You may be surprised to learn that one of the least well-known Sonic games may actually be one of the best. Marking Sonic's first entry into the coin-op scene, SegaSonic the Hedgehog Arcade paved the way for Sonic's only other arcade outing – Sonic Fighters .
SegaSonic the Hedgehog was released only in Japan arcades in June of 1993. It did make it across the ocean unofficially to other areas such as the United Kingdom, where Sega itself imported the game for its Sega World arcade in London. Since the game was never meant to leave the island of Japan, the menus and dialogue are available only in the native Japanese language. However, the game play itself is universal, easy to navigate and a blast to play!
The game stars Sonic the Hedgehog, and also introduced two new characters to the Sega franchise. If you think that Mighty the Armadillo looks a lot like Sega's long lost brother, it was not by accident. Mighty was actually the original design concept for Sonic before being dumped. Other than this arcade outing, Mighty only makes a brief appearance in the 32x game Knuckles Chaotix . Ray the Flying Squirrel is just plain abandoned after his debut in this coin-op, never to be heard from again in videogame format. Ray's adventures did continue in Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog comic book series.
Dr. Eggman, known as Dr. Robotnik stateside, has set up base on an island and hatched yet another plan to conquer the world! When Sonic, Mighty and Ray unexpectedly find themselves on Eggman Island, they are captured and incarcerated in a large foreboding tower.
SegaSonic the Hedgehog plays like, and has many similarities to, the classic coin-op Marble Madness . It has a similar isometric layout and players use an optical trackball to traverse a linear obstacle course to reach the end of each level. The island is beset with many assorted environmental dangers such as flowing lava, falling stalactites, rolling boulders and other traps set by Dr. Eggman.
SegaSonic features three-player simultaneous co-op play and to date is the only coin-op game to feature three trackballs on a single cabinet! Sonic, Mighty and/or Ray can journey alone or play together. Beware, although the other players are your friends, they also serve as obstacles, crowd the screen and use resources.