Sonic – Part 1   Leave a comment

Roughly six years ago, Sonic the Hedgehog may well have been better-off dead. Each game seemed more broken, more rushed and more stifled than the last.
For those not in the know, it’s generally thought that the Sonic games started getting worse following the release of 2001’s “Sonic Adventure 2” on the Dreamcast.
That game in itself is very love-it or hate-it, with many younger Sonic fans having just as much nostalgia for it as I do for the Sega Genesis classics, and many older fans finding it disappointing and disjointed.
While I enjoyed “Sonic Adventure 2,” it’s definitely not aging well. It was followed up by 2004’s “Sonic Heroes,” which eschewed the speed-based modern gameplay for an overly-complicated system wherein a player controlled three characters simultaneously.
As long-time fan Ryan Bloom said, “Sonic 2 was simple. Sonic Heroes is not.
Holding down and pressing jump to spin-dash is simple. Hitting jump a second time while in mid-air to execute a special move is simple. Assigning eight separate special moves to two buttons is not simple.
Standing in front of a wall I cannot cross because I have not pressed a button to cycle through a list of characters just so I can press another button, break the wall, and then cycle through the list again to get back to the character I was playing as is not simple.
Removing useful functionality is not simple — well, it is, but for the wrong reasons. All of what I have described is more frustrating and cumbersome than it is simple or intuitive.”
While “Heroes” was decently-received by the mainstream press, it didn’t truly become cool — and even appropriate — to hop on the anti-Sonic bandwagon until 2005’s release of “Shadow the Hedgehog.”
Dropping the heroic blue hedgehog for the brooding Shadow character was a very ill-advised attempt to appeal to the early-teenage crowd (who, as I’ve covered before, often think that anything with color is, “omg so gay”) and the disconnect to see your anthropomorphic cartoon hedgehog wielding a gun and “capping haters” did the game no favors.
But the true zenith of this barrage of terrible games would come with Sonic’s 15th anniversary. 2006’s attempted reboot of the franchise, simply titled “Sonic the Hedgehog,” was the epitome of an obvious beta.
The game was rushed out for the holiday season, featured numerous developmental problems (Yuji Naka, considered the father of Sonic and the leader of Sonic Team, left in the middle of development), and was an absolute failure in nearly every sense.
Even the aspects of the game that were firmly in place had extremely questionable … no, that’s not harsh enough.
The game had horrible, desecrating … no, that’s not accurate either.
As a writer, I can not elicit the words necessary to elegantly describe this game.
It sucked.
It sucked so brutally that the shockwaves of its collapse of the franchise can still be felt to this day.
The most infamous part of Sonic 2k6 is undoubtedly its story, which has more dramatics, plot holes and unconvincing romance than a modern “Final Fantasy” game.
Near the end of the game, the very human female lead, Princess Elise, KISSES THE CARTOON HEDGEHOG ON THE LIPS TO BRING HIM BACK TO LIFE.
People ripped on this game like few others of this generation, and very deservedly so.
Yet even at this time, even amid all these problems, and especially now, six years later … is it, or was it ever fair to say that the Sonic series would be better off dead?
Next week, I’ll answer that question and chronicle what’s happened in the series since 2006.


Posted March 22, 2012 by positivejosh in Uncategorized

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