This is the first time I've actually written a blog post on SNN, but I'm going to give it my best shot. I joined a long, loooong time ago, but never really said much of anything. Just wanted to get a few edits in and manually spellcheck pages. I am really surprised how far this wikia has gone on for, with many loyal members and loads of info on Sonic, his friends and foes, and his universe(s).
I would like my first post to give you my personal view on what makes a true Sonic game. Hands down, games like Sonic drift, Sonic Labyrinth, and Sonic Spinball are definitely not what you would call a masterpiece when compared to the first few Genesis games, but they do hold a place in what makes the Blue Blur who he is today, for better or for... meh...
Personally, I'm not offended by games like the three I just listed because I realize they were only experiments. In fact as much as I hated Sonic Drift, I was not angered to see it receive a sequel; nor was I disappointed when Sonic decided to go behind the wheel a third and fourth time in the Sega: All Stars Racing titles. Sonic labyrinth was a downright mess because the concept of "super slow" adventure didn't work for a hero who was all about high speed action. At least the game developers learned from this mistake. Lastly, there is Sonic Spinball, which I found to be a clever way to incorporate pinball with platforming. This concept worked for me back then and I enjoyed returning to similar platforming quirks on Bingo Highway in Sonic Heroes. It just goes to show that a Sonic game doesn't have to be just like the original Genesis titles to be a load of fun.
But that brings up the cons of experimentation and when developers don't know when to quit. You can infer that I absolutely love Sonic the Hedgehog 1, 2, 3, & Knuckles, but I like a few of the newer games as well. Games like Colors and Generations were a great approach to bringing Sonic back into glory, but remember, it took over a decade to revive this feeling for me. Sure Sonic had games on the Gameboy Advance and DS that were reminiscent of his early Genesis adventures, but they were never able to give me that sense of "Wow! This game is awesome!" after Sonic & Knuckles, it seemed that Sega had thrown away the original concept of how to make a good Sonic game and introduced a new formula. Namely, to experiment and add too many characters. Now I hate Big the Cat as much as the next guy, but could our opinion have been different if he hadn't been fishing the whole time? Sega could've made a whole game about this instead of including the purple blob in Sonic Adventure. Then there was shooting with Tails and Eggman in SA2. Next thing we know, Shadow is killing everyone with machine guns and tanks and Sonic is swinging a sword. What happened to all those game mechanics I used to love about the Sonic franchise?
Oh that's right! The franchise. Let me ust get this off my chest. Sonic became a hit in the 90s up to the point where he was able to do anything his rival Mario could and so much more. Well, Sega must've had a little too much faith in their character and his posse. Now I know a lot of people will disagree with me, and I definitely could not live without the Mario Kart series, but I believe Mario Kart is an abomination of the characters image. Sure, it's the best racing game EVER, but I thought Mario's hook was that his games were platforming genius, just look at the original Mario Bros and Super Mario 64 and Galaxy! So why is it that Mario has all these sports titles like Karting, tennis, and golf? Because Nintendo know that they're mascot is eye candy for gamers everywhere. Seriously, everyone I know who buys a Nintendo system says their first game will be Mario Kart. Just look up sales figures for the top Nintendo console or handheld games; Mario Karts always seems to be in the top 5. Why? There are plently of other racing games out there. Why do you have to get Mario Kart? Because Mario is an icon. That's what disgusts me about people who use popular characters to forward they're products. Originally the Super Smash Bros for the N64 was not going to include Nintendo characters and was going to be a seperate fighting game like Street Fighter. But Nintendo knew that if their characters were included because "everyone loves Mario" then everyone would buy their product. Guess what; it worked.
So what does Mario Kart being a racing game overloaded with Nintendo fan service have to do with Sonic? Because with Sonic games, Sega has taken this strategy up to eleven when it comes to their icon. To put it bluntly, Sonic got popular and now everyone you know knows him and maybe Tails, Knuckles, or Shadow. So what did Sega do when they found that their Hedgehog had the power to draw in customers? They adapted him to fit that role and that role only. Sure his games include the traditional platforming rather than a bunch of bizarre titles like Sonic Golf, Sonic Tennis, and Sonic Temple Run, (oh wait, they did...) You see what I mean? Sonic isn't what he used to be back in the days of the Genesis, he's now merely a financial icon, a loot-raker.
Sonic the Hedgehog 1, 2, 3, & Knuckles all included a particular gimmick, but never went overboard with "totally rad content". Combine that with solid gameplay and you have a 10/10 game, my friend. Well, Sonic games lost the gameplay luster shortly after the genesis and it wasn't rediscovered in 2010 with Sonic Colors... and then they scrapped the gameplay once again when they created games like Sonic Jump and Sonic Dash. Sega did that little thing again where they find a popular game and replace the anonymous hero with Sonic and his pals. Seriously, I can't believe there isn't a Sonic version of Angry Birds, Flappy Bird, or Skylanders yet!
As most people know, Sonic isn't limited to his 2D sidescrolling, sports, and popular game parodies. And this is the part of the Sonic Franchise that really, really, really gets on my nerves. It's the games from Sonic Adventure onwards. Sega has placed too much faith in their little blue dude with 'tude over the years. So much faith that even his main series games are effected by the virus known as "using him as an icon". When a main series game is created, the developers at first promise an awesome Sonic experience that will leave you wanting more. When it comes to the release of said game, it appears that the developers just gave up in the middle of the game and said "Don't worry, as long as Sonic's in it, everyone will buy it." That's what I find offensive; that not only do they degrade their prized character, but also their fans. When a Sonic game is released, it isn't perfect unlike the Genesis titles. It is often filled with glitches, terrible framerate, and really bad graphics; and I'm not just looking at you '06. Mario doesn't do this, but we all know Sega does what Nintendon't! So if Sega wants to make a game worse than Mario is Missing and Hotel Mario combined then of course they can. But I am most certain that this was never their goal, after all, this is a business. Then why are they so lazy when it comes to making a game that isn't an utter abomination of their mascot's image. When Sonic locked lips with the princess, you can bet a lot of fans weren't just hurling their controller at the screen.
This style of lazily branding a Sonic game continued until 2010 when somebody finally said: "Let's stop torturing them and finally give them a good game that will not only give the fans what they've always wanted, but a way to keep the Blue Blur's image unscathed for the next generation of gamers!" So Sonic Colors was born and (almost) everybody loved it! It was truly the only time Sonic officially returned to his roots, and it only took... about 16 years. Sonic the Hedgehog 4 and Sonic Generations were also beautifully designed new editions to the Sonic franchise and continued keeping Sonic on the right track. But then everyone's favorite hedgehog spun out of control when he entered the phase of ripping off existing mobile games and later introducing the amazing all new ability to "walk" in Sonic Lost World. With that, many fans' hopes were dashed, including my own, and Sonic was once again little more than an icon.
Despite my implied hatred for the Sonic series, I really don't have any hard feelings toward him, it's the company that I am more concerned about. I know they're merely third party publishers and their glory days are long since over, but that still gives them no excuse to treat their fans in such a way. I know I am bound to receive a large helping of hate from anyone who reads this, but remember, it's only my opinion. No one can tell you how to think; you have your own opinions I have no control over. I was only expressing my own thoughts, which is really all that criticism is. Don't believe me? Well, there once was a critic who gave Sonic '06 a 9.5 out of 10 for a video game magazine. Let that just sink in...