When I hear the sound of my Genesis starting up, it brings me back to five year old Wak trying to defeat Eggman, while sitting in my tidy whiteys. Sonic the Hedgehog‘s first release was in 1991 and soon, for a time, gave Nintendo a run for their money. Sonic was chosen to be the mascot of SEGA and was to face off against Mario who, at the time, was already six years old.
In North America the blue blur quickly gained speed to rival Super Mario World on the SNES. Sonic became one of the most widely popular video game characters of the 16-bit era.
So what was so different?
The first thing to note is Sonic’s level design. In your traditional platforming games, there was a set way to beat every level. Sonic‘s biggest strength in the 90’s was it’s ability to allow the player to go through any level any way they wanted.
Another thing to consider is the way the games dealt with damage. In almost all sonic games you collected rings and that acted as your safety net. If you got hit, you lost all your rings, they would all fly out of you no matter if you had one or one hundred. As straight forward as that is, Sonic‘s system gave the players a sense of urgency, “I can’t get hit or I’d lose all the rings I’ve collected.”
This idea of losing everything in one hit made players want to focus more. It was a genius mechanic that you never really hear people give SEGA credit for.
After Sonic’s Genesis days, his next major title would come on via the Dreamcast. Despite the console’s failure in sales, Sonic Adventure brought the spiky blue Hedgehog into the third dimension with gusto. But due to a lack of console sales and the fact that it didn’t hold a candle to his rivals first 3D adventure, Super Mario 64.
Then SEGA bowed out of the console war, the future of Sonic was unsure until he showed up on the Game Boy Advance. Having gone back to his platforming roots, Sonic Advanced was a wonderful series that played to his strengths while introducing new mechanics and characters that made the series different from the old days.
However the 3D games hit a rough patch with the series first multi-platorm game, Sonic Heroes. Before you =controlled one character, here you had a team with different abilities. On paper this sounds like fun but poor execution made it a gaming nightmare. And unfortunately the was only the beginning of as Shadow the Hedgehog graced consoles in 2005. This game focused on a darker story as it allowed the player to use guns against your opponents.
As if things couldn’t get worse the next game in the series would be known as the worst one game ever made. Entitled “Sonic the Hedgehog” it’s more commonly referred to as Sonic ’06. It was the most buggy and frustrating game in the series. To start with, the pace of the game made it hard to control. Either Sonic walked really slow or he ran faster then the camera could keep up with.
Second in the story
Third Silver. You CAN NOT fight him like you do any other boss fight in any other Sonic game. Silver has the ability to control objects with his mind, so if you run close to him he will grab you, and throw into the closest wall. So you have to run away from him and wait for a specific audio cue to tell you that it’s safe to get close to him.
If you ever play the game the cue is when Silver says “How ‘Bout This,” but the most annoying part of this boss fight is if you try to hit him from above before that audio cue he will catch you in mid air, throw you straight up, and then catch you before you have a chance to land on the ground to get your rings back and kill you.
It’s seriously making my blood boil just writing it…
After the worst came a bunch of hit and miss types that typically got more wrong than right. You had Sonic Unleashed, Sonic and the Black Night, Sonic and the Secret Rings and Sonic Colors. Each were infinitely better then the 05′-06′ era but aren’t really worth your time of day.
Sonic Unleashed‘s Day time stages were great, but to make it to them you play through three to five night stages that amounted to an E rated Devil may Cry. Sonic and the Black Night and Sonic and the Secret Rings suffered from a slow pace. Even worse the Auto-Scroller type Stages seemed to take over the game over. Sonic Colors was playable, It’s not the greatest but it was a step in the right direction.
In 2011, Sonic’s 20th Anniversary, Sonic Generations was released. The story took the blue streak back to his roots and re-introduced “2D Sonic” allowing us to play remastered versions of some of our favorite stages, as well as new 3D or 2D concept stages of those same stages. Like a 3D version of Green Hill Zone from Sonic 1. For a fanboy this outing was a masterwork and needs to be the example of all future titles in the series.
However that hasn’t been the case With the WiiU games being hit and miss. Sonic Lost World has a good story and a great sound track. Add in the Sonic Colors “Ability System” the game came off kinda unique with the WiiU Game Pad. But all in all it was hard to control and not much fun. On the other side, Nintendo did use Lost world to promote two other games coming out on the 3DS. A Level designed after The Legend of Zelda was released as Free DLC to promote the new title “A Link between Worlds” The other was designed after Yoshi’s New Island.
Just two months ago Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal, and Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric came out. I haven’t gotten the chance to play this game yet, but from what I’ve seen it looks like a rushed release set to promote the new cartoon show on Cartoon Network.
I’m really hoping that the next game will be better then the last two, but I’m not counting on it. Truthfully I want a game based off the New Comic Series “Worlds Unite.” A game crossover between Sonic and Megaman would be freakin’ sweet, but with Inefune, the creator of Megaman, working on Mighty No. 9, I know he won’t be a part of the project if they could even do it to begin with. However with 2016 being Sonic’s 25th Anniversary I hope Sonic Team can do something awesome like they did with Generations, but I don’t want to a standard sequel to that.
That’s all I got this week doods, For more info on what I do off Unleash the Fanboy look below to the banner at the bottom and find me on social media’s or my Personal YouTube Channel. As always it’s been fun and till next week, I’m Frank Wak.