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Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I

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Title Screen

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I

Developers: Sonic Team, Dimps
Publisher: Sega
Platforms: Windows, Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, iOS, Android, Blackberry Tablet OS
Released internationally: October 7, 2010


Carts.png This game has revisional differences.


ProtoIcon.png This game has a prototype article

Arguably the most controversial game in the entire franchise, Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I is either a nostalgic return to the series' 2D roots or an insult to its name, depending on who you ask.

Hmmm...
To do:
  • There may be more version differences.
  • See if there's any more unused content.

Sub-Pages

Read about prototype versions of this game that have been released or dumped.
Prototype Info

Unused Achievements

There are a few unused achievements, though they're nothing particularly special.

  • Centurion: Get 120 rings in Mad Gear Zone Act 1.
  • Splash Hill Zone: Finish all 3 Acts and boss round of Splash Hill.
  • Casino Street Zone: Finish all 3 Acts and boss round of Casino Street.
  • Lost Labyrinth Zone: Finish all 3 Acts and boss round of Lost Labyrinth.
  • Mad Gear Zone: Finish all 3 Acts and boss round of Mad Gear.
(Source: Sonic News Network)

Unused Graphics

The Wii version has some unused graphics.

Basic Manual

Early Final
278px 278px

The file sample.tpl is an early version of the Japanese basic manual. The final manuals are JPEGs, rather than TPLs.

(Source: Original TCRF research)

Test

278px
The file test.tpl is a pink stripey pattern. It is in the same .app file as the early basic manual.

(Source: Original TCRF research)

Oddities

The Ferris wheels in the background of Casino Street Zone say "Sonic the Portable". This is because Sonic 4 was intended to be a mobile-only game by that title until Sega made the decision to make it a multiplatform release and tie it into the classic trilogy. However, the developers didn't bother to remove the mention of Sonic the Portable and just tried to blur it out. (They didn't do a very good job, needless to say.)

(Source: Hardcore Gaming 101)

Version Differences

Wii

The Wii version received a few presentation-related downgrades due to both the Wii's hardware limitations and the storage limitations of WiiWare games. Otherwise, it's identical to the other console versions.

  • There's no achievement system.
  • Sonic's model does not have eyelids, and his mouth doesn't open when looking up.
  • The player can have up to six save files, unlike the other versions (which only support one).
  • The music uses a sequenced format similar to MIDI or module formats. This results in a few noticeable differences compared to the other versions' audio, notably the title screen and the Boss theme using the default Windows MIDI instruments for no particular reason.
  • The Wii version can only run at 480p because the Wii does not support HD graphics. The other versions can run up to 1080p.
  • The game saves automatically every time you complete a zone, while the other console versions make you select your XBOX/PlayStation account first.

Xbox 360/PS3/Windows

These versions are mostly identical to each other.

  • The 360 and PS3 versions support custom soundtracks.
  • Sonic and the environments are noticeably shinier in the 360 version (and only Sonic in the PS3 version) due to higher bloom.
  • Super Sonic always wins in the slot machine.

Mobile Versions

Hmmm...
To do:
Rip the Sonic models and level maps so we can have a direct comparison between models. Also, get a working .apk file for the older versions for proof of the older Sonic models.

Because Sonic 4 was originally developed as a mobile-only game, the iOS and Android versions reflect the game's prototypes to a greater extent than the other versions.

  • The second Acts of Casino Street Zone and Lost Labyrinth Zone are significantly different in the mobile versions and are the same as the ones in the console prototypes. They were changed for the console/PC versions because they were poorly received by fans, being built for mobile rather than traditional devices.
    • Casino Street Zone Act 2 is "100,000 Point Challenge" rather than "Road of Cards". This Act is a simple score attack in which Sonic is stuck in a pinball board and must rack up 100,000 points to clear the stage. The music is also completely different since the short score attack theme would not fit in the console/PC versions' more traditional level.
    • Lost Labyrinth Zone Act 2 is "Strange Mine Cart" rather than "World of Darkness". In it, the player controls a minecart throughout the entire level using accelerometer controls. In the console/PC versions, the presence of the minecart was drastically reduced, and the level was rebuilt around a new mechanic involving a torch.
  • In the initial iPhone-exclusive release, Sonic's model was completely different and closely resembled the one from Sonic Rush (which makes sense, given that Sonic Rush was also a Dimps project and Sonic 4 uses the same engine). He doesn't have a mouth, eyelids, or an index finger after completing a boss Act. He also has a different idle animation in which he taps an iPhone near his ear and spins happily around in place.
    • In 2011, the game received an iPad-exclusive port titled Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 HD which utilized a new, higher-quality model that more closely resembles the one from other versions. As such, some differences disappeared. In 2016, the game was updated to a universal app, thus standardizing the new model across all iOS devices.
    • In both the initial iPhone release and the 2011 iPad release, Sonic's "wheel-of-feet" animation only appears when Sonic is at top speed. This behavior is consistent with console prototypes.
  • After finishing a level, there is no option to start the next Act directly from the Results screen.
  • The camera rotates when going through loops, which can be pretty disorienting.
  • The music doesn't loop properly.