In this series I will go over all the games I remember playing as a kid on my Gamecube. Some were good, but most were bad, but all of them have a special place in my heart.
Sonic Gems collection did not have the best selection of games for Sonic fans to play, as a lot of them were one-off titles that wouldn’t have the light of day in any other platform. Sega needed to get these out and into public memory despite the fact that no one wanted to remember or play the bad games. Sonic R is the most infamous game on this collection, and I covered how bad that was last week, but this week I take a look at an arcade game ported to the Sonic Gems Collection that was strange in the fact that it exists.
Sonic the Fighters screams arcade game the second that it starts up. The music is upbeat to no end and the graphics are completely made of polygons, which takes gamers out of the idea that they are playing a fighting game as Sonic. It looks more like an early Pixar tech demo than it does a competitive fighting game with all of the Sonic characters. The developers definitely wanted to make this the newest 3D street fighter but with simpler button mechanics. The issue arrives when button mashing is sufficient to make it far into the arcade mode and the real difficulty doesn’t show up until Metal Sonic, who is a combination of all previous fighters and shows no mercy. I have never beaten Metal Sonic and I haven’t gotten close, but the fact still remains that there is a Sonic Fighting game that is playable on the GameCube.
I did a little digging into the history of this specific game, and what I discovered was that Sonic the Fighters was not a common arcade game, in fact it was pretty rare to stumble upon this cabinet in the wild arcade world. Even stranger is that this is the only Sonic themed fighting game in existence at the time of me writing this, as I think Sega wants to release a Smash Bros style game for Sonic and friends. There have been many other re-releases of the game all of which did not fare well critically, but the fact of the matter is that this Sonic fighting game is trying to not fade away from memory, despite that everyone wants it to.
There are eight playable characters, each with their own unique move set. We have the classic Sonic trio of Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles, but half of the characters are creatures that I had never heard of before this game. Bark the Polar Bear and Fang the Sniper are odd characters in the fact that I never heard of them before. Each of them are easy to learn and play as, but just like Sonic R, Sonic is definitely the best fighter to be. His moves are fast and effective, and the spin-ball move is incredibly good in draining the opponents meter. All other characters are usable and have some benefits, but the best way to get to Metal Sonic is by being Sonic.
Sonic the Fighters isn’t the best fighting game ever, but the game is fascinating in it’s own right. The character models are strange and are unappealing to look at. This is an interesting piece of Sonic history, and it’s not too hard to come by now that it is on a few accessible consoles. If you can find a way to play it, it’s definitely worth marveling at.
Next week we go into the sewers.