Have You Played… Sonik the Hedgehog?

Sonic

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

The famous blue forest animal is back with a new game. But true Sonick fans will never forget his first adventure, in which he raced across freshly cut lawns and battled the evil Dr Robot Nick. That villain has since changed and developed over time into the largely sympathetic character of Mr Eggman. Not only has he been given motivation and depth, he has become a complicated father figure to Sonec, not to mention loyal confidante to Knuckle, the red hedge hog.

But these modern interpretations have lost some of what made our azure anti-hero so compelling. For me, you can only find that pure feeling of speed, terror and heartache in the original. The one, the only: Sonnic The HedgeHogg.

Even today, there is so much richness here. Who can forget the Casino level, in which the eponymous protagonist becomes addicted to baccarat and loses all of his rings to a deadly (and attractive) robot lobster? Or the Tabloid Zone, where Sunic, tired and vulnerable, openly laments the lost innocence of youth, only to be betrayed by an ambitious newspaper stoat, who publishes their conversation, which was clearly off the record. For many these moments are mere nostalgia, but for true fans they are the concrete pillars of Somnic’s entire character.

The big question remains: will we ever see a sequel as powerful, moving and entertaining as the original? My gut, lined with judicious sausage meats and the demi-digested remnants of wise breads, says no. But my heart still beats, and longs, for a return to form, a return to grandeur, to greatness, for my blue hero. My dearest Sonk.

55 Comments

Top comments

  1. bramble says:

    Just a heads up, but it looks like you used an image from Spyro the Dragon in this article. Might want to fix that quick before some superfan gets upset.
  1. Curg says:

    That… was actually physically painful to read!

    • Sarcophagus says:

      After the title, I was just disappointed that it was not a USSR styled reimagining of Sonic.

    • Scripten says:

      You think that’s bad? I’m a fan of Star Trek, Star Wars, and Sonic and I read RPS religiously. I’m constantly in a state of fan pain.

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      Especially the way that Brendan used a different spelling of the same character each time. That’s what confused me and made me click on this article to find out more, perhaps it’d make sense if I read the whole thing – but it only got worse… *vocal expression of anguish*.

  2. Meat Circus says:

    Have you been drinking at work again? We’ve talked about this before YOUNG MAN.

  3. Oakreef says:

    I’m one of those weirdos who’s still an unashamed Sonic fan. I grew up with the Mega Drive games and then kept up with the handheld entries on and off over the years. The first of the 3D games I played was Sonic Generations (not counting, y’know, Sonic 3D) and I enjoyed it so much I went back and decided to try the other games in the series I hadn’t played and found, despite their utter jankiness, I really liked them too (except Heroes, fuck Heroes) and have found hours and hours of fun in the various mods and ROM hacks for the games as well as a few fan games and the games that have spawned from those like Freedom Planet and Spark the Electric Jester.

    Something I love in games in general is movement. I love games that force me to move and make movement feel good – to name a few recentish examples Doom 4, Devil Daggers and Hyper Light Drifter delighted me in the way you need to dance around arenas in them. And there’s a simple pleasure in the Sonic games in just how they focus on movement itself as the way of engaging the player, with combat and difficulty generally an afterthought (and when they do make them the forefront it’s generally a disaster). Sonic games don’t challenge you just to get through the level – that’s easy what with the extremely generous health system – but to get through the level elegantly and there’s great pleasure for me just to learn the flow of the levels and how to move through them.

    • ansionnach says:

      I had the two Sonic Adventure games on Dreamcast. While they’re janky as you say, there is a lot of fun to be had with them. The second one was in some ways better but also more problematic as they introduced more play styles for the characters other than Sonic and Shadow. Some of the later Shadow stages were really good and perhaps Mr Caldwell might be surprised that they did try to add characterisation here. Heroes was woeful as they removed the Sonic play style completely for some reason. Got very close to the end, but unlike the other two, there was no fun there to help overcome the frustration. I never had a Mega Drive (or perhaps Sega Genesis as some writers here might call it, considering UFO: Enemy Unknown and some other games with different UK names seem to have only been remembered without their local names…). To this day I haven’t played the original Sonic games enough to finish them. I did complete Sonic CD on my phone, which was quite tricky on the last boss. The older games are where the real magic is, but there is fun to be had with the Sonic Adventure games too. Another series that Brendan is volunteering to review to see if a different opinion emerges to the “accepted wisdom” one you get about so many games from people who haven’t played them…

  4. klops says:

    I’ve had two favourite articles this year: Paul Dean’s “Work and Stardew Valley” and then this. I just… this is… What can… Uwhf

  5. bramble says:

    Just a heads up, but it looks like you used an image from Spyro the Dragon in this article. Might want to fix that quick before some superfan gets upset.

  6. int says:

    I remember! I think the producers were 20th Century Vole.

  7. Neutrino says:

    By what definition is ‘Sonik’ an anti-hero?

    • ThePuzzler says:

      Well, what about the early scene in the first Sonck game, where he witnesses an incident of police brutality and just walks away?

      Or the bit two-thirds of the way through where, near-starved after his harrowing journey through the Labyrinth Zone, he kills one of the rabbits he’d just saved from robotification and eats its flesh, raw?

      • Kitsunin says:

        And then there’s his alter-ego Silhouette the Edgenog. I’ll never forget the episode in which she mercy-killed her sister because she was a deformed pink worm that only had quills on her head.

  8. zephram says:

    A google image search indicates it’s from ‘Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind’ (groan…)

  9. Spuzzell says:

    I couldn’t as a child, I didn’t have a PlaySega 64.

    • Kefren says:

      If you had a Spamstrad 64 you could have played the prelude with Crush Bendycount. Looked great in hi-def mono mode because everything was blue (apart from the black pixel bits).

      • GameOverMan says:

        There was an unofficial version for the ZX Midshipman 32 where you played as a hamster. The first world was an endless loop so nobody could see the rest of the game. Some people thought that was not a bug, but a feature.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Godwhacker says:

    The original Atari 64 version was much better than BlueByte’s mishandled PC port, I remember that much

    • Ghostwise says:

      Rewinding the tapes was a right bitch though. Even with a pencil.

      • Premium User Badge

        particlese says:

        Ugh, you’re telling me. Nothing can beat laserdiscs, though. Once they became obsolete, you had to get one of those carpenter’s pencils to rewind ’em. Fidget spinners got nothin’ on those guys.

    • cpt_freakout says:

      I still remember the laughter of fate itself when I booted Microprose’s version for the Virtual Boy: Sunok has never been the same since

  11. kraftcheese says:

    So, who did you sacrifice at the end of Sanic Adventure: Sanity’s Requiem? I picked Tails.

    • Scripten says:

      …is it bad that I really actually want this?

    • Kitsunin says:

      Anyone who didn’t sacrifice Stephanie was clearly stupid. But I guess I shouldn’t say that, considering they made the Tails sacrifice canon in Sonnie ‘Venture 2: ‘Venture Harder: The Squeakquel.

    • Spacewalk says:

      I sacrificed Awesome Possum and got the Bad Future ending.

    • bonuswavepilot says:

      Some versions had the ‘existential ending’ as an Easter egg where you had to sacrifice the very notion of sacrifice. I think it was only possible if you had one of those Hack-son Cheap-play things and you poked the right combination of coloured buttons as they lit up.

  12. Shirsh says:

    Bubsy the Suicide Squirrel!

  13. Coming Second says:

    Buggy the Snooping Stoat!

  14. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    Was this the same series where Snok wormed his way into children’s nightmares and then flew around in comic attire with them fused to his own flesh? I haven’t played most of the series, but I loved that one! Good music, too.

  15. MacTheGeek says:

    I have to admit, I didn’t play any of the Stannis the HedgeKnight games. I was too busy playing Super Marky World.

  16. astareus says:

    Why must you stray so far from the light

  17. username7 says:

    I was really hoping that this was some sort of free one-stage fun sonic spoof game. Alas. x.x

  18. Premium User Badge

    Ninja Dodo says:

    I’ve heard of this game Sonic the hedgedog.

  19. Sunjammer says:

    Who can ever forget the first time they found a fabled chaos crystal and used it to level up their Blue Badger… The extreme fastness that could be attained when using this “looping” animal charm ability, merging at the hip with Miles “Taliesin” Furor is surely one of the greatest innovations since Amy learned to wield a crowbar. Stunning desperation.

  20. Pink Gregory says:

    Oh I remember this. This was the ill-fated spinoff when Snickers ate all bread and milk rather than dog food and got bloated and go and hide under a bush until he could gotta go fast

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