Death of an Echidna

Super SonicSome series were meant to be in 3D from the time they started. Some were not. For some, the transition was rough, but eventually they got through it. For others, things only got worse.

Enter: the hedgehog.

After Sonic’s 2D days on the Genesis and non-existence on the Saturn, it was time for the hog to catch up with the rest of the platformers – and go into the third dimension. Sonic Adventure launched and the Dreamcast and was good, if not troubled by some erratic camera angles.

And then came Sonic Adventure 2. This time, the series didn’t fare so well. Jumping aspects didn’t carry over well into 3D. Level design, where if you fall, you die, was frustrating. The side character levels were annoyances. Who wants to have to play through a game of, “Getting warmer, getting warmer… No, cold,” over and over again?

Then came every game after SA2, and that’s when most people stopped caring.

So, as many others have probably done, here are my steps to get the Sonic series back on the right track.

1. Step back into the two-dimensional world.

Jumping and instant-death levels have not translated at all. Dodgy camera work isn’t helping the case either. Combine those problems with Sonic’s speed and you’ve got a huge mess. To sort it all it, send the game back into 2D. The characters can be 3d models, no problem, but the gameplay needs to return to the side-scrolling action that made Sonic was famous.

2. Get rid of all the characters.

Shadow, Rouge, Tails, the other hedgehog, the other, other hedgehog, get rid of them all. At the very least, make sure no one can play as them. In the first Sonic Adventure, it was a novelty. Sonic was the main story, everything else seemed like a bonus. SA2 forced you to play through all of those crap levels. Nobody likes hunting emeralds.

3. No dialogue.

Hedgehogs can’t talk. Foxes can’t talk. Echidna’s can’t talk. Neither can bats, rats, or other animals. Let’s keep it that way.

I really enjoyed to the “Adventure Fields” in Sonic Adventure, I thought it was nice that the world felt a little more alive. But do I want it in a Sonic game again? No.

4. No human characters.

Sonic kissing a girl in a game? Not only does he have cooties now, but how bizarre (and might I add retarded) is this?

5. Kill Knuckles

I like Knuckles as a character, but let’s a get a sense of urgency in this game. I’d love to see Tails be the one to go, but I realize that as Sonic’s #1 sidekick, it won’t happen. Knuckles gets beat up every game and it’s about time someone takes it too far.

If Sega decided to remake Sonic 3 and Knuckles, do all of the models and maps in 3D, but kept the same gameplay, I’d probably buy it. Even though I’ve played the same levels who-knows-how-many times, it would still be the best Sonic game that has been made in the last ten years.

Until the Sonic ship is steered right, at least I can look forward to Pikachu and Mario deservedly kicking Sonic’s ass in the newest Smash Bros.

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10.03.2007

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