I'm bored! Let's talk about Sonic the Hedgehog.
Sonic the Hedgehog
Throughout the 30+ years of significant gaming history, the video game world has seen its fair share of console mascots. Between Super Mario, Ratchet and Clank, Spyro the Dragon, and even Pac-Man, perhaps no video game mascot has left a legacy as impressively dramatic as Sonic the Hedgehog. It's no question that Sonic the Hedgehog has fallen off in recent years, but if there is seriously only one thing that my readers know about me, it's that I love Sonic.
I haven't played all of Sonic's tales, but I've played enough to give an interesting top 5 favorite Sonic games. First though, allow me to list what I have played:
Sonic the Hedgehog (Mega Collection)
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Mega Collection)
Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (Mega Collection)
Sonic & Knuckles (Mega Collection)
Sonic 3D Blast (Mega Collection)
Sonic Spinball (Mega Collection)
Sonic Adventure DX Director's Cut (Ported to Gamecube)
Sonic Adventure 2: Battle (Ported to Gamecube)
Sonic Advance 2 (GBA)
Sonic Advance 3 (GBA)
Sonic Heroes (Gamecube)
Shadow the Hedgehog (Gamecube)
Sonic Riders (Gamecube)
Sonic the Hedgehog 2006 (Xbox 360)
Sonic Unleashed (Xbox 360)
Sonic Generations (Xbox 360)
Sonic Generations (3DS)
Sonic and the Secret Rings (Wii)
Sonic Riders Zero Gravity (Wii)
Sonic and the Black Knight (Wii)
Sonic Colors (Wii)
Sonic Rush (DS)
Sonic Lost World (WiiU)
Sonic Boom Shattered Crystal (3DS)
These are games that I have not necessarily beaten, but games of which I have played enough to understand thoroughly.
Number 5: Sonic Colors
By the time Sonic Colors was released for the Wii, Sonic fans had already endured the disappointing quality of both Sonic and the Secret Rings and Sonic and the Black Knight for the Wii. We took the announcement of a new Sonic game with copious amounts of salt, but Sonic Colors turned out to be an expertly crafted Sonic game, reminding us first and foremost that above all else, Sonic is meant to go fast. While very much on the short side of games, clocking in at about a 4 - 6 hour Main Story, Sonic Colors introduces new abilities that change up the typical Sonic rhythm without changing the typical Sonic feel.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
I didn't grow up with a Sega Genesis. My first Sonic the Hedgehog game was Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, and it wouldn't be until I was perhaps 10 years old would I learn what Sonic once was. Thanks to Sonic Mega Collection on the Gamecube, I was able to experience all of the classic Sonic titles that came before my time. Among them, Sonic 2 shines the brightest. The levels are more open and faster than those in Sonic 1, and aren't as difficult for younger gamers as they are in Sonic 3. For me, Sonic 2 is a perfect side-scrolling platformer.
Number 3: Sonic Heroes
I didn't love Sonic Adventure 1 or 2 for the stories, I loved them for the characters. Though most Sonic fans eventually came out to admit that they disliked most of Sonic's friends, I was not part of that crowd. I love Sonic's friends, and Sonic Heroes puts each of them front and center. Sonic Heroes allows you to control a team of 3 Sonic characters at a time, while opting to exclude a vast story in favor of simple gameplay on ingeniously designed levels.
Sonic Adventure 2: Battle
The Sonic game that started it all for me. Not only did Sonic Adventure 2: Battle have profoundly fun gameplay, it had a killer story and introduced Shadow the Hedgehog: briefly the most popular Sonic characters of all time. Sonic Adventure 2 has everything that makes a game good: gameplay that varied from level to level, cool characters, and a surprisingly deep and emotional story about revenge and nature vs. nurture.
Number 1: Sonic Unleashed
It is very difficult for me to explain why I love this game. My best college memories have come from playing this game, as one of my best friends on campus and I once spent an entire semester trying to 100% this game, and succeeded, but that isn't the only reason why I love this game so much. Sonic Unleashed had everything Sonic Adventure 2: Battle had (barring Chao), and shot it up with crack-cocaine and adrenaline. Sonic Unleashed features Sonic at both his fastest and his slowest. Different levels become available depending on whether it is night or day time, and while the night time levels feature Sonic playing God of War-like levels, the day time levels are literally the fastest in any Sonic game. They are difficult, but the excitement of completing one of the lightening-fast levels with an S rank is one of the most rewarding feelings I have ever gotten from a video game. Sonic Unleashed made me want to play better, explore the levels for shortcuts, slow down to perfect combos and then speed those combos up. Combine that all with some of Jason Griffith's best voice acting, and some of the best music in any Sonic game, and you have Sonic Unleashed: one of my favorite games of all time.