Reviews: Sonic The Hedgehog 2006
Icarus the Hedgehog
Sonic 06 is an objectively bad game as a result of the massive amount of glitches, bugs, and fundamentally broken gameplay. However, if it weren't for that, if the game had been polished on release, would it have been any good? In a word, no. Overall, the game I think was just in general too ambitious. It was trying to do way too much and as a result felt unfocused and clumsy. That's what I would say the real problem with Sonic 06 was - the 06 part. It seems like there was so much pressure to make this brilliant, amazing game to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Sonic. It needed to be huge. It needed to have a long, epic story and a massive amount of content to explore and a million different characters and tons of different vehicles and locations and gimmicks - and at the end of the day, it just couldn't pull off what it set out to do. The problem, though, is that instead of looking at the time frame given and saying "Okay, our vision isn't possible, how can we make a good game, instead?" they kind of just went ahead and did it anyway. The result? Everything about the game is awful. The resources are spread too thin, and nothing comes out being any good at all. The story is atrocious. Few platformers have a decent story, but that's not a big deal because it's not intrusive. The story is just an excuse to play the game. Sonic 06, however, takes its abysmal plot and tries to cram it down your throat at every possible opportunity, through some of the most cliched and painful cutscenes known to man. The dialogue is enough to drive an Amish person to the bottle. The level design itself is hardly any better. Most stages manage to be completely linear and yet still feel aimless. The game is ridiculously padded and each level is copy-pasted for every character. What little variety there is ends up feeling arbitrary and gimmicky. Enough has been said on the horrific controls and camera that I probably don't need to get into it. So Sonic 06 bit off far more than it could chew, and even were it not rushed, I can't imagine it would've been a good game. To me, the ultimate irony is that even had they pulled it off, fans still would have likely been more satisfied with an anniversary game that was a throwback to the sidescroller days.
Proof that even shit can have defenders
Sonic The Hedgehog 2006 is a bad game. This is not opinion, it is truth. Some people have claimed to enjoy this game, but they are lying. This game is a failure on almost every conceivable level. The graphics are ugly, and the animation is stilted, the controls are an affront to all things good in this world, and the "Deep," story is an abomination. The one positive feature of this game is the music, but the sound design and voice cast is absolutely atrocious. The removal of the 4kids cast is one of the greatest additions to the Sonic series, as the entire cast (With the exception of Mike Pollock and Dan Green) is comprised of shrill, incompetent hacks who make the already abysmal script even worse. The most interesting thing is that this game has defenders. These people defend this train wreck by blaming "rushed development," and "Pressure from reviewers,". This game could not have been good. This game proves that the "Adventure," style gameplay should be retired permanently. Do not play this game.
Glitches aside, how good is this game on its own merits?
I'd heard a lot about Sonic 2006, so I bought it out of curiosity recently. While the glitches do drag down the game and seriously hurt it at some points, I see what Sega was going for, and I've concluded that this could have possibly been the next Sonic Adventure 1, albeit with plot holes and even more Narm. Let's take a look:
- It's clear they were aiming for a Western audience that would presumably want something "cool". That explains the realistic graphics (including realistic looking humans), moody music, and dramatic story. I think the effort is admirable, and I like it. I don't want all Sonic games to be like this, but if they try both light-hearted games and more melodramatic games like this one, then I'd be happy with the variety.
- The towns are much large than Station Square in Sonic Adventure, with dozens of citizens walking about, making it feel more alive. You can even run along the rooftops, and are encouraged to explore. I like that.
- Each of the 9 characters has distinctly different abilities, and none of them are clones of others. I like Blaze the Cat in particular.
- There's WAYYY too much emphasis on combat. Lots of "defeat enemies to move on" areas. Possibly a result of aiming for a "cool" audience (may also explain the enemy radar). Slows the game down a lot.
- The levels are very long. This is both good and bad, as failure can be frustrating if you run out of lives, and long levels can be boring if you don't like the particular level. But it's good to see a fun level like Crisis City or Kingdom Valley be a lot longer than levels in other Sonic games.
- Sonic himself is noticeably slower than in the 3D Sonic games preceding this one. A real disappointment.
- You can homing attack grind rails now, which makes them easier to use. A welcome addition.
Just as dreadful as I expected
When my brother bought a used copy of this game, I was tempted to know what it was actually like to play it. So, I went into this train wreck with an open mind, hoping to be pleasantly surprised. I wasn't. Like many reviewers state, this game is a legendary misfire. A few colourful levels and some passable music tracks can in no way redeem this tremendous failure. From the camera to the controls to the level mechanics, this game is unbelievably bad. Every level is an unfinished, directionless mess that is so painful to traverse that it's laughable. The poor coding and many technical glitches make controlling your character and performing the most basic of tasks a chore, and the combat is so unexciting that running past enemies is more fun than actually fighting them. Sure, you get to play as different characters, but they all come with their own glitches and control problems. And when you're not playing these disastrous levels, all you have is a blandly animated town to explore populated by brainless townsfolk. Most of these guys give you short missions to complete, and virtually all of them are idiotic. Here, you'll also notice the game's infamous overusage of loading screens, making the experience even more tiresome. And if you run out of lives and haven't saved, you can potentially lose progress, due to the lack of an autosave feature. It's utterly appalling. Visually, it's all over the place, with some levels that look decent and others that look lame and dated. The music is occasionally fine, but there's also a lot of forgettable and sometimes obnoxious heavy metal tracks throughout it as well. And of course, there's the game's embarrassingly inane storyline. It's so incomprehensible and ridiculous that it could easily have been fan-fiction written by a group of 8-year old kids. The slow-moving cutscenes fail to make the story interesting, and the dialogue is cringeworthy beyond belief. Not only is the script full of clichés and the voice acting totally preposterous, but the characters' lines hardly ever match up with their mouth movements. These are easily some of the worst cutscenes I have ever seen. They're so incompetent that they're actually funny. "Sonic The Hedgehog 2006" isn't just a terrible video game, it's an insult. This is a catastrophic joke and the fact that some fans actually defend it perplexes me.
So Bad It's Memorable
Some people say this game could have been average. Be honest, did you want another average game? No, you want great games. Graphics are not important (as long as you can see where you're going). Sound is not important. Story is not important. You can squint through all of that. Judge those things LATER, and if they're good, they are the icing on the cake. Ultimately there are three things that matter in a game. Controls, levels and AI. And Sonic 2006 failed on them. The mach speed sections, the thing that Sonic fans called for the most and would have drooled over the best, failed, when they should have been considered the most important part of the game to get right. The controls for it are so horribly twitchy. Instead, it looks like Sonic Team put all their effort into the Hub world, when Sonic isn't a hub-based game. And the graphics are great on the whole - but they didn't think about the graphics style. Never mind Elise and Sonic; Eggman just looks weird. And the sound is great but I already told you that was icing. And the story - crazy, yes, but somebody put a lot of thought into that. So the game's all icing, but the cake is poison. Icing is delicious, but it's not really satisfying.
Actually Kind of Enjoyable (Kind of)
Three days ago, my friend, brother and I bought and played through this game. I was inspired to do a playthrough by the SA crew that LP'd the game, but decided to do it over the course of two days in multiple sittings. My brother left a level into Silver's story, which we started right after completing Sonic's, so my friend and I were left with the bulk of the game. I was honestly surprised how much fun I had with this game. It definitely has it's bad points, yes. The mach speed sections are tough to control, but even so I had little trouble with them (I was given every mach speed section but the first, and only died twice somehow.) This is of course non-indicative of the average player's experience, but it's proof that it can be done, especially if you know what you're getting into. The story is a convoluted mess with uninteresting characters and poor voice acting, but Sonic games before the Adventure series rarely relied on story. The physics engine is oddly implemented and leads to unfair deaths. Some levels last entirely too long for a Sonic game, and the same can be said for some bosses. The camera will attempt to murder you at every corner. However, the game has some genuinely redeeming factors. The soundtrack is great (even though you might not be able to hear it sometimes.) If you get used to the engine, the game offers some fun sections. The best reason to play this game is the unintentional hilarity, though. Between narmy lines ("That alone is insufficient!", Shadow's scream of "PERFECT!" upon S-ranking something, etc,) unexplained plot problems (Why is the Egg Carrier randomly crashing? Where'd that Chaos Emerald go?) and some of those cruel deaths mentioned earlier, the game is great for those who love the So Bad Its Good stuff. Overall, it's worth a playthrough, especially for the price. It's extremely cheap on Ebay and only around 15$ elsewhere. Grab a few friends to play it with. If you go into the experience keeping in mind it's far, far, FAR from perfect, it can be pretty fun.
You can't polish shit.
A few years ago, my friends and I played this game marathon-style in tribute to/following the leader of the LP gang; I've been replaying it recently to see if it holds up as just as awful when taking time to play it for real and seriously. It does. This is a truly awful game. Slippery controls, confusing (and often frustrating) level design, a bad camera and bad sound design do little to prop up a story that only works if every single character is a raging moron and levels where you'll often feel like it was a complete waste of time, as they don't progress the story at all. In fact, it barely feels like a story for any character, just a random series of events— not at all like the comparatively snappy storytelling of SA and SA 2, where at least you felt finishing a level had a storyline purpose. Let's make something clear: I had no problems at all with the cameras in any Sonic game before this, not even Heroes, but the camera of Sonic 2k6 sent me flying to my death more than once, this being not helped by the controls. The controls? Yeah, they're the number-one downfall. Only with Silver — a terribly annoying character who can break the physics engine with a misstep — will you not be plummeting to your death on a regular basis, possibly because he totters along at a nearly-painful rate. The other characters are slippery and hard to manage, the slightest tap sending them veering into oblivion. It is actually easier to steer by holding forward and moving the camera— and THAT'S a sad reflection. The worst problem? There are occasionally glimmers of what could have been a fun game. With a bit clearer level design and better controls, if the story was disregarded it could have been enjoyable, though not great. It's clear a lot of good ideas went in, they just got half-baked and buried under a landslide of shit. (The music's good, though, as it tends to be for Sonic games.) A frustrating game with an awful story, controls that ruin it for even those who can overlook the plot, and a camera that actively hates you— it's a flop. But you didn't need me to tell you that.
It's so sad
It's so sad that all the worst aspects of this game have tiny little sparkles of goodness that you might just be able to spot if you squint your eyes and turn your head. For example, the mach speed sections could've mirrored the awesome breakneck speed trips in Unleashed, if not for the fact that every single control was broken. Am I exagerrating? No. The jump button locks Sonic in place, unable to move right or left or even control his forward trajectory. The control stick sends him flying off the edge of the screen at the slightest touch. The light dash button (not mentioned in-game, ever) randomly chooses whether to work or not, and half the time a line of rings will lead you straight into an obstacle. Worse, absolutely every object that isn't flat ground (and sometimes that, too) will instantly cause a loss of rings if touched. Sonic 06 is an obvious beta. A very obvious beta. Unless it's an alpha. If it had been finished before being rushed to stores, we might've found something good, or at least passably mediocre. As it is, it's exactly as bad as others have claimed. Bile fascination and narm might just push this product into so bad it's good territory, though, so it might be worth a rental, if only to see for yourself just how bad it is. Score: |blank|