Zero to 60 in 25. Looking Back at Sonic’s Highs and Lows.

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Sonic the Hedgehog and I have a very deep history.  Its because of that little blue spiny bastard that I started down the road to become the Nerd/Geek that I am today.  Which is funny because my first introduction into the world of comics didn’t come from Superman, Batman, or the X-Men.  It came from Sonic.  My very first comic book was bought by either my mother or father in the back roads of Montana way back in 1995.  We were on our way to my great grandmother’s house, stopped at a gas station, I saw the book, and they bought it for me.  I still have it too, except it is in horrible condition but we’ll get to the comics in a bit.  Now 2016 will mark Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th anniversary as SEGA’s mascot and a gaming icon.  However unlike a certain plumber, the blue blur has had an interesting career with peaks higher than the highest loop-de-loop, and lows to the point of having no rings left.

Lets start at the beginning.  Sonic the Hedgehog first came out on the SEGA Genesis in June of 1991, 2 years after the console’s release.  Nintendo was already going strong and the SNES was about to come out later that summer, but SEGA had an icon on their hands and a new face for the company.  The game was simple but the fun factor was trying to finish the zone as quick as possible with as many rings as you could get.  Also the opening music was super catchy.  I sadly haven’t had the chance to play it until long after its release.  Sonic 2 came out one year later and that game was the defining game in the whole series.  It may be the first game I have ever played thanks to my old next door neighbor who had a Genesis.  Also it was the introduction to Miles “Tails” Prower (a character whose pun-name I have not caught until TWENTY FREAKING YEARS after the fact) and became the highest selling game for the Genesis.  Some time later Sonic 3 came out as well as Sonic & Knuckles and the holy quartet of Sonic games was complete.  The Genesis was also known for add ons like the SEGA CD and the 32X which also came out with some Sonic games.  The best one outside of the classic Genesis games (and the first one I owned) was Sonic CD.  I got to play this game on my old Windows 95 PC and it was awesome.  That opening theme song and animation blew my 6 year old mind when I first saw it.  If you forgot or have never seen it, this is what I am talking about.

 

 

Man I love that song.  After the success of CD and Sonic & Knuckles, The last game to come out for the Genesis or its add ons was Sonic 3D Blast, which was odd to say the least.  I played the game myself on PC and couldn’t get past the first level.  I was so used to Sonic being a 2D platformer that having an isometric view was very disorienting.  Also it wasn’t that fun of a game because it took away my favorite element of playing a Sonic game, the speed.

Once the Genesis had its run the next game that starred Sonic was the reason to buy a SEGA Dreamcast in the first place.  Sonic Adventure.  This was Sonic’s first ever 3D game on SEGA’s newest (and their last, they stopped making their own consoles after the Dreamcast since Nintendo won the 90’s console war and Sony was making waves with their Playstation 2 with Microsoft soon to follow) console and it was fun.  Not only did you play as Sonic but you also were able to play as Tails, Knuckles, Amy, and a few other characters introduced for the first time.  Adventure was different because each character had their own part in a grander story and you got to explore the world around you.  Sonic Adventure 2 took this away by forcing the player to play a certain character for a certain level and then to a different character.  The music was great for both games but Adventure was more fun in my opinion.

Now once the Dreamcast failed SEGA then decided to stop making consoles and focus only on games and sadly this is were I started to lose faith in my favorite video game character.  The next main game for Sonic was Sonic Heroes, it wasn’t a terrible game but there were times I got so frustrated with a certain level I almost broke my PS2 controller.  Another thing that ticked me off was when you got all 7 Chaos Emeralds only Sonic went into his super form while Knuckles and Tails just went along for the ride whereas in the comics all three of them can go “super”.  Then came the colossal disappointment that was Sonic 2006.  A game that I thankfully never played (I didn’t have a Xbox 360 at the time of its release) cause if I did I may have sworn off Sonic and burned all my comic books.  The next Sonic game I bought was Sonic and the Secret Rings which was the first of the “storybook” games for the Wii (Sonic and the Black Knight was the next one).  Not a fun game and the controls weren’t really responsive which resulted with me dying while trying to pull off a move over a bottomless pit.  The actual story however was kinda fun.  Then came Sonic Unleashed which was really weird but Sonic Colors was pretty fun.

As bad as the main console games were the handheld games were amazing.  The Sonic Advance series was fun and the closest thing to the original games as we got in the early 2000’s.  Sonic Rush for the DS was also fun to play as well.  A few more games came out until I finally got to play an amazing Sonic game that made me a believer again, Sonic Generations.  That game was fun because half of the level was played as classic Sonic, while the rest was with Modern Sonic.  The game was really a 20th anniversary game and the next game to come after Generations was Lost World which wasn’t that good.  Trust me, we don’t want to talk about Sonic Boom (the game not the song)

Earlier I mentioned how Sonic even has a comic book series, and that series has been given a World Record for the longest running comic book based off a video game character.  The book was first published as a mini series in 1992 but became an ongoing book published by Archie comics in 1993.  Over 250 issues later its still going and sadly, I think SEGA could make some great games based off of some story lines from the books instead of the other way around.  The early years of the book were, of course, for kids and the real heavy stuff didn’t start until around issue 40.  The book has its own universe and major kudos to the writers for making the characters and locales from the games fit and mesh with the comic book universe.  You should have seen my face when I found out that the older books were getting reprinted and rereleased so I could enjoy them all over again.  Trust me, those books are worth a read and they make decent collectibles.

Now Smosh Games created a Honest Game Trailer for Sonic and to be honest it really hits the nail on the head for the games.

 

 

Now with the 25th Anniversary there may be a another game in the works, thanks to rumors circulating the internet.  As a fan, I really hope Sonic does make a comeback.  It is nice to see him in Super Smash Bros. but all I want is a great Sonic game.  A true Sonic the Hedgehog 4 and not that “Episode I” and “Episode II” we got as a download only game.  Thankfully Sonic will always be a video game icon, the good TV shows are on Netflix (Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic Underground, not Adventures, that one is way too weird) and maybe the next Sonic game (not Sonic Boom) will be as its supposed to be, amazing.

 

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