Sonic the Hedgehog games were never known for their consistency. For better or worse, SEGA and Sonic Team reinvent the titular hedgehog’s gameplay with every release, with fans unable to agree on which style suits Sonic best. That debate might finally come to a head with “Project Hero.”

Sonic the Hedgehog reborn?

This fan-made Unity project, set up by YouTuber Hero, first gained online attention last year. Its goal was to create an amalgamation of Sonic’s various play styles from over the years. The initial proof of concept won over fans across the community, but updates have been sparse since its unveiling. Two weeks ago, Hero finally broke their silence, announcing they have reworked the demo and started all over with a major video update:

The revamped “Project Hero” sees Sonic take full advantage of his wider range of moves from all his mainline games. Like the classics on Genesis, his gameplay heavily features momentum and gravity physics seamlessly woven into his movements. The Spin Dash and Spin Attack return, as do his Elemental Shield abilities from Sonic 3¬†and the Drop Dash from Sonic Mania. The Homing Attack even carries Sonic’s momentum as he propels through enemies, rather than stopping him dead in mid-air.

As for recent source material, there are more subtleties to glean. Sonic’s increased speed improves his Bounce Attack from Sonic Adventure 2, and he can sweep enemies off their feet like in Sonic ’06 and Unleashed. Unfortunately for Modern fans, Hero pulled the Boost from the initial demo, presumably in favor of improving Sonic’s handling. However, there is a treat for Sonic Riders fans, as the Extreme Gear makes a surprise appearance. The new proof of concept even shows off how overpowered Sonic’s moves can get upon transforming into Super Sonic.

The classic trio perfected

Like Sonic, his best buddy Tails receives a similar glow-up and hybrid moveset. When he takes flight, the two-tailed fox can exert more power to increase his airspeed. He can also attack with a tails swipe like in Sonic Adventure and the Advance games. Unlike before, his moveset now includes bombs, similar to those from his solo Game Gear outing Tails’ Adventure. Tails can aim and toss these like in Sonic ’06, throw them to ricochet off springs, or use them to propel himself into the air.

Finally, we have Knuckles the Echidna. The Angel Island native retains his trademark gliding, digging, and climbing skills, and his unique super-strength lets him blow through the toughest Eggman robots. Like in the Adventure games, he can still punch through baddies and catch them by surprise with a Drill Claw.

Despite the praise, Hero is a modest soul, telling their viewers that “no matter the way you look at it, a 3D fan game made by a single person […] could never be compared to official games, no matter how mediocre you think those are.” These gameplay demos all look amazing in motion, but we have only seen these in test stages thus far. Here’s hoping we see these characters put to work in an actual stage with complimenting level design in the near future.

What do you think of “Project Hero?” Is its concept something you would like to see in a future Sonic game? Share your thoughts with us below.

Jeffrey McDonell
Rare import from Canada, lover of all things video game music and remixes, desk jockey by day, and Nintendo Enthusiast by night. I grew up on Nintendo consoles since the Game Boy Advance and GameCube, with standouts like Sonic, Mario, and Zelda defining my childhood.

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