What's Going on With Sonic?
Creator Yuji Naka said the game came from his obsession with playing level 1-1 of Super Mario Bros over and over again as fast as he could, stating you couldn't just skip the level. And we all have that level implanted in our minds. But I doubt Naka desired all the crap that's been going on with poor Sonic lately. The poor guy has been through a pretty rocky history. So, I put together a short timeline of recent games to take note of:
1996-2004: The Beginning of the End
Our grand tour begins in 1996. Sonic had his successes, and what better way to make him better than by rubbing his name in the dirt. Enters Sonic Schoolhouse. An educational game is always bad, but by adding such titular characters in as Sonic and Mario, it's just sad. Thankfully, this is essentially forgotten from modern times by some other games, but let's not get into that just yet.
Literally right after Sonic's short-lived career in the educational world, he decides to rival Mario. Well nowadays their good buddies, back then, Mario triumphed over everything. Compared to the Mario Kart games, Sega's fruitless attempt, Sonic R, did little to raise Sonic's popularity. Poor controls, unfitting soundtrack, and the most confusing map ever made lead to an ultimately awful game. It also introduced one of the gods of creepypasta, the dreaded Tails Doll. *shivers
Thankfully, the Sonic Adventure series guided Sonic back onto the road of success. Sonic Adventure continues to be a great play with great music and stunning graphics even to this day. However, this period of wonder came to an end from the generic spin-off we know as Sonic Pinball Party. The first Sonic Pinball was forgettable, but why Sega deliberately brought it back baffles even me. I mean, seriously? Pinball? Just stop it.
However, with the debut of the Sonic Advance series, the road smoothened out one more. Until.....
2005-2009: The Gimmicks get Worse
Shadow the Hedgehog. Sega wanted to interest its fans by taking a turn to the dark side. this was their chance to unleash dystopia upon Sonic. And it worked. The game was not that good. Thus starts the modern era of failures.
The game starts off with the introduction. Shadow, being a total bad-ass, drives around on his motorcycle and shoots Sonic. Seriously. Why did they introduce guns? For God's sake, this is the world of Sonic. Who in their right mind wanted to give the happy universe guns?
Anyway, a cutscene later plays where Shadow says all he can remember is his name. And a gruesome image. He just loves contradicting himself. We are then presented with an important character. Who is then shot. Seriously, this is her death scene. We've done all the research. But let's get into the gameplay. It follows a strange system where you can choose to take three paths: the good path, the evil path, and the "Meh, could go either way" path. To get all the levels, you literally have to redo the game five times. Combine that with some painfully difficult controls and you get a game that's fine, but could be much better. WAY better.
By the 15th anniversary of Sonic, the franchise was reaching a big low. Then came Sonic: 2006. Oh, God. Oh God oh God. I haven't played it. But I've seen the cutscenes. I can't bear to watch Sonic kissing a human. Just don't. I even found it on Wikipedia's list of "The Proclaimed Worst Games of All Time", alongside such unforgettable titles as Shaq-Fu, Ninjabread Man, Bubsy 3D, and Custer's Revenge. Look that one up, I dare you. Anyway, the Sonic franchise hit rock bottom. On the plus side, te game was hilarious. Not because it tried to be, but the glitches essentially made the game unplayable. Superman 64, you've met your match.
A year later, and Sonic make his debut on this new thing called the "Wii". It was revolutionary. But Sonic's game wasn't. In Sonic and the Secret Rings, he gets sucked into "The Arabian Nights". My research was not that good. Considering this was my research. By the looks of it, a genie sucks Sonic into a book where he goes through several lame tasks and runs around a bunch. He has to get the namesake "rings" so this weird guy who looks suspiciously like a California Raisin won't kill him. Blah blah blah. I don't know if this is true, but according to the video, which I believe to be extremely legitimate and parallel to the game (sarcasm), Erazor Djinn, the raisin guy, breaks a copyright claim and is put in jail on accounts of Aladdin. Yeah, that's not right. Anyway, though, getting real, this game sucks.
Then there's Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games, which was, and I kid you not, my first Sonic game. Even though I never really played it. Anyway, it's just as the title suggests. I guess it's okay, even though I suck at javelin throwing.
Now, in between the time frame between this and the next big game was a series of "meh" games. With the exception of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, but I won't really get into it that much because it's not exactly a Sonic game. So, he tried tennis. I'd like to say something along the lines of "It sucked balls. Tennis balls, to be exact." but I never actually played it. Same goes with Sonic Chronicles: the Dark Brotherhood. I hear reviews about it along the lines of:
"I heard initially of this Sonic RPG coming out. I was pretty excited. I mean, Mario tried it out and nailed it. Unfortunately, when Sonic tried it on for size, it wasn't exactly a good fit."
Then came one of the biggest letdowns of a video game I own. Here's how my story goes:
When I was growing up, my father went on a ton of business trips. He always brought back all kinds of cool stuff. One day, he brought home with him, from London, the Official Nintendo Magazine. And on its cover lay an image of Sonic Unleashed. They had page after page on this game; the levels, the interviews, the plot. I was excited for it. But then I got it.
I popped it into my Wii and decided to start playing. The opening cinematic was pretty awesome by the looks of it. But then, that B-tard Eggman came along and ruined everything by deciding it would be fun to mess with Sonic's DNA. Little did I know, he also ruined 50% of the game.
The story centers around Sonic and this new character named Chip. The guy forgot his memory, and as usual, Sonic goes off to save the day. I hate a pretty good feeling about the game at this point. Granted, the story wasn't good, but how bad could it be? The controls were tight and precise, the soundtrack was breathtaking, and the places. Oh good heavens, the places. So awesome. Background information: several years earlier I took a week vacation to Greece, and in that time, we stopped by the island of Santorini. I fell in love with it. And here Sonic goes, running across a level that's basically identical. Awesome.
But then nighttime comes. Sonic turns himself into a hellhound..... excuse me, hell"hog".. and the game loses it's charm. I saw what they were going for; they wanted an interesting twist. Unfortunately, it was horrible. It was sluggish, mediocre, and the bare opposite of what made Sonic games so great: SPEED. I spent tens of minutes on some levels. So, long story short, big letdown. You can hear more about this some other time. My hands are getting exhausted.
The last big game from this era of failures: Sonic & Sega: All-Stars Racing. Granted, it wasn't as good as a certain mustachioed Italian plumber's, but it was actually a great spin-off.
The Recent Years: A Culmination
So, as 2010 flew by, many heard word of this new Sonic game. What was it again? Something to do with Colors? Something like Mario Paint. NO. Thankfully, Sega has realized their mistakes and wrongdoings. They tried to abandon the over-usage of horrible gimmicks in gameplay. And much like Sonic himself, the Sonic Team had a new voice, a new intention. Get it? No? Fine.
Of course, though, to stay true to their proud tradition, Sega added a, God forbid, gimmick. The wisps. Thankfully, though, they were actually fine. They didn't take up 50% of all the gameplay, so that's a thing. Nevertheless, the Sonic Team was able to dust off Sonic and actually give him a worthwhile adventure.
But then came, in 2011, a new game. Face it, we all worried Sega would throw in a horrible gimmick. Which they didn't. Instead, they through in a great gimmick. Sonic Generations was a much hyped about game, and it was Sonic's 20th anniversary. But, if we can all recall his last anniversary not ending so well:
And leading to this:
So Sega was in desperate need of a great idea. And after 20 years, they had their long-awaited epiphany. Some guy in a corner was all like "You know what would be cool? If Sonic turned into a Werehog again." He was fired. But the guy who suggested another storybook adventure, well, he was also fired. But the guy who decided to make a journey across Sonic's history with Modern and Classic Sonic, he deserves to be crowned king of the universe. We all know what Sonic Generations is about, so I won't dive into it. Right now. Maybe later I will. Maybe I won't. I really have no clue, so stop asking.
Which leads us to the question:
"Will Sonic: Lost World take the world by storm? Or will it..... How should I put this delicately... Suck some serious balls?"
Good question indeed.
We have many theories here at the HQ (okay fine, it's just me. *insert Forever Alone face here*). One is that there's some guy at Sega Headquarters with bad ideas. That's likely. We also have one where a spy from Nintendo's past is seeking to destroy Sonic and all Sega stands for. That's less likely. Nevertheless, everybody has their fingers crossed that the new Sonic game won't blow.