opinion

Opinion – Nine Sonic Games I’d Rather Sega Make Than Another Sonic Boom

by Brian Shea on Jun 09, 2015 at 01:26 PM

Today brought news that Sega will be bringing a new entry to its critically-panned Sonic Boom series. Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice is under development by Sanzaru Games, the studio behind last year’s Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal on 3DS. While that could mean Sonic Team is presently working on a different Sonic game completely, I feel as though Sega’s resources could be better spent elsewhere. Rather than take a gamble on a new entry in the troubled Sonic Boom series, here are nine games I’d rather Sega and its developers spend time and money on.

Sonic Adventure 3

Sonic made the leap to full 3D fairly successfully with the well-liked Sonic Adventure series on Dreamcast. Unfortunately, after that Sega and Sonic Team moved away from the Adventure series and into mediocre games like Heroes and Shadow the Hedgehog, and the dreaded Sonic 2006. The story of Sonic the Hedgehog has never been super strong, but the Sonic Adventure games were some of the better games in that department. Refine the 3D gameplay and the level design, and Sega could have a game that restores faith in the franchise.

Sonic & Knuckles 2

Let’s forget for now that Sonic the Hedgehog 4 exists. Now, imagine a true sequel to Sonic 3/Sonic & Knuckles that is not only faithful to the gameplay, but also the look, flow, and design of those original games. The episodic Sonic the Hedgehog 4 was supposed to be that successor, but it fell short in many ways. Think of Capcom’s successful return to a beloved retro formula with Mega Man 9 and 10. It would be spectacular to see Sega and Sonic Team refocus and put out a game worthy of being called a true sequel to the original four Sonic titles on Genesis.

Sonic Generations 2

Sega set out to celebrate the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise in 2011 with the franchise-spanning retrospect Sonic Generations. The game excelled in delivering a nostalgic experience and reimagining classic levels, while faltering in level design and the 3D mechanics. Despite several valid criticisms, many fans enjoyed the rose-tinted look back. The biggest travesty of Sonic Generations, however, was that no DLC released for it, leaving out several iconic stages like Angel Island Zone in Sonic 3, Lava Reef Zone from Sonic & Knuckles, and Wing Fortress Zone in Sonic 2 that would have been awesome if remade using the modern engine found in Generations. If Sonic Generations 2 carried on this idea of recreating some of the most beloved zones from Sonic’s past, while fixing some of the bigger issues in the original, it could prove to be something that fans could truly celebrate.

The Definitive Sonic the Hedgehog Retro Collection

Speaking of celebrating the heritage of Sonic the Hedgehog, a new, enhanced collection of his most classic titles would be something I’d be all in for. The base of the collection could be Sonic 1, 2, 3, and Knuckles tied together with Sonic 3 and Knuckles’ mechanics, visuals, and save file system, while offering the ability to unlock other classic titles like Sonic CD, the Sonic Advance titles, and even the typically overlooked Knuckles’ Chaotix. Keeping it 2D and with a single visual style would be the way to go, and it would be a good way to offer up the classics while mitigating the fact that Sonic’s most die-hard fans probably already own the original Sonic the Hedgehog on 17 other platforms.

On the next page, we consider some more ambitious potential adventures for Sonic.

Sonic Spinball 2 with Zen

Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball was a strange entry in the franchise, but virtual pinball games have come a long way since the speedy hedgehog was reduced to little more than a blue pinball in Robotnik’s twisted fortress. If Sega teamed up with the studio behind the Zen Pinball games, something special could come as a result. The loop-the-loop world of Sonic the Hedgehog is varied enough that Zen could come up with some pretty elaborate tables, and it would be cool to see Sega embrace this side of Sonic’s legacy in a way we haven’t seen in several years.

Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine 2

Dr. Mario gets modern takes, so why not Dr. Robotnik and his Mean Bean Machine? The quirky puzzler remains one of the more interesting uses of the Sonic property and an underappreciated gem that earned a spot on Tim Turi’s Top 10 Sonic The Hedgehog Games Of All Time list, even if it’s just a reskinned entry in the excellent Puyo Puyo series. With the Sonic series experiencing so much success on mobile with Sonic Jump and Sonic Dash, Mean Bean Machine could get a new lease on life through iOS and Android.

Sonic the Hedgehog (Again)

Nothing quite says full reinvention like dropping any numbers or subtitles and going with just the name of the original game (except maybe shaving or growing a beard). Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) with its terrible level design, laughable story, and awful controls was so unbelievably bad that it pushed away some fans that still haven’t looked back. Since then, Sonic has been reinvented in so many different ways, with very few of them finding success. Why not try to reinvent the franchise one more time? It can’t be worse than the last game simply called “Sonic the Hedgehog.” 

Chao Garden Simulator 2015

Starting in the Sonic Adventure series, players were able to raise cute little creatures known as Chaos. You could gather animals and other items from around the world to “feed” them, which would in turn level up their abilities and could even change their appearance. You could then have them battle it out in a set of minigames that showed just how big of a failure you were when it came to training these little puffballs. With the mobile aspect of the Chao minigames on the Dreamcast’s VMU predating the smartphone boom, it would be cool to see a modern companion app for whatever Chao Garden game Sega could come up with.

Shenmue 3

This totally counts.