Welcome back to the second half of our look at the interim arcs of the Sonic 3 & Knuckles adaptation! Last time we travelled with Sonic and Amy Rose to the Marble Garden Zone, escaped the newly-revealed secret headquarters of Sonic & company as Big Arms smashed the place to pieces, and did some gambling with the
Mario Marxio Brothers in the Carnival Night Zone. However we’ve got much more ground to cover, so let’s get started!
You’ve waited over a year for it, but it’s here: the second part of possibly Sonic the Comic’s best story arc, that of Sonic 3 and Knuckles. However, I’m teasing a bit, sorry! The build-up to the final conclusion to the game’s story (which by 16-bit Sonic standards, was quite involved) took a couple of months, presumably to stretch out the material as much as possible before the next game came out. As such, we got a few shorter arcs before the final main story started, and that’s what we’ll be looking at today & next week, covering the final conclusion in Part 6 – simply as you miss things otherwise. Hey, don’t look so sad, you there at the back – there’s some fun stuff here. Think of these as an early Christmas present!
You know, it’s almost hard to believe that it’s been fifteen years since SonicQuest: The Death Egg Saga was originally published. Coming out right at the tail end of the Golden Age of the Archie series, it promised to give the readers everything they were asking for, a fun little detour as the main series began to amp itself up for “Endgame,” the four part storyline that also is seeing its fifteenth anniversary this year. Causing far more controversy than the writers were intending, Endgame was designed to be the final chapter of the comic book if it was to see cancellation in the wake of the Saturday morning series ending, and although the series instead continued to be published (and still thrives to this day), it was certainly the end of an era. SonicQuest, though it has its faults, still exists in that pre-Endgame state of mind, surely assisted by the writing style of Mike Gallagher. In fact, there is only one more game adaptation before “Endgame” would change everything…but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Picking up where we left off yesterday, we continue with SonicQuest: The Death Egg Saga, the pseudo-adaptation of Sonic 2, 3 & Knuckles, even though we already had adaptations of the latter two. So let’s find out what the heck’ll happen next.
Even though it’s easy to forget, the classic games in the Sonic the Hedgehog series did indeed have a storyline. Of the core five titles from the early 90′s, one single invention from the mind of Dr. Eggman dictated the actions Sonic, “Tails” and Knuckles would be a part of over the course of twenty five levels. I am talking, of course, of the Death Egg. Though clearly a Star Wars reference in both style and name, the giant space station (even if it was only in space for roughly ten minutes) was the centerpiece of the action that went on in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and Sonic & Knuckles. So great was its importance that the station would return in numerous spin-off titles, such as Sonic the Fighters, Sonic Drift 2, and Sonic Battle. Heck, it was even meant to be in Sonic X-treme at one point, although we all know what happened there.
So it was head-scratching to think that Archie‘s previous adaptations of Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles completely neglected the use of the Death Egg. Even if the writers hadn’t been able to finish the game themselves, it was mentioned more than once in the instruction manuals for all three games it appeared in. So what did we get instead? Some random ship that wasn’t much bigger than Dr. Robotnik, and a half-baked scheme that turned the bottom of the Floating Island into a death trap. Not exactly the stuff of legends. Even the Fleetway adaptations of those games used the Death Egg, so for us American fans, all we could do was write in and complain to the Archie staff that they had completely forgotten to use one of the most awesome things in the game.
Finally, Archie succumbed to the pressure, and decided to use it, adapting portions of Sonic 2, 3 and Knuckles and introducing the Death Egg into the pages of the comic. And when they did, they did it in a big way. It wasn’t just a random issue of the main series. It wasn’t even a 48-page special that had to share print time with back-up stories about Knuckles the Echidna. It was given the royal treatment. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you SonicQuest: The Death Egg Saga.
So the big day is finally here, and at long last after months of waiting, Sonic Generations is finally here for us all to enjoy – so long as you live in North America, that is. Us poor sods in the Old World have to wait another 3 whole days before we can open our shiny new disk boxes; listening meanwhile in tormented agony to our crowing friends across the pond, blasting their way though Sky Sanctuary and Planet Wisp in glorious HD.
Clearly, we need to find something that only we in Europe (if I’m honest, more specifically the UK, but work with me here) really had, in order to sustain us until Friday finally rolls around (pun totally intended). Ladies and gentlemen, I present the first part of Sonic the Comic‘s finest hour: the adaptation of Sonic the Hedgehog 3.
Everyone loves Knuckles the Echidna. Even if this statement isn’t true today, it was definitely the case back in the 90′s. From the moment Knuckles appeared onscreen punching out Sonic and taking the Chaos Emeralds, everyone wanted a piece of him. They wanted to know more about who he was, what secrets the floating island he lived on held, and most of all wanted to see him and Sonic tangle it up. Sonic 3 & Knuckles delivered on all counts, but that wasn’t enough to satisfy a child of the 90′s. They wanted more, and Sega, knowing the character’s growing popularity, was prepared to give them exactly what they asked for.
This isn’t the best time to get into the short, sad life of the Sega 32X, but needless to say it didn’t do well in any regard. Even though it was on the market for a short time, the powers-that-be knew that some sort of Sonic-related title needed to be released. And what started out as a proof-of-concept having Sonic and “Tails” tethered together turned into the much-forgotten Chaotix, starring Knuckles the Echidna. In the west, the title added Knuckles’ name to the cover, just to remind people that, yes, this was a game with Sonic characters, even though just about every kid in America had no idea what the origins of Charmy, Vector, and Mighty were historically.
I’m sure you can guess by now that Archie had to adapt it.
It’s easy to forget with the ongoing popularity of the Archie Sonic comic that there was a second Sonic comic, by the (self-explanatory) name of Sonic the Comic. Published by Fleetway Editions in the UK between 1993 and 2002, it was officially Sega licensed and did comic stories about not just Sonic and pals (that as a whole tended to stick closer to game canon than Archie did), but also other Sega franchises like Ecco the Dolphin, Shinobi, and more. And naturally, like in the USA, there were a few game adaptions. However, unlike Archie, they tended to be spread over the course of several issues. Many fans still regard the Sonic 3 & Knuckles adaption one of the finest game adaptions that’s been done in printed media.
But that’s not what we’re looking at today – we’re looking at Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Early on in the comic’s history, in issue #6 (with #1 coming out in May 1993, Sonic 2 had already been out for a good 6 months, so the comic from the very start was set post Sonic 2), there was a single-issue loose adaption of the final 2 zones of the game – so, let’s dive in and take a look!