Title: The Decline and Fall of the Blue Hedgehog
Posted: August 05, 2007 (01:05 PM)
I think that all of us who have been with Sonic the Hedgehog since the beginning know that he was amazing when he dashed onto the gaming scene in 1991. His game moved twice-- no, three times faster than the plumber who was taking all the glory at the time. He had serious attitude, as opposed to the lifelessness of all those OTHER game characters. Best of all, his game was fun.
As you can imagine, Sega churned out sequels as fast as they could. Sonic became a household name-- more kids could identify him than Mickey Mouse in '92-- and his games improved as they were released. Perhaps the pinnacle of the Blue Blur's career was the release of Sonic CD in 1993. It was and is easily the best of Sonic's adventures.
Then, when 3D polygons became the new thang, Sega was only too happy to create a whole new Sonic for their whole Dreamcast. They released Sonic Adventure to a waiting world. It was fun, but many problems plagued it, such as a finicky camera, pointless fetch quests, and a too-easy difficulty level. Plus, it just didn't... feel... as fast.
Sega did their best to address these concerns, and released Sonic Adventure 2. This game was more fun, but the difficulty, in places, got controller-throwingly hard, the camera still was a little bad, and there was shooting. Admittedly, there was shooting in SA, but a good third of SA2 was devoted to it, as opposed to the seventh or eighth of the first.
Now people were starting to cry foul as Sonic Heroes came out. The game was somewhat cheesy, too easy, and had little replay value. The streak continued with Shadow the Hedgehog's release. I thought that the story was a step in the right direction, but the missions varied from painfully hard (find all the pointless objects in a ginormous nonlinear level without a map) to pushovers (run to the end and kill things). They offered quick-fun experiences-- probably worth a weekend rental-- but were not sick (in the cool sense) like the classic Sonics.
The most recent back-stab is the next-gen Sonic for the PS3 and 360. I played a demo at a game store to see how it was, not expecting it to be any worse than Sonic Heroes.
BUT IT WAS!!!
It was the most painful Sonic yet. The positive points were the graphics and, uh, that's it. The controls were floaty, the levels were by no means complex, the loading times were brutal, and I oft had to press a button twice to get stupid Sonic to do a frickin' Homing Attack. One particularly painful bit had two cliffs with a gap between them, bridged by rings. A Light Dash was the only way across. This would have been fine, had there not been a Dash Panel RIGHT BEFORE THE LIGHT DASHING BIT. I would press the button to Light Dash, Sonic would ignore me, and he would run off the cliff, fall into the water, and drown.
The worst part was, Sonic ran at the speed of a three-legged cow.
Hopefully, in the future, Sega will find its eye of the tiger (or, in this case, anthromorphic hedgehog), get its 3D act together, and make a Sonic game that people will want to play. And I'm not talking about the kind of playing where you play it once just so you can laugh at how stupid it is. I'm talking about the type where you play it because it's fun.
Posted: August 05, 2007 (02:18 PM)
SEGA in generally seems to be really spotty lately. The last game of theirs I really liked was Panzer Dragoon Orta on Xbox (though I'm sure some of those Japan only Sega Ages games for PS2 were sweet). It feels like now all they ever do is make Sonic games that get progressively worse. It would be awesome if SEGA had an sweet revival by making new titles as fun as Jet Set Radio or Shinobi III.
Posted: August 05, 2007 (04:42 PM)
I liked Sonic Heroes :0. Even with the tag-team aspect, it felt the closest to the original Genesis titles than any other 3D Sonic game I've played (haven't played the Wii title).
Posted: August 05, 2007 (05:51 PM)
I enjoyed Sonic and the Secret Rings, but it was plagued with shitty controls, especially jumping. If SEGA refines the engine some with a sequel and works on the control issues, I think it'd be the perfect way to render Sonic in 3D.
Posted: August 05, 2007 (07:14 PM)
Genj: Haven't played Panzer Dragoon anything. I've got to, though. It sounds fun, and I heard good things about PDSaga.
Pickhut/Espiga: Well, yeah, I enjoyed SH, but after a while, it got kinda... dull. I haven't played Secret Rings, either. It sounds fun, but the whole motion control thing sounds rather too-good-to-be-true to me.
All: I don't know about how to fix the whole thing with the issues with Sonic's playability, but I had an idea for a killer boss for the next Sonic game. Most of them seem like you just have to dodge attacks, get rings, and hit the weak points. Well, this one features a sort of puzzle, akin to the Spider Guardian boss in Metroid Prime 2. I'll post another entry on that tomorrow, though.
Posted: August 05, 2007 (07:30 PM)
The first handful of stages are pure awesome. After a while though, the game's horrible jumping controls result in you dying lots of pitiful deaths. You have unlimited lives, so you'll get used to hearing Sonic's nasaly "Oh noooooooooooo!" yell when he plummets to his demise.
Posted: August 05, 2007 (07:59 PM)
There's always the Sonic Advance series.
Posted: August 05, 2007 (10:12 PM)
I liked Sonic Heroes, or at least the part with Sonic. The other 3 teams sucked immensly.
Posted: August 06, 2007 (06:19 AM)
Yeah, I think Sonic's part was probably the best. However, I think that Sonic Heroes isn't really worth a buy; more of a weekend rental, I think.