Sonic The Hedgehog 4Sonic The Hedgehog 4

After more than 15 years, we have a sequel to Sonic 3 and Knuckles, not that a sequel was necessary as that game rounded the story very well, yet, Sonic The Hedgehog 4 (S4) was released in 2011 to every platform available (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PC and iOS) and more since. It also served as a build-up for the upcoming Sonic Generations as part of Sonic's 20th anniversary.

It is (or to be technical they are) a traditional 2D platformer and attempts to return to the momentum-based physics of the 16-Bit era. It manages to come pretty close but still feels a tad stiff. The gameplay is somewhat tweaked but nothing too dramatic like some of the handheld games. Whether that is for the better is debatable but the difficulty has certainly been upped.

S4 introduces a new move for Sonic in the form of the homing attack, and for Sonic and Tails as a team, a high-speed rolling attack.

S4 brings several obvious modern additions: HD graphics in a 16:9 aspect running at a rock-solid 60fps (on consoles) with plenty of parallax scrolling. Music has a modern approach but there are plenty of traditional retro sounds thrown in. Automatic game saves (which was a big deal way back with Sonic 3), some small cutscenes and a few limited online abilities in the form of leaderboards.

There are some differences between the console and mobile versions most notably the latter having two stages that have sections making use of accelerometers in the phones.

In a first for Sonic, the game is delivered in episodes, two of them, that were released about a year apart.

Episode 1 is focused on Sonic in a solo confrontation with Eggman whilst Episode 2 is heavily related to the events in Sonic CD and brings Tales back as a playable character.

Each episode has a few differences but moreover, have distinctly different Special Stages. As a bonus for those who bought both episodes for the same system, a side episode is unlocked following the journey of Metal Sonic making him a playable character.

Both games/episodes sport the same colourful presentation expected. Both are presented differently stylistically though they are constructed the same.

Episode 1 fared better in reviews more so than Episode 2 but both generally got positive reviews. Both are still widely available and cheaply.

Apparently, these games were originally planned to be a trilogy but those plans were abandoned sometime in 2015...

Note: This feature covers the Xbox 360 version of the games but the majority of the details should be the same across the different platforms.

In this game, our familiar adversary is referred to as Eggman though in the time the game is set he still would have been called Dr. Robotnik.

GAMEPLAY - Common to Both

As a whole, S4 is essentially a medley of the three/four previous games with familiar settings, gimmicks, Badniks, bosses and inspired special stages. With very little changes to the gameplay, returning fans can pick the game up instantly and newcomers will have no major issues because it's the classic Sonic formula.

As a recap: Sonic (or Sonic and Tails) must get to the end of an act in a general left to right progression avoiding hazards such as spikes and bottomless pits and the enemy robots (known as Badniks) within a 10-minute time limit. Along the way, they collect rings and other special items to aid them.

For a full in-depth run down to classic Sonic gameplay check out the Sonic The Hedgehog Feature.

Onscreen will be Rings, Time elapsed, Score and remaining lives.

Sonic The Hedgehog 4

Sonic The Hedgehog 4 (Epsiode 1)

The familiar monitors return sans the three special shields along with the Star Posts.

Ring – Gives 10 Rings.

Shield – Provides protection against a single hit.

Invincibility – Makes Sonic invincible for a short period of time.

Speed – Give a boost of speed for a short period of time.

Extra Life – Give an extra life.

Star Posts – Acts as restart points should Sonic be killed.

S4 brings much larger zones compared to the previous games, and in them are plenty of gimmicks to be used from the changing to the time of day, card games, mine carts, or a pursuing giant drill that will result in instant death should it get too close. Also, there are more places where obstacles will need to be pushed out the way – a skill Sonic has not used much recently.

Returning Badnik Puku-puku

Returning Badnik Puku-puku

Chaining Badmik's

Chaining Badmik's

Many of the old Badniks are back – some now upgraded. Some of the newer Badniks require more than 1 hit to defeat. New in S4, is the more visible bonus chaining when defeating enemies in a row. As well as more points, following chains of enemies usually leads to shortcuts with more rings and special items.

S4 also brings in the tweaking of the ring scattering being proportionate to the hit taken. For example, landing on a set of spikes will make the rings scatter nearby whereas being hit by an energy blast shoots them away with some even going off screen.

Completing an act rewards bonuses for time and rings. Faster completion rewards more points and more rings reward more points. Earning 10,000 or more total will reward an extra life. There are no continue credits in the games, however, extra lives are much easier to obtain.

If Sonic/Tails are in possession of 50 rings when completing an act then a giant ring will be to the top-right of the finishing post. Jumping into it transports them to the Special Stage where extra continue lives can be earned but moreover it is where the Chaos Emeralds can be collected. Collecting all 7 will not only have the good ending to the game but also allow Sonic to transform into Super Sonic.

Each zone has three acts and then there is a shorter boss act. When an act is completed it is possible to continue playing or return to a World Map.

The World Map (Stage Select)

Before launching a new game or continuing, the World Map allows the selection of which act to play including Special Stages. This affords much more freedom than before. Always displayed is how many Chaos Emeralds have been found and the number of lives remaining.

Each Zone has an info card that will display:

In Score Attack mode: Number and name for the act, Highest score and Whether a Choas Emerald was obtained on that act.

In Time Attack mode, score is replaced with the fastest time.

In Both modes, scores and times can be submitted to online leaderboards.

Only previously cleared acts can be selected.

Super Sonic

Our yellow hero becomes available when Sonic has all 7 Chaos Emeralds and in possession of 50 rings. As Super Sonic he accelerates quicker and is invincible. Ring count will decrease all the time. He reverts to ordinary Sonic when all his rings have been depleted. It is not possible to cancel out of this mode nor earn extra lives via rings.

Only Sonic has this ability.


Sonic 4 Soundtrack

The official soundtrack has the tunes from both episodes with a total of 54 tracks and is widely available in digital format.

Misc Info


From here you can venture to the specific features for either Episode 1, Episode 2 and Episode Metal.

Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode 1 Feature

Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode 2 Feature

Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode Metal Feature

Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode 1Sonic 4 Episode 1 Map

World Map


After the final destruction of the first Death Egg and the returning of the Master Emerald to Angel Island, Sonic sets off to explore new regions by himself.

But it's not long before construction begins on the new version, and Dr. Eggman travels back to the sight of an old battle to resurrect some help...


It is classic Sonic gameplay so see the previous sections for the main rundown. The only change is Sonic's Homing Attack ability.

When Eggman is confronted he will recycle many of his old attacks from previous games. After a few hits in one mode, he switches to his new mode. Defeat will need a minimum of 8 hits.

Sonic's controls are:

Left Analogue Stick and the D-Pad LEFT or RIGHT are run. Hold to accelerate. Hold a direction to push a heavy (moveable) object.

DOWN and UP whilst stationary will scroll the screen slightly. When pressed when Sonic is running will make him roll which is used for gaining speed, smashing through walls and defeating enemies.

BUTTONs A and B are jump. When Sonic is on the ground, a tap creates a small jump and a press gives a larger jump. When Sonic is in the air, pressing JUMP again performs the Homing Attack and will make Sonic jump towards nearby objects. This could be a monitor, spring or an enemy. Valid objects will have a target around them. These can be chained. If there is not an object nearby, then Sonic will tumble and hit the ground running. This can be used to build up speed quickly.

Holding DOWN and pressing BUTTON A or B repeatedly is the Spin-Dash. Let go of the controls for Sonic to zoom off at speed.

BUTTON Y is to transform into Super Sonic.

When launching the game, pressing START on the title screen will display the main menu. Pressing START any time during the game will display the main menu also.

New Game – Starts a new game.

Continue – Goes to the World Map to select the next act to play.

Help & Options – Provides a gameplay manual, controls (not possible to change), options for the volume of music and sound effects and viewing the credits for the game.

Leaderboards – View the online leaderboards for best scores/times.

Achievements – View the list of achievements for the game. (Xbox 360). See below.

Exit Game – Return to the Dash Board.

Special Stage(s)

The Special Stage in Episode 1 takes its inspiration from the original Sonic the Hedgehog only this time the maze has to be rotated around our hedgehog who is constantly tumbling under the influence of gravity. The first few stages a pretty easy but the latter ones will need a few attempts to figure out the best route possible.

Use the Left Analogue Stick (only) to rotate the maze around.

BUTTON A and B will shake the maze which will allow Sonic to become dislodged.

The maze is divided into sections and quota of rings must be met to pass through barriers which lead to the central chamber where the Chaos Emerald resides. Arrows in the background will generally point the way. The maze itself will be tricky to navigate with plenty of areas to be become entrapped.

Littered throughout will be bumpers knocking Sonic off course and weaker barriers made of diamonds needing a few hits to break and one-way barriers.

This will be against the clock so extra time balloons need to be collected.

Beware the ! as touching them will results in ejection as does running out of time.

Collecting 100 rings will earn an extra life and 1-Ups can be found when replaying a stage where the Chaos Emerald has already been collected.

When exiting, there are bonuses for time (remaining) and rings with a grand total of 10,000 or over earning an extra life.


Sonic 4 Episode 1 Screenshots

Splash Hill Zone

Splash Hill Zone Act 1 Splash Hill Zone Act 2
Splash Hill Zone Act 3 Splash Hill Zone Boss

Casino Street Zone

Casino Street Zone Act 1 Casino Street Zone Act 2
Casino Street Zone Act 3 Casino Street Zone Boss

Lost Labyrinth

Lost Labyrinth Zone Act 1 Lost Labyrinth Zone Act 2
Lost Labyrinth Zone Act 3 Lost Labyrinth Zone Boss

Mad Gear Zone

Mad Gear Zone Act 1 Mad Gear Zone Act 2
Mad Gear Zone Act 3 Mad Gear Zone Boss

E.G.G Station Zone

E.G.G Station Zone E.G.G Station Zone
E.G.G Station Zone E.G.G Station Zone
E.G.G Station Zone
Sonic 4 Episode 1 Screenshots

Special Stages

Special Stage 1 Special Stage 2
Special Stage 3 Special Stage 4
Special Stage 5 Special Stage 6
Special Stage 7


These are the achievements for the Xbox 360 version of the game.

Sonic 4 Episode 1 Achievements



Gamer Points


Upload your recorded scores and clear times for all stages


Golden Flash

Clear all Acts as Super Sonic


All Stages Cleared!

Defeat the final boss and view the ending.


Super Sonic Genesis

Acquire all seven Chaos Emeralds.



Build up 99 or more extra lives.


Speed's My Game

Clear SPLASH HILL ZONE ACT 1 in less than a minute.


Enemy Hunter

Defeat 1,000 enemies.


Ring Collector

Collect all the rings in Special Stage 1 and clear the stage.


Crush Dr. Eggman

Defeat a boss for the first time.


The First Chaos Emerald

Acquire a Chaos Emerald


The Story Begins




Clear the E.G.G STATION ZONE without taking any damage.


Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode 2Sonic 4 Episode 2 Map


Months after the events of Episode 1, the Little Planet from Sonic The Hedgehog CD fame once more nears Sonic's world.

At the same time, Dr. Eggman unfurls his latest plot - it can’t be more coincidence. With Tails in tow, Sonic sets off to investigate.


Episode 2 heralds the return of Tails along with new co-operative moves. Tails can assist Sonic much better with flying and swimming and this is a great aid to exploration. There are panels that hint where an area needs co-op but the moves can be done anytime. Otherwise, Tails just follows Sonic’s every move like he always has. Annoyingly, it is not possible to select Tails as the playable character in a single player game. He can only be played as part of a co-op.

Special Combination

Special Combination

Aside from this, the gameplay remains unchanged although the physics have been tweaked and makes for an improvement.

There is a new monitor - Special Combination – makes Sonic and Tails bounce around the screen and can defeat enemies. Whilst this is happening, pressing BUTTON A or B repeatedly increases score.

Also, there are now Red Star Rings (introduced in Sonic Colours and Sonic Generations) scattered throughout each act, some in rather tricky places to reach. There is no real purpose for these although there is an achievement linked to them. The zone info card displays whether a red star has been collected.

There is a different special stage and Eggman has significantly improved his contraptions.

Sonic controls the same but with the addition of co-op controls. See below. Tails' controls are:

Left Analogue Stick and the D-Pad LEFT or RIGHT are run. Hold to accelerate to a run.

DOWN and UP whilst stationary will scroll the screen slightly. When pressed as Tails is running will make him do a roll which is used for gaining speed, smashing through walls and defeating enemies.

BUTTONs A and B are jump. When Tails is on the ground, a tap creates a small jump and a press gives a larger jump. When Tails is airborne, pressing JUMP will make him fly. Pressing JUMP repeatedly gains height. This is the same underwater making Tails swim.

Holding DOWN and pressing BUTTON A or B repeatedly is the Spin-Dash. Release the controls to zoom off at speed.

Co-op Moves

A panel will hint what co-op move is required.

Co-op Panel

Co-op Panel

In a single player game (and playing as Sonic):

Pressing BUTTON X whilst stationary will perform the Rolling Combo. Sonic and Tails join together blast off at speed. This is a most powerful move and it breaks through weaker walls and destroys some enemies. It is also possible to jump when joined. It can be used to clear large sections of an act. Remember that it only operates in one direction though springs in an act can change that.

Hitting a harder wall slows it down and the duo break after the third hit. It can be cancelled out of by pressing BUTTON X during the role.

To perform the Copter Combo, press JUMP and then press BUTTON X. Tails will grab Sonic and control will move to Tails. BUTTON A and B will be to gain height.

Do the same underwater to perform the Submarine Combo.

Keep in mind, there is only a limited amount of time that Tails can do this without getting tired and then will glide back down.

When launching the game, pressing START on the title screen will display the main menu.

Single Player – Goes to World Map.

Multiplayer – Start a game using local co-op mode or via Xbox Live. Players choose which character they wish to play as when selecting an act to play.

Help and Options – How to play, Controls (basic), Settings for music and sound effects and credits.

Leaderboards – View online leaderboards for single and multiplayer.

Achievements – View the list of achievements for the game. (Xbox 360). See below.

Download Content – For Xbox 360 version: A collection of avatars, clothing and accessories including a plushie. There is an option to collect your own Chaos Emerald with the Half-Pipe Special Stage option but it's all pretty superfluous really.

Exit Game.

Pressing BUTTON Y will link game across the Xbox 360 console and a Windows Phone. Inexplicably, it does not link the amount of Chaos Emeralds collected.

Special Stages

The special stage of Episode 2 gets its inspiration from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and is the classic half-pipe seen in several Sonic games since. This version is more elaborate and more difficult, and there are fewer opportunities to enter them.

As always, a quota of rings must be met at the end of each section and within a time limit.

Both Sonic and Tails can collect rings but there will be a slight delay for Tails to move after Sonic and this can be used to advantage.

Rings are placed all over the gamut of the half-pipe and Sonic can run up the sides until vertical when he drops but more speed will be needed to get this high. Later courses will make use of full 360o sections.

Use the Left Analogue stick and the D-Pad are movement.


BUTTONs X or Y are DASH.

To make things difficult, each course is full of two types of obstacles:

Mines – Looses 10 rings when hit.

Electric Barriers - Will drastically slow down running speed for a short time.

Items to assist are:

Combination Dash item will put a glowing rope between Sonic and Tails allowing them to scoop up rings. It vanishes after a short while.

10 Rings – Rewards 10 rings and a are usually residing in the high areas. Often these appear in clusters can really make a difference to meeting the quota.

Invisible Rings – After crossing a line, these rings will be visible for a short period of time. Collecting the quota of these will result in a ring bonus.

Dash Panels – A very short boost of speed. The placement of these is not always useful.

Springs – Will launch Sonic to another level of the course.

Exit happens when failing to meet the quota of rings or running out of time.

At the exit, there will be bonuses for time remaining and rings collected. A grand total of 10,000 or more rewards an extra life.


Sonic 4 Episode 2 Screenshots

Sylvania Castle Zone

Sylvania Castle Zone Act 1 Sylvania Castle Zone Act 2
Sylvania Castle Zone Act 3 Sylvania Castle Zone Boss

White Park Zone

White Park Zone Act 1 White Park Zone Act 2
White Park Zone Act 3 White Park Zone Boss

Oil Desert Zone

Oil Desert Zone Act 1 Oil Desert Zone Act 2
Oil Desert Zone Act 3 Oil Desert Zone Boss

Sky Fortress Zone

Sky Fortress Zone Act 1 Sky Fortress Zone Act 2
Sky Fortress Zone Act 3 Sky Fortress Zone Boss

Death Egg mk.II Zone

Death Egg mk.II Zone Death Egg mk.II Zone Boss
Sonic 4 Episode 2 Screenshots

Special Stages

Special Stage 1 Special Stage 2
Special Stage 3 Special Stage 4
Special Stage 5 Special Stage 6
Special Stage 7


These are the achievements for the Xbox 360 version of the game.

Sonic 4 Episode 2 Achievements



Gamer Points

Endurance Race

Clear all stages without returning to the World Map.


Tag Partner

Upload a Multiplayer score or time.


Metal Sonic Falls

Defeat Metal Sonic in SKY FORTRESS ZONE, Act 1


Proof of Speed

Clear SYLVANIA CASTLE ZONE, Act 1 in one minute or less.


A Golden Wave

Defeat all bosses as Super Sonic.


All Stages Cleared!

Defeat the final foe and watch the ending.


All Red Star Rings Found

Defeat the final foe after collecting every Red Star Ring.


All Chaos Emeralds Found!

Collect all seven Chaos Emeralds.


The Adventure Begins



Rolling Combo!

Activate the Rolling Combo with Sonic and Tails.


I Love Tails

Play as Tails 50 times.


Ring Collector

Beat Special Stage 1 after collecting every Ring.



Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode 1Sonic 4 Episode Metal

This four-act episode explains how Metal Sonic came back to life after being defeated in Sonic CD in Stardust Speedway Act 3 - and presumably the re-run of it in Sonic Generations. He travels through these acts that are reworked from the first act of each Zone in Episode I to bring some more perspective on the story.

Epsiode Metal (Stardust Speedway Act 3) Epsiode Metal (Stardust Speedway Act 3)

They are bonus acts rather than an extra episode as there are no special stages but a welcome bonus since it was free, and being able to play as Metal Sonic is cool too.

Metal Sonic controls the same as Sonic only with slower acceleration and top speed.

Episode Metal is selected from the World Map of Episode 2.


Sonic 4 Episode Metal Screenshots
Splash Hill Zone Lost Labyrinth Zone
Casino Street Zone Mad Gear Zone

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