Sonic Battle

Sonic Battle answered the important question that nobody had really asked. “What if Sonic was in Smash Bros?” Now, Sonic is in Smash Bros. now, but he wasn’t back in 2003 when this game came to the Game Boy Advance. Sonic Battle is an arena battler that stars Sonic and a host of other characters from the series alongside Emerl, who is magic and can learn the skills of the other fighters. The combat was incredibly fun but rather simple, and while the multiplayer was good, the limitations of the GBA held it back somewhat compared to a console game.

Sonic Heroes

I was really looking forward to seeing how well Sonic Heroes held up after so long, and it does, although not without some hiccups. The controls are noticeably worse than Sonic Adventure- I flew off edges in ways that honestly made no sense- and the voice acting is also grating at times, but damn if I wasn’t having fun all the while, even when I somehow would blink off of a cliff. Sonic Heroes is definitely a wonderful start for first-time Sonic players, but veterans of the franchise don’t need to linger after finishing Team Sonic’s portion of the game.

Sonic Adventure 2

Never have I played a game that celebrates itself more. Sonic Adventure 2 is a bonanza of iconic sights and sounds. Every track sounds like it could be the main theme and every level could be the primary aesthetic of its own game, making Sonic Adventure 2 a mascot of itself. You play as a rotating cast of six near-perfectly designed cartoon mascots who then create and raise baby mascots called Chaos at a liminal nightclub/kindergarten/horse track called the Chao Garden. It’s frankly brilliant. If only the actual platform gameplay wasn’t nearly broken. SA2 is a classic, nevertheless.

Sonic Adventure

Sonic Adventure is exactly what it says it is: an adventure. Where in later Sonic games, including Adventure 2, would forsake the open-ended structure classic Sonic levels are known for in favor of high octane speed, Adventure revels in translating this less appreciated aspect in 3D. Whether you’re watching the sunrise as you scale the side of a skyscraper or are thrown on a snowboard mid-avalanche, Adventure’s good moments come like a rush of adrenaline. Unfortunately, the other campaigns feel half-baked, most only spanning a spare couple levels before fully exploring experimental gameplay elements. Nevertheless, Adventure captures Sonic’s liberatory joy.

Sonic X-treme

X-treme is nothing but an artifact. Cancelled after two years, all that we have of X-treme is a reconfigured prototype. Yet in its state as an artifact we gain an opportunity for new ideology. You knew this wouldn’t be a finished game when you downloaded it. You knew it probably wouldn’t be that fun. Yet you came this far anyways. You had to know what could be. Perhaps this is how we can look at all games: what could be, and what couldn’t be, has been and has not, will be and will not. What then would we learn?

Tails Adventure

Tails Adventure is practically the anti-thesis of a Sonic title. Slow, clunky, and a bit obtuse, Tails Adventure is a Metroid-style adventure game for the Game Gear that isn’t all that well-known today. Tails have never been as fast as his hero, but the fox moves at a snail’s pace here, and it makes the backtracking common to the genre a little painful. That’s not to say Tails Adventure is a bad game, as it’s charming in its own right. Just make sure to play it with a walkthrough in hand, so that you don’t get too lost and confused.

Sonic R

Sonic R’s soundtrack is great. Even though it’s pre-Crush 40, the songs sung by Teresa Jane Davis had the same silly energy. It’s not the butt-rock that we’ve come to know from the series, but the catchy lyrics persist even to this day. I can still sing most of the tracks–

Oh, I’m sorry. What’s that? Do you wanna know about the game itself? God, Sonic R is terrible. Your racer will slip around the stage as if it’s all made of ice, and your opponents will employ extreme rubberbanding to frustrate you. There’s no sunshine to be felt here.

Knuckles’ Chaotix

The jazz cup of the Sonic franchise.
Playful, tasteful, goofy, colorful, careless. An absolute clown.
Taken for granted and thrown into the dump behind a Michigan ice cream shack.

A juxtaposition of visions —
Utopian ideas of the future; futurism, sick beats, cybernetics
A commodified carnivalia of bodies; gamified cloning, appropriated souls within robotics.

Created in an era where the future of blue hogs was unknown.
A roulette wheel spins, a destination is reached.
Speed loses focus, the thrill of playing with inertia.
A new framework for us to consider Sonic.

Vector grins at you with a big thumbs up.

Sonic the Hedgehog 3

This adventure begins on top of a red airplane as Sonic arrives in Angel Island, only to get robbed shortly after. My first approach to the franchise as a kid, Sonic 3 is definitely the ultimate Sonic experience, and the highest point of the series in the Sega Mega Drive, if not overall. Challenging levels with fun and diverse mechanics, wonderful co-op mode, and a soundtrack with a lot of controversy and rumors behind it make this game an absolute treasure in video gaming history. To this day, I still can’t get the Hydrocity Zone theme song from my head.

SegaSonic Popcorn Shop

In a fluorescent lit arcade, Sonic shouts to you, “SEGASONIC POPCORN SHOP!”. Eyes like marbles rolling down a track. They cannot look away from the rolling static bars of the CRT in the plastic, beachside shop shell.

Sonic loads the popcorn but is forced onto a conveyor belt to deliver. Pixelated gears and metal blocks whirl, the shop is alive! Sonic is the ghost in the machine, and he must deliver your salty snacks.

Whirl.

Whirl.

WHIRL!!!!!!

RUN SONIC RUN!!!!!!

NOW WHIRL MORE!!! YOU MUST MECHANIZE TAILS’ LIMBS FOR YOUR SNACKING ENJOYMENT!!

Finally the door lights up, finally snacking peace.