Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car is a game that features Sonic playing the role of a police officer, patrolling the streets of a city and keeping it safe from Doctor Eggman. The game was released on December 1991, in both Japanese and English (although it is likely that the English version was also developed for use within Japan and not for export).
Arguably one of the earliest ideas to combine a video game
with a children's ride
, the game combines a simple video game in a family-sized cabinet (the ride's interior is spacious enough to accommodate two adults) that is in the style of a police car. The game has Sonic playing the role of a police officer, jumping into a patrol car for a daily patrol routine. Along the way, Dr. Eggman appears and begins making one traffic offense after another. Sonic must then pursue Eggman and destroy his vehicle by jumping on it before he escapes.
The ride itself rocks in a left-to-right manner, and the police car onscreen is controlled by a steering wheel. There is a button that causes Sonic to jump out of his vehicle and hit Eggman once Eggman shows up in the game.
As noted above, the game itself is part of a children's ride. The ride will start moving in sync with Sonic's patrol car on the monitor in the dashboard. Buttons on the dashboard allows the user to turn on the siren, jump out of the car to hit Eggman's vehicle, and start the game. A steering wheel allows the player to maneuver Sonic's patrol car onscreen.
Graphics and Sound
The game uses the ubiquitous background music from Green Hill Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog
, although the sprites onscreen are refined and looks quite different from those used in the original Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Genesis/MegaDrive. Also, there are speech samples in the game. Sonic speaks in Japanese throughout the game/ride.
The game begins with Sonic providing an introductory speech, then pulling out of a police station and hops into his patrol car. At this point the ride begins to move and the player can control Sonic's car as they please, toggling the siren on or off, or make Sonic briefly jump out of the car (this feature serves a more useful purpose once the climax hits). Along the way, the action pauses to let a group of flickies cross the road. As the ride resumes, things remain peaceful for another short period of time, then Eggman shows up and starts shoving cars aside. The player is expected to then activate the siren and pursue him, occasionally pushing the jump button to make Sonic jump out of the car briefly to injure Eggman. When enough damage is done to Eggman's vehicle, it will explode, but Eggman will escape unharmed and leaves the scene hastily. If no action is taken long enough, however, Eggman will get away. Either way, Sonic will pull up in front of the police station and the ride/game ends after Sonic gives an ending speech.
Availability Outside Japan
Although the cabinet is only available in Japanese and is considered improper for operation outside Japan, copies have been found stateside on various internet auctions for startlingly high prices. Most are never used once purchased or are not capable of functioning.
Recently, an amusement machine vendor in Japan listed a copy of the game that is supposedly in English. It is likely that the version was developed by Sega for amusement parks that are located in areas with a considerable amount of foreign visitors. However, it could also suggest that Sega was considering exporting the game at one point.
Working copies of the game have been found in certain arcades in Asia. The arcade on the top floor of the SOGO building in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is known to have a working unit, costing RM1 (two tokens, one token costs RM0.50) to play. Another copy was found at an amusement arcade at a shopping mall in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. As of 2008, more copies have turned up in Malaysia and the game is becoming increasingly common in amusement centers around the country. Several copies can also be found in arcades in Hong Kong and Singapore.