“Definitely, without a doubt, positively the most incredible action game ever created for the Megadrive!” – EGM, 1991
“Sonic the Hedgehog is streets ahead of every game of this genre currently available!” – Computer & Videogames magazine, 1991
June 23rd, 1991 was a day that rocked video game players to their very core. Nintendo were the main players in the console wars due to the success of Super Mario. Then, in a flash Sonic ran right past the competition. You don’t have to be a huge gaming fan to know about Sonic the Hedgehog. He’s a household icon, a testament to Sega’s success at the time. Back in 1991, everybody wanted a piece of Sonic, and for good reason. He was fierce, he wore sick kicks, had an amazing sarcastic attitude and he was more concerned with fighting bad guys than rescuing his girlfriend from a castle over and over again.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t all been rings and rainbows for this cult icon, Although some of the Sonic games are still widely regarded as classics, time hasn’t been too kind to Sonic the Hedgehog. Everyone in the gaming world knows the story of Sega and their downward spiral into oblivion, thanks solely to the releases of Sony’s Playstation in December 1994 and Playstation 2 in 2000. With the overwhelming success of Playstation, Sega soon realized that Sonic the Hedgehog was the only sellable face they had in house. Sega had to ensure Sonic still remained relevant, by ANY means necessary. Sega released a handful of games for the Megadrive that weren’t amazing by any stretch but they featured Sonic and his gang of heroes…… and Tails….. and that was all that mattered. Sonic was a superstar, there was nothing preventing him and Sega from reigning over the games industry forever.
In 1998, Sega released what became their final console, the Dreamcast. In fairness, I have never touched a Dreamcast so my opinion does not matter here but from what I’ve read online it appears as if initially the Dreamcast was well received. Then when people got to spend more time with the system, they soon grew annoyed with the controller, system load times, system freezing and most importantly lack of video game depth. You can make the greatest and coolest gaming console ever but if you don’t provide strong depth in the video games library, you will fall flat on your face (*cough* XBOX ONE *cough*)
In a final attempt to return to the top of the gaming mountain Sega released Sonic Adventure 2, in 2001. The game was very well received by those who played it and it received a great review but unfortunately, gamers had already made up their minds. Sega was dead in the water and the once-great video game titan never made a console again.
Sega, knowing they were never going to make a console of their own again, then decided to piggy back of off other developers and platforms and who could blame them? Sega had the rights to the (still) very popular franchise and with an overly anxious and impatient audience chomping at the bit for another game, they saw the money signs and capitalized on gamers and with no real pause for concern with how this could look or what this would mean for their biggest franchise ever. Sega was so hell bent with the mindset of pushing Sonic the Hedgehog down our throats through various other developers and consoles that they didn’t even care that what we got was horrible content. The games released between 2001- 2007 were terrible. The games released between 2008-2012 were either hit or miss however the one constant was that none of them were anything close to the same as the originals.
In 2010 Sonic started to appear in a number of collaborative games for other platforms….. Including a Mario game. But even after a long day at the Olympics, Sonic was still spending lonely nights on his couch with a bottle of Jack in one hand and a Sega Genesis controller in the other, reminiscing of a time when things were better.
Living in the shadow of the giant, intimidating, and increasingly successful Mario – whose every game is met with awed gasps and fanboys crying and throwing money at Nintendo – Sonic couldn’t understand what he’d done wrong.
The only game that was overall very well received was Sonic Generations, released in 2011, that game was truly perfect. It was still obvious that Sonic’s glory days were far behind us, but it was a suitable tribute to those days. The gameplay was good enough to keep our interest and the constant switching back and forth was a great move.
Then in 2013, Sega finally gave up on life and sold the rights to Sonic the Hedgehog to Nintendo. Personally, I would have sold to Playstation but I can’t argue the success Sonic has had since becoming a fixture in the Nintendo brand. Not too surprisingly Nintendo has continued to push Sonic as a big deal and continue to feature him in almost everything Mario is involved with, which for Nintendo is…. everything!
As seen at E3 this week, Sonic Mania will essentially be the sequel to the Knuckles game, returning to 2D is exactly what us fans have been wanting for years so it was cool to see SEGA acknowledge that in the pre-order trailer during the elevator scene(as seen below). With Sonic Mania, going back to the basics is just what the fans wanted and more importantly it is what we were promised in early 2016. We were told it’d be old school, so I’m going to hold them to it.
Sega has said this before with Sonic CD and Blast so I’m trying to keep a clear head when I pick it up. However….. after E3 this week, We’ve learned the truth, and the truth is, Sega actually delivered the Sonic game we’ve all wanted! From the looks of this 12-minute gameplay video Sonic Mania definitely looks like it will be worth the wait. Make sure you bring your childlike sense of wonder with you when you pick this game up. It will be worth it!
Sonic Mania is set to be released on August 15, 2017
Be sure to pre-order, so you secure all this wonderful awesomeness