Welcome to one of the hardest Top 7 lists we’ve ever dreamed up. It’s an intentional challenge, to somehow argue there have been seven good-to-great Sonic the Hedgehog games in the past 10 years, which is the exact same timeframe that most agree was the darkest era for Sega’s premier franchise.
Above: Nearly 20 games released in 10 years, mostly all crap
It’s far easier to line these turds up and ridicule them for the billionth time, harping about the crap controls or the obnoxious sidekicks or the camera that never obeys. But c’mon – that’s been done to death. That’s why we figure it’s time someone stepped up and acknowledged that not all modern Sonic games are trash.
Bringing up the rear is Sonic Rivals, a game that barely qualifies as good in the first place. It’s a bit bare and doesn’t look particularly remarkable, but the core idea – run as fast as you can – is wholly intact and plays better than the other Sonic game from 2006. Y’know, the 360/PS3 one that’s irredeemably shit.
Above: Wheee, moving right is fun
Rivals squeaks into the list by focusing on speed and light platforming instead of a bloated cast of characters or problematic 3D environments. The goal is to race to the end of various serpentine levels and make it there before the other guy (usually Shadow, Silver or Knuckles), either by taking alternate paths or using Mario Kart-style power-ups to rob them of victory at the last second. There are still plenty of unavoidable deaths and poorly placed bottomless pits, of course.
Above: Losing at the last second is so fun!
All in all, it’s a platformer with racing DNA that’s not completely horrible. And in an age of Sonic Heroes, Sonic and the Black Knight, and Sonic Riders, that’s almost all you can ask for.
Stupidness that still managed to find its way into the game:
Even if the gameplay was passable and the overall experience somewhat reminiscent of what made Sonic cool in the first place, the alternate costumes made me wonder if the dev teams attentions could have been focused elsewhere. Like on the game, for instance.