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Sonic News Network
Sonic News Network

Sonic the Fighters (ソニック・ザ・ファイターズ Sonikku za Faitāzu?), also known as Sonic Championship on Western cabinet releases, is a fighting video game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, developed by Sega AM2 and published by Sega. It was released in 1996 for arcades in Japan, and saw limited releases in North America and Europe in the same year.

The game was ported to Sonic Gems Collection for the Nintendo GameCube and PlayStation 2 under its original title in all versions. In November 2012, A digital high-definition port of the game was released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.


The story begins with a large quantity of robots suddenly appearing in places where peace has reigned supreme thanks to Sonic's frequent actions, and laying waste to everything. Tails suspects that Dr. Robotnik is behind this, but cannot figure out where all the robots are coming from. It is then that he receives an emergency message from Espio. In this message is a video showing that Robotnik is dispatching his large quantities of robots from a giant orbital space fortress: the Death Egg II.[2]

Sonic decides to get to Death Egg II alone using the Lunar Fox, a single-seat space rocket that Tails invented. However, in order for the Lunar Fox to fly, eight Chaos Emeralds have to be inserted into it to act as a power supply. Meanwhile, Sonic's friends, who are spread throughout the world, are guarding the Chaos Emeralds separately so that they are not misused by Robotnik (one of them ended up being stolen by Fang in the meantime, however).[2]

On their first stop to get the Chaos Emeralds, Sonic and Tails head over to where Knuckles is. However, Knuckles begins provoking Sonic after hearing what is going on by stating that if the Lunar Fox is a single-seater, then only the toughest among them should go. When Sonic, who believes that he is the strongest, accepts Knuckles's challenge and gets ready to fight him though, Tails forces his way in-between the two. Tails then proposes fighting fair and square in the ring, and the one who wins against all of those holding the Chaos Emeralds will ride the Lunar Fox.[2]

One of the fighters eventually made it to the end of the tournament. There, Robotnik appears and creates a clone of the fighter to defeat them with. However, the fighter is able to defeat their clone and head to the Death Egg II in the Lunar Fox.

After arriving at the Death Egg II, the fighter gets a surprise visit from Metal Sonic. After defeating him, the Death Egg II begins to fall apart as Dr. Robotnik, in his E-Mech suit, challenges the victor. Using the Chaos Emeralds' power, the fighter defeats the doctor. They subsequently escape the Death Egg II in the Lunar Fox before it explodes. However, the post credits scene shows that Robotnik and Metal Sonic also escaped the explosion and head back to the planet.


Sonic fighting Knuckles in South Island, the first arena of the game.

Sonic the Fighters is a psuedo-3D fighting game with gameplay similar to Sega AM2's Fighting Vipers and Virtua Fighter 2, the game being built on the engine of the former. Two characters brawl from a dynamically-shifting 2D view in a 3D arena, each using a variety of attacks and maneuvers to gain the better of the opponent. The first player to drain the other's health bar to zero wins the current round, and the first to win two (sometimes three) rounds wins the entire match. Rounds are also timed, and if both characters are still standing when the timer reaches zero, the player with the most health is chosen as the winner.

Sonic the Fighters is controlled with the joystick and three buttons. The player is able to use the joystick to move forward or backwards by pressing left or right, jump by pressing up, and depending on the character, Squat by pressing down.


All playable characters, as seen in the game's opening.

Playable characters

Sonic can also become Super Sonic in story mode if the player reaches the second Round against Metal Sonic without losing any prior Rounds.

Hackable characters


  1. South Island
  2. Flying Carpet
  3. Aurora Icefield
  4. Mushroom Hill
  5. Canyon Cruise
  6. Casino Night
  7. Dynamite Plant
  8. Giant Wing
  9. Death Egg's Eye
  10. Death Egg's Hangar


Masahiro Sugiyama,[citation needed] a character designer at AM2, added Sonic and Tails into the fighting game Fighting Vipers as a way to cure his boredom. Yu Suzuki saw this and decided to present the idea of a 3D Sonic fighting game to Hiroshi Kataoka. Suzuki then presented the idea to Yuji Naka.[3] At first, Kataoka was worried because of the concept of Sonic characters beating each other up, and feared Yuji Naka would not approve. However, Naka was actually very receptive to the concept, commenting, "I couldn't think of Sonic as a fighting game and was worried whether he could really fight with his short hands and big head. But Mr. Yu encouraged me."[4] At that point nobody had yet attempted to present Sonic in 3D, so Sonic the Fighters was Sonic's 3D debut and had Naka's full support. Developers were worried about rendering Sonic in 3D at first, so Naka gave the team a Sonic figure to work off of. The game was released in Japanese arcades in May 1996, running on Sega Model 2 hardware.[5]

Cancelled Sega Saturn version

There was a planned Sega Saturn version to the game advertised in various gaming magazines, but was quietly cancelled. No explanation has ever been offered for the port's cancellation.


While an adaptation of Sonic the Fighters was not made for this, Bark and Bean were introduced into the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series published by Archie Comics starting with Sonic the Hedgehog #160 and were later revealed to have participated in underground fighting tournaments. However, an official Sonic the Fighters adaptation was eventually made, covering Sonic the Hedgehog #268-#271 as a part of the "Champions" story arc. This adaption introduced Honey into the comics along with Breezie the Hedgehog, who in the comics was one of Sonic's oldest friends, despite them rarely keeping in touch. However, this story only involved one Chaos Emerald.


  • Director: Hiroshi Kataoka
  • Game Coordinator: Daichi Katagiri
  • Programmers: Daichi Katagiri, Susumu Morii, Eiji Ikuta, Hiroshi Masui
  • Character Designer: Masahiro Sugiyama
  • Stage Designers: Yasuko Suzuki, Wataru Kawashima
  • 2D Graphic & Modeldesign: Takako Kawaguchi
  • Graphic & Modeldesign: Kazunori Oh
  • Motion Designers: Daichi Katagiri, Hiroki Iwasaki
  • Sound Designer: Maki Morrow
  • Special Thanks: original Sonic Team, Katsunori Itai, Goho Ogura, Syuji Takahashi, Takenobu Mitsuyoshi, Susumu Takatsuka
  • Producer: Yu Suzuki
  • Presented by: Sega


Promotional photo of the plush toy set, excluding Super Sonic.

A set of plushies were made to promote the game, but they were only available in Japan and had to be won out of Ufo captures. There was a plush toy of all eight main playable characters, as well as Dr. Eggman, Metal Sonic and Super Sonic. This set contained the first ever plush toys of Metal Sonic, Espio, Bean, Bark, Fang and Super Sonic, making them very sought after.

Other merchandise for the game included a CD release of the soundtrack, a T-shirt, a 12-inch plaque, a phonecard and mini doll keychains.


  • A special theme plays when Sonic and Knuckles fight each other in Versus mode.
  • Although the game received a western arcade cabinet release, it had very minimal distribution across the United States, leaving very few arcades to actually receive the game. The Palisades Center Ice Rink at the Palisades Center in West Nyack, New York was known to have the game since its opening in 1998 until it was replaced with Area 51 in late 2013.
  • Amy's muzzle and arms are peach in all her promotional and pre-rendered pictures, but white on her playable character model, due to color limitations. The HD release corrected this issue.
  • Honey the Cat was a character who was going to be in the final game, but was scrapped for unknown reasons. Before the 2012 re-release of Sonic the Fighters, she was only playable through hacking in the original arcade version.
  • There is an otherwise unused song in the game's sound test called "Sunset Town". There is no stage with this name in the game as released.

"Robotonic", in the game's intro.

  • In the English version of the game's intro, Dr. Robotnik's name was misspelled as "Robotonic". However, in the final battle the character is named Dr. Eggman, and his Vs. Card reads "Dr. Eggman" with "Robotnik" written underneath.
  • Eight Chaos Emeralds appear in this game, whereas the majority of other games in the series include only seven.
  • On one of the two pictures of Sonic (the ones where he appears to be in the air), the picture has the gold buckle on his shoe, and the other does not.
  • This game's character select icons of Sonic, Knuckles, Amy and Fang are all taken from their Sonic Drift 2 artwork.
  • The only way to play as Super Sonic is to reach the second round against Metal Sonic without losing a single round.

The Sonic Championship arcade cabinet cameo in Wreck-it Ralph.

  • In the Dreamcast game Shenmue, characters from this game appear as collectible capsule figurines (based upon the promotional renders) that Ryo Hazuki can buy from a dispenser. Figurines of Super Sonic and Metal Sonic can be won in a lottery.
    • The Fang figurine erroneously has five fingers on its right hand, while the left hand has the correct four digits.
  • A Sonic Championship arcade machine appears in the beginning of the Disney film, Wreck-It Ralph.


External links

Sonic the Fighters

Main article | Beta elements | Gallery | Re-releases (2012)
Sonic the Hedgehog spin-off games