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Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Logo.png

Ladies and gentlemen, Sega has simultaneously pulled a Mega Man 9 and a New Super Mario Bros. In response to the series' Polygon Ceiling-related criticism, Sonic the Hedgehog 4 (2010) is a downloadable side-scrolling platformer that is a throwback to the blue hedgehog's roots on the Mega Drive/Genesis.

Following the destruction of the Death Egg at the hands of Sonic The Hedgehog, Mad Scientist and aspiring world conqueror Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik seeks revenge on his perpetual arch nemesis by rebuilding his best Badniks to go on a hedgehog hunt. Now, Sonic must counter Eggman's offense and save the world from the doctor once again.

Oh, and if you didn't notice the "Episode II" subtitle beneath the logo, Sonic 4 will be released in episodes (three, maybe even four, if Episode II goes well) to keep the game at a reasonable download size, all featuring four zones. Although some complained that this wouldn't be enough, the zones were revealed to have three acts (with boss battles apparently separated into a mini act following act 3), bringing the stage total to 36 (39 if you count the final acts), 1.5 times that of of Sonic 3 and Knuckles [which was similarly split into two games (Sonic The Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles)]. The game is available for all 3 home consoles, the PC, and the iOS.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II was launched on May 15, 2012 for the PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Android, and iOS platforms (but unfortunately excludes the Wii due to the far more advanced graphics engine, though nothing has been said about the Wii U). It features a new graphics engine as well as reworked physics that better mimic the Genesis games compared to Episode I (oh, and some fox kid with two tails joins you this time). It will feature four new stages (including a locale set in the ruins of an old castle within a forest [1], a carnival that's also set during the winter, some kind of refinery in the desert, and a massive battleship in the sky). Metal Sonic sees his return in this game, which is how the Sonic 4 series ties into Sonic CD and will apparently be the boss of the carnival stage (possibly more). Owners of Episode I will get some bonus content in the form of Metal Sonic gaining access to four reworked acts from the first episode. This will essentially represent the return of the Lock On Technology of Sonic and Knuckles.

Here's where you can discuss all matters pertaining to this miniseries.

This Game Provides Examples Of:

  • Action Bomb: Asterons make a return but they got a Nerf so they don't blow up instantly.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: Lost Labyrinth Zone has one as a tribute to Hydrocity Zone, and if you thought those were hair-raising, just wait until Mad Gear Zone Act 3.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: Sky Fortress Zone, a direct tribute to Wing Fortress Zone.
  • Airborne Mook: The Buzzers from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 are making a reappearance.
  • Alternate Continuity and/or Interquel: A direct followup to Sonic 3 & Knuckles. It's unclear whether it's intended to bridge the gap between that game and Sonic Adventure, or whether this just represents a new continuity branch.
    • Word of God implies that the game is canon as Episode 2 will have strong connections to Sonic CD and possibly Sonic Heroes, specifically linked to the Time Travel in Sonic CD and Metal Sonic's return in Sonic Heroes.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: The Crawl badniks have a turning animation that shows them switching their shield from arm to arm.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: The second and boss acts of White Park are entirely set on roller coaster tracks. The former has sections of moving track, while both have sections of missing track.
  • Arc Welding: A Sega rep confirmed that Episode 2 will do this to Sonic CD, as it wasn't considered to be significantly tied in any way to the numerical Genesis trilogy.
  • Ash Face: Robotnik gets that after yet another unsuccessful battle.
  • Bad Future: As seen in Episode Metal, Metal Sonic apparently hails from Stardust Speedway's Bad Future, which looks extremely familiar to a previous version.
  • Bait and Switch Boss: The first boss of Episode 2 does this by tricking the player into thinking they are going to fight another nostalgia boss, but then Eggman goes to the REAL boss machine immediately afterward.
  • Bash Brothers: Episode 2 sees the return of "Sonic & Tails" mode with 2-player co-op (offline and online), complete with at least one new combination attack and Tails being able to carry Sonic.
  • Blackout Basement: Lost Labyrinth Zone Act 2 has some sections without much light.
  • Bonus Stage: The Special Stages.
  • Boss Rush: E.G.G. Station Zone pits Sonic against the four previous bosses in Episode I with half health, but they go into pinch mode after one hit.
  • Broad Strokes: The official website has an Intro section that gets the story wrong for Sonic & Knuckles. (The Sonic story comes before the Knuckles story, but the website says they happened simultaneously.) This might actually be Fridge Brilliance, if you treat it as a homage to the inaccuracies in the old game manuals.
  • Casino Park: Casino Street Zone.
  • Cliff Hanger: Got all 7 Chaos Emeralds in Episode 1? Go beat E.G.G. Station Zone again.
  • Combination Attack: An available action in Episode 2 is a combination Spin Dash with Sonic and Tails.
  • Continuity Nod: The final boss for Episode 1 and the background that accompanies it is a giant throwback to Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
  • Credits Medley
  • Crosshair Aware: During Episode 1's final boss fight.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Episode I's engine is based on Sonic Rush Series (and by extension, the DS version of Sonic Colors), which threw off quite a number of fans used to the tighter physics of the Genesis games.
  • Development Gag: The earliest publicity for the game referred to it by the code name Project Needlemouse. "Mr. Needlemouse" is what the developers of the original game called the blue hedgehog before they settled on Sonic as his name.
  • Difficulty Spike: After Casino Street Act 1.
  • Down the Drain: Lost Labyrinth, Act 3. Oddly the only underwater level in Episode 1 (excluding the first half of the level's boss).
  • The Dragon: Metal Sonic is this to Eggman in Episode 2.
  • Dueling Games: This game duels with both New Super Mario Bros Wii and Donkey Kong Country Returns.
  • Easter Egg: During the ending to Episode 1, you can make Sonic jump and collect some rings. If you get them all, Sonic will either do his victory pose from Sonic 1, Sonic 2 or turn Super, depending on how many emeralds you got.
  • Eternal Engine: Mad Gear and Oil Desert Zones.
  • Foreshadowing: The ending to Episode 1 with 7 Chaos Emeralds has this. After Sonic leaves, Eggman appears onto the screen, laughing as he reveals a darkened silhouette of Metal Sonic. Guess who comes back in Episode 2?
  • Game Breaking Bug: Like the Genesis games, every level has a ten minute time limit, and reaching that limit causes you to lose a life and sends you back to the last checkpoint. Unfortunately the game has a tendency to start the timer at 09:59:99 when you restart, with the result that you die instantly, again. Generally the timer resets to 00:00:00 after that, so you just end up losing two lives... but sometimes it doesn't, and you get locked in an infinite loop which will rapidly eat up all your extra lives unless you reset the console.
  • Get Back Here Boss:
    • The boss of Mad Gear decides to do this.
    • As does Metal Sonic in Episode 2.
  • Gravity Screw: Episode II has an... interesting take on this trope. See it here, but beware of spoilers for Episode II's last level.
  • Green Hill Zone: Splash Hill Zone.
  • Guide Dang It: Lost Labyrinth Act 2 (the console version) seems to have sent many running to YouTube with its torch puzzle. Once you figure out what each torch does, its much easier but until then, it can be extremely frustrating.
    • Act 3 has the spiked water chamber, which some fans consider to be this game's Barrel of Doom.
  • Hailfire Peaks: Much of the levels in Episode 2 seem to be this. See the main description.
  • Helpful Mook: Bubbles is the unintentional version. Rows of them help you to go to cross pits, as well as provide an instant boost in score.
  • He's Back: A villainous variant appears in the secret ending of Episode 1 - a brief silhouette of Metal Sonic.
  • History Repeats: Metal Sonic tries to kill Sonic by goading him into a race, beat him to the finish line and trick him into running into an electrified door. Apparently he didn't learn from Stardust Speedway.
  • Idle Animation:
    • In the iOS version of the game, if Sonic stands still for a few seconds, he'll pull out an iPod and dance to the level theme.
    • In Episode Metal, Metal Sonic will look around, apparently to see just where you went. If he stands still long enough, he'll glare at the screen.
  • Inconveniently-Placed Conveyor Belt: Present in Mad Gear Zone.
  • Indy Escape: Short segments in Lost Labyrinth Zone Act 1.
  • Infinite 1-Ups: Casino Street Zone Act 2 gives you plenty of chance to rack up extra lives.
  • Internal Homage: There are a lot; some reviews actually criticized the game for this.
  • The Jimmy Hart Version: Episode I's special stage music is this to the Sonic 1 version.
    • The Episode I final boss theme is also this to the Sonic 2 final boss theme - not surprising, since it's practically the exact same boss.
  • Kaizo Trap: You will be sobbing by the end of E.G.G. Station if you fall into this one.
  • Last Ditch Move: The final boss in Episode 1 has one.
  • Law of One Hundred: It goes past 200 now.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Both the Wing Fortress and the Death Egg Mk 2 fall victim to this. Appropriately, the end boss of the latter is shaped like a heart.
  • Marathon Boss: The final battle of the game at E.G.G. Station will take some time. It's made longer by the fact after some hits, Eggman becomes invincible to direct contact unless you hit him with something else first.
  • Minecart Madness: Lost Labyrinth Act 2. The section was reworked into a proper Blackout Basement stage (the minecart still shows up at the end, sans Scrappy Mechanic) after fans gave it a poor reception.
    • To clarify, the Portable version was this entirely, while the Wii version is Blackout Basement.
  • Mirror Boss: Metal Sonic at the end of Death Egg mk. II Zone Act 1, even more so than the original Metal Sonic race.
  • Motion Blur: The background directly behind Sonic gets blurry when he's running at top speed.
  • Musical Nod:
    • Part of White Park Act 2's music is based off of Twinkle Park theme, "Pleasure Castle", a song that composer Jun Senoue previously worked on. Twinkle Park also had a roller coaster game play element as the Pleasure Castle section opens.
    • You can also catch a bit of Metropolis Zone's opening snare in the theme for act 1 of Oil Desert.
    • The intro to Episode Metal has traces of the US and Japanese versions of Sonic CD's main theme.
    • Episode I's default boss music is a remade version of a Sonic 3D Blast beta boss theme.
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: After the boss is defeated, the Eggmobile is rather charred.
  • Nostalgia Level: Every zone, enemy, and boss of Episode 1.
    • As for Episode 2, only one throwback zone will be in the game. It's Sky Fortress, taking cues from Sky Chase and Wing Fortress from Sonic the Hedgehog 2. However, the Death Egg Zone returns for a third time, but is once again different to the previous times Sonic was there. The final battle with Metal Sonic, whilst taking place in the Death Egg Zone, is a throwback to his race in Stardust Speedway complete with the original song using Episode II's instruments. In addition, the opening cutscene for Episode Metal takes place in the place of Metal Sonic's defeat in Sonic CD, Stardust Speedway act 3, and even features the original title card for the zone used in that game.[2]
  • Obvious Beta: Episode 1 seems to be a justified example. It feels experimental; the programmers will probably see what the average player will and won't like in future installments.
  • Only Smart People May Pass: Later zones have puzzle areas which prove to be tricky.
  • Old Save Bonus: Metal Sonic is playable if you purchased Episode II on the same platform as Episode I. "Episode Metal" is one redesigned Act from each of the 4 main zones in episode I (in reverse order).
  • Oxygenated Underwater Bubbles: Present in levels with underwater sections. You touch the bubble to refill your air supply.
  • Pinball Zone: Casino Street Zone has giant pinball bumpers and controllable flippers.
  • Prequel: Episode Metal is the prequel to Episode 2, explaining how Metal Sonic reappears in White Park Zone's Boss, Sky Fortress Zone, and Death Egg MK.II, Sonic CD itself can be seen as a prequel to Episode 2, and the Sonic 4 saga itself is a prequel to the Sonic Adventure-onwards era.
  • Prequel Difficulty Spike: What Episode Metal amounts to, as it takes different acts from Episode 1, and amps up the difficulty with more hazards and different badnik placements. The physics are taken directly from Episode 2, however.
  • Rise to the Challenge: Oil Desert Act 3 has this, with the ground rising while you try to avoid being crushed by the ceiling.
  • Ruins for Ruins Sake: Lost Labyrinth and Sylvania Castle Zones.
  • Scenery Porn: There are some very detailed and animated backgrounds, particularly in Episode 2, which ditches the pre-rendered 2D graphics in favor of true 3D graphics.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Oil Desert Zone in Episode 2, complete with massive Sand Worm badniks.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Acts 1 and 3 of White Park. Both involve swimming as well, but especially the third act.
  • Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom: Mad Gear Zone has them.
  • Space Zone: E.G.G. Station Zone and Death Egg Mk. II Zone.
  • Super Mode: What happens when you get all of the Chaos Emeralds.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Underwater travel has returned, so this is a given. Super Sonic can now breathe underwater, where previously only Hyper Sonic could achieve this.
  • Temple of Doom: Lost Labyrinth Zone and Sylvania Castle Zone.
  • Timed Mission: Like the classic Genesis games, you only have 10 minutes to make it through the level. Good luck on E.G.G. Station.
    • You also are under a time limit in the new Emerald Special Stages in episode I.
  • Trick Boss: A habit of Eggman in these games. In particular, every Episode I boss appears to be a returning boss with absolutely no changes, but after a few hits Eggman unveils new tactics. See Turns Red for specifics.
  • Turns Red:
    • Each boss in Episode I starts out relatively simple, using a silly, cornball boss theme (which just happens to be recycled Dummied Out Sonic 3D Blast music). But once you've gotten far enough in the fight, the music changes to the faster-paced, aggressive second boss theme, and whatever machine Eggman is using starts fighting for real.
      • Splash Hill's Boss is the wrecking ball from Sonic 1. Once Eggman takes enough damage he starts spinning the wrecking ball in a circle.
      • Casino Street's Boss is the electric eggmobile from Casino Night. Bash it enough and it rolls around the arena with two electric buzzsaws.
      • Lost Labyrinth's Boss starts out as the obstacle course from Labyrinth Zone, but when you reach the end you end up in a room where Eggman gets to control the walls. You have to predict exactly which walls will extend so you can hit him based on his movement.
      • Mad Gear's Boss is the clone machine from Metropolis Zone, with the exception that hitting Eggman moves him forward, hitting the orbs does no damage to you, and hitting the clones DOES do damage to you. Upon being hit enough times, you enter a Death Egg style chase, but Eggman throws the clones at you to halt you.
      • E.G.G. Station runs through all 4 bosses' 2nd forms in a row. Make it to the end and you fight the Sonic 2 Death Egg final boss - the Eggman Mech. Once you do enough damage to it, sirens start going off and it starts going berserk, running around the room in a jerky fashion and firing its rocket punches at an angle. It also has electricity coursing around it due to the malfunction and you can get damaged by it unless you knock his rocket arms back at him. His final attack makes him fly everywhere and try to crush you under his immense weight, and if you don't hit him in time the floor will open and you will fall to your death. On top of all of that, if you're standing on the floor when the mech hits it, you will lose your footing and not be able to control Sonic until the floor crumbles. Have fun with that.
    • Episode II, in contrast, generally has each boss gradually pick up the pace as you attack it more.
      • Sylvania Castle's boss starts out as what looks like a giant plant swinging metal vine tentacles at you, which you have to have Tails carry you up to. Once you hit it four times, it grows two more tentacles to hit you with. After six hits, the tentacles stop attacking you and act as energy conduits for a Wave Motion Gun that Eggman aims in a circle around the arena.
      • Metal Sonic in White Park normally attacks by rolling at you, but as you hit him, he gains two more attacks: throwing lightning bolts at you that you have to get around and pounding holes in the track you have to jump over or suffer instant death.
      • The scrap metal mecha in Oil Desert starts dropping shipping containers on you faster as you hit it. After two or three hits, it drops boxes with spikes on top, and after five or six, crates of dynamite start falling.
      • Metal Sonic's jet in Sky Fortress will start to attack with its lasers more frequently, and sometimes it goes to the bottom of the screen where you can't hit it. At the end of the fight, the fortress launches a bunch of missiles at you that you have to dodge so you can get close enough to boost into and finish the boss.
      • The platforms in the final boss start to be electrified more as you hit Eggman. At around four hits, he gains an orange shield that you have to team roll through, along with a singularity attack that, if you're too slow in hitting him, will suck you in and not only throw you against the wall to hurt you, but it will also make all the rings disappear.
  • Underwater Ruins: Lost Labyrinth Zone.
  • The Unexpected: The announcement of "Episode Metal". [3]
    • It helps that it was at the very end of a trailer without any warning, much like the surprise at the end of ep 1.
  • Villain Protagonist/Villain Episode: Metal Sonic and "Episode Metal", respectively.
  • Wall Master: Newtwons which appear when Sonic goes near them.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Sonic and Tails defeat the Egg Heart! Yay! The Death Egg mk.II is exploding! Double yay! But Little Planet is now drifting in space, and still encased in metal. Um... Not yay?
    • With the cancellation of the sub-series, it looked like this would never be solved... until Sonic Forces, where Classic Sonic had to destroy the Death Egg completely taking Little Planet with it.
  • Wheel-O-Feet: Sonic.
  • When All Else Fails Go Right: It's a sequel to the classic Sonic games. What other direction would you go to get to the goal?!
  • World Map: Like in the first Master System/Game Gear game and in Tails Adventure.
  • Wrap Around: The end of Lost Labyrinth Zone Act 3 has a room which loops vertically infinitely.
  1. Taking cues from Aquatic Ruin Zone from Sonic 2 and Marble Garden Zone from Sonic 3
  2. The aesthetic is lifted from the Rival Battle in Sonic Generations, however.
  3. Owning both Episodes 1 and 2 on the same console unlocks a bonus episode where players can take control over Metal Sonic and go through harder versions of the first acts of each zone in Episode 1.