All Sonic: My Attempt To Play Almost Every Sonic Game

60. Tails Adventure

  • Original Platform: Game Gear
  • Where to get: 3DS eShop, Sonic Gems Collection, Sonic Adventure DX

This really wasn’t what I expected from a Tails spin off on the Game Gear. For starters, the graphics are really nice for a Game Gear game, looking a lot closer to the Mega Drive games than the other Master System/Game Gear Sonic games.

The gameplay itself starts as you would expect, it’s a platformer where you have to reach to the end of the level, slower paced than typical Sonic games. Tails is equipped with a bomb, which can be thrown in an arc, one of the classic frustrating weapon types as when an enemy is close, you just throw bombs over their heads.

As you progress, you’ll unlock new items, such as a remote control robot for activating switches and remote bombs. Tails can only hold 4 items at a time, so you’ll eventually hit a dead end and have to back out of a level to return to Tails house to swap items. As you find more items, you can access more areas – it’s a bit like a linear Metroid game.

It is very frustrating releasing mid-level that you need a completely different set of items to the ones you brought, especially when you have to return multiple times because you get further and discover you need something else. It’s still a rather interesting game, and has some neat ideas, such as the remote control robot being used for some puzzles.

(Also, I really want to add an apostrophe to the name of the game)

61. Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)

  • Original Platform: 360, PS3
  • Version Played: Emulated & Patched 360 version
  • Where to get: Second hand

It’s possible that some of you have noticed that I haven’t always played the original versions (it’s just the original Sonic the Hedgehog where I’m looking at specific versions), and I figured that conversations about Sonic 06 have talked about all its flaws and hidden qualities have said everything that ever needs saying, so I figured that for Sonic 06, I would delve a little bit into fan territory.

Not as far as P-06 from ChaosX (although I did play some levels after completing Sonic 06 and it’s shaping up to be amazing), but more the patches included in the Sonic 06 mod manager, and just those patches – no additional mods. I included various bug fixes, made it so characters can still be controlled while taking certain actions (such as Amy’s hammer attack), some extra visual flair and one cheat, that being infinite lives. I personally hate lives and the system in Sonic 06 is particularly bad, as you don’t simply start at the beginning of a level, but you have to travel to it and complete any required town missions along the way. I avoided the ones which switch up moves, changes the speed of characters and stuff like that, as I aimed for a more playable version without changing it too much.

The first thing to address is the loading screens. Originally they took around 30 seconds each, and there were a lot of loading screens. For a town mission, you’ll speak to them, accept a mission, get a loading screen, they’ll then repeat what the mission is, another loading screen, then go. Then if you fail you get a loading screen, return to the hub and then start the process again. That hasn’t changed at all, but due to simply running emulated on a PC, the loading screens are a few seconds, so you can laugh at the absurdity of the amount instead of having an agonising wait.

Sonic 06 starts you off in the hub world of Soleanna. The actual background and lore surrounding the world is really deeply crafted, with lots of nice touches and background detail you can find, unfortunately, the design itself is rather repetitive and a bit bland, so the town missions just aren’t that fun to play and pad the game unnecessarily. Before you can play a level in Sonic 06, you get to watch a brilliantly animated cutscene where Sonic saves a princess, only for her to be captured (something that will happen many times throughout the game). You then need to get to the first level, but need to buy a light ring so you can perform the light speed dash. Luckily, the man next to the shop will challenge you to “SOLVE MY MAZE” as you run through rings, you can then buy the move and access the first mission, wave ocean.

The levels themselves are actually really well designed, with lots of multiple paths to take to find quicker routes, either going via more enemies or for a faster route. The homing attack does actually feel a lot more precise than previous games as it always seemed to target what I was intending to, unlike previous games.Unfortunately, there are a lot of bugs, and you’ll die a lot due to unfair obstacles, but for the most part, the main levels in Sonic 06 are a lot of fun, there’s some good set pieces and some good level design.

There are a fair few detractors, though. Levels are chopped up into segments, with loading screens between them. Sometimes they look like they could be stitched together to flow nicely, but sometimes it just feels like you’ve warped to a different area, there’s no good transition between the areas at all. Joining Sonic on this adventure are Tails and Knuckles, who you will control at certain points. Tails can fly (for a short time), and has an atrocious attack of throwing item box bombs, which throw fake rings everywhere (making it a pain to find real rings if you get hit). Knuckles’ biggest problem is fixed by a patch (originally, jumping off walls wouldn’t work most of the time), but feels very weak in terms of fighting, which is a bigger part of this as enemies have health bars. You only use them for a few sections, although Tails has his own level, which just feels out of place in the story (Tails suddenly decides to chase after the princess on his own, fails and rejoins Sonic).

Sonic’s story in this is centred around saving princess Elise, complete with a romance plot. There’s no real chemistry and it kind of feels like Sonic doesn’t even care at all. Elise does show a bit more initiative in trying to escape each time she gets captured, but it happens a lot. What is interesting about Sonic 06 is that Sonic himself doesn’t really find out much about what is going on, there’s a far deeper plot to Sonic 06 that Sonic himself is unaware of during his part of the story, with the other parts being the focus of the stories of Shadow and Silver.

Shadow plays similarly to Sonic, but is a bit more aggressive. His homing attack packs a bit more of a whomp with a very satisfying sound, while he can shoot blasts at enemies. His story is the best out of the three, revolving around Mephiles, a devil-like entity of darkness, who escapes from his cage during a fight between him and Eggman, and Shadow travels to the future and past to try and stop him. Mephiles shows Shadow that the world will turn on him to tempt Shadow to join him. Shadow’s levels are the same as Sonics, but with different setups and routes, and Shadow also has another trick up its sleeve: vehicles.

Dotted across some of Shadow’s levels are vehicles you can jump in like a buggy, bike or hovercraft-type vehicle. They are fairly simple to control but fit the gameplay fairly well (that said, it is odd having them appear in the apocalyptic future of Crisis City). There’s also a few glider sections where you get to blow up a load of stuff.

You’ll meet up with Rogue and Omega. Rogue controls like a mixture of Knuckles and Tails. She can glide and climb, but has bombs, which are similar to Tails but seem a bit quicker. Omega has a lot of shooting and a hover which feels like it wants to fail a lot, but luckily you can abuse a bug where you can maintain the hover by repeatedly shooting. Both feel great (partly due to the patches), making Sonic’s story a really great experience with a really good story around it.

Silver is a new character, a hedgehog who grew up in an apocalyptic future. He’s slower than Sonic and Shadow, but has psychic powers, which make up the bulk of his abilities. Unfortunately, an idea that has the potential to be a lot of fun (and when it works, it really is) is the most problematic in Sonic 06. You can pick up multiple items, but they get in the way a lot, so quite often when you’re throwing an item at an enemy, it will bounce off another item you are holding and fly off. This is especially frustrating in some boss battles. Blaze the Cat from Sonic Rush joins him, who controls quite well and is even faster than Sonic. She has a completely different backstory to Sonic Rush, and is sadly underused. Amy also joins Silver, and randomly has an invisibility ability. Her double jump is a pain to use as it doesn’t continue her momentum, so is more for extra height than distance.

The Desert level for Silver also brings an attempt at some physics based puzzles, which is another nice idea. Sadly, it’s not well implemented. The introduction to the puzzle is really nice, you will fight some enemies on what looks like a snooker table, then some numbered balls will roll down. As you hit them the number goes down, and if it gets to zero, it vanishes and respawns. Knock them down the holes and the door opens. It’s a really neat idea, but the next time it appears, it’s full on frustrating, as you have to knock the ball down a very long corridor with corners, holes and a bumpy surface which affects how it moves. The ball sometimes counts down on its own, and can sometimes just go flying and blow up. It’s an absolutely terrible and broken segment, and the best advice is to glitch through the door.

Which ultimately is the biggest problem with Sonic 06. It has a lot of great ideas, but they are often not executed very well. There are issues which spoil the flow of the game, but the core gameplay is really good when it works. Even with the issues in the original version, there is a lot to like in Sonic 06, but a lot of frustrations. In its worst stage, it is an immensely flawed game (with amazing music) and fairly bad, but isn’t even close to being one of the worst games ever like it’s reputation suggests. With a few fan patches, it’s a much better experience and a genuinely fun experience.

62. Sonic the Hedgehog: Battle Racers

  • Original Platform: Board game
  • Where to get: Limited availability, currently a few copies left on Amazon.com in the USA

Sonic the Hedgehog: Battle Racers is quite a meaty Sonic board game. It can be played against each other, or you can have a card-controlled boss character (if you have a boss expansion – I have Dr Robotnik and Shadow, but Metal Sonic and Infinite were also available. Bosses can also be played as a normal character). The aim of the game isn’t simply to reach the finish first (although that does trigger the end of the game), but to score the most points by collecting rings and defeating badniks.

The track is built from very large card pieces, with rinks, badniks and rocks placed on them accordingly. You place two, followed by a turn (the person who first enters the turn will then place the next two). In total, there will be two turns and six sections of track. Each round, all players will pick an agility card form their hand and place it face down, flipping them over once all players have picked, they’re flipped over and resolved in order of the number on the card.

Each card consists of two sections. The top will have an optional action, this can increase your speed, let you perform a spin (to defeat enemies) or move a couple of spaces. Movement in this section can include moving to the side if you want (which lets you change lane). The second option is the main movement, which will be running, jumping or a choice of either. The distance is based on speed and must be forward (the rulebook is very unclear about this, as it’s quite poorly written), even if it means running into enemies.

There are four badniks which have different rules. Motobugs affect players running through them, but not jumping, Crabmeat will hurt enemies jumping past the spaces above and below them. Buzz bombers will hurt players running in front of them, and spinners will affect jumping enemies moving through them. Landing on them (or spinning through crawling enemies) will destroy them, giving you one point. You get a card explaining how they work, but it is a lot to remember to do while playing the game.

As you collect rings, they go on five piles, with the rings this round going on the smallest stack. When you get hurt, you lose all your rings and place them on the spaces around you. This can be devastating near the end of the game, so you’ll want to defeat badniks as you won’t ever lose their points.

There’s also a bit more regarding terrain types and how they affect speed, and expansions will add even more options. Battle Racers has a lot of maintenance to remember, so it’s very easy to mess up a game by making a mistake because you missed something that should affect your speed. It all feels a bit more complicated than it needs to be, but is a lot of fun nevertheless.

When playing against a boss, the boss will have a stack of cards that determines their actions. The next card is revealed when all players reveal their agility card and their action will take place based on the number on it. Bosses will have different abilities. Dr Robotnik will place new obstacles, while Shadow will defeat enemies and collect rings as he moves through them. Bosses start with 10 rings and hitting them will make them lose two. If they get hit with no rings remaining, then they are removed from the game (this rule only applies to players during a solo game, so nobody is eliminated and forced to wait for the others to finish).

When playing with other players, you are still competing to get the best score, but if the boss passes the finish line first, all players lose. When playing Solo, you still need to finish first and are awarded a rank based on how many points you have. I managed an A rank against Shadow, but got hurt near the end of racing Dr Robitnik and only got a D.

Each character has a special ability, but the retail game only has Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and Amy. The deluxe version I have (which was Kickstarter only) has a lot more, while a few more were at an even higher tier. The models are quite nice, although Sonic does fall down quite easily. It’s a really nice looking game, with fun gameplay (once you get the right rules), but the amount of stuff you have to remember and pausing the game to set up the next sections of track add a lot of maintenance that makes it a pain to play at times.

63. Sonic and the Secret Rings

  • Original Platform: Wii
  • Where to get: Second hand

A Sonic game with a unique control scheme. In Sonic and the Secret Rings, Sonic automatically moves forward and you make him move left/right by tilting the Wii Remote. Holding the jump button will make Sonic slow down and charge up a jump while you can move backwards while twisting the Wii Remote towards you. The latter is not explained by the game well at all, as the on-screen description implies you just move it so its facing towards you, when you actually have to flip the whole Wii Remote upside down. Once you discover that, the controls are still a bit odd, but functional.

You will progress throughout a series of levels that take place in the world of Arabian Nights, starting with the desert level you would expect from a setting. The other levels, however, definitely take a lot of liberties, such as a jungle with dinosaurs, pirate ships, a floating city on top of a giant manta ray and a fiery factory. Each level is fun to play, with some great music throughout, and even with the fairly poor (for today’s standards) graphics, still have a nice visual style.

Unfortunately, the game’s structure really lets it down. When you beat a level, you’ll get a cutscene (in a nice hand drawn style), where Sonic will indicate heading to the next level…but you can’t access the next level. Instead, you have to progress through a ton of challenges. Some of these are fun, but others are just repetitive as you play through the same parts of a level collecting rings, or killing enemies, or not killing enemies. Some of these are required to progress through the game, while others are optional…except the game gives no indication of which ones are which, so you’ll go through a lot of them anyway until one of them moves you on. When you unlock a new mission, the screen will just state a new mission unlocked and won’t even tell you which level its in.

What doesn’t help is the main song, Seven Rings in Hand. I enjoy this song (especially the Crush 40 version), but it will drive you crazy throughout Sonic and the Secret Rings as it’s on a constant loop throughout all the menus, and the ranking screen plays a smaller snippet of it. You’ll hear it so much that it will annoy you pretty quickly.

Another big issue with Secret Rings is how Sonic is at the start. The game has a levelling up system, where you will unlock new skills and assign them (you can have four different layouts), so as you approach the end, it gets significantly better, but really all of the speed ones should have been default as it really does give a bad first impression.

I really like Sonic and the Secret Rings. Despite its flaws, there is a lot of charm to the game, with some really enjoyable levels. I would love a “Storybook Collection” remake with some more traditional controls as an option, as I think it really does deserve another chance.

B1. Super Sonic Ball

  • Original Platform: PC, Switch, PS4/5, Xbox One/Series
  • Version Played: Xbox Series S
  • Where to get: Digital stores

The latest Sonic spin-off, this platforming game is a very different kind of platforming to other Sonic games, where Sonic is trapped in a ball and you move him by tilting the level itself, guiding Sonic past obstacles and along narrow paths.

This is the first spin-off since Sonic Jump Fever where Sonic is playable, but not unlocked at the start. Instead, you start as AiAi the Monkey, who was introduced in Sonic Rivals and has appeared in a few spin-offs since then. The story itself is very loose and isn’t really explained at all. My guess is Dr Robotnik (who you never actually encounter) has trapped Sonic in an airtight ball, and he has to make his way through the levels in order to unlock the ball and escape. There is a time limit for each level (presumably representing how much air is left in Sonic’s ball). Some of the levels also imply that Sonic has also been shrunk down, as they take place above giant washing machines or a campsite stove.

Each grouping of levels starts off with a “Green Hill Zone” level. It isn’t called Green Hill Zone, but features the signature chequered pattern, something that is consistent across all levels, but in different colours. There are some imaginative ideas here, as one series of levels takes place in a giant whale that has swallowed multiple cities, trapped in orbs.

The gameplay itself is simple. The levels are made up of floating platforms that you tilt and you have to make it to the goal plate, collecting rings along the way. The rings can be used for unlockables, and collecting them all gets you bonus points. The gameplay itself sounds simple, but the simplicity is misleading as the levels get difficult very quickly. Thankfully, there are no lives to worry about, so you can perfect each level to your heart’s content, and the time from failing to starting again is very short, meaning that the difficult levels are challenging without being frustrating. I think I actually died on one level over 100 times before finally managing it.

Super Sonic Ball is a really great game. The levels can get ridiculously difficult, but it’s immensely satisfying when you finally beat one.

64. Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble

  • Original Platform: GameGear
  • Where to get: Sonic Adventure DX (Physical), Sonic Gems Collection, 3DS eShop

For the Game Gear, this is an impressive title. As it was made for the Game Gear specifically, and not ported from the Master System, it utilises the Game Gear’s screen estate properly, the sprites are smaller and you can see more of the screen, leading to far fewer issues of jumping into the unknown.

As the actual game is concerned, there really isn’t a lot to talk about. It’s a decent Sonic platformer but doesn’t really have anything special about it, nor does it really have any glaring flaws. If you want to play a Sonic platformer and haven’t played Triple Trouble before, then I’d say it’s worth it, as it’s still a fun title, but I can’t see myself wanting a second playthrough.

There are a few fun set pieces, I did like the train boss, which was probably the most unique part of Triple Trouble, and the gameplay and graphics feel better than what you would expect from a Game Gear.

65. Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure

  • Original Platform: Neo Geo Pocket
  • Where to get: Second hand

A Sonic adventure that was made for the Neo Geo Pocket, this game is essentially another 8-bit version of Sonic 2 (with a couple of elements from Sonic 1) like the Master System/Game Gear version of Sonic 2, except that the Neo Geo Pocket was a much more advanced console, resulting in a far better conversion.

The Zones in Pocket Adventure are based on levels from Sonic 2, but renamed slightly (Cosmic Casino Zone instead of Casino Night Zone, for example), with a few taking some graphic design from Green Hill Zone and Scrap Brain Zone from Sonic 1. While the themes are the same, and the layouts are loosely based on the originals, to me these felt like “new” levels in terms of how they played, making it feel more like a remix of Sonic 2 more than a port.

The gameplay in this is also great, feeling close to the original Mega Drive games in terms of physics and speed. It’s a ton of fun to play and I think this one definitely deserves a re-release as it’s well worth playing, even if it is derivative of Sonic 2.

66. Sonic Advance 2

  • Original Platform: Game Boy Advance
  • Where to get: Second hand

Sonic Advance 2 looks absolutely fantastic, the animations are wonderful and everything moves around extremely smoothly. The sound effects and music are also top notch, too. It’s definitely a treat to the senses as you play through the game.

You can also see DIMPs starting to do their own thing with Sonic games, as you can see the beginnings of the Rush games in Advance 2. There’s a focus on speed as if you go fast enough for a long period (made shorter if you have more rings), you will enter a “turbo speed mode” where Sonic will go even faster, except that it’s much harder to stop.

This focus on speed also comes alongside one of the main flaws that cropped up in the Rush series, with unseen bottomless pits and obstacles that are impossible to dodge. The high speed mode makes it even worse as it feels quite unresponsive, and can activate when you don’t want it to. Another new system is the trick system, mainly used for an extra jump. If you’re going fast, you really don’t have time to react when you see a platform slightly above you that you need to use it for. This wouldn’t be an issue if it was solely for extra routes, but sometimes you’ll end up falling down a pit because you didn’t react to something before it appeared on screen.

The level design also doesn’t seem to match the focus on speed well, as the later levels are much more enjoyable to play at a slower pace. There doesn’t seem to be any sections to just enjoy the speed for a moment. The entrances to the special stages are also really well hidden, meaning you’ll have to slowly explore the levels if you want to collect them. You also need to collect them as the four main characters (Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and newcomer Cream) to unlock Amy – 28 in total, it goes a bit too far.

Visually, Sonic Advance 2 is great. I just think it’s a step down from the first Advance in terms of gameplay.

67. Sonic R

  • Original Platform: Saturn
  • Version Played: PC (with fan patch)
  • Where to get: Second hand

This is definitely as bad as I was expecting it to be. It’s a Sonic racing game with bad controls, very little content, poor level design and an extremely awesome soundtrack.

A racing game where Sonic actually runs (instead of using a car) does make a lot of sense, but the movement in this just feels off, it’s unresponsive and sluggish. Simply coming in first is trivially easy, as you can jump past huge sections of track while the AI tries to run along it, sometimes getting stuck.

The main challenge comes from the collectibles. Hidden in each track are 5 coins and 1-2 chaos emeralds .To unlock the chaos emeralds, you’ll need to collect rings and open a “ring gate”, then collect the emerald and finish in first place (for levels that have two, you can do them individually). Collecting all coins and finishing in the top 3 will let you race a character to unlock them. There are a total of 5 levels, although the final one doesn’t have any coins or emeralds.

The characters are a bit odd. Even when this was made, there were a few additional characters they could have picked. We have the main characters: Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy (who drives a really slow car) and Dr Robotnik. Metal Sonic makes sense, then it shoves in a creepy Tails doll, metal Knuckles and a random egg robot. You can also unlock Super Sonic to make the game even easier.

While Sonic R is an awful game, I think it’s worth just seeing it for yourself. There’s not much to see so you’ll get through the levels finally quickly.

68. Sonic the Hedgehog: Dice Rush

  • Original Platform: Board Game
  • Where to get: Some new copies still available in USA/UK (as of Nov 2011)

This board game is sort of like a speed Yhatzee. There is a pile of cards, each worth different numbers of points and all with a dice requirement such as a pair, four of a kind, 4 straight or even just free (these are negative points). A number of cards are drawn at the start of a round equal to the number of players and everyone starts rolling.

You have to reroll your dice as quickly as possible (you can re-roll all or just a couple) until you get the needed result and then put your character card on top of the card you want to claim, you need to be the first to do so as once it has been claimed, nobody else can do so. After everyone has claimed a card, they all check to see if they can afford it and place them in their level. If they didn’t have the required dice, they must place it face down and not score it (free cards must always be added face up).

Some enemies had badniks on them, which are worth negative points. If you have any leftover 6 dice after claiming a card, you can use them to kill them, adding a flicky token which is worth one point.

After all cards have been claimed, you count up the points and the highest score wins.

It’s a basic game, but surprisingly entertaining, and a pretty fun fuller game that takes less than 20 minutes. The Green Hill Zone artwork is nice, and it’s nice to see classic artwork in use for a more modern product.

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