|Sonic the Fighters|
|Developer: Sega AM2 AM Ishoku Team|
|Distributor: Deith Leisure (UK)|
|System(s): Sega Model 2B CRX, PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Now|
Sonic the Fighters (ソニック・ザ・ファイターズ), originally released as Sonic Championship in North America and Europe, is a versus fighting game developed for Sega Model 2B CRX arcade hardware by Sega AM2. It was released in relatively small numbers across the world during 1996.
To date, Sonic the Fighters is the only Sonic fighting game of its kind.
Sonic the Fighters is a one-on-one versus fighting game similar in design to AM2's previous arcade fighting game outings; Virtua Fighter (and Virtua Fighter 2) and Fighting Vipers. Like these games, the objective is to attack the opposing player until a health bar depletes to zero over the best of three rounds. Rounds are also time-limited, meaning if nobody is defeated after a time counter reaches zero, the player with the most energy remaining is declared the winner. If both health bars are at the same value at the end of the round, a "draw" is called and the round is played again.
As one of eight selectable fighters, the player is tasked with completing ten matches in succession to beat the game. There are also three buttons, "barrier" (), "punch" (), and "kick" (), which along with a joystick for movement, can combined to perform more complicated moves and inflict more damage. Taking cues from Fighting Vipers, each of the arenas is enclosed by walls, although unlike that game, it is not possible to slam opponents through them at the end of the match.
Like other Sega fighting games from this period, the world is presented in 3D, but characters still fight on a 2D plane (albeit one that "rotates" depending on which moves are used)
Under normal circumstances, Sonic the Fighters contains eight playable characters, with a further two being controlled exclusively by the computer.
When two similar characters face each other the second player will be replaced with a grayscale version. If a character defeats the first eight opponents, he or she will face Metal Sonic and Doctor Eggman,
While likely not intentional, Sonic the Fighters started its development during the creation of Fighting Vipers. During his spare time, an unknown AM2 developer added crude, but playable versions of Sonic and Tails to the Fighting Vipers codebase. Neither were finished and cannot be selected during normal play, but it was enough to attract AM2 head Yu Suzuki, who delivered the Sonic the Fighters concept to Hiroshi Kataoka.
At first, Kataoka was worried that Sonic characters beating each other up wouldn't be approved by Yuji Naka, however Naka was actually very receptive to the concept. A decision was then made to continue working with the Fighting Vipers engine, modifying it to better represent the world of Sonic, and simplifying the gameplay. Sonic the Fighters remains very close to Fighting Vipers in terms of style, with one of several unused characters even resembling Honey from the aforementioned game.
Sonic the Fighters was the first game to render Sonic the Hedgehog as a 3D polygonal model in real time. Many teams at Sega struggled at the time to convert what was then a predominantly 2D character into the third dimension, and AM2 were initially no exception, however Sonic is unique for having been partially designed in 3D from the outset. A physical 3D model of Sonic, used by the artists of the original Sonic the Hedgehog to better understand how the character should aniamte, was reportedly given by Naka to the team for reference.
From the moment of its announcement it was expected, and later confirmed, that Sonic the Fighters would be ported to the Sega Saturn in the months that followed, however no such version ever materialised. Sonic and Tails are not present in the Saturn version of Fighting Vipers either, however Bean and Bark would make an appearance in the 1997 release of Fighters Megamix.
Sonic the Fighters would not make it to the home until the 2005 release of Sonic Gems Collection. It was at this point where the "Sonic Championship" name was dropped from international versions and has never been used since. Sonic the Fighters would then be brought to the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade as part of Model 2 Collection.
While a fighting game of this style has not been attempted since Sonic the Fighters' original release, Sonic Battle for Game Boy Advance offers an alternative style of Sonic fighting game, and Sonic was added as a selectable fighter in the Wii game Super Smash Bros. Brawl and its two sequels; Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Super Smash Bros. for 3DS.
|Sonic the Fighters|
|Sonic games for the following systems|
| 1991 Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car 1993 Sonic the Hedgehog | SegaSonic Cosmo Fighter Galaxy Patrol | Sonic the Hedgehog 2 | SegaSonic the Hedgehog 1996 Sonic the Fighters 2011 Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing |
Prototypes SegaSonic the Hedgehog (revision A)
|1992 UFO Mini: SegaSonic 1993 Sonic the Hedgehog | SegaSonic Popcorn Shop 1994 Sonic's Space Tours 1997 Sonic the Hedgehog AWP 2002 Sonic & Tails Spinner 2003 CR Sonic 2007 Sonic Spinner 2008 Sonic Live!|
|2010 Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I | Sonic Adventure 2011 Sonic the Hedgehog | Sonic the Hedgehog 2 | Sonic the Hedgehog Anniversary Bundle | Sonic the Hedgehog CD 2012 Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II | Sonic Adventure 2 | Classic Sonic Bundle | Sonic the Fighters 2013 Sonic the Hedgehog Master Collection|
|2007 Sonic the Hedgehog | Sonic the Hedgehog 2 2009 Sonic the Hedgehog 3 | Sonic & Knuckles 2010 Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I | Sonic Adventure 2011 Sonic the Hedgehog CD 2012 Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II | Sonic Adventure 2 | Sonic the Fighters|