On June 23rd, 1991, Sonic the Hedgehog was released for the Sega Genesis, and June 23rd, 2016 will mark the 25th anniversary of this date. Since this point on, the “Sonic the Hedgehog” franchise has supplied about ten if not more years of mediocrity to the extreme. While some can argue that there were some notably alright titles such as Sonic Colors or Sonic Generations, the overwhelming truth is that the best part about being a Sonic fan right now is following his official Twitter account that occasionally doles out some real gems. This editorial will discuss three topics, The Sonic Cycle, Sonic titles released within the past five years, and the future of Sonic as a character.
First up, the famous image that took the internet by storm and even caught the attention of the producer of Sonic Colors, which thankfully was not too bad in all honesty. While the cycle itself is theoretically endless, the first slide to explain will be “First Info on new Sonic Game.” This is marked by a lack of friends (annoying side characters most of the time) in the screenshots, fan’s hopes being raised, and subsequent claims that Sonic is back in full force. This is then followed by “More screens and info on new Sonic game,” these include old friends coming back along with new ones and fans then starting to lose hope. Last, but not least, “Game released,” where reviewers greatly criticize the game and everyone is disappointed while fans say they shall not dare be fooled again. While this cycle was painfully accurate at the time of upload back in April 2008, things have changed but unfortunately not the better. Back in 2008, Sonic Unleashed was released which was infamous for having the Werehog, a modified version of Sonic that changed the game into a genuinely not fun and repetitive brawler with poor platforming; not to mention an inaccurate name, bad premise, and all around ridiculous design. However, it is also known for having surprisingly good day stages where “normal” Sonic is playable. The cycle proved its point as many were excited for
Now that the Sonic Cycle has been analyzed, it is time to take the DeLorean for a spin and look at entries that were released in the past five years not counting the obvious throwaway titles like Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, bleh. Starting with Sonic Generations and ending with Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric is a wild ride, but if Sega can make it, it is possible readers can too. So, Sonic Generations was made as a way to appease both modern and retro fans of the “Sonic the Hedgehog” franchise as well as commemorate its 20th anniversary. The game decided to take nine stages from previous games and create a 2D as well as 3D version of them, to make them playable with both generations of Sonic. The entry received moderate praise however a common complaint was found in frame-rate drops during gameplay. While this title did not necessarily break the Sonic Cycle, it was an ok title that left more fans surprised at the quality than disappointed. Next would be “Sonic Lost World” which is bad with a capital B, riddled with confusing level design, painfully simplistic boss fights, and annoying dialogue. Sadly, this game did fall into the trap of the Sonic Cycle as fans were comparing it to the previously cancelled Sonic Xtreme along with the acclaimed Super Mario Galaxy due to its planetary motif only to be greatly disappointed and angered by the final build. Last was Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric which was hated by every sane person in the known galaxy because it was the ultimate of trash games. It was an unfinished product that was pushed upon the masses in full force with a handheld adaptation and a weird as hell tv series to boot, all with terribly redesigned characters and horrendous writing. What could have been a new take on the “Sonic the Hedgehog” franchise instead appeared as a very expensive fanfiction. Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric is proof that mankind is being punished by God because we refuse to let Wilford Brimley die already.
Ok, last in this hellscape is a much shorter paragraph about the possibilities of Sonic’s future. Honestly speaking, it does not really look great considering the titles that continue to be released including crappy mobile titles that just get canned down the line. Over the years, it looks like Sega has been continuously experimenting with different genres and styles in order to appease fans to no success. This has in turn created a ton of different variations of Sonics which have still in 25 years not managed to find a successful footing like Mario has. While Mario is allowed to experiment with mechanics, Sonic is instead punished for it not just because some of weird as hell ideas like the Werehog, but also because it is hard to keep fans when the developers are changing the themes of the game in almost every entry. Ultimately the future of Sonic is unpredictable as hell but fans can only pray that at some point Sega finds out what to do with him as their current strategy sure as shit is not working. But hey, at least, Sonic might have invented Doodle Jump only to have to piggybank its success years down the line with Sonic Jump, right? Yeah.
That was it, a long and painful examination of the “Sonic the Hedgehog” franchise that will probably keep Adeki awake at night in fear of betraying his own childhood. What did you think of this editorial? Are you emotionally ready for the next one that will most likely be about Nintendo pre-E3? Or do you have suggestions for future editorial topics in this format or another? Make sure to leave a comment below and let us know what you think!