Sonic has had a lot of spin-off games, and most of them do not require more than a passing mention. As such, this post will cover all of the Sonic spin-off games up to Sonic R in 1997. While some deserve a bit more discussion, including Knuckles Chaotix, most of these games will only get a few sentences. If you don't care about stuff like edutainment titles, come back next post where I finally talk about the first real 3-D game in the series: Sonic Adventure.
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Sonic Triple Trouble (Japanese title: Sonic & Tails 2) is a direct sequel to Sonic Chaos. However, unlike Sonic Chaos, Triple Trouble is much more reminescent of a Genesis title and contains much longer stages. It also adds a lot more vehicular sections.
Unlike the other Game Gear games, Sonic Triple Trouble has no Master System version. Despite this, the game feels more like a console Sonic game than the others on the Game Gear. Like its prequel, you Sonic has his Super Peel-Out and this is the second to last game it appears in. Tails can fly, but it again uses the awkward hold up and press jump while standing system instead of the much simpler jump mashing the main series utilizes.
After Sonic the Hedgehog 2 turned out so well, SEGA once again put STI in charge of the next numbered Sonic game. The game was essentially made by the Japanese half of the developer while Sonic Spinball was made by the other. Originally, Yuji Naka, the producer of the game, wanted to use a new chip to give the game a pseudo-3D isometric view, like the eventual Sonic 3D. However, the chip would not be ready in time so he had to scrap that idea.
Sonic Chaos is another Game Gear/Master System Sonic game that isn't as well remembered as its 16-bit brothers. It's an interesting game that introduced some new things to the Sonic series and is fairly fun.
This is the very first game that you can control a flying Tails. The game is built around the ability to play the game as Sonic or Tails and the differences in how they play. Because of this, the Japanese title, Sonic & Tails, is a much better name.
Soon after Sonic the Hedgehog became a success, its creator, Yuji Naka, left SEGA due to issues with management. However, a new initiative in SEGA of America called Sega Technical Institute was attracting Japanese as well as American developers and with persuasion from a friend and the promise of greater control, higher pay, and a ferrari, Yuji Naka joined STI.
STI began work on Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and one of the main features they wanted to incorporate was a new main character for a 2-player mode. There were several ideas suggested, including a turtle, but the two-tailed fox design was chosen and Miles "Tails" Prower was born. Despite plans to name him simply "Tails," his creator liked the Miles Prower name so much he snuck it into various parts of the game, forcing the full name he has now.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 actually came out on the Master System and Game Gear before the Genesis game. This makes the 8-bit release the first game with Tails in it, even if he isn't playable. He does, however, make cameo appearances on the title screen and all of the images for the various zones. This is because Robotnik kidnapped Tails and Sonic has to rescue him. So he appears at the end of the game as well. The game is also features Mecha Sonic, which is the same silver robotic Sonic at the end of the 16-bit release (Not to be confused with Metal Sonic fromSonic CD). These are the only real similarities between the 8-bit game made by Aspect Co. (who would go on to make further Sonic games for the Master System and Game Gear) and its more popular 16-bit brother.