There’s a game you can play. Go to Google and type “[your name] the hedgehog” and see what kind of awful Sonic fanart you can dig up that will have your name on it. It’s a blast. Whenever I think about Sonic the Hedgehog, I think of its fans. Its dear, dear fans.
How long has it been since the last tolerable Sonic game? 12 years? What was the most recent Sonic game that wasn’t completely repugnant? Sonic Adventure 2? The Sonic Advance trilogy for the Game Boy Advance? The Sonic series has been floundering in the abyss for over a decade. Levels got more and more gimmicks while slowing down. Instead of good level and enemy design, gimmicks like air-dashing and auto-targeting were added. Graphics got brighter but less creative. The music stopped being catchy bass-driven songs using the Genesis sound hardware (And don’t forget game music god Yuzo Koshiro’s Game Gear soundtrack) and became much crappier (It’s pretty bad when you copy Linkin Park and you can’t even be as good as they are). Worthless sidekicks joined by the dozens.
Sonic Heroes was mediocre. Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 (AKA “That horrifically buggy game where Sonic romances a human girl straight from the uncanny valley”) was utterly horrid. One of the items you could earn in it was “better controls”, meaning that for most of the game they gave you bad controls on purpose.
Sonic and the Secret Rings was about as bad. Shadow the Hedgehog was an unintentionally hilarious and very badly designed Grand Theft Auto clone. Sonic Unleashed (AKA “That appalling Werehog God of War ripoff”) really tested people’s patience with the franchise. After the abominable Sonic and the Black Knight, the Sonic franchise had zero credibility left. Sonic was in ruins.
The beginning of Sonic’s comeback was probably Sonic’s appearance in Super Smash Bros. Brawl in 2008. It had been a long time since anyone had seen Sonic the Hedgehog in a non-terrible context. Apparently, even Sonic Team was sick of eating its own regurgitated filth; they gave us two games that weren’t awful: Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 and Sonic Colors, both in 2010. They were just warm-ups for this.
This is me playing Sonic Generations:
In Sonic Generations, you will play as both old/classic Sonic (Who has no gimmicks) and new/totally badical Sonic (Who does). Not that I didn’t say you can choose; you must go through the stages as both during the game. But, shockingly, new Sonic is actually fun to play because every one of the levels is mostly 2D and still full of multiple pathways and hidden rooms to explore, just as the early Sonic games delivered. The nightmare is over, for we have a fun Sonic game again!
The bosses are quite easy and there aren’t any noteworthy new enemies, but the levels shine with a bright coat of non-toxic paint. I love running and searching through this game’s zones; they are enjoyable to traverse and beautiful to behold. There is definitely a lot of inspiration from the Genesis titles and their colorful labyrinths. There is a timer on each stage but no time limit; you can go beyond 10 minutes if you feel like it.
There are lots of challenges available, which are decent but mostly too easy for something called challenges. Annoyingly, you have to complete a couple of them to unlock the bosses to continue the game when they should have been optional. Completing them allows you to obtain more items like shields for old Sonic and more gimmicks for new Sonic.
I skipped every single one of the terrible cutscenes in this game. Even 3D Sonic with his flashy, pointless, auto-targeting badness is still better than Furry Drama Sonic. The aforementioned Scrappy Doo characters apparently have a large role in the story that I ignored. All I know is that after completing levels, you have to watch one of these furry abominations squawk encouragement at you until you can get back to playing the game. Fortunately, almost all of these scenes are skippable.
With any form of media that offers multiple languages, I typically set it to whatever language is used in the country it came from. I usually want to see things the way they were intended, even if it means reading subtitles. However, I made an exception in this case, as I didn’t want to hear some shrill Japanese woman shrieking unintelligibly in my ear for the whole game. Give me Jaleel White any day. (Note: I know that Jaleel White hasn’t voiced Sonic since 1994, don’t email me about it.)
The music, when it’s not being lazy nostalgia-grubbing copies from early Sonic games, is boring pop-rock with I WANNA BE THE BEST type lyrics like the examples from earlier in the article. While fighting the game’s second boss, the music changed from crappy nu-metal to something really cool that was twice as loud and I wondered what I did in the game to cause it but then I realized that I pressed a button to take a screenshot and it started Winamp by accident and it was playing Virgin Steele. It got my hopes up for a second. The second time around, the boss music is changed for the better, however.
Sonic Generations is a good game, not a great one. It certainly won’t live up to your memories of playing the Genesis Sonics. But both the 2D and 3D levels are enjoyable, a first in the Sonic series. And to think I wouldn’t have known if it weren’t on sale on Amazon for seven and a half bucks. Sadly, it’s back up to $30 USD again, but Sonic Generations is still a worthy purchase. Check it out; see how the mighty have fallen and risen again.
P.S.: This here is the only good review of Sonic Generations. Anyone who trolls Sonic fans is a friend of mine.
P.P.S.: And no, I’m not covering E3. Every other gaming site already has covered it. E3 is stupid.