After a long wait, Sega finally released its much anticipated 3D remake of Sonic Heroes in 2009. It was an instant hit, critically praised and soon became the best selling game in the franchise’s history. The success of this title ignited hope for more modern remakes with updated graphics and mechanics throughout all three consoles – Xbox One, Playstation 4 & Nintendo Switch.

18 years later, Sega needs to port “Sonic Heroes” to modern consoles. The game was released in 2006 for the Nintendo Wii, and is now available on the Wii U and 3DS.

Sonic Heroes: 18 years later, Sega needs to port it to modern consoles

As I walked through Walmart’s video game section one night in November 2003, a demo for Sonic Heroes grabbed my attention. I’d only been a Sonic the Hedgehog fan for a few weeks when my then-8-year-old cousin Nicholas reintroduced me to Sonic Adventure 2: Battle on the Nintendo GameCube roughly 18 months after the Circuit City demo. Sonic Heroes pulled me in not just because of how attractive my almost 10-year-old brain thought Sonic was compared to Justin Timberlake, but also because of the new collaboration gameplay feature introduced in the previous game. Sonic Heroes allowed players to play as three characters in four different teams (12 characters total), all putting their heads together and using their unique strengths — Speed, Flight, and Power — to save the world from Dr. Eggman and his minions, whereas Sonic Adventure 2 had individual levels tailored to each character’s skill set.

I played the Sonic Heroes demo on the GameCube, which led me to believe that the game would be a GameCube exclusive, similar to its predecessor, which was released on the Dreamcast, a platform that became famous because to Sonic Adventure but eventually led to Sega abandoning the console industry. Two months later, I learned via a Sonic X sweepstakes promo on Fox Box (later called 4Kids TV) that the game was also available on the Xbox, PC, and PS2, which piqued my interest since I had the latter platform. Not only that, but Sega established a precedent for future Sonic games by distributing them on various platforms rather than just one.

Sonic Heroes was launched in the United States eighteen years ago, just a week into 2004. It’s one of the only Sonic games from the aughts that hasn’t been re-released in any manner, shape, or form on contemporary systems. That irritates me since I was forced to give up my PS2 to one of my relatives two and a half years ago, while my copy of the game sits on my bookshelf gathering dust. Sonic Adventure, Sonic Adventure 2, and Sonic Unleashed have all been ported to PlayStation Now, Xbox Game Pass, and Steam by Sega. (Despite repeated audience demand, the latter game still lacks a PC version, but that’s another story.) It also allowed the Wii-exclusive Sonic Colors to be restored for contemporary systems ten years after its initial release. Here’s where I’m asking Sega and Sonic Team to please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please

Sonic-Heroes-18-years-later-Sega-needs-to-port-itSega provided this image.

Sonic Heroes being ported to current-gen consoles will reawaken the joy of seeing a Sonic game released on several platforms for the first time. Even when new devices such as the Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, PlayStation, Xbox, PlayStation 2, and Nintendo GameCube were on the market, Sega continued to release Sonic games on a single console, usually the Genesis (Mega Drive for overseas players), Saturn, and Dreamcast. Sega opted to convert Sonic Adventure 2 from the Dreamcast to the cubical platform and that platform only after the GameCube was released in 2001. This left out fans whose financial circumstances prohibited them or their families from purchasing the system, which was intended to expose younger gamers to the Sonic brand. When Sonic Heroes began production for the following 20 months, Yuji Naka defied precedent by publishing the game for the GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox, exposing the game to a younger demographic. He didn’t want to limit the game’s availability to Sonic aficionados who have been playing from the beginning and only possess one system. As a result, consumers could play Sonic Heroes on whichever system they wanted, paving the path for future Sonic games to be released on various platforms. That’s one of the things that made the game so unique.

Sonic Heroes was unusual in that it allowed players to control three characters from each of the four teams inside their own campaign. Each squad must complete the same 14 stages and seven boss battles (a few in which they fight each other). As I previously said, the Sonic Adventure games included levels that were specifically customized to each character’s skill set and personality. Sonic’s levels, for example, were about speed, whilst Knuckles’ levels were on treasure searching for the Master Emerald’s missing parts, a role Rouge took up in Sonic Adventure 2. The music produced for the characters’ levels reflected their personalities, with rap music playing in Knuckles’ levels, bossa nova in Rouge’s, and alternative rock in Sonic and Shadow’s. In Sonic Heroes, however, regardless matter which side you play, all of the stages play the same tunes. Every team has its own theme song as well. Fun fact: Kay Hanley’s “Follow Me,” Team Rose’s theme song, is the only one that does not include the names of the characters it is dedicated to. That’s not to imply the other theme songs are juvenile; rather, considering Hanley’s history of producing music for rom-coms like 10 Things I Hate About You and Just Like Heaven, it should’ve been on the air. Regrettably, it did not. Regardless, they’re all headbangers.

The control schemes for Sonic Heroes were designed to let players to switch between three characters, in keeping with the game’s idea of collaboration. Sonic and Shadow, for example, may conduct assaults that latch onto foes, sprint through lines of Rings, and create whirlwinds that can send adversaries flying and crashing to the ground or climb up poles. Tails and Rouge, for example, may fly for a short time and strike foes with Thundershoot, which shoots your teammates like rocks from a slingshot. Knuckles and Big, for example, are Power-types who can smash through walls and other solid things as well as glide up air gusts. Team glides vary in humorous ways across teams. Team Sonic and Team Dark construct love triangles like skydivers, while Team Rose levitates with the help of Big’s umbrella, a la Mary Poppins. Team Chaotix, a trio of investigators who haven’t been seen since Knuckles’ Chaotix, rely on Vector’s bubble gum to keep them afloat. Sonic Heroes influenced the remainder of the series, including Sonic Colors, with its team dynamics.

1641673296_233_Sonic-Heroes-18-years-later-Sega-needs-to-port-itSega provided this image.

Sonic Colors, which was just re-released under the updated title Sonic Colors: Ultimate, adds a colorful twist to the team gameplay. Sonic races through Eggman’s interplanetary theme on his own, but enlists the aid of Wisps to transport him to locations he wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach or to direct him along a different route. The Cyan Wisp transforms Sonic into a laser, allowing him to reach certain areas and destroy enemies faster than he can run, the Yellow Wisp allows him to drill underground, and the Jade Ghost (a new Wisp created exclusively for Sonic Colors Ultimate) allows him to fly through walls and other solid objects like Danny Phantom. All of the Wisp power-ups are collected along the journey and utilized on demand until their power gauges are drained, which takes a long time. When you gather the same species of Wisp or a different one that’s suited for the habitat in where they’re put, their gauges are replenished. 

Although most fans jumped right into Team Sonic when they booted up Sonic Heroes — I was one of them — newcomers to the Sonic franchise didn’t have to start from the beginning, since each team had varied degrees of difficulty. The finest campaign to start with is Team Rose. It starts with a tutorial at Sea Gate, which teaches the aforementioned team-based features in an easy-to-understand manner for younger players. The tutorial also explains the concepts of Power Cores, which are small orbs that you collect for each team member in order for them to become powerful enough to defeat Eggman’s robots in a short amount of time depending on their size, and Team Blast, which is a special move that attacks all enemies at once when there are too many of them. Team Sonic and Team Dark are both designed for intermediate to advanced players, while the latter has more Eggman’s robots than the former. Because all of Team Chaotix’s stages are mission-based, players are sent on a humorous goose chase to locate a predetermined amount of objects, such as hermit crabs, poker chips, keys, Chao, and, for some reason, blowing out torches. Every level has a secret key that may be used to access Special Stages, which were previously unavailable in the Adventure games. These special levels, unlike the spinning labyrinth special stages in the traditional Sonic games, require sprinting through lengthy tunnels to gather rainbow spheres and Chaos Emeralds, which are required to access the final tale. 

Each plot has a unique reason for each of the four teams, as well as a good mix of drama and comedy. Team Sonic’s mission is simple: stop Dr. Eggman from using his ultimate weapon to take over the planet in three days. Team Dark seeks revenge on Eggman for a variety of reasons, including Shadow’s amnesia, which causes him to forget everything that occurred in Sonic Adventure 2, including joining up with Sonic to prevent the Space Colony ARK from colliding with Earth. Omega, Eggman’s last and most powerful E-Series robot, is enraged at his creator for decommissioning and imprisoning him in his base. Rouge, as usual, is looking for precious treasure. After Amy recognizes Sonic in a newspaper picture with Froggy and Cheese’s Chao sibling, Chocola, who Cream and Big claim has gone missing, Team Rose embarks on a search for him. A mystery customer, who turns out to be none other than Dr. Eggman, assigns Team Chaotix a task. The most recent article indicates that the Eggman that the teams have been following is really a Neo Metal Sonic decoy. His main goal is to steal all of their biometric data and mix it with Chaos’s strength to create the most powerful mech capable of assassinating his namesake. Sonic resolves to fight him with the Chaos Emeralds, which transform him into Super Sonic, and his pals at his side, demonstrating the true superpower of teamwork.

1641673297_445_Sonic-Heroes-18-years-later-Sega-needs-to-port-itSega provided this image.

Sonic Heroes was only possible to be played on various platforms because Sonic Team utilized the RenderWare engine to develop the game to run smoothly on the PS2, Xbox, and GameCube in the first place. The PS2 version, on the other hand, operated at half the frame rate of the other two versions since it lacked the processing ability to execute the game at 60 frames per second. Sonic Colors: Ultimate was transferred to current-gen platforms owing to the Godot engine, which improved the visuals and doubled the frame rate compared to the Wii version. Despite this, Sonic Heroes is just as deserving of being pulled out of hibernation as Sonic Colors, with the opportunity to play as three characters in four teams at once, a mix of comedy and drama in a merging plot, and Shadow being brought back to life. Sonic Colors, I understand, was upgraded to appeal to newer generations of Sonic fans, particularly with the release of Sonic Mania, Sonic Forces, Team Sonic Racing, and the theatrical premiere of the Blue Blur. All the more motivation for Sonic Heroes to be ported to modern technology. That manner, those fans would learn about how the team’s mechanics were carried over to the games in question. Please, Sega, don’t make me keep asking my aunt to return my PlayStation 2.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What consoles can you play Sonic Heroes on?

A: You can play it on the PS4.

How old is Sonic Sonic Heroes?

A: Sonic, who is a blue hedgehog, first debuted in Japan on July 18th of 1991.

What is the last Sonic game?

A: Sonic Forces.

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