I’ve been playing Sonic the Hedgehog for most of my life across many different platforms. The blue spiky one has starred in some of the finest games of the last few generations as well as a bundle of turds. This list is my top 10 favourite Sonic games:
10 – Sonic Unleashed
A controversial choice I know, a lot of people hated it. The game showcased 2 types of game play. A mix of fast-paced Sonic levels set during the day & slow-paced night-time levels where Sonic transforms into a Werehog. These levels are more action based, brawler style where melee combat is utilised.
I quite enjoyed those levels; a lot more then I did the Sonic daytime levels. The games difficulty spikes are what let’s it down including a final level that was just down-right nasty.
9 – Sonic Jam
A compilation game released on the Sega Saturn chosen because of the 3D Sonic world that was available to play. It didn’t have much going on except allowing the player to access virtual museums of Sonic history. It was the first time I had seen Sonic in 3D & it blew me away.
8 – Sonic & Knuckles
Developed in tandem with Sonic 3 the game plays in almost the same fashion. The main difference is Tails being replaced by Knuckles as a playable character. He can glide through the air, climb walls & smash through barriers. One of the more exciting things about Sonic & Knuckles is the ‘lock on’ feature where the game cartridge can be plugged into other Sonic games.
The main aim was to combine this with Sonic 3 & play the game as it was meant to be. It also added features to the other Sonic games.
7 – Sonic 3
Like the games that came before Sonic 3 continues the innovative 2D platforming style but adds some new elements. The game introduced Knuckles as a new enemy working for Dr. Robotnik. This new story element added a lot to the series, a back-story to the emeralds as well.
The new special stages were some of the more challenging in a Sonic game & while the game was short, plugging the Sonic & Knuckles cartridge in expanded it.
6 – Sonic Spinball
Sonic & pinball!? An idea that turned out way better then anyone could have expected. It’s smart, looks great & has some kick-ass music. The aim of the game is to guide Sonic through levels that resemble a pinball table. collecting chaos emeralds & beating bosses all before a final showdown with Dr Robotnik.
Unlike most pinball games players do have some control over Sonic in that he can jump & move around but mostly he controlled by the flippers. The game is known for being quite difficult & I personally have never made it to the end boss.
5 – Sonic Generations
One of the more recent Sonic games saw both classic & modern Sonic coming together in a combination of classic levels redesigned. A new enemy called the Time Eater forces both Sonics to team up to defeat it. Classic Sonic levels play out like older Sonic games & include redesigned zones (such as Green Hill) but with a 3-D style while modern Sonic levels play out like the games of more recent times with levels styled on similar themes (Such as City Escape from Sonic Adventure 2).
The game play that is ever so frustrating in modern Sonic games when moving fast is well-balanced here & the emphasis is on fun rather then trickiness. The game pays homage to the last 20 years of Sonic & it does it wonderfully with great levels, good bosses & a decent story.
4 – Sonic CD
I was very late to the party with Sonic CD, only playing it for the first time a few months ago. On face-value it looks just like any other 2-D Sonic game & it is except for 1 crucial area…time travel.
During the levels of Sonic CD you will come across posts labelled past & future, passing one & keeping your speed up for a period of time will send Sonic into that time period. Every level has 4 variants – past, present, bad future & good future. Sonic always starts in the present, pass a future post & you will automatically go to the bad future where Sonic has lost his battle. Go to the past & find a robot generator, destroy it & you will have changed the course of the future.
Now go back to the future & it will now be a good future. Finish both levels of a zone with a good future & the boss fight will also take place in a good future area. The aim is to try & change the entire games future by either doing the above or collecting all 7 time-stones throughout the bonus levels.
Sonic CD is one of the most fun Sonic games to date – play it if you haven’t.
3 – Sonic Adventure
By no means is Sonic Adventure a great game & you could argue that some of the ones above should be higher placed then this. The reason why it is placed in the top 3 is because of how impressive it was upon first release. By today’s standards it is dated & downright ugly at times but how could you forget the first time you ran across that bridge, the camera flipped & a killer whale went crazy for you? It was a landmark moment, not just in Sonic, but gaming as a whole.
It was the first Sonic game to offer sections of open-world (although not as open as it first appeared) & several different playable characters with each ones story tying in to the others in some way. I it was fun to step into the shoes of Tails, Knuckles & even Amy!
2 – Sonic The Hedgehog
The game that started a franchise…
The first Sonic game was very simple, a side-scrolling platformer with the aim of collecting rings & beating robotic bad-guys. 2 levels were followed by a boss level & then it was off to the next zone. Sonic could move fast & turn into a ball of speedy destruction to aid him on his trip through some of the most imaginative levels in any platformer.
Collect 50 rings; hold on to them as you finish the level to make a giant ring appear which Sonic can go through. These bonus levels give the opportunity to collect 1 of the 7 chaos emeralds, collect all 7 by the end of the game to get an improved ending.
The combination of great-looking levels, clever platforming sections, high-speed game play & stunning music is why the game is still thought of so highly 22 years after its release.
It is only a poor end boss (in comparison to what came afterwards) that adds any kind of negative to the game.
1 – Sonic The Hedgehog 2
The No1 Sonic game is based on which one I feel the most fondness for & Sonic 2 wins every time. It improved on the original game in almost every aspect with better & more varied levels. This time it felt like the battle to beat Robotnik was important with real progression throughout. Each level seems like a journey that takes you closer to facing him & the carrier level near the end is suitable epic.
It cumulates in an amazing boss battle that is leagues ahead of the first games weak offering & introduces metal Sonic.
The inclusion of Tails was one of the games biggest changes, a partner controlled by another player or the computer. Tails use was limited but his brief ability to fly came in use. However when controlled by the COM he became next to useless, off screen for many parts & in special stages proving to be a hindrance by losing collected rings. A serious problem when going for emeralds…
Thankfully the quality of the game wins overall & even Tails couldn’t ruin the best Sonic game to date.