Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Sonic the Hedgehog Retrospective

Is it possible for me to troll myself?

So... I've been wanting to do another Retrospective for a looooooong time. And I don't mean an ongoing Retrospective like the One Piece one I'm doing (Syrup Town will still come out in February, promise), but an honest to goodness, sum up an entire series from beginning to end in one post Retrospective. The last time I did that was for my Star Wars Retrospective, and that was when The Force Awakens was coming out. So why Sonic the Hedgehog? Why the punchline of the video game industry?

Well first of all, I want to just take a moment to explain that I've been meaning to do a Retrospective like this for a long time. The problem with me doing Retrospectives, and longtime readers will know this well, is that I burn out on projects fairly easily. For really big and in depth projects, they usually fall through because they're too big of a task for me or that I get swamped with other work. I was going to do a Ratchet & Clank Retrospective for last year, but by the time I had only three games left in the series to beat, I was tired of the series' mechanics and I was busy getting ready for the 100th review. Maybe I'll get back to it someday, but for now I'm putting my foot down and tackling a behemoth of a Retrospective as retribution.

Anyway, Sonic the Hedgehog! A meme of a franchise if I've ever seen one. A game series that has no many negative jokes around it, a hypothetical "Sonic Cycle" for every new entry in the series, a a quality rating that soars from being generation defining to some of the worst video games ever made. Make no mistake about it, if you're a gamer, you're at least familiar with Sonic the Hedgehog, or at least the jokes he represents. Sonic doesn't have much staying power anymore in 2017, and even with two new games on the horizon this year, I'm doubtful that anyone outside of dedicated Sonic fans will pick them both up.

But that's the thing with Sonic; people are dedicated to the franchise because there is always a chance for each new game to be good, and I want to bring that to light. I'm not going to say that every Sonic game is good, far from it, but I want to give an objective and honest look at a franchise that's a hollow shell of what it once was and see whether or not it was any good to begin with.

Now I need to set up a clear guideline of what I count as a Sonic game for the sake of this Retrospective and so that I don't hang myself from all of the speed and memes. In order for a game to count on this list, the game has to be a platformer, has to have been released on a home console (sorry, no handhelds this time), and had to have been released on physical media. The first two are self explanatory for why, but I included the third point to narrow down Sonic games that Sega wanted to highlight and show off the franchise. I can appreciate a game like Sonic 4 for trying out a digital only approach, but honestly, no one really talks about Sonic 4 to begin with, so I just wanted to stick to games I can hold physically and loan out to friends. So for your pleasure, here's the dreaded Sonic the Hedgehog Retrospective.

Sonic the Hedgehog (1991) - Genesis
Ah the original Sonic the Hedgehog. The game that put the Sega Genesis on the map and ignited the console wars of the early 90's between the SNES and the Genesis. I never went through this grizzly war of attrition, but as someone that loves the history of video games, I adored it. The bloodshed, the shady tactics, the name calling, it all seemed like a surreal time to be a gamer. So if only because of that, Sonic the Hedgehog is a historically significant game, if not one of the most important video games ever released. Now that doesn't automatically mean the game is good, but thankfully, Sonic the Hedgehog was an enjoyable little game that set a precedent for the rest of the series.

In this game, your goal was to run at the speed of sound as Sonic the Hedgehog and to defeat the evil Dr. Robotnik from taking over the world. Simple and clean, but my lord was this game fast for it's time. The processing power and graphical achievements of the original Sonic could not be ignored and made millions of Sega fans for a reason. The idea of going fast and maintaining a sense of speed was a great gameplay mechanic, but the original Sonic highlighted the biggest problem that I have with the game, namely the platforming.

When you're going fast and blazing through stages, the game is a joy, but there are several levels where the speed just stops and you're left to do some very slow, very mediocre platforming. I played this game originally as a kid, and I could not stand Marble Zone for how it slammed all sense of speed to a grinding halt. The levels were simply alright witht he exception of Green Hill Zone, but that's the level that everyone remembers. It allowed you to go fast, explore the level however you wanted, and didn't throw bottomless pits that killed out, spikes that stopped you, or slow platforms that didn't make you go fast. I know I'm harping a lot on the speed aspect here, but Sonic, as a character, is meant to go fast. When he isn't, it's either the player's fault for not being good enough, which is somewhat acceptable, or the level design restricting the player's speed, which is not acceptable. I'm not going to say that the original Sonic is a bad game, but you'll be hard pressed to find a Sonic fan that lists it as their favorite game in the series.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (1992) - Genesis
Sonic 2 is where a lot of fans really fell in love with the series and its often regarded as being the best Sonic game because of its sense of speed, better platforming, and updated visuals. Personally, I think the game is very good and fixes a lot of the problems with the original game (platforming doesn't slow down nearly as much, thank God), but has simply just been outdone by its sequels.

Now that isn't to say that anything about the game is bad. Frankly, I think my personal enjoyment just comes down to taste if anything, but later Sonic games were just able to engage me more than Sonic 2. I look at Sonic 2 the same way that I look at Super Mario Bros 3, it's a great game, but further sequels have just done the formula better.

Sonic CD (1993) - Sega CD
So Sonic CD is a bit of a weird title for me. I love the advancements that the game made and the higher quality of the Sega CD made the game look great with an even better soundtrack, but there are times when the game just looks too crazy for my taste. Like there's so much visual details in the levels of Sonic CD that it's kind of distracting at times. There are so many things going on at one time that I can't even properly focus on the events on screen.

Minor gripes aside, what works in Sonic CD really does work. Sonic games are known for their very good soundtracks, and Sonic CD's is easily one of my favorite soundtracks of the whole series. The sense of speed here is brilliant and even though the gameplay really didn't change that much, it still felt like you were going faster in some capacity. To make the game even better, you had a multitude of ways to go about a level with the introduction of time travel. You could go to the past, present, or future when you gained enough speed, making each level feel different enough so that I can play the game in a couple of different ways. Plus the challenging boss battles were the first time I could actually say I had trouble in a Sonic game. An underrated game, but still a great one.

Sonic 3 & Knuckles (1994) - Genesis
Yes it's a technicality including two games in one entry, but originally Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles were meant to be one super long game that got split into two parts because of cartridge costs and time limitation. They were meant to be one grand game, but thanks to lock-on technology where both cartridges could connect with one another, we have the game that Sonic Team originally wanted to make. And it's a damned good game.

Sonic 3 & Knuckles allowed for two playable characters, Sonic and Knuckles (duh), but that alone was enough to make the game worth playing in my opinion. Yes, Sonic 2 featured the introduction of Tails, but he was really only a co-op character that controlled as a less fun Sonic. Knuckles here had actual differences in his gameplay like gliding, climbing walls, and not being as fast as Sonic, which made him a breath of fresh air in comparison to the previous three games.

The game is huge as well, boasting two game's worth of levels, most of which are just great levels. Casino Nights and Mushroom Hill Zones are fantastic levels and the game somehow looked better and had highly catchy songs in comparison to Sonic CD. Just let that sink in. A Genesis game, with less processing power, has better music than Sonic 3. Not higher quality music, but catchier tunes that stay in my head longer. There are some downsides to Sonic 3 though, like was it just me or were there more water levels here than in previous games, and that you can get tired from having to blaze through one extra long Sonic game instead of beating two shorter ones. Nitpicks aside, I easily think that Sonic 3 & Knuckles was the best Sonic game of the Genesis era, hands down.

Sonic Adventure (1999) - Dreamcast
Okay, so we've finally reached the point where I played each Sonic game as they came out, and Sonic Adventure was meant to be a monumental game in the franchise with a shift to 3D, voice acting, and a focus on telling one story. And it... kind of worked. Sonic Adventure is a fun game, don't get me wrong, but it has a lot more mediocre things about it than good.

Here, you play as six different characters, each with their own mechanics and gameplay. Sonic runs fast through levels, Tails flies around and races characters, Knuckles glides and hunts for treasure in stages, Amy is slow and has to outrun a killer robot, E-102 Gamma is a shooter where he has to defeat a boss at the end of a stage, and Big the Cat is a fisherman that has to fish for his pet frog. On one hand, I like the variety of gameplay, but each section is way too unbalanced for my liking. There are 10 Sonic stages, which are fine, but then you have 3 Amy stages, 4 Big the Cat stages and 5 Tails stages? If your name isn't Sonic, your section is drastically cut short and doesn't do much to advance the plot.

Oh yeah, the main plot! The story of Sonic Adventure is told from each character's perspective and how they fit into stopping Dr. Eggman from fully reviving an ancient monster from taking over the world. Some characters have a significant purpose, like Sonic and Tails, while every other character just feels like an after thought. Big the Cat's awful, awful section has nothing to do with the main plot, as does Gamma's section, so why include them in the first place?

As for putting a Sonic game in 3D, the levels are fantastic... for the most part. When you're playing as characters that are meant to go fast, each level is fantastically designed, but not every level was designed with each character in mind. For example, Knuckle's levels usually put him inside of a room with a lot of nooks and crannies that he has to search through to find pieces of the Master Emerald. That's fine, but those same levels don't work when Sonic has to run through them because of hos confined they are. Same with having Big the Cat search for Froggy in pools of water which can range from being a fountain to the goddamn ocean!

I mean, overall Sonic Adventure is fine, but man do I have a lot of issues with it, especially when each character's storylike begin to overlap with one another and you have to go through the same levels repeatedly and fight the same bosses again and again with the exact same results. You know, I have a lot of frustration with Sonic Adventure's structure, so let's just move on before I spend another five paragraphs going into microscopic detail about a 1999 Dreamcast game.

Sonic Adventure 2 (2001) - Dreamcast
I know that people are looking back at Sonic Adventure 2 less and less fondly as time goes on, but I could hardly care less. I think that Sonic Adventure 2 holds up remarkably well in the 16 years its been out and only gets better and better the more I look at it.

From a gameplay perspective, not much has changed from Sonic Adventure. There are still six characters, but instead of every character having a campaign, the campaigns are divided between the heroes and the villains, each of which featuring three gameplay mechanics. One characters runs through levels like the Sonic stages from Adventure, one character searches like Knuckles, and one character goes through a shooter stage like Gamma. Plus each campaign jumps fairly frequently between the three, so you never feel bored with each campaign, plus every stage is original. There are no repeated stages for characters to go through again and again like in the original Adventure. It helps break up the monotony and makes the game much more easy to digest.

As for the story, its remarkably better than the original Adventure and features two new characters, Shadows the Hedgehog, a doppelganger of Sonic that ties in heavily to the overall plot, and Rouge the Bat, a government hired treasure hunter that's trying to spy on Dr. Eggman. The plot isn't anything special (it actually has several massive plot holes in it now that I think about it), but the execution is completely genuine so you're actually able to overlook the plot holes as they appear. It doesn't make the voice acting all the good (wow some lines are delivered terribly here), but I can safely say that I enjoyed myself.

And that's just the overall experience I had with Sonic Adventure 2; I enjoyed myself way more than I expected myself too. The story was fun, I enjoyed the characters, and the gameplay was never all that tiring for me. Yes, some of the levels weren't all that designed well, especially the space ones, dear lord those spaces levels were garbage for Rouge and Knuckles, but on the whole, I enjoyed more parts of the game than I disliked.

Sonic Heroes (2003) - PS2, Gamecube, Xbox
Ladies and gentlemen, we have reached the point. It was bound to happen sooner or later, but we've reached the point where the Sonic series began to collapse in on itself. Oh yes, there are worse games yet to come out, but this was the beginning of the end for the franchise being taken seriously. Sonic Heroes was when the franchise began to have a focus on a huge ensemble cast and mediocre gameplay and gimmicks.

Here, the story is worthless, which isn't that bad in all fairness, but the game's fatal flaw is that you have to complete four separate campaigns in order to reach the final boss. On the surface that isn't bad, but each campaign is the exact same thing. No, for real, every stage each "team" as they're called go is the exact same stage that every other team goes on. One team is easy mode, one team is medium mode, one team is hard mode, and one team is a special challenge mode where the goal of each stage changes. Now that would mean something, but all four teams have to do the exact same levels with the only difference being their length. Some levels are shorter, some are longer, but the level design is the exact same. It's draining to go through the same game four times without any changes in gameplay.

As for the actual gameplay, each team has three characters that race through each level together. One character runs fast, one can fly for a limited amount of time, and one character is about beating the tar out of enemies. And none of these three modes really have any impact behind them. You could change modes at the press of a button for convenience, which is nice, but it doesn't matter if the game stops you at certain points and forces you to change modes to complete a section. There's just a lot about Sonic Heroes that irks me, and it's all downhill from here.

Shadow the Hedgehog (2005) - PS2, Gamecube, Xbox
So... we have a spin-off of the most popular character from Sonic Adventure 2 headlining his own game. That's actually not a bad thing all things considered, but dear lord... this game is 2005 EDGY AS HELL and is all DARK and SERIOUS and has CURSING and is for ADULTS. And it has GUNS, and BLOOD, and GENOCIDE, and MURDER, and is just so EDGY MAN!

Shadow the Hedgehog is an action oriented Sonic game that has more combat than any other Sonic game and less of a focus on speed. Oh sure, there are speed oriented sections here, but they last for a couple of second before you go back to fighting enemies with wonky controls in huge areas where your speed just makes it more difficult to shoot enemies. And did I mention that all of the intense "maturity" make the game feel dumb as hell. As in, Shadow is the definition of an edgelord who wants to watch the world burn or find out who he is and blah blah blah! I don't normally get into plot spoilers in these retrospectives, but Shadow's arc was perfectly done in Sonic Adventure 2. He didn't need a game where the focus was on discovering who he is, which makes the story just pointless to go through.

Or at least, one of a hundred or so stories. In a twist that I actually enjoy and will defend Shadow the Hedgehog for, the game had a choose-your-own adventure plot where each story has six levels. The thing is that you can beat the first stage in one of three ways, by being evil, neutral, or good, and each path you take will affect the next stage you play. So if you beat the first stage on the good route, you'll go to the good route's next stage, then you can choose to be good, evil, or neutral again and continue onwards until the very end. There are 10 possible endings, and you need to reach each ending to get the final chapter. So in theory, it's a good idea, but it's marred by making most of the levels a droll to play through.

Not only will you have to play through the intro stage no less than 10 times during your run through, but some stages are impossible to get to because of ridiculous requirements. Like for one stage, you need to kill 85 enemies, yet the entire level is massive and the enemies are placed in incredibly hard to reach places. No joke, it took me well over half an hour to beat just one stage. One stage! In Sonic games, a long stage is six minutes, not 30! The gameplay is at least functional, but when the level requirements are so challenging and uninteresting, then there's so little I can do to actually care about playing the game. But can you believe it gets worse from here? Cause it does! Oh God does it get worse!

Sonic 06 (2006) - PS3, Xbox 360
Now HERE's the death of Sonic and his friends. This was the game that finally crushed the franchise. A confusing, nearly broken game that was unplayable to many and insulting to those that could get through it. 

I'm going to be perfectly honest, I didn't replay this game for this Retrospective. I just couldn't go through it a second time. Sonic 06 was meant to be a celebration of the franchise, and instead we got the originator of Sonic as a joke. I firmly believe that the awfulness of this game has scarred Sonic beyond repair. The glitches and horribleness of this game is probably what inspired the Sanic memes. I know I don't really have any facts supporting that claim, but it just fits, you know?

So... can I even talk about this game? Well, you play as Sonic, Shadow, and a new character SIlver as they go through monotonous levels. Sometimes the focus is on speed, sometimes its about action, and sometimes you're fighting against a terrible physics engine that doesn't work. The story is just laughable and features on of the worst time travel stories ever told as well as featuring a scene that kinda-sorta-maybe hints at bestiality? Maybe?

You can also play as a whole bunch of Sonic's friends, but their controls are just as bad as the main characters. Hell, in the case of Sonic's gameplay, half of it isn't even coded properly so a player can just abuse mechanics to bypass entire levels in seconds. That's inexcusable. 

Sonic 06 is one of the worst video games I have ever played, plain and simple. This was the lowest possible bar set for Sonic games and he's been living in the shadow of this game for about a decade. Even with some good games that we'll get to later, there's no escaping just how awful this game was and still is. 

Sonic Unleashed (2008) - PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PS2
Well this is a step up...?

I hesitate to call Sonic Unleashed a bad game. There are certainly a lot of things wrong with it, but it just feels misguided. There were genuinely good moments about this game that are just bogged down by baffling decisions. Like Sonic turns into a werehog. 

A werewolf hedgehog. With stretchy arms. 

The game is divided into two main parts. There are the day segments, where Sonic is able to run faster than he's even run before in beautiful and fun stages. I get the feeling that this was what the developers of Sonic 06 were trying to go for, because they're great. And then you get the werehog segments, where Sonic walks around slowly and fights a ton of enemies in closed off areas with barely any platforming. And the werehog segments account for about 70% of the game's content. 

Sonic Unleashed doesn't actually feel like a Sonic game the more I think about it. So much of the game is designed around a gameplay mechanic that is antithetical to what Sonic is. You don't go fast as the werehog. You don't platform as the werehog. Hell, rings fill up a damned health bar instead of collect on the screen! The weird part is is that this was the one outlier for the rest of the Sonic series. No other mainline Sonic game features this big of a gameplay departure to the point where I'm certain that this was just another game with the Sonic label thrown onto it. I can understand why Shadow the Hedgehog's gameplay was different because it was a spinoff, but I can't think of any reason why Unleashed plays like this. The daytime segments are great, but the werehog segment are just so painful slow and dull to get any enjoyment out of. 

Sonic Colors (2010) - Wii, DS
It took nearly a decade, but we were finally able to get another genuinely good Sonic game! No ifs, ands, or buts, Sonic Colors is a refreshing, fun, and light hearted game that I had a blast playing. 

Like Sonic UnleashedSonic Colors knocked the main cast down considerably to about 5 main characters including Sonic, Tails, and Eggman, and all of the levels are designed around either Sonic's speed or his platforming. When Sonic's fast, the levels are great, and even when he's platforming the levels are designed well enough for me to really enjoy them. 

Sonic is able to get various powerups in this game calls Wisps that can give him a variety of abilities for a short amount of time. He can turn into a rocket, a spiked ball, glide in the air, or even burrow undergound as a drill and all of them are fun to use. Granted, the control for one or two of them may take some getting used to, but once you do it's all smooth sailing. You won't have access to every powerup from the start, but when you do unlock them you may actually feel compelled enough to return to previous levels to use them. I actually wanted to replay levels here to get a higher ranking and collect every object I see. 

Sonic Colors is a much shorter game that I would like it it be, taking about 4-5 hours on your first playthrough, but its high replay value and enjoyable gameplay rectify this problem and make it a fun time at the end of the day. 

Sonic Generations (2011) - PS3, Xbox 360, PC, 3DS
Sonic Generations was the Sonic game that a lot of people needed. It didn't try to focus on any new gimmicks or powerups, but was instead a throwback to the Genesis days and modern 3D platforming. You played as Classic Sonic and modern Sonic and you just ran around a highlight reel of the best levels in the franchise's history. Green Hill Zone, Chemical Plant Zone, City Escape, you name it and it was there. If Sonic 06 failed to be a celebration for the Blue Blur, then Sonic Generations was the true celebration that the franchise deserved. Sonic was back for all intents and purposes. 

You ran at the speed of sound, you had platforming, and there was a little something for everyone here. Fans of the simpler Genesis days were pleased and even people that wanted a callback to the Adventure had something to look forward to here. The level design was on point and I don't think a Sonic game has looked this good before or since. However, like Sonic Colors, this game is short, even more so than Sonic Colors. At about 3-5 hours, most of Sonic Generations' longevity comes from completing side missions, but unlike Sonic Colors there aren't really any major variations between retrying a level. There were no new powerups to try out in these new levels. You just platformed like always through them. And look, the gameplay is still fantastic, but Sonic Colors was able to do that while making exploring old levels fresh again. Still, I can't deny just how much fun I had while blasting through levels again as Classic Sonic and not having to deal with glitches, werehoogs, or shoddy team mechanics as 3D Sonic. 

Sonic: Lost World (2013) - Wii U, 3DS
So Sonic: Lost World  had a surprising amount of hype behind it. I remember that people were eagerly looking forward to this game before launch since it was following up both Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations. People believed that we were in a Sonic Renaissance, that good Sonic games were back and the crap from the 200's were finally gone. Sadly, Sonic: Lost World turned out just like Sonic Unleashed; some good ideas and some terrible execution. 

First thing's first, there's a run button. Sonic just doesn't run when you push a control stick in a direction. Sonic needs to press a button to actually run and it's one of the most mind boggling things in the game for me. Why can't he run by just holding down the analog stick? What does the game accomplish by having you hold down a button? You get used to it after a while, but it never really feels natural in comparison to the rest of the game. 

The biggest gripe I have though is with the level design. Lost World takes a step out of Mario's book and copies the world design of Super Mario Galaxy with cylindrical worlds for platforming, which works well sometimes, and other times is the most infuriating aspect I've ever seen in a Sonic game. Some levels are just maniacal to get through while others are a piece of game. It's soem imbalanced in terms of quality, yet there's no excuse other than baffling level design. The boss battles that are feature here as well are some of the worst in the series, almost insulting your intelligence at times. Wisps do return and make the game a bit more fun to play through, but I'm just left here wondering why they were included in Sonic: Lost World in the first place. The only reason that I could possibly think of was to make it seem like it was a successor to Sonic Colors, a game which got a surprising amount of love when it was released.  

Needless to say, Sonic: Lost World did not receive the same amount of love as that game had. If Sonic Unleashed had a poor central premise but a decent execution (for day stages), then Sonic Lost World has a poor execution but a decent central premise. Make of that what you will. 

Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric (2014) - Wii U
Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric is God awful. I mean... wow this game is bad. Some would argue that it's a worse game than Sonic 06, but I wouldn't dare call it that bad. It isn't a "Worst Game of All Time" contender, but it certainly has way more echos to Sonic 06 than any Sonic game should. 

Rise of Lyric was an attempt at starting a new sub franchise in the series, one with a focus on Western tastes. Sonic and his friends got a redesign for the Boom franchise, and this was meant to be the game to show off how awesome this new premise was. Needless to say, it was a garbage fire of astounding proportions. Sonic simply couldn't go fast unless he was in very specific sections and if he did go fast, the camera would chug at a rate that was unplayable. Trust me when I say this, but there are points where it looks even worse than Sonic 06, a game that came out 8 years before Rise of Lyric

Combat became a main focus again, but instead of having weapon variations like in Shadow the Hedgehog or even combos as the werehog in Sonic Unleashed, you just had to button mash to win. Hit the button X amoutn of times and you would kill every enemy on screen. And even during combat the game still somehow manages to slow down to a crawl, making even simple combat exercises a nigh impossible task. 

Speaking of nigh impossible tasks, apparently the developers were never able to code the game properly so it glitches at rates unheard of. You can stand on water, characters will pop in and out of existence, you'll fall through the world, and in my favorite glitch of the game, you can actually bypass a fourth of the game by just continuously jumping over a large gap with Knuckles. It's shocking that even after Sonic 06 that developers would develop Sonic games that were an unplayable mess. Didn't anyone learn from what happened back in 2006? And yes I know, time constraints and deadlines and whatever, but that's hardly an excuse when Sega told the developers that Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric was being developed for the Wii U AFTER THEY REVEALED THE GAME TO THE PUBLICI just... what? What??? As the last console Sonic game to be released, this was quite a low to end on. Just... wow. 


So that's Sonic the Hedgehog. You've seen his highs and you've seen his lows. In 2017 we're expected to get two Sonic games. One is Sonic Mania, which is a throwback to the Genesis era, as well as a console game that looks like it has a lot in common with Sonic Generations. But if you wanted to play a Sonic game for the first time and you wanted to know which ones were good and bad, here's my ranking of every mainline Sonic game. 

14) Sonic 06 - One of the worst video games ever made. Only play if you want to hate yourself. 

13) Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric - The worst game on the Wii U. Only play if you want to hate yourself, but not as much as Sonic 06.

12) Shadow the Hedgehog - A game designed for edgelords, Shadow the Hedgehog is a failed spinoff that has some interesting ideas, but is ruined by monotony and bad action sequences. 

11) Sonic Heroes - I don't know what it is about monotony is bad Sonic games, but look no further than this one. 

10) Sonic Lost World - Elements do work here, but the huge gap between quality levels and abysmal ones is just too much to bear here. 

9) Sonic Unleashed - Werehog levels aside, when you're actually going fast in the daytime segments, it does feel like a lot of genuine fun. Too bad there's only a handful of them!

8) Sonic the Hedgehog - The one that started it all is a quality game, but definitely has a bit of roughness in comparison to the rest of the series. 

7) Sonic Adventure - Even with Big the Cat and repetition, most of the game is a lot of fun to go through, even if some characters are jammed into levels that they don't work in. 

6) Sonic 2 - A classic by every stretch of the word, this is where Sonic was allowed to truly shine. He ran, he jumped, and he went through some of the best worlds in the series. What's not to love?

5) Sonic CD - Great gameplay and an even better soundtrack will get you far in a Sonic game that not many fans have actually played. 

4) Sonic Generations - 2D and 3D Sonic together for the first time in a game that respects both gameplay styles and melds them together for a short, but fun ride. 

3) Sonic Adventure 2 - The gameplay is fun, the story is interesting, and the pace is spot on for making me interested and engaged with the world. Did I even mention the Chao Garden? Cause that was awesome too!

2) Sonic Colors - The best modern Sonic game by far. I wanted to replay every level and use all of new powerups again. When people talk about good 3D Sonic games, make sure this one gets included. 

1) Sonic 3 & Knuckles - It's two Sonic games in one. Not only that, but they have the best level design out of all of the series, great boss battles, great music, and are easy for anyone to play but challenging for veteran players as well. 

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