Believe it or not, the first two cartoons introduced all those crap characters before the games even got the chance. But once the idea came along to smother Sonic with 15 billion Blank the Blank friends, oh, they came in force.
It began with Sonic. Then Tails in Sonic 2. Amy in Sonic CD. Then Knuckles in Sonic 3. Then Big the Cat, Chaos and Tikal the Echidna. Then, this happened:
Oh. Dear. No more. And that's without all the other stuff, like Captain Whisker, Iblis and all the damn robots. Please nuke all of this insanity and leave the games to Sonic, perhaps Tails and Knuckles at the most. Unleashed had better be damn good to make up for this.