The Forgotten, the Maligned: Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)

Sonic 06

The following article comes entirely from personal opinion. Thanks to Ersatz and Spazzy_D for edits, and Girard, Merlin the Tuna, and Sandler’s List of the Gameological Society for inspiring this piece.

Within every medium or canon, some works transcend their identity, defining or teaching us about the context in which they were made. This is even true of those considered the worst of their fields. Battlefield Earth is not just a terrible film, but one that highlights John Travolta’s supremely odd career, the Church of Scientology’s relationship with Hollywood, and the post-Star Wars infatuation with pulp adventure. Similarly, the “worst games ever made” can often tell us more about the industry than we might realize. And one of the most infamous on that list is the 2006 Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 disaster Sonic the Hedgehog, henceforth referred to as “Sonic 2006” for clarity’s sake.

This article may as well just be a geek act, with down on his luck icon Sonic the Hedgehog having long been reduced to biting the heads off of live chickens for our sick pleasure. I certainly can’t deny being averse to that appeal. By this point, it’s almost impossible to find new ground on which to mock this game; you could look at this…or this…or this, which I wrote last year when replaying the game for the second time in what must have been an act of sadomasochism on my part. But this series is about games within a broader historical context, and that may be a superior angle with which to discuss this one.

After all, if Sonic 2006 is notorious as a meme, it’s less in being a bad game than as primary evidence of a related meme: the precipitous decline of Sonic the Hedgehog. It’s a compelling story about the beloved mascot of the video game company SEGA who, thanks to the machinations of his incompetent and greedy corporate owner, has fallen into an inexorable pit of failures. It’s easy to sell this, and it’s not an entirely untrue sentiment. However, I would like to posit an alternative argument, that Sonic’s failures and inability to remain consistently entertaining is both the fault of his company and an inevitability for the property.

It is, by this point, far too easy to contrast the “Blue Blur” with his old rival, but the philosophy of Nintendo’s headliner Super Mario is worth studying. Everything about the latter – his sartorial choices and facial hair, the design elements of his games – comes from function, the result of Shigeru Miyamoto working to overcome technological limitations and viewing games as giant toys. His cheerful, workmanlike attitude befits his blue collar persona and locomotion, and his place as the Nintendo mascot is a natural extension of the latter’s design philosophy. It’s similar to how, for example, Master Chief embodies Microsoft’s vision of game systems as cold, “elite” powerhouses.

Sonic, by contrast, is clearly a figure of deliberate commercial direction, one based around an acceptable level of focus-tested edginess to rival Nintendo’s mammoth commercial success. He seems almost explicitly a response to the Mario’s popularity, from his rougher, spikier shape to his ties with the SEGA Genesis’ much vaunted “Blast Processing,” its main technological selling point. It’s telling that game director Yuji Naka created him in an official contest to make a mascot. Sonic, for all intents and purposes, is SEGA; he symbolizes their creative and commercial ethos. This is not a denouncement of his beloved Genesis originals, more an acknowledgement that they were less evolutionary than reactionary, unable to mix being a power trip or a more “normal” platformer. Essayist George “SuperBunnyHop” Weidman has compellingly argued that even in Sonic’s “Golden Age” the developers of Sonic Team never avoided the pitfalls of the mechanics, though the appeal of fantastic music, the highs of running incredibly fast – Sonic’s gimmick, which cast Nintendo as uncool – and SEGA’s marketing obscured those issues.

The fourth console generation was one where style really got big in games, and Sonic was at the forefront of that.
The fourth console generation was one where style really got big in games, and Sonic was at the forefront of that.

Without a concrete underlying vision of what he was (Sly trickster? Freedom fighter? Demographically safe rebel with attitude?), Sonic started to flounder. The SEGA Saturn had no mainline Sonic titles, merely a collection of dubious spinoffs. Instead of the series moving forward, it just became broader and adrift, a feeling that didn’t end when it moved back into platform games. His first foray into 3D, the Dreamcast’s Sonic Adventure – in 2001, the first “main series” entry in seven years – was a broken slog that set bad precedents in its mechanics. In the years hence, the quality moved up and down, but there was an increasing sense of irritation. Fans wanted Sonic to simply dash through gorgeous environments, but SEGA’s programmers seemed flummoxed by that one request. They instead supplanted it with secondary gimmicks or overwrought storytelling that made the initial problem worse.

While the series’ spinoffs always fluctuated widely, Adventure brought that attitude to all future “main” games. It’s incredible how nakedly “Sonic Team,” which had almost immediately split into two separate studios, have drawn brazenly from so many trends over the years. God of War combat, Mario Galaxy level design, Final Fantasy storytelling, Mario Party multiplayer, Ratchet & Clank shooting, hub worlds and upgrade systems and dual worlds of other, better works; Sonic today is a fossil record of the last two decades of gaming history. Except there’s never an interest in synthesizing these with the core gameplay, or even making any of it enjoyable. It’s almost as though Sonic, having been birthed in a pool of marketing synergy, lacks an identity of his own and grasps anything vaguely interesting instead.

You don’t even have to look at gameplay for examples, thanks to the cast. Most characters are built from the same mold, taking Sonic’s relative shape, changing the color, and adding a single personality trait and skill. Knuckles is red, tough, and can glide. Jet is green, competitive, and can snowboard. Amy is pink, “the girl one,” and has a hammer. While even minor Mario characters burst with personality – Captain Toad and Toadette can star in a game and not seem that weird doing so – Sonic Team’s approach to design feels exclusively for the benefit of brand extension, with each one targeting a specific demographic or feature. And with them being “Sonic + X” (not the also maligned anime Sonic X), the Blue Blur moved perilously close to being incidental in his own games.

This eventually leads us to 2006 and 2006. Fresh off the release of Shadow the Hedgehog, a 2005 sequel/spinoff starring a gun-toting, cursing, motorcycling clone of the hero, the problem was clear. Most journalists and fans were openly frustrated with the series’ confused tone, even though each installment sold millions of copies. The series badly needed a kick, and with Sonic’s fifteenth year anniversary coming up in a year, the PlayStation 3 scheduled for release that same year, and the Xbox 360 already starting the seventh console generation, that seemed the time to do it. It’s noticeable that despite sharing a name with the original Sonic, 2006 was never sold as any kind of remake. It was presumably only a sign of how far the franchise had come.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what kind of failure Sonic 2006 is, but perhaps it’s best seen as one of ambition. Sonic Team clearly had grand aspirations, with a dramatic and complex plot, many characters and role playing elements, giant environments traversable in multiple ways, and systems exploiting the Havok physics engine, which had previously been used to great acclaim in 2004’s Half-Life 2. However, due to SEGA’s demand for a 2006 holiday release, splitting off part of the team to build what would become Sonic and the Secret Rings, the developers’ struggles with the 360’s hardware, and many key team members leaving the company – including Yuji Naka himself – the final game was released in a barely playable state. With budgets and time slashed, effort that would have gone to even the most basic testing was abandoned, and despite the bloat of features that made it into the final game there are obvious signs of cut content. Ironically, even with all that, difficulties with adapting to the PS3 forced that version, even buggier and less optimized than its 360 counterpart, to be released months later in 2007. (note: this review is based on the 360 version)

The art direction's desire to exploit graphical fidelity led to 2006 having a bland visual style.
The art direction’s desire to exploit graphical fidelity led to 2006 having a bland visual style that meshed poorly with the franchise’s characters.

On a purely technical level, it’s shocking that SEGA considered this anywhere near acceptable. Sonic’s classic “homing attack” (a move meant to offset these games’ inherent camera snafus) is just as likely to send you hurtling to your doom as an enemy, whose high health and constant attacks can still stun you into a quick death. Collision detection is random, level design is ugly, and every one of the nine playable characters has their own terrible idiosyncrasies. Sonic’s longtime sidekick Tails, for instance, can only attack using “dummy ring bombs” that can’t be comfortably aimed and kill the framerate. Hell, even hitting too many enemies – enemies the game itself spawns – can do the same thing. Loading is a joke; Sonic 2006 will wait over a minute for such graphics-intensive content as a single line of unvoiced dialogue from an NPC to whom you are already talking.

But even discounting those technical issues, it is truly dire. The gameplay is a mess even in theory, a miserable hodgepodge of mechanics and play styles that are neither fun on their own nor synergize in any way. The upgrade mechanics and hub world do nothing but worsen the experience, acting as barriers to block off content and forcing players through a conga line of awful minigames. The whole idea of a hub world is to facilitate gameplay, and this one implies that 2006’s world is a constant stream of incessant demands from insipid NPCs and narratively worthless story sections. So already, it’s working against not only the “gotta go fast” ethos of traditional Sonic, but any kind of satisfactory coherence at all.

And although compelling narrative isn’t exactly part of the Sonic wheelhouse, the story is atrocious, incomprehensible, and bizarre in its aims and themes. Like previous 3D attempts, 2006 uses a large cast to tell a giant, nonlinear narrative, but this saga of angry gods, a dystopian future, and the Final Fantasy-esque city of Soleanna – or its realistically proportioned human denizens – meshes so poorly with the plasticine cartoon animals of the franchise you might be forgiven for assuming you were looking at a fan mod. Characters’ attitudes and personalities seem defined by the whims of the convoluted plot, and its themes are either confused, stated without subtext, or oppressive.

These colliding problems of a barely functional engine, turgid game mechanics, and a laughable mess of a story can best be seen in faux-breakout newcomer Silver the Hedgehog. An angsty teenager from an apocalyptic future, he’s gone into the past like Kyle Reese to kill Sonic, who a shadowy doppelgänger of Shadow claims will set off a chain of events destroying the world. Silver’s main function is to best show off the Havok physics engine, which was developed to create subtler, more diverse physics for objects in games. He’s psychic, and his primary method of attack is to use objects strewn about the field as weapons. It’s actually neat in theory, but the combat never evolves past tossing crap at monsters, the necessary auto-targeting is unreliable, and it slows the frame rate to a pained crawl. This is almost certainly the part the developers cared about most, yet it makes all the worst elements shine through.

Spazzy_D didn't believe this dude was in the game. It's amazing how insanely derivative he is.
Spazzy_D didn’t believe this dude was in the game. It’s amazing how insanely derivative he is.

Sonic himself barely plays a role, so subsumed by rival brand extensions Shadow and Silver that his story lacks significant narrative import. In one of the series’ more odd attempts at giving his character dramatic weight, he now has a human princess love interest played by Lacey Chabert from Party of Five, who is about as awful as a supporting character can be. She has no personality beyond her relationship to Sonic, only exists within the game’s wretched cutscenes, and repeatedly gets kidnapped in a begrudging attempt to give the hero something to do. His buddies do only marginally better, if only because they lack the sections where Sonic decides to run too fast to control through a maze of instant deaths, but each new gameplay mechanic offers a wealth of unique, exciting problems.

It’s a testament to how hideous and noxious Sonic 2006 is that it still stands out as the worst Sonic game released that year, completely obscuring Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis, a nigh-unplayable port of the first game for the Game Boy Advance. Or that as a property in 2006 disparaging the name of a beloved original it still came out worse than the Nicolas Cage remake of the Wicker Man. Or that the even more broken Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric has gone under the radar by comparison, though that lacked as compelling a meta narrative. That was also a mutual tie-in with a recent cartoon reboot, suggesting Sonic hasn’t changed an iota.

Sonic 2006 was built as a paean to Sonic the Hedgehog, and in a twisted way it was: it highlighted not the hero’s highs or triumphs, but the terrible creative decisions that led him to being an industry joke. The oppressively large cast, pointless mechanics, broken gameplay, ridiculous storytelling, and a lack of interest in being entertaining? Those were all established tenants of the brand long before this game came out; 2006 only brought them further to the forefront.

While most Sonic games enjoy extensive hype before the quality inevitably lets people down, there was a marked shift here. It popularized the view that Sonic was fundamentally broken, and SEGA eventually removed it and other Sonic games from digital stores in response. Since then, the franchise hits an odd dead-end of sorts, where every release since seems to be a rejoinder to 2006 and the attitudes which spawned it. Things course corrected slightly in Sonic Unleashed (a fairly poor game whose dual-character gameplay almost symbolized the series’ problems), which influenced Sonic Colors and Generations. Together those two are one of the franchise’s brightest spots, with engaging level design that answered the original games’ potential. However, the series has yet again hit a new snag, with the disastrously received Sonic Lost World and Boom sending the series crashing yet again. Sonic’s even worse now, because fans aren’t buying his games or even caring about him at all beyond an official Twitter feed – a Twitter feed that has openly mocked this very game, which seems presumptuous.

After the failure of Sonic Boom, it's hard to see any acceptable version of Sonic existing.
After the failure of Sonic Boom, it’s hard to see any acceptable version of Sonic existing.

With SEGA teasing a new Sonic game and once again stating how much they care and that this time they’ll get better, it’s good to remember that Sonic 2006 was not made in a vacuum. It – and Boom, and Sonic Shuffle, and Tails’ Adventure, and Sonic and the Black Knight, and all the rest of the myriad of misguided Hedgehog games – was only the product of a specific philosophy, one which chased commercial potential and marketing over strong, cohesive game design. I’m sure it is possible to make a good Sonic game, as there is empirical evidence showing us just this. But with nothing to guide Sonic’s handlers but their corporate investment, the chances of a return to halcyon days seem implausible.

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  1. Quite the interesting read. Really nails what exactly is wrong with Sonic’s management as a brand. Sonic Team tends to prioritize shoehorning whatever’s currently popular into Sonic games, whether it fits or not, and betting on the powerful brand to net a success regardless of quality (which, to be fair, usually works). All the great Sonic games remain focused on what Sonic does best, which is providing a fast-paced and thrilling platformer with style. You’d think that Sega executives would realize that they don’t have to reinvent the wheel and cash in on every trend in order to keep Sonic successful.

  2. Honestly, I haven’t played this game before since I don’t own PS/Xbox consoles. But I have watched few gameplays and movies through Youtube. I could understand how this game was a terrible creation for Sonic’s 15th Anniversary. The loading was too long, many glitches that made characters become unbalanced (such as Sonic’s body facing “downwards” while soaring “forward” in Wave Ocean) and stages that were made imperfect (such as few “still under construction” stages and “invisible potholes”). I know this game was in the “rush”, but they could’ve improved it more like updating a patch to fix it.

    However, I actually like the characters and storyline. For the characters, it is surprising that they remade Eggman’s form in a…”too realistic human” style. It’s like…when did he lose weight and got those baby blue eyes? It was really odd to me, but I was actually relieved that he’d stay in that form only on this game while he’ll go back to his usual but more familiar big bally form. For Silver, I never knew much about him than Blaze, since he was mainly on the Sony platform, except he was based on Dragonball Z’s Trunks for being the warrior from the future. Although he’s a hedgehog as Sonic and Shadow, he’s much like Amy that he can’t run fast; but his psycho powers was very interesting as I wanted to try play as him. Mephilis was…I could say cool, but being a mouthless Shadow clone was something that didn’t impress me. Being the main villain of the game is okay as that happened to other Sonic games like Adventure’s Chaos and Heroes’ Metal Sonic, but I don’t know, Mephilis’ design wasn’t really that fascinated to me somehow…but I guess that’s just only me as I don’t know why. Finally Elise, I’d rather say she’s okay on my side. I really don’t know why people were complaining about her existence so badly. Sure maybe the concept of human and anthromorphed animal was a bad idea, but since I’m a furry fan, I really didn’t mind seeing them having some romance in some form as I liked it (DON’T JUDGE ME). Besides, having a human heroine was meant to be planned long time ago, so I guess it’s okay to me.

    The story itself was fine to me. I think it was good. Even I felt the ending was touching to me. I really loved the musics too. I guess “His World” was great as I’ve seen many people liked it. 2 remixes on the vocal soundtracks, epic orchestral remix for Solaris’ phase 2, and even the epic heavy metal remix for the trailer and in Smash Bros. Brawl. Although my favorite Crush 40 wasn’t main in this game, at least they made a remix of “All Hail Shadow”, so its fine with me.

    Yeah yeah, I know people will deny on me because how the game was terrible, but that doesn’t mean I’ll change my comments! I could understand the glitches made the game a failure, but the story, characters, and musics are something I really enjoyed watching. I might not be able to play this game no matter what as I don’t own PS/Xbox consoles, but it if you remove the glitchy gameplay, I’d rather say the story was okay to me as a whole. It’s not perfect, but was interesting.

    1. I’d say that you’re generous to Sonic 06 because you haven’t played it. The glitches and loading are bad, but the game is a cluttered mess with many bad ideas. It was general awful decision making that killed 06, not technical flaws.

      The game’s graphical fidelity is nice for a 2006 game, and the model quality for Sonic and friends is good. Everything else is a problem, though. Animations are poor for just about everything, which is very noticeable in cutscenes, where the lip-syncing is awful and characters rarely emote. The world and humans (including Eggman’s bad redesign) look realistic, which horribly clashes with the talking animals of the Sonic universe. There’s even realistic cats in a game with a cartoon cat! The CG cutscenes are a nice step up from previous games, but some of them will use the poorly animated in-game character models for some reason.

      Sonic 06, like most Sonic games, has a great soundtrack, which is varied and memorable. The sound effects work, but are nothing spectacular. The voice acting, however, is atrocious. You’d expect better from the 4kids crew after having experience with Shadow the Hedgehog and several seasons of Sonic X, but no, this is some of the worst acting in the series. Nearly every line is incredibly stilted, and most of the voice actors sound bored. Some characters, such as Tails and Silver, are quite obnoxious. In Shadow’s story, a GUN officer tells Shadow find Mephiles at Wave Ocean, only he screws up his line and starts over. They left an outtake in the game that is impossible to miss!

      STORY (this is a long one):
      The story, like the Sonic Adventure games, is segmented into three pathways, and they all suck. Sonic’s story is literally Sonic saving Elise, then having her get immediately captured again by Eggman, multiple times, with little of note happening in between. Eggman even explains his plan to Elise twice, because apparently no one proof read this junk. Elise has Iblis sealed inside her by her late father, and Iblis will be freed when Elise cries (and apparently when she dies too, but this just sorta happens and is never addressed). Father of the year, everyone. Sonic and Elise’s romance is incredibly forced, comes out of nowhere, and is just plain weird. There’s a reason why Sonic having a human love interest was scrapped in 1991: it was an awful idea. Sonic and his story are so insignificant to the plot that it might as well be filler. Sonic never meets Mephiles, the main villain of the game, one time! He sees him in the computer room with Silver and Blaze, watches him leave, and never comments on it.

      Shadow’s story is probably the most interesting of the three, but it doesn’t make it any good. Shadow now works for GUN, the same organization that killed his family and was after him in Adventure 2 and Shadow the Hedgehog. Because that makes sense. Shadow’s story involves Shadow going after Eggman and Mephiles, a dark doppelganger of Shadow (which is pretty redundant since Shadow served as a doppelganger of Sonic). The story amounts to fetch quests for mystic items and wild goose chases for Eggman and Mephiles.

      Silver’s story all hinges on the fact that Silver is a gullible idiot. Silver lives in a ruined future and is sick of subduing the fire monster Iblis, just to do it again later since Iblis is immortal. Silver and Blaze (who was from the Sol Dimension in Sonic Rush, but is suddenly from the future here) agree to Mephiles’s to go back to the past to kill Sonic because they believe it’ll save the future, all without asking questions. Silver finds Sonic, but he escapes. Silver finds Sonic again, but Shadow beats Silver up and has him travel back to the past to find the real reason why the future is ruined: *the Duke of Soleanna somehow captured the sun god Solaris* and experimented on it until it became Iblis and Mephiles. Silver returns, briefly teams up with Sonic, then goes to the future to seal Iblis inside himself instead of using time travel in a smart way. It fails, so Blaze seals Iblis inside herself instead, because she can suddenly do that now, and disappears for the rest of the game. Iblis is sealed, but the future is still ruined, so what was the point?

      The Last Story is just stupid. Mephiles appears behind Sonic and kills him. Sonic the Hedgehog is dead. Elise cries and releases Iblis, so Mephiles somehow summons the Chaos Emeralds and fuses with Iblis to become Solaris. Solaris messes up time and space, somehow warping everyone minus Blaze together. The gang goes to collect the Chaos Emerals and goes through the same levels from before, only shorter and filled with ridiculously annoying voids that spawn everywhere and are instant-kill. They use the Emeralds and Elise’s kiss (UGH) to revive Sonic, who goes Super Sonic and teams up with Super Shadow and Super Silver to defeat Solaris. They win, which collapses time and space. Sonic and Elise find Solaris’s primordial form of a small flame, which they suddenly know. Blowing it out will change history by erasing Solaris, but Elise doesn’t want to because she’s so selfish that she doesn’t want to forget Sonic by saving the universe. Sonic convinces Elise to blow out the flame, which erases the entire plot of Sonic 06. The game ends back at the festival from the beginning minus Eggman, and Sonic looks up at the moon.

      The characters all being idiots definitely makes the already stupid plot worse. Sonic is now a generic hero who runs in circles after Elise. Shadow is now super serious and doesn’t even bother to arrest Eggman when he corners him. Silver is gullible and comes up with stupid plans, when he even has one. Several characters, such as Tails and Amy, disappear and reappear in the plot on a moment’s notice. Knuckles and Blaze contribute almost nothing to the plot. Mephiles would work as a villain if the writing was better, as he can actually be kinda menacing in some scenes. However, the writing’s so bad that it makes Mephiles look like an idiot because he could easily do things himself but chooses to sit around. Not one character realizes that they can time travel whenever they want when they have two Chaos Emeralds (Mephiles can do so whenever he wants). They only time travel for incredibly dumb reasons. This bad use of time travel in a story jumbles up the plot and makes it confusing and paradoxical. And then everything’s erased at the end, which makes this dumb story non-canon, but also means that your surprisingly long journey of a Sonic plot was completely meaningless. I’m sorry, but I have to question your tastes if you truly think Sonic 06’s story is good.

      The biggest problem with Sonic 06 is that it’s simply not fun. The hub worlds are big, lack good landmarks, and have awful town missions. Collecting the ridiculous number of Silver Medals in the game rewards you with an achievement on Xbox 360, and nothing on PS3. Some of the levels are decently designed, but others are long, boring, and/or feature things like the infamous Ball Puzzle. All of the characters have no real weight or momentum, making movement incredibly precise. This is better than Heroes and Shadow being super slippery, but it still sucks. Unlike every other Sonic game, you get hurt for jumping into enemies instead of the other way around. Enemies are packing large health bars, but unlike Heroes and Shadow, there are no power characters or guns to quickly kill beefy foes. The game loves to lock you in a room to kill waves of enemies, halting the game, which is the opposite of Sonic’s concept. Characters aren’t fast unless they’re on automated dash panels or in Sonic’s awful mach speed sections, which hurt you for touching anything and don’t let you control your jump in midair. The Homing Attack has a noticeable delay on it, and Shadow’s wants you to mash the button to punch enemies, making it even slower.

      Once again, almost everything except jumping is on one button, which is especially frustrating when Sonic plummets to his death for a Bounce Attack instead of doing the Light Dash. Sonic’s Spin Dash can only be done when standing, cannot be jumped out of, and isn’t even very fast, making it useless. Tails keeps going forward when flying, drops like a rock when he’s tired, and can only attack with slow Dummy Ring Bombs. Knuckles drops like a rock when gliding, has pathetically small hitboxes on attacks, has a useless slow dive attack, and will constantly re-grab a wall he’s trying to jump off of. Rouge has similar problems, only she attacks with bombs like Tails. Omega can charge his laser to shoot multiple enemies, but the lock-on is bad and has no visual cue, so it’s better to jump and mash the fire button for everything. Omega also can break the level by mashing the hover button and floating everywhere, and runs faster than Sonic for some reason.

      Blaze is like Sonic, only with a double jump, wonky tornado spin, and a weird homing attack. Amy is the worst character, being slow with pathetically slow, weak, and small hitboxes on her attack, which can only be done on the ground. Her double jump, unlike Blaze’s, stops all momentum, making it nearly useless. Amy can turn invisible too, but its use is so limited since the player can’t see her and you usually have to kill all enemies to advance with her. Silver looks fun in theory, but he’s incredibly boring, as he can only damage enemies by throwing stuff at them with questionable auto-aim. He can’t pick up even the smallest of enemies unless they’re stunned, which requires Silver to hit them with his pathetically short-ranged slap. His psychic meter is drained when hovering and picking stuff up, so you’re always waiting for it to refill.

      There you go. That’s mostly everything wrong with Sonic 06. Notice that I didn’t even mention the loading times or glitches. The game is badly designed and would suck even without its technical flaws.

  3. For an article supposedly about Sonic ’06, it took a while before the focus of the article actually got to Sonic ’06. Vaguely misleading title aside, I feel there is quite a bit of bias showing here. For example, you describe Knuckles as “red, tough, and can glide”, which is true, but you miss out several other key aspects of his character, such as how he’s the last of his race and the guardian of the Master Emerald. You offer up Mario characters as a counterpoint, but I could do the same thing. I wouldn’t be lying if I said that Wario is fat, greedy, and evil, but that’d be missing out on the fact that he runs a microgaming company and is actually a skilled programmer. I would have also neglected to mention how Mario, Luigi, Wario, and Waluigi all share similar designs in the same way you claim that Sonic characters do. Also, I don’t think it’s fair to say that Rise of Lyric went unnoticed in ’06’s wake, when Rise of Lyric was released 8 years later. Pretty much everyone was comparing the two games for their poor quality. Lastly, Sonic Lost World wasn’t ‘disastrously’ received. It currently has a 63 on Metacritic, which is nearly double what Rise of Lyric has.

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