The Sonic the Hedgehog franchise is well-known in the gaming world. A series filled with numerous entries, both good and bad, excellent and mediocre. Today, I'm here to talk about the most notable, most favorite game in the Sonic series...Sonic the Hedgehog. No, not the one on the Genesis. Not even the one on the Master System. I’m referring to something more recent, the title more colloquially known as Sonic ‘06. Yes, you heard me right.
Sonic ‘06 is one of, if not the greatest titles that gaming has ever seen. It is a game with a gripping, emotional story, many interesting, well-written characters, and a world so immersive, you could mistake it for reality. Let's discuss why these statements are pure fact, and nothing less.
Some might say that the story of this particular Sonic game is awkward, terrible, and that there are plot holes. Those people are blatantly incorrect. The narrative structure is nothing short of perfection, telling a tale of a true hero and his friends, as they face against one of the best villains to ever be written in literature, Mehpiles. The story starts off on an epic note, as a beautiful princess celebrates some very necessary festival. In a complete twist of events, Eggman appears to ruin the day. But that’s not all! Sonic, in typical hero fashion, conveniently was there to save the strong princess, who we’re so very attached to already as a character. Both Sonic and Elise show themselves to be perfect compliments to each other, and it’s clear to see how good of a match they are as starring characters. After they share an amazing 5 seconds of screentime together, Robotnik makes a return, sneakily kidnapping the princess for a very important reason. Afterward, we are introduced to the best gameplay in any game ever.
Sonic 06 turned the gaming industry upside-down.
Think of some of the best things you can recall about video games, top tier, perfection in the medium. Dark Souls’ level design? Chrono Trigger’s story? Mario Galaxy’s platforming innovation? None of these can compare to just how fantastic literally everything about Sonic 06’s gameplay is. You can choose from three outstanding characters, Sonic, Shadow, and Silver, who all have different playstyles, crafted with such care and precision thanks to the master programmers at SEGA. The foundations that Sonic Adventure 1 and 2 created have been improved upon in absolutely every form. This is truly the Sonic Adventure 3 you’ve all been waiting for. With Sonic, you can run so fast that you’ll be able to clip through solid objects with little to no effort at all, and with the right amount of skill, one can be propelled outside of boss fight arenas entirely, resulting in what seems like a broken level. Of course, SEGA would never allow such a slip-up. These things that people call “glitches” are merely features, which enhance the player’s experience, adding further replayability and hidden secrets to be found even years after release. Shadow’s brooding personality represents the angst and fury that every teenager goes through, making him extremely relatable, while Silver’s origin from a future post-apocalyptic world, along with his naivety and stupidity is a perfect parallel to humanity would be like, if we weren’t allowed to play Sonic ‘06.
It's no use arguing that this game isn't perfection.
Loading screens have been lambasted for their lengthy wait times between levels. However, I bring to you a counter-point. Have you never put thought to the fact, that perhaps, SEGA specifically made loading times like that in order to give players a moment to process the amazing content that they just experienced? Should they not last upwards of 20 seconds, then it would be too much magnificence for the average person to handle.
Speaking of magnificent, that brings me back to the enthralling story. Elise is kidnapped more than 3 times throughout the story, and while it may feel frustrating, it’s actually a meaningful metaphor of “why” we as humans continually keep getting back up after defeat. And lest we forget the relationship of Sonic and Elise, a love story that is truly better than Twilight. The moment where Sonic is fatally wounded by the vile Mehpiles is a moment that will forever be remembered by anyone who cares to call themselves a “hardcore gamer”. The heart-wrenching scene is unexpected, and an absolute tear-jerker, and so well done that it could appear on a Buzzfeed list of “Top 10 Anime Deaths”.
This is my OTP.
Never before has a video game managed to blend so many unique types of gameplay styles together, in order to form something so brilliant, so creative, so unparalleled. The mach-speed sections show true genius from the talented developers at SEGA, creating a jaw-dropping sense of speed, of which is incredibly important to the series. Sonic will race by enemies, in such a fashion that captures the true essence of the blue hedgehog. The inclusion of vehicles, a returning feature from the beloved Shadow the Hedgehog, is also a nice touch, giving players another means of exploring the lush, detailed levels. Silver gets perhaps the best treatment, with what could be considered the pinnacle of physics in gaming, offering such memorable levels such as the fan-favorite “pool” puzzle.
The visual fidelity of Sonic ‘06 is something that has lasted the test of time. If you go back to many a title from the previous generation of gaming, you’ll find that graphics can appear as quite dated or awkward. Red Dead Redemption, as an example, has a horrible looking world to explore, nothing at all looks realistic. Luckily, we have a true beacon of graphical prowess that shows developers how a true video game world should look. Incredibly detailed towns, with well-designed NPCs, and character models with superb animation and attention to detail are just a few of the ways Sonic ‘06 stands above the rest, in terms of visuals.
Such realistic animations.
Perhaps the only misstep of Sonic 06 is its music. Despite the outstanding design that permeates the game, the soundtrack is just slightly weaker compared to the greatness of the rest of the game. However, this is not enough to demerit the rest of the perfect package that is on display here.
In closing, I’d like you all to take a moment and remember that Sonic The Hedgehog could very well be the crowning achievement of humanity, with only Yokai Watch 2 even coming somewhat close to that perfection. And there is no better day than today to celebrate this fact. Thank you for reading.