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Sonic the Fighters, also known as Sonic Championship, is a 1996 arcade fighting game starring the ever-lovin' cobalt-furred insectivore and his pals.
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Detective Espio sends a message to Tails detailing mad scientist Dr. Eggman's new plan to Take Over the World: launching a robot invasion on the earth, via his newly constructed super weapon, the Death Egg II. Fortunately, Sonic and Tails have built a one-seater rocket that will take them directly to the Death Egg II. There's just one problem — it needs eight Chaos Emeralds to power it. The emeralds are scattered around the world, guarded by Sonic and his friends (with the exception of Fang the Sniper, who stole his emerald from one of those guards). A fighting tournament is started to determine who gets to fly the rocket and save the world.

The game, made by Sega AM2, is more-or-less a stripped-down and very goofy Dolled-Up Installment version of Fighting Vipers. For years, it remained an obscurity, as it was only widely released in Japan with a very limited overseas release, with Bean and Bark also being included as bonus fighters in Fighters Megamix on the Sega Saturn. Fortunately, a direct home port of the game made it onto Sonic Gems Collection in 2005. In late 2012, the game received an Updated Re-release on PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade with online play, as well as the ability to play as the previously Dummied Out Honey the Cat, alongside bosses Metal Sonic and Robotnik, for $5 as part of Sega's Model2 Collection series of games.

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This game features trope examples of:

  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Two variations:
    • Super Sonic, assuming the conditions are met, is only usable during the second round with Metal Sonic and against Dr. Robotnik.
    • Hyper Mode is permanently enabled for the final fight against Dr. Eggman.
  • Achievement Mockery: The PSN/XBLA versions give you a trophy/achievement just for being Squashed Flat.
  • Agony of the Feet: One of the attacks many of the fighters have is a foot stomp.
  • All in the Manual: The game's story is described in detail in issue 173 of the Japanese gaming magazine Gamest.
  • Amusing Injuries: The violence of the game is very lighthearted and cartoony, with lots of slapstick attacks.
  • Ass Kicks You: Amy makes use of this a little, and Honey, being a Moveset Clone of her, does much of the same.
  • Attract Mode: Wait a moment after the intro and you'll see a short match with the computer.
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  • Beak Attack: Bean the Dynamite can dash forward to jab his opponents with his rather pointy-looking bill.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Bark the Polar Bear, who can be quite ferocious in the arena. Subverted personality-wise, though, as his character profile says he's a shy and gentle fellow.
  • Cartoon Bomb: Bean's Weapon of Choice.
  • Character Select Forcing: In a roundabout way, at least; though you can pick any of the game's eight characters (plus Honey in the HD release) to tackle the campaign, the clear intention is to play as Sonic, since he's the final opponent before facing the Death Egg II and he can use his Super Mode at the game's climax.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: This was the last game appearance of Fang the Sniper and only game appearance of Bark the Polar Bear and Bean the Dynamite in the Sonic series for over 20 years, other than their cameos on wanted posters in Sonic Generations.note  Bean and Bark resurfaced in the crossover fighting game, Fighters Megamix as the sole playable Sonic characters before disappearing altogether. Eventually, the three of them finally resurfaced in Sonic Mania.
  • Collapsing Lair: The Death Egg II, which apparently is set to self-destruct just because Metal Sonic was defeated in Death Egg's Eye.
  • Combos: Each character has wide array of moves and combos you can perform.
  • Cool Plane:
    • A brief glimpse of Tails' Tornado plane in the opening.
    • Sonic's stage, Giant Wing, takes place on one.
  • Disc-One Nuke: Sonic's Spin Dash. It's a very fast, hard fitting, rapid fire attack that literally knocks enemies right off their feet and delivers a large chunk of damage each time, it can mow right through several opponent shields at a time, and it even deflect Fang's popgun corks. And it's a default move.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: This game is essentially Fighting Vipers with Sonic characters. It actually started life as one of the designers placing Sonic and Tails in Fighting Vipers as a joke before it became a full-fledged game of its own.
  • Drop the Hammer: Amy's weapon of choice, the Piko Piko Hammer, makes its first appearance here. Other characters can even use it against her!
  • Dummied Out:
    • Honey the Cat, Metal Sonic, one of the Eggman robots (which has the name of "RoboEgg"), the "rocket" Metal Sonic from the intro (who even has his own unique name card), and Dr. Eggmannote  are all playable through hacking. Honey the Cat and Metal Sonic were made playable in the HD re-release, along with Dr. Eggman in his E-Mech, though the other characters remained left out.
    • There's also a dummied out stage, Sunset Town; all that remains in the game's data is its music, which is included in the Sound Test and the official soundtrack. Apparently, this was meant to be Honey's home stage.
  • Excuse Plot: The plot makes little sense whatsoever when you try to analyze it. It's really just a way of giving Sonic and company a reason to fight each other.
  • Expy:
    • Bean the Dynamite is based on Bin from Dynamite Dux. Officially, they're father and son which also means they have a Strong Family Resemblance as well.
    • Honey the Cat is a Funny Animal version of the Fighting Vipers character of the same name (known as Candy outside of Japan). She was dummied out of the initial release before being reinstated in the HD version.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: Fang the Sniper's cork-guns.
  • Family Theme Naming: Bean's character profile for Fighters Megamix confirms that he's the son of Bin from Dynamite Dux.
  • Fungus Humongous: Espio's stage, Mushroom Hill.
  • Funny Background Event: In the Magic Carpet stage, there's a Sphinx that inexplicably has Sonic's face carved onto it.
  • Gentle Giant: Bark is described as this in his official bios.
  • Going Commando:
    • Unlike in later games, Amy doesn't wear panties here.
    • Honey joins in the fun in the Updated Re-release.
  • Golden Super Mode: Super Sonic, if you make it through the game without losing a single round until the second round with Metal Sonic and immediately enter the Back+P+K commands. If you pull this off though, the rest of the game is a cakewalk.
  • Good vs. Good: Among Sonic's opponents are his own allies, including Knuckles and Tails. The latter is particularly strange since the opening implies that Tails was already helping out with Sonic finding the emeralds.
  • Green Hill Zone: The South Island stage, which is presumably set in Green Hill Zone.
  • Guest Fighter: Honey the Cat, who is a Funny Animal version of Honey (known as Candy in other regions) from Fighting Vipers.
  • The Informant: Espio plays this role in the game's story by sending a video to Tails detailing Eggman's latest evil scheme. This makes sense considering Espio is a detective.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: Fail to defeat Robotnik's E-Mech in the final battle, and you'll be treated to a cutscene of the Death Egg II blowing up with you in it.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Some of the characters' moves can hit downed opponents. Some of them can home-in on them unless they recover and dodge the incoming attack.
  • Kill Sat: The Death Egg II.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: The very modus operandi of the game. Let's face it, the only reason this game exists is so you can have Sonic and his friends slap the shit out of each other for laughs. The plot, as mentioned above, doesn't even remotely make sense.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Beating Metal Sonic triggers a self-destruct countdown, which sets up the Timed Mission fight against Eggman.
  • Long Song, Short Scene:
    • The Death Egg's Hangar theme isn't played in any version of the game (and even if it had would have been used in a thirty second max face-off), though it was eventually used in the pre-race cutscene of the Death Egg track in Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing. Two other tracks (an early version of the Character Select theme and the theme for an unused stage, Sunset Town) are only heard on the OST.
    • The theme that plays if you transform into Super Sonic, titled "Everything", will likely only be heard for a very short time in regular gameplay. Not only can it only ever be heard for only one round, - as Super Sonic can only be activated against the second round against Metal, if at all - Super Sonic is obscenely powerful, meaning that unless you're actively trying to listen to the theme, you'll likely trash Metal in no time flat, causing the game to progress to the fight with Robotnik, which has its own music. What's more is that since Super Sonic is exclusive to the single-player mode, it's impossible to listen to it in Vs. Mode.
    • Dynamite Plant seems to be this in the Sonic Gems Collections port. Because they used the music from the soundtrack CD instead of taking the truncated versions from the arcade release, it takes nearly 30 seconds for Dynamite Plant's BGM to get to the good part where it started playing originally. Rounds in this game (by default) last no more than 30 seconds, so if you're whooping Bean's ass, the music will never really have a chance to pick up the slack.
    • A similar timing issue affected the intro music in Sonic Gems Collection, whereas on the arcade version, everything that was happening was mostly synced up to the music.
    • The Updated Re-release for Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network allows you to select any song as the Main Menu theme with the Left and Right triggers, including the unused tracks.
  • Look Behind You: One of Amy's special attacks, which can confuse your character momentarily.
  • Magic Carpet: Amy's stage, the Flying Carpet, naturally takes place on one.
  • Mascot Fighter: A prototypical instance.
  • Mecha-Mook: Eggman launches an invasion of earth by sending a fleet of them from the Death Egg II, but they're only very briefly seen in the opening. You don't get to fight them at all.
  • Mighty Glacier: Bark is pretty much the game's equivalent to Jeffry since he's slow but packs a punch.
  • Mirror Match: Whenever two of the same character fight, the second player controls a grayscale Palette Swap. In Arcade Mode, Dr. Eggman appears and creates an Evil Knockoff to be fought by player 1, save for Honey in Model2 Collection re-release, since she is never fought in any of the eight stages. Honey's second player palette isn't grayscale, but rather references her human counterpart's alternate color scheme in Fighting Vipers.
  • Moveset Clone: The bosses and Honey, after some close examination:
    • Metal Sonic naturally borrows some of Sonic's moves, as well as one of Tails' throws.
    • Dr. Eggman has some of Bark's moves and Bean's bomb attacks.
    • Honey the Cat takes most of her moves from Knuckles and mixes in a few from Amy.
  • No Fair Cheating: Presumably because of their incredibly powerful movesets, Metal Sonic and Robotnik can't be selected to go through Arcade Mode in the HD re-release. Honey the Cat is fair game, however.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Honey the Cat is the only anthro Sonic character who seems to have real head hair that is a different color from their fur, as opposed to just fur sticking out that reminisces of hair. This is likely due to her being an anthropomorphization of Honey from Fighting Vipers.
  • Off-Model: During the final battle against him, Eggman is inexplicably smaller than Sonic.
  • Offstage Villainy: Aside from a very brief glimpse at Eggman's monitor in the opening, we don't see any of Eggman's robot invasion.
  • Panty Shot: Can be done with Amy and Honey, although the player will be surprised to find they're not wearing panties at all.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Espio the Chameleon.
  • Powered Armor: The E-Mech, which Eggman uses in the final battle.
  • Punched Across the Room: Some moves are capable of doing this.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Pretty much everyone that isn't Metal Sonic and Eggman, though Tails, Amy, and Honey all stand out.
  • The Rival: Sonic and Knuckles to each other; a unique theme plays if the two are fighting.
  • Scenery Porn: Particularly South Island.
  • Secret Character: Depending on which version of the game you're playing, this is either downplayed or played straight:
    • If you're playing the original, it's downplayed. Super Sonic can be considered a secret character, as nothing hints at him being in the game, but he can only be used in the final stretch of the single-player mode. Additionally, he's more of a variation of Sonic (naturally) than his own character, so he's more of an 11th-Hour Superpower than an actual secret character.
    • If you're playing the HD re-release, this is played straight, as the previously Dummied Out Honey the Cat and AI-only characters Metal Sonic and Eggman are all playable by pressing the start button on certain charactersnote . Only Honey can be used in single-player, however.
  • Send in the Clones: Depending on who you play as (save for Honey in the Model2 Collection re-release), Eggman will create monochromatic clone doppelgangers in their respective levels to fight you.
  • Series Continuity Error: Eight Chaos Emeralds instead of the series standard of seven? Oddities like this and "Dr. Robotonic" can be explained by the game being developed by Sega's arcade division, AM2, rather than Sonic Team.
  • Shoryuken: Knuckles' and Honey's Rising Uppercut move.
  • Shout-Out: Bark has one of Sanman's throwing moves where he rolls his opponent like a bowling ball, although in Bark's case, he causes bowling pins fly out when they hit the wall along with the sound effect.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: The cartoon violence pulls no punches for any playable fighter, and that includes Amy and Honey in the Updated Re-release.
  • SNK Boss: Metal Sonic. He has many cheap attacks which shred through your health, even more so when he's low on health thanks to the game's "payback" system, recovers incredibly fast, and he has the quickest reaction time of any fighter. Break all his shields? He flips his shit and starts using his unblockable corkscrew attack, which hurts like hell. Even on the easiest difficulty, he's a major pain in the ass. That said, if you manage to fulfill the conditions to use Super Sonic, then the tables flip and you become the boss.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": The intro of the English version says the main villain is Dr. Robotonic, even though Robotnik is spelled correctly in his unused character card (underneath Dr. Eggman).
  • Spin Attack:
    • Sonic's signature Spin Dash is an extremely powerful attack. He also has the most techniques that involve spinning.
    • Like Sonic, Tails and Knuckles have the Spin Dash.
    • Espio has a variant of the Spin Dash.
    • Amy and Bark are equipped with a spinning hammer attack and a spinning lariat, respectively.
  • The Stoic: Super Sonic, in what little screen time he has. During the cutscene in which the player is lowered into the Death Egg Hangar, every other character will show surprise on their faces, what with Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises. Super Sonic, on the other hand, retains the same serious look on his face for the cutscene.
  • Super Mode:
    • Hyper Mode, in which one barrier is expended for temporary increased attack speed and access to unique moves.
    • Sonic also has exclusive access to his Super form by meeting certain conditionsnote . Super Sonic retains all of his usual moves and becomes completely invincible, staying that way until the end of the game.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: Espio and Bean gain the ability to warp when in Hyper Mode.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Transforming into Super Sonic in the fight with Metal Sonic replaces the background music with a unique theme, simply known as "Everything".
  • Time-Limit Boss: Dr. Eggman in his E-Mech in the Death Egg's Hangar. You've got fifteen seconds to beat him, lest the Death Egg II explode while you're still on it.
  • Turns Red:
    • The game has a sort of "payback" system that causes damage to increase based on one character's remaining health relative to their opponent's. For example, if player 1 knocks off about 75% of player 2's health to start, player 2's attacks will be stronger and they can cut player 1's health down to half in as few as two hits depending on the character and attack used. It's meant to make comebacks more feasible and keep the dominant player on their toes.
    • Metal Sonic is known to do this as well; get his health down below 50% without getting hit and not only will he begin spamming his best moves, but his next attack can take your health down by about half in one hit.
  • The Twelve Principles of Animation: Lots of exaggerated squash and stretch is displayed in the game.
  • Updated Re-release: The Model2 Collection re-release has enhanced HD visuals, online multiplayer, three of the dummied out characters (Honey, Metal Sonic, and Dr. Eggman) as playable characters, and a sound test feature in the main menu that lets you listen to the game's music by pressing the trigger buttons.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Amy is the second opponent of the game and marks where the game's difficulty really starts to rack up. While not as brutal as the later opponents, she can still pack a nasty punch for those who are unprepared.
  • Warm-Up Boss: Knuckles, the first opponent of the game, is basically the game's equivalent of Glass Joe. It is very easy to get Perfect rounds against him, and it is entirely possible, even on the hardest difficulty, to take him down before he even has the chance to attack you.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Whatever happened to the Rocket Metal Sonic from the opening? Looking through the game's files seems to indicate that he was playable/intended to be fought at some point (he even has a unique name card, unlike other characters who just default to Dr. Eggman), but was Dummied Out for whatever reason.
  • Wingding Eyes: Characters attacked by Sonic's Dizzy Spin move will get spiral eyes, indicating dizziness. This is averted by Metal Sonic, whose eyes are replaced with "DAMAGE" when beaten down.

Alternative Title(s): Sonic Championship

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