A new Sonic game is on the way, and it looks exactly like Sonic did 20-plus years ago

For millions of people around the world, the war between Super Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog was serious business.

And for Nintendo and Sega, it was actually serious business. Nintendo controlled north of 90% of the video game market before Sega — and a speedy blue cartoon hedgehog named Sonic — showed up.

Super Mario and Sonic the HedgehogNintendo/SegaTeam Mario? Or Team Sonic?

“Sonic the Hedgehog” — the original Sega Genesis game, not the character — is beloved among game fans of a certain age. It starred the hard-edged Sega equivalent of Nintendo’s goofy, floppy-hatted Super Mario. Moreover, his debut game was really, really good. (It didn’t hurt that Sega included the game for free with new Genesis consoles, making it the first-ever successful free-to-play game.)

For years, fans have wanted a return to the original, 16-bit-era version of “Sonic the Hedgehog” that they grew up with. And now, those fans are taking over the creation of exactly such a project.

This is “Sonic Mania”:

More from Ben Gilbert:

If 'Sonic Mania' looks familiar, that's because it's a spitting image of the original 'Sonic the Hedgehog' games.

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It stars Sonic (the hedgehog), Tails, and a third playable character....

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Knuckles! He's an echidna.

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Knuckles originally appeared in 'Sonic the Hedgehog 3,' and became a playable character in 'Sonic & Knuckles.'

So, what's this game about? It's standard Sonic fare: Take down the evil Dr. Eggman (maybe you know him as Dr. Robotnik?) by any means necessary.

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If where Sonic is running looks familiar, that's because it's the famous 'Green Hill Zone' from the original game. It's been reimagined for 'Sonic Mania.'

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The characteristic signs of classic Sonic are back, from collecting gold coins to Sonic's signature spin-dash move:

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Sonic runs, jumps, spin-dashes, and zip-lines around levels.

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The classic computer monitors (containing coins, extra lives, and other power-ups) are scattered throughout Sonic's world.

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Tails can even tag along.

And, as always, there are various secret areas and alternate routes to take through each level. It's not just about going fast, but about going smart.

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Though the game looks nearly identical to the original Sega Genesis game, it's taking advantage of modern game techniques to subtly smooth the rough edges of the original.

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Animation, for instance, is dramatically better due to the capability of modern video game hardware.

'Sonic Mania' looks as challenging as ever -- you'll need to carefully control Sonic as he races through levels, lest you lose all your precious gold coins.

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The game runs at a locked 60 frames-per-second, which is to say it runs very smoothly and quickly.

For you ultra-serious Sonic fans, there's a collector's edition of 'Sonic Mania' that comes with a bunch of nostalgia-laced swag:

Sega
Don't get it twisted: The game isn't arriving this Autumn. It actually doesn't have a release date just yet outside of '(US) Summer 2017.'

'Sonic Mania' arrives at some point this summer, on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Check out the latest trailer right here:

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