Yes, I know the Sonic cycle. I know how influential the Sonic characters have been on the furry community (although not really my cuppa tea for the record) I’ve seen the “OC Character do not steal” memes, Sanic, the hacks, the time attacks, the movies, the animations, the comics, the books, the collectibles, the clothing, the art pieces, the Tiger electronics and the general levels of fandom associated with SEGA’s mascot. I think I can class myself as a Sonic fan. I’m tired of hearing, “there hasn’t been a good game since the originals” or “they all suck” or “Mario is better” It’ll be handy to have this page to simply link to and move on. It has been 3 years since Sonic Mania Plus so we’re well overdue a new mainline title or port, in the meantime let’s have a look past the mobile cash grabs and remember what’s so good about the blue blur.
The New Retro – Gameboy and DS Dashing
Sonic Advance / Sonic Advance 2/ Sonic Advance 3 – GBA
The beginning of the Dimps collaboration with SEGA. They went on to produce some of the greatest handheld Sonic games ever made. Advance came out and blew people away with its feeling of portable speed that only got faster with the sequel. By the time 3 rolled around the soundtrack had become chocked full of hits and the additional abilities and extras tucked away left this series crying out for a remaster. Route 99 is still a cracking track to enjoy.
Sonic Rush / Sonic Rush Adventure – DS
Sonic Rush and Adventure continue the Dimps legacy of fantastic gameplay and some of the best bit-sounds you’ll ever hear. Adventures is sometimes considered inferior to Rush but the soundtrack is absolutely incredible and the 3D travel games are super fun. From the title track ‘A New Venture’ to the remixes of the Rush soundtrack it’s packed with brilliant tunes. The one thing Sonic games have always had is great tracks to listen to outside of the games and the Rush games have that in spades. Well worth a listen and a go if you can find your old DS Lite.
The 3D Era – New and Old
Sonic Adventure / Sonic Adventure 2 – Dreamcast
A lot of the issues people have with Sonic Adventure come from the incredibly iffy ports over the years. The original game is an absolute classic, an experimentation of various 3D systems and ideas that come together nicely. I highly recommend going back to the Dreamcast for a run in the past rather than trying a port, even the DX versions have issues. Adventure 2 however has been ported with much more success and plays really nicely on the Gamecube as well as the HD ports which are now backwards compatible on Xbox1. It introduced the character Shadow and the track ‘Live and Learn’ while still having a ton of enjoyable gameplay. What more do you want?
Sonic Generations / Sonic Forces – PS3 / Xbox 360 / PC / PS4 / Xbox1
Sonic Forces is still a mixed bag but a lot of people are quick to overlook how it was released at a price point that was a lot more accessible than most AAA titles and includes an incredible amount of customisation options and unlocks without any microtransactions. It’s not perfect and cheesy as hell but it is still a blast (on PS4 especially) Creating a character and helping zoom through the early stages is still great fun. As for Sonic Generations? It’s an absolute masterpiece that’s let down by a mediocre final boss. It’s the single easiest Sonic game to go back and play regardless of what type of Sonic gameplay you’re in the mood for. The gorgeous art style for Green Hill, the fantastic remixes of Crisis City and the huge amount of different paths available. It’s simply Sonic.
The Racing Titles – Spindashing Speed
Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing / Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed – PS3 / Xbox 360 / PC / Wii U
Remember Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing? That alternate kart racer that easily rivalled Mario Kart? It’s still incredibly fun to play with its collection of unique characters and stages. Racing was a brilliant action arcade experience and Transformed managed to introduce boats and planes to the mix without breaking the pace or fun. It’s a shame Team Sonic Racing isn’t quite the same as these classics but that doesn’t stop them being incredible fun to hop on and burn some rubber.
Sonic R – Sega Saturn / PC
The soundtrack alone. Back in the day the game was super unique and it was great fun for the short time it took to complete and unlock everything. It deserves a mention for the soundtrack alone. If you’ve never heard Super Sonic Racing you haven’t lived (or you’re probably too young to remember the adverts for this)
Sonic Riders – GameCube / PS2 / Xbox
Look, I get it. Both of the sequels were bloody awful. The thing a lot of people forget is that the first game on the PS2 is really fun. It has a sort of Extreme-G meets TrickStyle energy that carries the Wipeout feeling racer throughout. The reviews were sitting in the middle on this one but almost everyone enjoyed the sense of speed in it and really that’s what Sonic is best at.
The Spin-Offs – Dashing into other genres
Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball – Mega Drive / PC
Spinball gets a lot of negative comments thrown at it for being a terrible Sonic game and not a great pinball game. The reason for this is that Spinball is trying for something different entirely. A hybrid of the two types of games where you have a moderate amount of control over the pinball but you still need flippers and momentum to bash and crash through the stages. It’s not for everyone but it’s worth a go to see if it’s for you.
Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine – Mega Drive
How do you introduce a Western market to Puyo Puyo? Rebrand the entire game using the designs from the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon series, that’s how! It’s still Puyo Puyo at its core and what’s not to love about the addictive blob puzzler? Badniks and robots to beat using your puzzling skills and a challenging difficulty. It all falls together nicely onto the Mega Drive Mini and is worth a few mins of puzzling pleasure.
Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games – Wii
The Mario & Sonic Olympic games series is absolutely fantastic (the Winter Games sadly not so much) These are essentially compilation titles full of games that absolutely pop and ones that drop but London was the pinnacle for me. Almost every game is fantastic fun to play but the main reason for mentioning this particular one is the Mario Party-like mode. The mini games are short challenges based on the main games and you run around a London themed board collecting items and trying to best your friends. It’s fast, frantic and before Super Mario Party it was the best Mario Party in the classic style.
The Classics – Master Drive Masterpieces
Sonic the Hedgehog / Sonic the Hedgehog 2 / Sonic the Hedgehog 3 / Sonic & Knuckles / Sonic CD – Nearly Every System Ever Made
Is it worth going back to the original Sonic games? Yes. Absolutely. There’s a good reason these games are still widely ported to new consoles, included on emulation devices and game collections. They still hold up. The original is still a brilliant platformer, 2 is one of the greatest games ever made, 3 is worth hacking your Mega Drive Mini to replay (just be sure to use the USA rom 60hz) Sonic & Knuckles is still worth patching on a PC and Sonic CD is still worth keeping on your Xbox1X. These games are the best and still hold up.
Sonic Mania Plus – Switch / PS4 / PC / Xbox1
Last but not least we come to Sonic Mania. The last main-titled Sonic game released that wasn’t a spin-off. Created largely due to the work Christian Whitehead had completed on the original Sonic 1 & 2 mobile ports, SEGA looked at his prototype and commissioned him to get a team together and create this astonishingly great title. It’s packed full with Easter eggs and various nods to the original games but best of all, unlike Sonic 4 it feels like it could have released on the Mega Drive back in the day. Adding Ray and Mighty feels like a great way of celebrating the old with the new. It’s not perfect but it’s stupidly close to it and still really good fast fun.
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