was successful in getting the Chaos Emeralds and becoming a god. Sonic won the ensuing fight and Robotnik was assumed dead. After this, the other Freedom Fighters got to branch out and do their own hero work (including the Amy and Tekno stories that led to a running gag about them).
Eventually, it turned out that Robotnik had been sent to a planet called Shanazar, with Sonic on his tail while being made an outlaw there. Despite his plan to merge the two planets together coming to fruition, the actual event didn’t do anything, which left Mobius in another calm period where the heores explored new zones and time periods from the formed portals…but left Robotnik completely homicidal and wanting to destroy Mobius instead of just taking it over. The next plan ended no better for him and left him down in the dumps. As a result, Grimer released Chaos to try and make things better, only for him to bail when Robotnik gathered the Chaos Emeralds with intent to destroy Mobius. The fight between Perfect Chaos and the Freedom Fighters left Johnny Lightfoot dead, Sonic knowing about Knuckles’ ancient past, and Super Sonic (who had been rendered pacifist by the time of being sent back to Mobius) back to being less savoury and forced to merge with Sonic once again to take down the monster. The resolution of the Sonic Adventure adaptation was the final new story in Sonic the Comic, and it would be exclusively reprints for another fifty issues before finally getting the axe.
During its run, the comic gained quite a large fan following. After it went out of print, several fans have come together to keep continuing the stories they loved through online fancomics. The most famous of these is Sonic the Comic, which still updates to this day and has backing from Sonic the Comic writers and artists alike (as well as being able to get in Archie artists for one of its features). It’s notable for continuing the tone of the original comic while integrating later game characters and adding their own spin to the world. Whether it’s this or other continuations about, even though the comic stopped over a decade ago, it’s certainly lived on afterwards quite healthily.
Accessibility: While the issues aren’t super common, they can turn up on eBay a bit since Sonic the Comic was pretty popular while it was in print. Alternatively, there are users online who sell on occasion through message boards.
This particular overlooked media (which is from the company who also made an adaptation of Sonic 1 which marked Vector’s first publicised appearance) is an oddity amongst its brethren; amongst all media that isn’t the games, the earlier series is far and away the single most influential of them all. Debuting in 1992, most people know that it brought with it two characters that are well known to Sonic gamers; Amy Rose and Charmy Bee. What they were like, how the design process went for them and many other features of the Manga are otherwise elusive even to the most dedicated of media researchers. For example, the regular Shogakukan series had one set of designs, while the CoroCoro specials had different designs which were muck closer to the SegaSonic standard (indeed, that’s where CD Amy’s design is taken from). But we do know quite a bit at least, so here are some of the many oddities that this important piece of history has.
To start with, Sonic is Superman…sort of. Nicky is an ordinary hedgehog boy who ends up crashing into a stand of bottles during one of his regular beatings. After this, a strange thing happens in times of futility; he turns into Sonic the Hedgehog and is ready to deliver pain upon whoever wronged him! This is partially tied into the Mary Garnet story that’s mentioned in the Japanese Sonic game bible, as Sonic is revealed to be the spirit of the pilot in the story, who also worked to bring Nicky’s parents together in war.
Speaking of which, we might as well run down the character cast and setting. Aside from Nicky Kent, we have his sister Tania (or Anita based on the story) and parents Paulie and Brenda. Paulie is a pilot whose plane was brought down in an undisclosed war, who gives life advice to Nicky and even joins him on the occasional escapade. Brenda was a mechanic in the same war, although in the present time she acts more as a housewife. Tania is mostly just a handful who even makes Eggman suffer when he abducts her. They live in a town called Hedgehog Town (creative) where the majority of the residents are the same species. Amongst them is Amy Rose, a hedgehog Nicky is in love with, which is problematic when Amy is in love with his alter-ego. Little Jon exists.
Some non-Hedgehogs round out the cast of oddballs, the latter three of which may be familiar. Anton Veruca is the bully of the cast, not unlike 80’s Saturday morning villains like Catchem or Croc (brownies if you know those dopes). Sometimes he’s merely a nuisance with his brothers/gang (one of who, Matt, is named), other times he’s being an
accomplice with Dr Eggman, and sometimes he’s trying to date Amy ala Bowser. Dr Eggman is the main villain. As per the games, comes with traps and machines to eliminate Sonic, who he quickly works out is connected to Nicky. The plots involving him are as zany as you’d expect from the mad doctor. Tails is here too, and he’s slightly more…punk than usual, at least for a while. At first he’s more insistent on being cool and distant, but as soon as Anton acts up he’s willing to pitch a hand, and he’s more than enthusiastic about seeing Sonic. Finally, Charmy Bee is Silver the Hedgehog. Or he might as well be since he was so different. In his début, he was able to control time, and exclusively helped out the super side when he was in peril. Of what we know of CoroCoro’s adaptation of Sonic 2 that would have included Charmy, he acted more like a helper for Sonic and Tails and much more closely resembled his Sonic Heroes design.
Plot-wise, the early Manga series isn’t that plot heavy. Usually it’s either Eggman having come up with a machine to terrorise Sonic (and as a result the other residents of Hedgehog Town), or Anton trying to push his affection onto Amy in some way, or sometimes even both! The stories do come with some nice character moments though, and the aforementioned exposition on how Nicky’s parents met and its link to the Mary Garnet story is a touching read (it’s Archie equivalent is how the now non-existing Jules and Bernie met in the Great War). That said, the Manga is still very light-hearted in tone, and while there are moments of peril, it never gets dark (unless you find Bowser’s obsession with Peach dark, anyway).
Before we finish up with this section, I want to make a nod to Shogakukan’s later Sonic Manga series, Dash and Spin. Spanning two volumes and released between 2003 and 2005, these Manga were far removed from their then-decade old forerunners. They were very loosely based on Sonic Adventure, Sonic Adventure 2 and the Advance games released prior to 2003. By which I mean they has the characters from the Adventure games while Cream and Rouge made a cameo in the second volume. The premises for these stories (both the short strips and the longer stories) were downright nonsensical and not linked by any particular plot. It’s easily one of the most out-there pieces of media ever made under the official Sonic name. And it’s a barrel of fun for it.
Accessibility: Good luck trying to get any pages of the 1992-1993 series from even Japanese sources, this thing is super rare! There used to be a dedicated site hosting scanlations, but it has since become defunct. If you want to read them, pretty much the only option now is Youtube which has the ones scanlated up. In this case, I don’t think going there is such a big deal.
Dash and Spin is pretty rare, but not as rare because it’s more recent. You can probably find it through Japanese sources or some seller who’s imported it.
PS: The old chestnut about the old Manga appearing in Shogaku Yonensei is a bit off; the Manga was in books with grades, but ironically enough it seems it was never present in Yonensei. A younger grade like Ninensei was more likely to have them.
3. Man Of The Year
An animation from a video game that’s somehow forgotten.
Man of the Year is a short animation feature that was present in Sonic Jam, the Saturn’s compilation of the classic Mega Drive games. When you ask Sonic fans what Sonic Jam’s most distinctive feature is, most will point to the 3D overworld that acts as a hub to play the games, view the galleries and complete challenges.
However, tucked away amongst the galleries is this little cartoon. Surprisingly, the animation for the most part is very Western in style, to the point that the humans look like they stepped out of a Warner animation. It’s a very simple premise; Sonic is voted Man of the Year (should really be ‘Hog of the Year), Eggman gets angry about it, tries to defame Sonic. Set to a score of both public domain music and Sonic CD music, what sets it apart is just how bombastic and fantastic Eggman is in this short. He’s always emotive and energetic. At the start he’s in his pyjamas (a reference to the concept art?) and simply raging like a maniac until he gets his big idea. In the city, he lets loose and becomes a ball of fun as he terrorises the citizens with face-drawing, spindashing (!) and car-jumping antics, showing agility that not even outrunning Super Sonic can match.
Furthermore, despite the “To be continued” text, it never was finished, so technically Eggman won in the same way he won Sonic Chronicles. Who says you have to be super serious to be a success.
Accessibility: Unlike the other entries, this one is super easy to gain access to; it’s on Youtube as of writing. Otherwise, you need a SEGA Saturn and a copy of Sonic Jam, which are pretty hard to get hold of now.
4. Sonic Adventures: Dans Les Griffes De Robotnik
In the mid-nineties, everyone was having a go at adapting the games into comic format in their own way. Archie and Fleetway had various ones under their belt, faithfulness varying, and even Shogakukan had some parts of Sonic 2 adapted. Not ones to be left out, French publisher Sirène had their own shot at adapting Sonic 3 and Knuckles with two volumes as part of a series called Sonic Adventures. While this wouldn’t seem so odd at first, there are a few subtle changes that propel this from just a plain comic adaptation to a strange continuity in its own right.
Being that this was European, Sonic Adventures has much in common with the British Sonc the Comic. For example, the designs of Dr Robotnik and Amy are very similar to that of their Fleetway portrayals, and the grey Chaos Emerald has a heightened importance here that’s not in the games. Plot-wise, the comic starts out very simply; Robotnik has Sonic in his hands (the title, “Dans Les Griffes De Robotnik”, translates to “In the Clutches of Robotnik”), Tails helps Sonic escape, Robotnik kidnaps Amy as bait, Sonic and Tails have to go rescue her. While not entirely faithful to Sonic 3, it starts out benign enough. Sonic and Tails travel through environments with game elements while avoiding peril, then get knocked into water, follow the river course and come across a tribe of Echidnas working on the cliff face by the waterfall they’re about to go down.
This is probably the big thing about this particular alternate media. The Echidnas aren’t all dead, they’re alive and well! At least Knuckles is leading the tribe, right?
Meet Princess Alucion, Knuckles’ replacement for the duration of the first issue. She’s the leader of the Echidna tribe, and is pretty similar to Knuckles in almost every personality aspect aside from being able to tell Robotnik isn’t such a good doctor much more quickly. At least she has that rocking outfit to go with it.
Why did Sirène make this change? Beats me. The rest of the comic, while dealing with the Echidna tribe as well, ultimately follows a game-faithful path of getting the Chaos Emeralds, earning Knu—I mean Alucion’s trust so she helps them, and just saving the day in general (although Tails does think Sonic and Amy died at one point). You even get special stages and the typical Super Sonic ending here (something which they got from the games and not from Fleetway). Even though the changes are minor, they give this comic the honour of being the first to introduce the ideas of both a Knuckles tribe and a named female Echidna, pre-dating Archie by about three years (both volumes came out in 1994).
As a little addition, Sirène also published a guide for Sonic and Knuckles with its own little comic. Knuckles is present this time…but it’s not exactly a big adventure. Sonic and Knuckles are playing the video game in a home. That’s about it. Thrill a minute, isn’t it.
Accessibility: Tricky, but not impossible. I’m sure copies turn up on occasion on eBay, but it might be better to just check French auction sites instead.
5. Storybooks. Lots Of Them.
The written word is likely the most overlooked media out of all of them. When you think of characters from outside the games, you’d be more likely to find mentions of characters from all of the above than the likes of, say, Digger the Woodchuck or Whiffy the Skunk. And yet, there have been several series of story books and game books in both the UK and the US. Some are more like side stories to other media; others are worlds all to themselves.
Firstly, there are the stories from Golden Books. These are US-based and are essentially tie-ins to SatAM/Archie. Their tone, however, was more akin to AoStH or, more accurately, the pilot episode of SatAM. This is probably why the series had nonsensical plots about secret admirers and missing shoes, and why the designs were of the beta looks. Very simple stuff that’s more geared toward SatAM fans (if you like slapstick though). Otherwise, they’re not particularly that significant.
Also from America are the novels from Troll Associates publishing. This series is also set within the SatAM/Archie setting, although this time it takes its cues from the more serious side. That is, when it’s a story and not just a fact book. Notable for this story series is the fact that a book was made called Sonic X-Treme, although it has zero association with the cancelled game of the same name. Otherwise, the books are typical children’s novels with the occasional picture thrown in for good measure. They also try to expand on the SatAM universe, using original characters and concepts, like the idea of there being a master list of all the Freedom Fighter members. There’s even one book which brings Knuckles into the equation, something not done in more famous alternate media until Sonic Underground! It also sometimes contradicts things established in the cartoon series itself, and other times gets things flat-out wrong (Rotor is not a Sea Lion…). Simple stories, but the better option if you want some SatAM reading.
Ladybird, a big name in British publishing, produced a number of both story books and game books between 1994 and 1995. The story books are like the Golden Books in tone, but the setting is very firmly based in the games and not SatAM or even Sonic the Comic. The stories themselves are for very young readers so there isn’t much to them aside from Robotnik making a plan and Sonic and Tails stopping him, since both are based on Sonic 2. The game books are in the “Choose Your Own Adventure” style and are for a slightly older audience. These books are bigger in length and feature later games in their narratives as well. Overall, these books aren’t big on differentiating themselves, but they’re the closest to adapting the games faithfully of pretty much any alternate media ever made for Sonic.
The Virgin Publishing books, written by three people under one name, are text-based, which is unique amongst the alternate Sonic media. It is a mix of comedy and serious narrative which is…not particularly set in any other media. The origin story is shared with Sonic the Comic, but the characters from other media that appear (Johnny, Porker, Sally, Tux) are more based on the game animals than their comic selves. And there’s also extra supporting cast although none that are particularly memorable. Even if the new characters aren’t that memorable, the stories are; for example, Sonic and the Silicon Warriors is Sonic and Tails jumping between video games and fighting their characters (knock-offs of real ones like Tetris and Mario) to beat Robotnik, and Sonic in the Fourth Dimension is about Sonic going back in time to stop Robotnik from being formed only for some sort of Mythos Creature to catalyse the change anyway (which isn’t how StC dealt with it). Quite the bizarre premises. There’s also a little flipbook animation in the corner of the pages, how quaint.
Finally, there are the Penguin Fantail game books. These are also in the “Choose Your Own Adventure” style, and steeped very much in Sonic the Comic lore (to the point that they published Stay Sonic, which is Sonic’s origin in the Fleetway comic). These are longer and darker stories at about 200 pages each. While the stories can sound pretty basic, there are some dark moments in them (for example, in the Zone Zapper, Tails can end up roboticised and Sonic has to leave his friend with tears in his eyes). It has Knuckles and Amy in later books, and even a doppelgänger of Sonic called Zonic in-text (Zonik on the cover)! If you like game books and more heavy hitting moments, these might be up your alley.
Accessibility: Actually quite easy for the British books. You’ll probably need to go to Amazon and eBay, sure, but they’re more common than the comics. You can probably pick up a used copy from a general book seller for cheap. You can get the American ones via the same avenues…but for quite a bit more.
Note: I was unable to look over the Virgin Publishing books myself (that’s how overlooked they are), which is why that section was written under guidance from Doctor MK, who owns all four books. He enjoys the books.
As you can see, there’s a plethora of alternate media that’s been tucked away and left out of sight for a long while. Part of this is likely due to the age in which they were released; things were harder to keep tabs on in the 90’s when there was little to no internet available. As such, it’s unlikely that such overlooked alternate media will spring up in the future of the franchise. But if it somehow does, it’ll be quite fun to discover and explore it as we should do!
After saying farewell to nautical adventures in another dimension, it’s time see what’s happening closer to home…in space!
Sonic Universe #59 starts off our first look at team Dark in the new world. They can’t even get a moment’s rest as the impending invasion of the newly reformed Black Arms looms. What’s changed for our anti-heroes? How did the villains manage to recover from their last beat down? And what mysteries lie within the new Black Comet? Start the journey with a five page preview in anticipation of the release of “Shadow Fall”: Part 1.
BRAND NEW STORY ARC! Jump aboard the action as we begin the “Shadow Fall” saga! Team Dark is sent into the deep, dark depths of space to stop the approach of – the Black Comet?! It hasn’t even been fifty years! The Black Comet is home to an evil, violent race of aliens known as The Black Arms, but the Black Arms were defeated months ago—so who are these new alien invaders inhabiting the comet sent to consume the earth? And what sinister new villain awaits Shadow in its depths? You cannot miss this gritty, alien-blasting new storyline with art from Jamal Peppers, and cover art from Tracy Yardley! Plus a killer SHADOW variant cover from T. REX!
Script: Ian Flynn
Art: Jamal Peppers, Jim Amash, Jack Morelli and Matt Herms
Cover: Tracy Yardley! and Steve Downer
SHADOW Variant Cover: T.Rex
On Sale at Comic Specialty Shops: 12/18
32-page, full color comic
The comic was officially released physically and digitally December 18th, so you can get your copy of this first foray into the dark unknown from your local comic shop or through digital comic providers right now!
Two more comics are coming out for the Spring period, and one particular story stands out.
First up, from Midtown Comics, we get a first look at Sonic Super Special Magazine #11. Amongst the various features and articles that the magazines usually come with, there is also an “encore presentation” of the currently running Countdown to Chaos arc (which will likely be highlights). The one feature likely of interest to everyone is Sonic Comic Origins, as this comic strip forms the magazine’s new content.
(W) Ian Flynn (A) Jennifer Hernandez, Rick Bryant (CA) Sega
The secret origin of the new Sonic universe: revealed! The Sonic Super Special Magazine gives you the world of Sonic the Hedgehog comics as you’ve never seen it before, with tons of comic stories, special features and exclusive articles on the latest and greatest in the world of everyone’s favorite blue hedgehog-hero! Along with the all-new Sonic Origins mini-feature, this issue also features a special encore presentation of the history making ‘countdown to chaos’ storyline, and much much more!
But that’s not the only place you can find the story, as Comic Book Resources has revealed! Free Comic Book Day 2014 occurs on May 3rd, and if you can get yourself down to a participating comic shop on that day, you can get this Sonic/Megaman X Flipbook comic (it’s not a crossover) and a slew of other comics for free! In this years offering, find out how the Freedom Fighters first banded together to become the world-saving force they’re known as in the new reality.
(W) Ian Flynn (A) Patrick “SPAZ” Spaziante, Jennifer Hernandez, Lamar Wells, Rick Bryant, Gary Martin, John Workman, Jack Morelli and Matt Herms
(CA) Ben Bates
Its TWO free comic books in ONE! Hot off the heels of the ultra-successful Sonic/Mega Man crossover event, “Worlds Collide”, comes a showcase issue of the hottest new storylines in both characters’ universes — exclusively for Free Comic Book Day! Somic stars in “Blast to the Past” and the origin of his Freedom Fighters! Then, on the flipside of this issue, get ready for the “Mega Man X” crossover event with this primer story!
32pgs, FC FREE!
If you want background information on the comic universe as it is now, either one of these would be great accompanying pieces! More info on both will come closer to release. You’ll have to look in the grocery shops for SSSM#11, and keep a note in your diary of the date for FCBD’14.
Two story arcs are coming to a gripping end in March 2014!
Spring is said to symbolise the beginning of new life. These first looks at Sonic the Hedgehog #259 and Sonic Universe #62 feature the endings of the stories that have been casting a first glance at the new life of several of our beloved characters in this new reality.
Courtesy of IGN, we know that Sonic the Hedgehog #259 continues the train ride from the last issue as Sonic and the Freedom Fighters square off against a fearsome Badnik foe to rescue its hostages. Can they stop this particularly radical train before it reaches its destination? This is “The Chase”: Part 2.
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #259
“The brand new world of Sonic the Hedgehog barrels ahead at breakneck speed with “The Chase” Part Two: Sonic fights for his life against a NEW terrifying super-badnik! Just to make matters worse, they’re battling on an out-of-control train! With Dr. Eggman waiting at the depot, Sonic’s in a fight against time – and killer robots! Featuring high-speed cover art from Sonic artist supreme TRACY YARDLEY! plus an exclusive SEGA game art variant!”
Script: Ian Flynn
Art: Evan Stanley, Terry Austin, John Workman and Steve Downer
Cover: Tracy Yardley! Game Art Variant Cover art provided by SEGA
On Sale at Comic Specialty Shops: 4/9
32-page, full color comic
Den of Geek reveals that Sonic Universe #62 brings a close to team Dark’s first solo arc since the very beginning of Universe’s run, and the first look at them after “When Worlds Collide”. This epic climax sounds like an action film with showdowns, rescues and a nuclear bomb waiting to go off! Read about Shadow, Rouge and Omega’s adventure in “Shadow Fall”: Part 4.
SONIC UNIVERSE #62
“The EPIC CONCLUSION to the alien-smashing saga starring Shadow the Hedgehog IS HERE! “Shadow Fall” Part Four: Shadow vs. Black Death – for the fate of the world! Who will walk away alive? Who won’t make it to see a new day? Meanwhile, Rouge and Omega desperately try to save their G.U.N. comrades as Eclipse hunts them down! All this with a ticking nuclear time-bomb in the background! Don’t miss the pulse-pounding conclusion! Featuring new cover art from Tracy Yardley! and a special “CGI” variant by newcomer Sonic superstar Rafa Knight!”
Script: Ian Flynn
Art: Jamal Peppers, Jim Amash, Jack Morelli and Matt Herms
Cover: Tracy Yardley!, Jim Amash and Steve Downer
CGI Variant Cover: Rafa Knight
On Sale at Comic Specialty Shops: 3/26
32-page, full color comic
These endings are bound to be explosive in one way or another. There will be a closer look at the comics closer to the time of release. Keep your eyes peeled!
After the Archie Megaman and Sonic meet up which of course lead to the inevitable (warning spoilers ahead) beating up of both the blue blur’s major foes (Megaman and Sonic). Things are not quiet same in Sonic’s World.
At all Costs (issue 252) picks up where Worlds collide left off back on mobius but the world isn’t the same place it was before Worlds Collide.
SONIC IS BACK and facing the HUGE consequences of the mega-hit Sonic/Mega Man crossover story arc in “At All Costs” Part Two! As the crossover crashed to a close, Sonic and Tails have returned to a world which is reeling from the cataclysmic effects of the Eggman/Wily genesis wave! The damage was severe, the threats have changed, and the mysteries are piling up! What has happened to Naugus in this new landscape? What is the final fate of Sally Acorn? Sonic and Tails are ready to tackle all the drama ahead of them—but first they must survive the wrath of the terrifying Tails Doll!
From there, we launch into the new saga Countdown to Chaos, part one (issue 253) Sonic and his trusty sidekick Knuckles… okay I kid you all know it’s Tails journey to find their missing friends in the hopes of restoring the world they only vaguely remember.
The biggest, most shocking event in Sonic comic history is underway, and YOU can grab a front-row seat in “Countdown to Chaos” part one! Sonic and Tails are on a journey to the Mystic Ruins jungle in search of their missing pals. What they encounter is sure to surprise you! Meanwhile, Dr. Eggman begins the long trek back to his deadly Death Egg II battle fortress. Will our heroes find him and stop him before he launches again? And just who, or what, is the “Sky Patrol” and what does it have to do with the missing Freedom Fighters? Don’t miss a moment of the chaos, featuring the first in a series of ALL-NEW inter-connecting covers by Sonic art superstar Ben Bates, and bone-chilling variant cover by T.REX!
Part 2 (issue 254) see’s the the return of a long time Archie mainstay after his rather sad… err how to put this… what’s the tactful way of saying he was bedridden with horrific injuries obtained while defending the realm? Huh guess there isn’t really a tactful way, anyway look Antoine is back and he’s all magically better! (Also it’s not spoilers if the returning character teased in the official synopsis is on the front cover)
The long-awaited debut of the NEW Freedom Fighters CONTINUES! The mysteries deepen as Sonic and Tails find their long lost pal Antoine! But what is the state of our formerly fallen fellow freedom fighter? What has Uncle Chuck’s research uncovered about the nature of the dark power they’ve found seeping from the earth? And an unlikely return of a character you won’t expect alongside Uncle Chuck! PLUS—Eggman versus G.U.N.! The prize: Eggman’s life!
Part 3 (issue 255) see’s the return of another Freedom Fighter main stay that has been sadley missing lately, I’m starting to detect a theme here, are you?
The Freedom Fighters are one step closer to completion with the bombastic, bouncing debut of the battlin’ Bunnie Rabbot! But the journey isn’t over yet—some of Sonic’s teammates are still missing, and it’s up to the blue blur and his best buddy Tails to find them! What shocking secrets will our heroes uncover? And just what is the “countdown to chaos” counting down to? Meanwhile, Dr. Eggman returns to the Death Egg to test out his dire predictions. Is it possible that the unspeakable evil known as Eggman could be the only one who can save the world?
You know what? I think I was on to something with the theme, because guess who makes a much needed return in part 4 (issue 256)? I’ll give you one hint, she’s on the front cover, you know the one wearing the new clothes which caused outrage amongst the old archie fans when the re-design was first announced… yes that one.
It’s the dramatic conclusion to the epic ‘Countdown to Chaos’ saga! In Part Four, it’s a race against time as the countdown reaches its thrilling end! Metal Sonic is out to kill Sally and the Death Egg II has launched-things are not going well for our true blue hero! Can he and Tails get to the Aquatic Ruins Zone in time to save the day? And what horrifying discovery awaits Dr. Eggman? You definitely won’t want to miss this earth-shattering climax of the storyline that shook the Sonic comic books to the core!
Issue 252 landed in comic book stores in October, 253 in November. 254 is out this month, 255 in January and issue 256 in February.
EDIT: Oh and a quick shout out to HypTS for linking to this awesome image of the Countdown to Chaos covers put together.
Originally form cover artist Ben Bates, Check it out on his deviant art page here.
Get your headphones on boys and girls, cuz this one’s a bit hard to hear otherwise. Alex and I were in attendance at the Sonic/Megaman panel at the San Diego Comic Con Sunday and managed to get footage of the Q&A portion of the panel using Alex’s super nice HD video camera (somebody turn me into a sammich ‘cuz I’m jelly of that thing). There were tons of fans in attendance including some awesome cosplayers including an awesome Eggman and Sally. If anyone can hear this well enough to transcribe it, I’d gladly add it in later.
The Sonic/Mega Man panel took place at the San Diego comic con today and it was one of the biggest and most interesting ones yet. We got a sneek peek at the future of the Sonic books, a Q & A with a Sally cosplayer having Ian free her bonds from both Eggman and Wily cosplayers (we may have video of that later in the week) and even Ken Penders was in attendance in the back of the audience (he did not say anything though and merely watched the panel). Those in attendance also got a goodie bag full of Sonic and Mega Man comics and the Sonic Super Special poster issue. While we only got a couple of pics, they are in good detail. Hit the comments section below to see the rest.
UPDATE: Bonus pics of the Sally and Eggman Cosplayers.
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