I actually like Sonic a lot. My first Sonic game was not the greatest game, but when I was younger I didn’t blame bad controls on myself, so I enjoyed Sonic and the Secret Rings (it’s actually not a bad game; it gets better the more you play and it has a decent party mode. I don’t consider it one of the bad ones). When I got a DS, I was introduced to the Sonic Rush games, and when I found out that the Wii could play Gamecube games, I became obsessed with Sonic Adventure DX and Sonic Adventure 2 Battle. Later in my life I found the Classic Quadrilogy and the Advance Trilogy. I played those a lot and Sonic left my life for a while.
I got back into Sonic when I found out about and played Freedom Planet (amazing game). Then I played Sonic Colors (both the Wii and DS versions), Sonic Generations, and even some fan games: Sonic Before the Sequel and Sonic After the Sequel (great free games by the way). When Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces were first announced I was very excited, but I only ended up buying Mania for reasons that will be explained..
That’s my life story involving Sonic in a couple paragraphs. I still want to get Sonic Generations on Steam for the mods (which look awesome), but that will probably happen later, maybe when Freedom Planet 2 comes out. Anyway, Sonic, what is happening to you?
The Hedgehog’s Movie(s)
When the movie was announced, which was way before the first trailer was released, I was expecting something decent. I don’t follow people in the movie industry closely like many, so forgive me for not using proper names, but I remember there was someone who worked on the movie Deadpool working on this movie. People thought this meant that we were going to get a super meta movie that would please Sonic fans, but it didn’t.
I had the same reaction as most when the first trailer for the movie came out. There were rumors that he was getting redesigned, and I remember the moment I found out it was true, I was so relieved. Then the movie came out soon later. I wanted to go the day it came out, but I ended up waiting a few days and went to see it later. It was bad.
While writing this, I looked up reviews and saw that this movie was doing well in the box office and got decent reviews. I don’t know if reviewers were viewing this movie from the family friendly lens, but to me, this movie is bad no matter what lens you look at it through. As a good movie with a thought provoking story and characters, it’s bad, as a comedy movie that makes people laugh, it’s bad, even as a family friendly children’s movie, it was bad, but worst of all, as for the Sonic fans, it was bad. Spoilers are ahead from here, but you shouldn’t care about them because you shouldn’t care about the movie.
The plot of the movie is original for the franchise, as it isn’t based on any of the games or previous media. The plot of the movie makes no sense and is nothing close to any story of Sonic that the franchise has seen. Somehow, the rings from the games become a plot device of sorts, as they have the power to turn into portals to other dimensions when thrown. Dr. Ivo Robotnik (AKA Eggman) works for the US military and has no real motivation for wanting the energy of Sonic’s quills, having some super power, other than just him being insane. Also, Tails, who appears in a post credits scene at the last minute, has superspeed too.
The comedy in the movie is slapstick and childish for the most part. Most of the best jokes are from the trailers, and those are also bad. The best part of the movie for me was when the crazy guy had the drawing of Sanik at the beginning of the movie, calling Sonic the “Blue Devil”. That is the best joke the movie has.
Spoilers for the Sonic movie are over now. Anyone would enjoy the other, less major Sonic the Hedgehog film way more than the film that is being discussed, for almost any reason. This film goes by many names in the Sonic fanbase, but I will refer to it as Sonic the Hedgehog (OVA), which is the animated 2 episode special whose contents were combined to make what was shown in theaters. People tend to have mixed reviews of what they saw of this “movie”, but “what they saw” isn’t what I want to compare to the new film, as what most people saw was most likely the dubbed American version (though this would probably also be better than the new movie).
Subs vs. dubs is a topic for another day, but Sonic the Hedgehog (OVA) is a decent little anime that has a good plot, good action sequences, some fun little jokes, (the music is also incredible,) but most importantly pleases the fans. I won’t spoil this one because it’s actually good, but I will say the story and animation style takes some inspiration from Sonic CD. Those that have played Sonic CD and have seen the cutscenes in that game should know that this will be a treat, especially if you are a Sonic fan.
The Hedgehog’s Most Recent Game
Now the movie isn’t the only problem with Sonic right now, his last major game, Sonic Forces, was so mediocre, it was bad. I’ve never played Sonic Forces myself, but from watching a few playthroughs of the game, I know how people feel about it, and I know how I feel about it. Sonic Forces suffers from 3 main factors: a bad level design, bad gameplay design, and a bad story. The level design has been talked about by other critics, but the other two have not so much. Spoilers for Sonic Forces ahead.
The bad gameplay comes from the custom avatar’s weaponry and grappling hook. The grappling hook “homing attack” appears slow and clunky. The arsenal of weapons the avatar has is also a mess. IN A SONIC GAME, PEOPLE WANNA GO FAST SO WHY DO THE WEAPONS SLOW YOU DOWN? Most playthroughs of Sonic Forces that I have seen have only used the flamethrower because of its speed; This is evidence of people wanting to go fast. Quicktime events have no place in Sonic games either.
So the story has lots of problems, but I want to focus on the two main problems: Classic Sonic’s retcon of being a younger Sonic, and Infinite’s entire character. Classic Sonic is now apparently from “another dimension” instead of being Sonic from a previous time, and while I’m glad to see Classic Sonic back, this was only done for a cheap tie-in with Sonic Mania.
Now Infinite. While I am not a literature expert, and there have probably been cases where this hasn’t been done, but in general WHEN YOU HAVE A MASKED VILLIAN IN A STORY, YOU NEED TO REVEAL THE MASK, AND IF THE CHARACTER ISN’T ONE THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN INTRODUCED OR HINTED AT, THEY NEED A HELL OF A BACKSTORY! I cite this on The Watchmen, Star Wars, and every episode and movie of Scooby-Doo that I have watched (and probably more).
When Infinite was first revealed, I thought that behind the mask, would have been Sonic or your avatar from the future, but actually happened was that he was a new character who was revealed by comics from the Sonic Twitter. I think that having some time travel plot would have been great for this game, as it would have given Infinite a better backstory and possibly given a better excuse to include Classic Sonic instead of just a random portal.
Forces spoilers end here. So Sonic doesn’t appear to be doing too well right now. I have a feeling that the next big Sonic game will be revealed soon, once the virus stops stopping an event. I’m starting to wonder what is happening with him.
The Hedgehog’s Social Media
I feel like that Sonic has stepped down from its social media prime. I remember when people started to pay more attention to the hedgehog’s social media pages because of its random “dank memeiness”, for a lack of a better adjective. There would just be posts comedically attacking random twitter accounts, and it would even get controversial sometimes. My favorite examples of what I am talking about are listed below.
This is what the Sonic the Hedgehog twitter used to be like, and while there are still some great memes on the account, a lot of them are collaboration events and advertisements for products. The person who used to run the twitter account, Aaron Webber, announced that he is stepping down from Sonic’s twitter for a promotion a few months ago.
I don’t know when this happened, or if it is just because I don’t have a twitter account yet, but at a certain point in 2016, the posts from the Sonic the Hedgehog twitter page cut off, making it harder for me to find some of these memes. From the way Aaron’s goodbye note on the twitter page was written, it makes me feel like that the craziness on twitter was just supposed to be a publicity stunt.
However, there are still a few good little memes that have been posted lately:
These memes aren’t bad, but they just don’t have the same wit and controversy attached to them.
The Hedgehog’s Fans
If the most recent movie, game, and social media posts aren’t doing so well, what has been keeping Sonic alive? Its the fans! This little blue guy has some of the most devoted fans I have seen in any gaming community, whether it be in a passionate or weird way.
There are so many fan works of high quality, that there is a semi-official “E3” for Sonic fan games called SAGE (Sonic Amateur Games Expo), where developers share their Sonic fan games. Sonic games of all types are presented online: the 3 main styles, classic, adventure, and modern, as well as some non-platformer games as well.
SAGE is full of great looking games this year, and most of them are free to download, so there’s no point to not try them. I don’t think it was officially part of the event, but I have been playing the Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) remake by ChaosX, which plays amazing and so much better than the original.
Sega is an amazing company to allow their fans to use their character to make games, and the fans are amazing to be willing to learn to code (which isn’t easy) and design games.
The Hedgehog’s Conclusion (Just kidding; it’s my conclusion)
While it is great that Sega is allowing the fans to make games, fan games aren’t going to keep this franchise alive. There are rumors that there are multiple official Sonic the Hedgehog games coming out this year, which would be a good thing, if they were good.
Only time will tell what will end up happening to this icon, so I feel that all we can do for now, is have fun with what we have, and wait for good news. We can also laugh at the memes too I guess.