Remember the three C’s: comments, critiques, and, um, cuestions. Since you ain’t paying me the only compensation I receive is your feedback!
I have made anti-fanart of some royally fervent game fandoms: Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy, Legend Of Zelda, just to name a few. Do you know what I’ve discovered about these mindless sheeple who guzzle every drop of their test-marketed, cookie cutter, corporate shilled hobbies?
They’re not so mindless.
In fact, time and again I have been consistently impressed with what great sense of humor the general fan has, and state they got a chuckle out of my rant. Now I plan on tackling the ‘Sonic’ franchise.
I wonder how this will turn out.
My rant will probably have more ire in it since I grew up playing the original games so my rant might come off more like a brokenhearted boyfriend leaving a midnight voicemail of, “You stupid hussy how could you leave me for a younger brat I hope you rot I still love you I see the images of our unborn children in your eyes come back to meeee!!”
Let’s get this anthropomorphic dog and pony show on the road.
Cappy’s Crappy Review: The Sonic Franchise
I was sort of aware that all competent character designers at Sega had perished in the great 32X and Sega Saturn warehouse fire of ’95. Who knew broken hopes and dreams were so flammable? I was even slightly aware of some of Sonic’s fugly furry friends like Rouge the thief/part time bachelor party stripper, Big the cat being Sega’s affirmative action hire to show even animals with Down’s Syndrome can be a playable character, and Silver the hedgehog finally answering that lingering fan question: what would happen if Sonic’s mom slept with a snowflake? I went to Wikipedia to check out just how many supporting characters had been birthed since my absence.
I had no idea, how deep the fugliness went.
Each scroll of the mouse dial was like a game of Russian roulette that made my brow furrow lower and lower until my brow could be considered a mustache of grave disapproval at this veritable nightmare within a nightmare, I felt I was in the sequel to ‘Inception’.
A brave soul had compiled all the friendly characters who at least appeared twice in the franchise, meaning there are a few of the one night stand friends sitting on a stained mattress in the corner of a barren apartment staring at a phone resting on a giant industrial spool caked in a thin layer of dust, vainly waiting to be invited to the weekly Mobius pizza and Criterion Collection movie night.
They’ll never be invited.
The number of characters who continually clog the arteries of this universe: 18
I don’t even think there were that many Storm Troopers killed in ‘Return Of The Jedi’.
Drawing each of these characters was an exercise in lamaze with how many times I sighed at the google image results. I just feel really bad for fans of the series who try to support the blue blazer, and Sega seems to be trying everything in their capacity to make you loathe their games when they throw their dayglow rave cartoons in your face and scream “WE DARE YOU TO JUSTIFY THIS NEW CHARACTER! I DREW A PENGUIN IN A BRA AND I SAID DUDE THERE’S NO WAY THE PRODUCER WOULD LET US MAKE THAT AN OFFICIAL CHARACTER BUT HERE WE ARE AND NOW YOU HAVE TO GO ON BONUS STEALTH MISSIONS WITH KNOCKERS THE BUSTY PENGUIN THE LOVE INTEREST OF KNUCKLES. GET CRACKIN’ ON THOSE KNUCKLES/KNOCKERS FANFICS!!”
I have to admit, I was a Sonic fanboy back in the 90’s. ‘Sonic The Hedgehog 2’ came packaged with my Genesis, and I instantly fell in love with the series. I paid 60 smackaroos for ‘Sonic The Hedgehog 3’ when it blazed on the scene, almost obliterating the Genesis’ blast processor.
Strike that: my PARENTS paid 60 bucks after I begged for a primary-colored Erinaceidae fix.
I feel Sonic went out in a great fashion with ‘Sonic & Knuckles’ and its combine-with-other-cartridges-to-form-a-16-bit-hanging-garden-of-Babylon technology. What was great about those games was the sense of actual character variety. Sonic can use the elemental shield icons to go even faster, Tails “Poopy Brown” Prower can fly to give you a second go at a missed ledge, and Knuckles goes into “drunken stepdad mode” and knocks down secret walls and your mom’s favorite lamp. It was definitely a different experience with each character you played.
I tried getting into the ‘Sonic Advance’ games, and I adored the first game as it felt like a genuine love letter to the classic games of the series. The future side scrollers added more gimmicks and characters, and all these characters didn’t really give a new experience or a necessity to explore areas you couldn’t already with the 3 staple characters. I want to give Sonic a very big kudos, because Sega always seems to try and add a new gimmick to spice things up. Most of the time those spices give us indigestion, because it seems Sega doesn’t get what Nintendo figured out years ago.
There are a multitude of Mario games out there, even more so than Sonic, and Mario has quite the shiny tush from all the buttkissery he gets from game reviewers. Sonic often gets lambasted from review sites, and I think I may have figured out the reason. Nintendo definitely has no problem adding gimmicks to their games, however they make sure to keep the core game play and mechanics relatively unchanged to give players an equal dose of nostalgia, accessibility, then innovation. Plus, Nintendo doesn’t have a track record of adding a buttload of new characters that you’re forced to accept and play their horrid mechanics because you were foolish to think “Oh, a Sonic game! I bet I’ll get to run real fast and actually play Sonic as that is what I expect out of this series!”
The Sonic series is extremely scatterbrain with their play mechanics. You might pick up ‘$onic: Final Codebreakers’ only to realize it’s Sonic walking you thru how to properly file your W-2 taxes before April 15.
Robotnik plans on claiming his enslaved animal population as dependents!!
I haven’t played many of the adventure games that no doubt explain why Sonic apparently lives in the Care Bear Cousins Kingdom, but this is the Internet, and I’m not gonna let a little thing like “lack of any knowledge” stop me from pretending I’m an expert on the series! All I do know is that after their initial appearance, there is absolutely no reason for them to be around in subsequent games. I’ve practically witnessed cutscenes of Sonic running into Cream the Rabbit, and heard such riveting dialogue as, “Hi Sonic! I was going to go buy a candy bar, but instead I think I’ll now be a playable character!”
That’s really the best scenario on why this character keeps hanging around?
What helps me in my observation, is that ‘Sonic Generations’ seems to be the most critically acclaimed Sonic game in quite some time and all they really did was recycle many of the past levels from the original games. While it’s fine to add gimmicks, again just keep some semblance of consistency in core mechanics because when I see a new Mario game, I can make a safe wager it won’t be a gardening sim.
And finally, can we all agree that Sonic vs. Mario is something no one ever really wanted to see come to fruition?
“DO YOU LOVE ICE CREAM?!”
“Why, yes I do!”
“DO YOU CRAVE NACHOS?!”
“That does sound good right now!”
“HOW ABOUT WE COMBINE THESE TWO AWESOME THINGS AND—“
“Wait, what? No that sounds godawf—“
“INTRODUCING NACHOS IN ICE CREAM FORM! NACHILLS!! WE’LL MAKE AN AD WITH KIDS SKATEBOARDING AND EATING THIS CRAP SO YOU KNOW IT’S HIP AND LEGIT!”
Just because 2 things seem great on their own, doesn’t mean you should Frankenstein them together to form a blasphemous affront to God.
It was only natural that in the beginning gamers would argue over who was the better mascot: Mario on the SNES or Sonic on the Genesis/Mega Drive. Gaming magazines tried their best to throw Crash Bandicoot into the ring like “Hey fellas, Playstation has a mascot too!” That was a little sad, like that overweight chick who insists on cosplaying as Tifa Lockheart from Final Fantasy at anime conventions. We know you’re trying to give yourself self-confidence, but it’s killing all our moods. And boners.
Nobody ever argued who would win in a race. I’m surprised that these “At The Olympics” games don’t always end in “Sonic Wins”. I’m also surprised Mario isn’t constantly wheeled out on a stretcher after clutching his heart since his body is 80% marinara sauce. I’ve never played the Olympic games, but from the commercials, it’s clear they were veeery liberal in their definition of official sports. I remember watching the commercial for the London Olympics game, and thinking to myself, “I didn’t know rolling down a hill in a giant hamster ball was on the roster for Olympic sports this year. Almost makes that flag twirling fiasco seem legit. Haha just kidding.”
So! How’d I do in pointing out the ‘Sonic’ series’ flaws? Do you have your own conspiracy theories on why Sega hates its patrons? Or are you so blinded with rage there’s not a caps lock button big enough to express your venom over my diatribe? Remember: flame me and I shall arise from the ashes like the great phoenix, which, coincidentally, is probably the next species on the list to be Sonic’s newest animal pal.
-The “Knuckles Doesn’t Have A Beer Because He’s The Designated Driver. Friends Don’t Let Friends Drink And Sega Mega Drive” Cappy