If one thing has become apparent over the course of exploring the complete Sonic the Hedgehog series, it’s that no-one seems to be able to agree on how to handle it “best”.
We have Sonic Team’s attempts to move the franchise forward with various gameplay styles, new narrative components and a somewhat coherent, consistent narrative that ties in with other forms of media. We have Sonic Lost World’s much-maligned but utterly joyful jaunt into Super Mario-esque territory. And we have probably the most disappointingly “mainstream” opinion: that “Sonic hasn’t been good since the Mega Drive”.
Among other things, the perhaps vain hope of shutting this latter group up is the reason Sonic Mania exists.
Continue reading Sonic the Hedgehog: Everything Old is New Again
Remember back when we explored Sonic 2006 and I suggested that game was an attempt to provide a “big-budget movie” type of Sonic experience? It’s hard not to see Sonic Forces as Sonic Team having another crack at that.
All the major components of “big-budget movie adaptation of popular series” are here: recognisable but somewhat different setting; established characters in unconventional situations; brand-new, original characters designed for newcomers in the audience to attach themselves to; and significantly higher stakes than seen elsewhere in the series as a whole.
If you’re a “once and done” kind of player, you can also probably add “done and dusted in two hours” to that list, too, but rest assured, if you’re the sort of person who likes collectibles, secret levels and objectives, there’s significantly more than that here. Let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading Sonic the Hedgehog: Take 2
Sonic Generations rather ably demonstrated how the Sonic series’ gameplay had evolved over the years… but where could it go from there?
Certain members of Sonic Team were already contemplating this by the time Sonic Colours had completed development and work on Generations was underway. The concept grew from experimental attempts to make use of the Nintendo 3DS’ unique features, and the subsequent announcement of the Wii U console and the interesting possibilities it offered prompted Sega to focus the new game’s development on Nintendo platforms.
The result was Sonic Lost World; an unusual, highly creative and vastly underappreciated installment in the series, and one that would prove to be an ideal fit for Nintendo platforms. (As always, today we’ll be focusing on the home console version for Wii U rather than Dimps’ handheld incarnation.)
Continue reading Sonic the Hedgehog: A New Twist
In 2011, Sonic turned 20. 1991 was a big year for the blue blur: he had his first ever public appearance in Sega’s arcade title Rad Mobile, then later in the year thrilled console gamers on both 8- and 16-bit Sega platforms with his first full adventures.
Naturally, such a significant anniversary needed to be celebrated — particularly since poor old Sonic had put up with plenty of resistance from press, public and even his own fans over the years. But how to go about it in a way that would please as many people as possible — or at least attempt to?
By acknowledging both his past and present, of course. Enter Sonic Generations.
Continue reading Sonic the Hedgehog: Old Meets New
After 2008’s entertaining but divisive Sonic Unleashed, it would be another two years before we’d see the next mainline Sonic the Hedgehog game.
There were two versions of Sonic Colours developed, both of which remembered to put the “U” in for the European version: a Wii-exclusive version that combined 2D and 3D gameplay in the way we’d come to know from “modern Sonic“, and a side-scrolling Nintendo DS version developed by Dimps that was closer in execution to the original Mega Drive games.
Today we’ll be focusing on the Wii version, though anyone who has played a Dimps-developed Sonic game will know the DS version will also be well worth your time. I’ll leave that for you to explore yourself for now, however… we’ve got one hell of a vacation to go on!
Continue reading Sonic the Hedgehog: Erinaceidae of Colour
With how positively Sonic Adventure had been received on its original release — and many subsequent Sonic releases being compared unfavourably to it — it’s surprising that Sonic Team didn’t return to the concept sooner.
Return they did, however, with an ambitious multiplatform title that was originally intended to be the third official Sonic Adventure game. Initially developed under the working title of Sonic World Adventure — a title it would keep in Japan — Sonic Unleashed was intended to shake up the series in a few fundamental ways.
These days, in retrospect, Sonic Unleashed is seen as one of the earliest examples of what some people describe as “Boost Sonic“, but it’s an interesting game in its own right. Let’s take a closer look.
Continue reading Sonic the Hedgehog: Dare to be Different
The Nintendo Wii was a peculiar system, as those who have spent any time in its company will attest. And I don’t mean that in a bad way.
Rather, I’m referring to the fact that out of all the consoles in that particular generation of hardware, you were most likely to find completely unique games for Nintendo’s hardware rather than straight ports. Sometimes this happened due to a desire to make use of the Wii’s unusual control scheme; sometimes it happened as a side effect of the system’s lack of power compared to its Sony and Microsoft peers. It always resulted in games that are fascinating — not always the best, but definitely always fascinating.
And the Sonic the Hedgehog series was no exception to this rule.
Continue reading Sonic the Hedgehog: The Storybook Adventures