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The Top 7… modern Sonic games that don't suck

4 – Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection (2009)


Yes, it’s another tenuous entry. But again, we don’t have a lot to work with, so it was unavoidable that at least one of last decade’s best Sonic games would be a compilation of his greatest offerings from the ‘90s. Ultimate Genesis contains the original three Sonic the Hedgehog games (released on various platforms on an almost annual basis), plus Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic 3D Blast and Sonic Spinball. The weakest would be Spinball, and even it’s better than most modern entries.


Above: Let’s bring up how great the first game is again

In true whoring fashion, there aren’t just multiple Sonic games. There are also multiple compilations that collect handfuls of worthwhile Sonic games and spread them across several platforms and discs. Ultimate Genesis Collection is by far the best, if only because the rest of the content is mostly top-notch Sega stuff, like all four Phantasy Stars, three entries from the Shining series and one-offs like Comix Zone and Kid Chameleon.


Above: Sonic 2, the first appearance of Tails

The only thing missing is the stellar Sonic CD, which is found on Sonic Gems Collection. Too bad the rest of Gems is a bunch of junk, like Sonic the Fighters and Sonic R. So, as far as collections go, Ultimate Genesis is the one to get, and that sadly makes it one of the best Sonic options of the past 10 years.

Stupidness that managed to find its way in:

There is nothing stupid about this vinyl edition of six classic Sega songs, released to help promote the game in Australia and New Zealand. It’s also quite admirable that one was auctioned off for charity. But it’s downright dumb that the disc was never made widely available, as Sega fans are the exact kind of rabid hoarders that would kill for something like this. Well, at least we got the Marvel vs Capcom 2 record, right?


3 – Sonic Chronicles (2008)


An amazing gamble that completely paid off, Sonic Chronicles took the tired, well-worn characters of the Sonic universe and dropped them into a gripping RPG designed by the experts at BioWare. Yes, the developer that brought us Mass Effect, Knights of the Old Republic, Dragon Age and Jade Empire found a way to make not just a good Sonic game, but also a template for a whole new subseries.


Above: I promise it’s better than it looks here

BioWare is known for its talky, dialog-heavy adventures, so they managed to make interactions between Sonic, Tails, Cream, Big, Shadow and the rest of the menagerie feel… not great, but fitting enough to keep you moving on. The breakthrough was the battle system, which gave each character a strategic niche to fill. Even if you hated certain characters in the past (Big the Cat, maybe?), you ended up nurturing a newfound fondness for them in terms of combat usefulness. I think Shadow is a ridiculous addition to the Sonic world, but in Chronicles he was indispensible. Naturally, BioWare intended this from the beginning:


Above: Shit, he was right!

I’m not about to say BioWare crafted an epic space-faring Sonic story on par with Mass Effect. That’s just not possible. But it did take Sega’s lemons and made a bitchin’ batch of lemonade, creating a game that was strong enough on its own merits that it convinced this jaded, former Sonic lover to get over his “durrr Sonic” hump and just enjoy the damn game. Plus I absolutely loved the music.


Above: One of three different battle tunes that kept fighting fresh

Stupidness that managed to find its way in:

I wouldn’t place the story very high on the list of notable accomplishments, but what little interest I had was kinda shot to hell in the ending. Turns out Robotnik was evil all along (yawn) and has double-crossed Sonic and the team. Sonic and Tails then proceed to have a conversation about how tense the ending was, how we’ll have to wait for the next game and, finally, start naming off everyone from the development team while in character. A weird, universe-breaking end.

Up next: the best two Sonic games of the past 10 years!

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50 comments

  • Techno59 - August 27, 2013 5:27 p.m.

    Honestly I like every Sonic game.
  • schtotelheim-reinbach - July 6, 2013 5:58 a.m.

    I love all the modern sonic games except for 06. Shadow the hedgehog was probably my favorite. http://www.sonicxgames.org/
  • near01 - June 2, 2010 2:20 a.m.

    Err, and I kinda like Sonic Heroes. Don't judge me! o.o
  • near01 - June 2, 2010 2:19 a.m.

    Waaah, superhorn!!!:D
  • GameManiac - May 8, 2010 3:45 p.m.

    I've only played (and finished) Sonic Rush and Sonic Advance. I considered Sonic Chronicles, and now my mind is made up. I wonder why Sonic Battle wasn't in this list... Oh well.
  • zigs - May 7, 2010 1:32 a.m.

    EW EW EW EW EW This article contains an x360a screengrab EW!
  • LuckyBachi - May 6, 2010 11:47 a.m.

    Geez, everyone always says the newer games are crap. I completely disagree with them all. okay so some of them are very good storylines, but the majority of them are. I love Sonic heroes, shadow the hedgehog, sonic unleashed. they are all fantastic. And of course, they can't please bloody everyone. yer when i was a kid, i had it on megadrive, loved it. but i still love the newer ones too, i have grown up with sonic, and love him to bits! And no matter whet anyone says, i will always love most of sonic games, because they are not crap. i really hope they make some more 3D ones as well as the old style ones, so all i can say is, Sega, keep up the good work, and i Love Sonic!!! <3 (okay, but i do hate the fact they added that elise or whatever her name is, into sonic 06)
  • lymanzaar - May 6, 2010 2:37 a.m.

    I have very fond memories of Sonic Battle 2. Whenever i'd go to my friends house, we would always battle robots and race. I won a lot, and he complained because "Metal Sonic is faster then regular Sonic" I never got the Choa idea, but it was pretty interesting, alogn with the multitude of game modes. I perfectly agree with this article.
  • steven8932 - May 5, 2010 7:44 p.m.

    ill be honest, i loved sonic battle.
  • Druupwnz - May 5, 2010 2:34 a.m.

    I'm still trying to figure out what was so wrong with Adventure 2 Battle. I honestly thought that it was a fun game, despite a few crap-shot camera angles like you guys mentioned. Why the hate?
  • VideoGameKing - May 4, 2010 11:59 p.m.

    sonic and the black knight was epic,and as for those bad reviews for DX,those rateings suck,ignore them,but the no.1 worse game is sonic and the secret rings,if they remake it for PS3 or even 360,ill try it,i hate it because of the controls
  • Crabhand - May 4, 2010 10:10 p.m.

    I loved Sonic Adventure 2, even if it wasn't the best it could be it provided me with many hours of fun. Sonic Advance was just pure greatness. Of course, my favorite part of both games was the Chao garden, so >_>
  • Wolverine08 - May 4, 2010 3:23 p.m.

    Shadow rocks, though he's achingly generic
  • philipshaw - May 4, 2010 1:53 p.m.

    Great top 7 Brett. Also I forgot where the WAH! Super Horn! came from, thanks for reminding me
  • IIIIIACEIIIII - May 4, 2010 11:18 a.m.

    What's everyone's problem with Shadow? I hate what Sega does to him as a character, like having him use guns and ride vehicles and shit, but as a person he is really unique and not the 'dark Sonic' at all. Although the games sucked, I enjoyed watching him evolve from a confused and hateful villain intending to destroy Earth to becoming an agent for GUN, the same people who killed Maria, the person who directly influences his actions despite being dead; he acts depending on what he can currently remember her saying to him all those years ago, as he suffers from amnesia. Interesting story arc if you ask me, especially compared to Sonic whom, although I like him better, is nothing but a ridiculously perfect hero with no faults. Like a Paladin or something. I'm not saying a disagree with this Top 7, you nailed everything on the head, it's just that I've never understood what everyone's problem is with Shadow.
  • verydopey - May 4, 2010 9:12 a.m.

    I Completely disagree with this! firstly... not sure there is 7 that dont suck! But Sonic Adventure 1+2 are actually really good. And are far better than rush/advance with their impossible speed that kills you. they should have come above advance/rush, and Rivals was terrible... as much as i hate Heroes, it was far superior to that! Wheres the actual sonic compilation games? like sonic gems (maybe not) or sonic mega collection? and Sonic rush 2 was really enjoyable (just remove those water sections)
  • JDMDrifter - May 3, 2010 11:16 p.m.

    So this is the top seven that will be in talk radar 100 it seems. There could have been better top sevens but it isn't to bad.
  • Cyberninja - May 3, 2010 10:09 p.m.

    the best 3d one was the first sonic adventure for dreamcast and i dont care what any else has to say about it and rush was fun too bad my friend lost it =(
  • Nucleotyde - May 3, 2010 9:57 p.m.

    I think you should have kicked the compilation off and put Sonic Heroes in. I think that, overall, it holds up much better than Battle. The only levels I ever replay in Battle are the Sonic and Shadow ones and a few Tails and Eggman levels, but Sonic Heroes is much more solid. Plus it doesn't have a weird, over ambitious plot with military conspiracies. Sonic Advance is awesome. I loved the way that the characters were just different enough to add replay value without messing with the flow of the game. That's exactly what Sega should shoot for IMO. BTW, real men use Amy.
  • MediocreDinosaur - May 3, 2010 7:41 p.m.

    In that promotional video for Sonic All Stars Racing, I kept expecting the guy to pop out and say DOLCE & GABBANA, HELLO?! But he never did. And lo, I was dissapoint.

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