Sonic The Hedgehog Review
Sonic The Hedgehog box art
System: PS3, X360 Review Rating Legend
Dev: Sega 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Sega 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Released: Nov 2006 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
Review by Vaughn 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
What if you threw a party and nobody came because the camera controls sucked and all of the guests fell off the edge of the world and died? Repeatedly. “Happy 15th Birthday Soni…AGHHHHHH! ”
by Vaughn Smith

It’s hard to be believe it’s been 15 years since I’ve played a decent Sonic game. Okay, that’s not entirely true. During his formative years, the blue hog was on top of his game. He was fresh, innovative, exciting and he even had attitude! If you can call tapping your foot when the control is idle for a few minutes ‘tude’… He even taught us new marketing buzzwords which made no sense, such as “blast processing”. I’m still trying to figure that one out. Yes indeed, Sonic was a spiky-haired hero for the TMNT generation and he enjoyed all of the success reserved for only the most deserving of mascots. Sorry Bubsy and Gex.

Sonic The Hedgehog screenshot

In 1999 three years after Nintendo’s Mario pioneered his plumber’s crack into 3D, Sonic Team delivered rabid Sega fans an all new 3D Sonic adventure (called umm…Sonic Adventure) for their new Dreamcast system. The game was a visual marvel but camera problems and world glitches that caused numerous deaths by falling through the scenery or simply falling off the edges of the world marred what could have been a stellar 3D Sonic experience. Sonic Team followed up with Sonic Adventure 2 and unfortunately, the game was marred by camera problems and world glitches that caused numerous deaths by falling through the scenery or simply falling off the edges of the world. Next up was Sonic Heroes, which was tighter overall, but still suffered from camera problems and world glitches that caused numerous deaths by falling through the scenery or simply falling off the edges of the world. Fast forwarding to present day, Sonic makes his next gen debut on the Xbox 360 and the PS3. This latest title is a visual masterpiece in places but unfortunately suffers from camera problems and world glitches that caused numerous deaths by falling through the scenery or simply falling off the edges of the world. Can you believe this already? It’s been 7 years Sonic Team and you continue to ignore the details that continue to hold back your creations from greatness! How hard is it to design a 3D camera that works while simultaneously ensuring that the control isn’t so wonky that you’ll be zooming off the sides of ledges? UNBELIEVABLE. I’m beginning to think that Sonic Team is now doing this out of spite.

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The story is somewhat of a departure from the usual Sonic fare, and focuses on Sonic as well as Shadow and a new character, Silver. Sonic comes to the aid of Princess Elise, who’s city is being threatened by, who else? Dr. Eggman. While it would have been easy for Sonic Team to stick with the tried and true scenario of Eggman hunting for another Chaos Emerald, the situation does get a little more involved with the advent of Silver and Shadow. Unfortunately while the plot has been upgraded, the playability factor has, at best stayed the same and at worse, actually diminished when compared to previous installments.

Sonic The Hedgehog screenshot

Once you get acquainted with the game, it’s crystal clear that Sonic Team is trying to recapture the initial magic of Sonic Adventure. The clumsy “Station Square” sequences are reborn, this time in Soleanna where Sonic will have to talk to a variety of strangers or take on a variety of quests, the ultimate goal of which is to provide extra game length via useless busy work. As you progress, other characters from the Sonic universe such as Tails, Rouge and Knuckles will make an appearance littering the story with cameos, walk ons and even playable sequences that you’ll have to suffer through. Shadow is largely relegated to his vehicle for some stunningly rotten and boring stages and like Ben Affleck, is beginning to ruin projects simply by appearing in them. The game is at its best when you’re zooming along, exploring the stages and doing that Sonic thang, but tempers will flare due to the camera angles and frequent deaths due to falling. Sonic Team has added an emphasis on exploration which will delight players who enjoy looking for secret areas and other ways to get to the end without feeling so limited by the linear level design of previous 3D Sonic games. Silver, the new kid, gets some cool telekinetic powers that can be used to hurl objects and manipulate enemies from far away, but sadly even that becomes routine.

Screenshots / Images
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