There was a time when gamers swore that Sonic the Hedgehog was the coolest of all time. With super speed, an awesome design that was suited for both attacking and just ramming past enemies, an awesome world to pull his stunts off in, his seemingly “never say die” attitude as he took on each of Eggman’s machinations and won, the overall lack of a back story made him a genuine threat to Mario’s stardom. Sonic Team and Sega played it up excellently in the sequels, giving Sonic a best friend and friendly nemesis with equally sparse backgrounds but still awesome traits to be the foil for our beloved hedgehog. However, as the games truly entered into the third dimension with Sonic Adventure, something…changed. Sega would never stop trying to give us the “character” of Sonic over the one we grew up with. And this resulted in some of the most embarrassing moments in the series’ history. Join us as we take a look back on these moments and shake our heads in collective dismay.
In Sonic Riders, Sonic and his friends have to deal with this new team of furries who use hoverboard gear to commit crimes. And so they must enter a competition with these furries on their own hoverboards in order to…I don’t know. Didn’t Fonzie also have to jump a shark at some point to prove a point?
But when Tails, at a fairly early point, revealed the origins of the so-called Gear – the product of an ancient Babylon civilization – where we then proceeded to cut to shots of hieroglyphics, tapestry paintings and the like, that’s when things went from “Lol, fail” to “I need a drink. Even if it’s formaldehyde.” Yes, he’s a brilliant, talking inventor fox. But we loved him a little less after he uttered that drivel. Forever.
Pop quiz kids: What is Sonic’s most powerful form? If you said Super Sonic, wherein the brave blue collects 7 almighty Chaos Emeralds to defeat world conquering monsters and the like, then you are wrong. No, not even Super Sonic was strong enough to break free of a particular force field that Dr. Eggman had constructed to set up Sonic Unleashed. The solution? Lycanthropy.
Or whatever the equivalent of a friggin’ werehog is. In Sonic Unleashed, Sonic undergoes bizarre transformations at sundown that turn him into a werewolf-esque hedgehog creature that does stretchy arm punches. At this point, we weren’t sure if the physiology was more sad or the game itself. Both answers inevitably lead to “Drink!” so what did it matter?
Irony: The non-werehog portions in Sonic Unleashed are actually quite fun.
It’s hard to pluck a single moment out of Sonic Adventure 2 but here goes: Tails transforming his plane into a car to catch the US President’s limo. Sonic being captured by the military G.U.N. Eggman’s ancestor. The friendship between Maria and Shadow. Conspiracies, cover-ups and the fate of the world in the balance. Heck, showing the world as being made up of stiffs like those seen in Sonic Adventure 2.
But the worst part of all is when you collect everyone’s equipment and just…look at them during the cut scenes. Seeing the obscene amount of gear on Sonic and Knuckles as they do their best to emote wasn’t laughable – it was sad.
What was laughable was Sonic Heroes, the further delineation of the story-line into team-specific endeavours that did nothing but try and fit as many furries into the game as possible. But Espio as a ninja? Shadow as an amnesiac (and possibly a clone)? Metal Sonic’s horribly underwhelming return?
In summation: Storylines and colourful casts. Stop them both, Sega, if only to stop giving us reasons to drink.
For the love of God, just why? Who in their right minds at Sega looked at that picture of Shadow the Hedgehog, all dolled up in emo tones and reeking of Linkin Park, on a motorcycle, wielding a machine gun and staring as menacingly as a two-year old into the camera and thought, “Greenlit!”?
Add to that some attempts at open-ended gameplay, aliens, the military, run-ins with other Sonic characters, awful controls that made the signature Sonic running feel like skating with a walrus tied to your back and Shadow the Hedgehog remains one of the worst games in the series, if not one of the worst games ever made.
Did we mention there are multiple endings? That’s right: Sega wanted you to play this game more than once, forget trying to drink your way through the first play through and dying of alcohol poisoning every time Shadow had a “Mariaaaaa” moment.
But no. You can make a tough-talking, sword wielding hedgehog your protagonist. You can have time-travelling hedgehogs and bunnies and big cats and ninja chameleons as your supporting cast. You rip off Dragonball Z, and conjure up horrid spin-offs that make Mario is Missing look like Broken Sword. But this moment from Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) beats them all.
The context is simple: Sonic and Princess Blech show fleeting traces of love between each other. All well and good – everything was all hunky-dory and PG-rated with Maria and Shadow. But then Sonic died (seriously) in-game and there was only one thing that could bring him back: A kiss from his so-called beloved.
Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) did what Twilight could not do: Successfully combine necrophilia with bestiality. And then sell it to children.
No amounts of cold water could wash away the shame and embarrassment this created for the franchise.
That does it for our top 5 list of some of the most embarrassing moments in the history of Sonic games. Any particular Sonic moments you found embarrassing or just plain icky? Maybe something from the comics, another cesspool of awful moments? Let us know.