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Lions Gate presents
Sonic the Hedgehog: Super Sonic (1993)

"Sonic, he can really move. Sonic, he’s got an attitude. Sonic, he’s the fastest thing alive!" 
- Theme Song (Noisy Neighbors)

Review By: Joel Cunningham   
Published: March 06, 2002

Stars: Jaleel White
Other Stars: Jim Cummings, Katie Soucie, Charles Adler, Rob Paulsen
Director: John Grusd, Dick Sebast

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild action and violence)
Run Time: 01h:27m:35s
Release Date: February 26, 2002
UPC: 031398791928
Genre: animation

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

In the late 1980s, videogames meant Nintendo and Mario. The Sega Genesis, which was released in 1989, premiered to sluggish sales, due mostly to a lack of strong titles, until Sonic the Hedgehog was released in 1992. Sonic became an instant icon, a hip, blue hedgehog that was everything Mario wasn’t. His mood and attitude defined the Genesis for the next four years—it was the "cool" system; Nintendo was for babies.The same can be said for the TV shows based on the games. While Nintendo catered to a younger crowd with Captain N: The Game Master, Sonic the Hedgehog is clearly aimed at kids in their early teens, with the rather grim storylines of a small band of rebels fighting an oppressive ruler. The plot is loosely based on the videogame, but adopts plot and characters from the spin-off comic book. Sonic is, of course, the hero. He—along with his friends Tails, Bunnie Rab-bot, and Sally—fights against the evil Dr. Robotnik, a cyborg villain who has conquered the land of Mobius. Robotnik's plan is to put all the planet's citizens through his roboticizer, which will turn them mechanical, and it is up to the Freedom Fighters to save the day.The animation is fairly strong for such a program. Detail on the characters is excellent, and while the backgrounds are somewhat simplistic, they are still fairly intricate. The plots avoid becoming formulaic, for the most part—though Robotnik is always the villain, the focus is not always on his evil schemes. Characters are fairly one note (Tails is a little kid who wants to grow up to be just like Sonic, Bunnie is southern), but engaging enough. The voice talent is also fairly strong, and it is worth noting that Sonic is voiced by Jaleel White, Steve Urkel himself (from Family Matters). This DVD includes four full episodes of the series:Super SonicSonic and SallySonic RacerSonic BoomOdd Trivia: Director John Grusd also worked on another videogame-based cartoon series—The Super Mario Bros. Super Show. In the early 1990s, Sonic and Mario were dueling mascots for the Sega Genesis and Nintendo respectively. Two Sonic series debuted in 1993. This show, Sonic the Hedgehog, was more serious and aired on Saturday mornings. The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog aired on weekdays and featured cruder animation, but more whacked-out humor and cartoon violence. Jim Cummings, voice of Dr. Robotnik, is a veritable voice-work legend, and has lent his golden pipes to such features and series as The Lion King, Taz-Mania, and Darkwing Duck, in which he played the title character. Katie Soucie, who voices Sally, sworn enemy of Robotnik, ironically voiced Darkwing's girlfriend Morgana on that series as well. Speaking of the Duck, the entire regular of cast of Sonic voiced characters on that popular Disney show. Oh, and the guy who voices Sonic's sidekick Antoine? His name is Robert Paulson. No, really.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The transfer on this disc is much better than the one on the concurrently released Super Mario Bros. DVD. Colors are very bright but not oversaturated. The line jitter apparent on the other disc is still present but far less pronounced. Blacks look strong, though a tad grainy. Source materials show a little dirt, but no major lines or scratches. 

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: This track is fairly limited dynamically, but it sounds fine for an animated show. The front soundstage is fairly narrow, but does feature a good range of music and sound effects spread across it. Dialogue is always understandable, never muffled.  

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Animated menu
Scene Access with 6 cues
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Packaging: Alpha
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Trivia Game
  2. Bonus Episode
Extras Review: The only extra selectable from the menu screens is a simply trivia game, but if you answer all eight questions correctly, you gain access to a bonus episode, Sonic and the Secret Scrolls. Other extras include English subtitles, a trailer for the Mario and Sonic DVDs, and a forced trailer when you insert the disc for other DiC properties, including "Doot doo doot doo doot" Inspector Gadget, most of which aren't available on DVD yet.

Extras Grade: C


Final Comments

For what basically amounts to a half-hour commercial for a video game, Sonic the Hedgehog holds up pretty well. It's obviously aimed at an older audience, perhaps kids in their early teens, but there's nothing inappropriate for younger children. And Sonic, always cooler than his dorky Nintendo rival Mario, is still popular with the kids today. But why is he blue? 


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