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"Sonic The Hedgehog": A Classic, Or a Sign of Bad Games to Come?

Mobius is in a state of war. Julian Kintobor has usurped the throne of the Kingdom of Acorn and re-christened its capital “Robotropolis” and himself “Dr. Robotnik.” Using stolen technology, he is out to turn his enemies into mindless slaves and pollute the planet. One force stands in his way. The Freedom Fighters, with the fastest thing alive on their side, hope to reclaim their world. It’s not going to be a quick task for the speedy Sonic the Hedgehog.

If you’ve ever played a video game, you know Sonic the Hedgehog. The blue hedgehog became popular thanks to the excellent games on the Sega Genesis, and he will forever be Sega’s mascot. This animated series debuted around about the time the character got his own comic book.

Fourteen years later, a redesigned blue hedgehog has been starring in severely sub-par games on the consoles of former competitor Nintendo and newbies Sony and Microsoft. Sonic’s comic book—which has proven to be one of the longest-running comic books based on a license, and easily the longest one based on a video game—is headed towards its 175th issue.

One constant? Sonic the Hedgehog was defeated in the ratings by Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.

One show is still on the air. The comic book is still ongoing.

For someone who watched Power Rangers over Sonic back in the day, how am I supposed to take THIS series?

Years ago, the capital city of Mobotropolis was taken over in a coup by the evil Dr. Robotnik. Since then, the guerilla-fighting Freedom Fighters have fought to reclaim their city. Princess Sally Acorn, the head tactician, is out to reclaim her royal right. Sonic the Hedgehog (voiced by Jaleel White) would rather have fun than fight but knows his responsibilities. Bunnie Rabbot, a victim of Robotnik’s “Robotocizer”, is the southern-sounding strength, while Rotor knows his technology. Showing up too much is the French parody Antoine (luckily voiced by Rob Paulson), and too little is Tails the Fox, the young two-tailed fox and “Junior Freedom Fighter.” This team is out to defeat Dr. Robotnik and his nephew Snively, rescue Sally’s dad and Sonic’s uncle, and reclaim their home over the course of 26 episodes.

This is roughly the same plot as in the comic book, which I have to state that I preferred back in the day. It’s not that this is a bad show; like Batman: The Animated Series, it had a slight darkness when it could have been very lighthearted. (In fact, its sister show, The Adventures Of Sonic The Hedgehog, was a lighthearted take on the material.) The plots are entertaining, and while the character balance is off (Antoine gets way too much airtime; Tails rarely shows up) at times, animation and acting are as good as the plot, so take that for what you will.

This four-disc set comes with a small variety of extras: interviews with Jaleel White and writer Ben Hurst; a few deleted and extended sequences; the entire storyboard for “The Doomsday Project”; an alternate, unused opening title sequence; and a printable script for “Heads Or Tails.” In a nice touch, all of the box art except the front cover has been drawn by fans.

And I can see why this show had fans back in the day, but I’m befuddled that it still has fans fourteen years later. There’s a much better comic book out there, it’s biggest competitor has continued for years, and finishing the box set doesn’t exactly leave me wanting more. Still, for a 26-episode series, it’s got a nice run of episodes, and if you’re a Sonic fan and can find it for the right price, go ahead and hit this 1-UP Monitor.

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