Not only did Sonic have his own arcade game you likely never heard of, the Blue Blur also had his own fighting game. Recently the game has been much easier to come by, being included in the Gamecube’s Sonic Gems Collection as well as a standalone port on the PS3 and Xbox 360. The planned Sega Saturn release was cancelled in the late 90s, so for a good while the only way to play this game was in the arcades. And even then, it was difficult.
But after finding the game (and really playing it on the 360, which was called Sonic the Fighters) I am not sure it was worth it. Maybe for the shock factor of simply seeing Sonic in a fighting game. But overall the actual gameplay leaves quite a lot to be desired. The game is based on Sega’s other fighting game series Fighting Vipers, which did eventually see a Sega Saturn port. It’s honestly a bit surprising, then, considering the amount of successful fighting games the developers over at Sega AM2 created Sonic Championship didn’t turn out better.
Aside from Sonic the Hedgehog, playable characters also include series favorites Tails, Knuckles, and Amy. Lesser known characters Espio the Chameleon (from Knuckles Chaotix) and Fang (from the Game Gear games) round out the cast of known combatants. Newcomers making their debut are Bark the Polar Bear and Bean the Dynamite, who is a green duck and confusingly not an anthropomorphic stick of explosive. Seeing these characters in full polygonal 3D was and still is pretty cool.
Gameplay for me was the weakest link here, and that’s a big disappointment. The game only utilizes three buttons: punch, kick, and defend. Sadly, though, the action for me amounted to a lot of button mashing. Certain characters can simply spam punch to deal a good amount of damage, and not put any thought into it. The computer controlled opponents were either ridiculously easy or horribly cheap, and there was no real challenge to it.
Honestly the hardest thing about this game is just finding it. I had heard of the game growing up but never actually saw a cabinet until visiting Galloping Ghost. Thankfully I had played it before then, but what a cool sight it is to see Sonic and Knuckles letting out their anger toward one another at the arcade!
*Played at Galloping Ghost Arcade in Brookfield, IL 2019