Sonic the Hedgehog may look good on the big screen, but its video game sequels haven't always gone so well
'There was kind of an infamous scene where Sonic kissed a human,' says games journalist Nadia Oxford
When the trailer for the feature-length film, Sonic the Hedgehog, dropped online last spring, the reviews, particularly for its lead character, were not particularly kind.
The animated character wasn't very furry, his eyes were a bit too realistic and, perhaps worst of all, he had a full set of human teeth.
So, after outcry from fans and onlookers alike, the filmmakers set out to redesign the virtual hedgehog before the film's release.
After months of delays following its total graphics reboot, Sonic rolls into theatres Friday with a cuter, cuddlier version of the beloved Sega character and relatively positive reviews.
But it isn't the first time a Sonic spinoff misfired, according to USgamer writer Nadia Oxford.
"Sonic has a very up and down history, I would say," she told Day 6.
Originally a competitor to Nintendo's Mario Bros. franchise, Sonic the Hedgehog has spawned more than 60 versions of the video game, comic books and a TV series.
Oxford shared some of the most infamous Sonic blunders — and one of her favourites.
Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)
The 2006 adaptation of Sonic the Hedgehog is considered an example of the "franchise hitting its lowest point," she said.
The game was panned for its poor controls — players would unintentionally dash off cliffs and into enemies. Meanwhile, the writing and storyline left much to be desired.
The interaction between humans and hedgehogs, too, was criticized.
"There was kind of an infamous scene where Sonic kissed a human, and that raised a whole bunch of questions," Oxford said.
Shadow the Hedgehog (2005)
Shadow the Hedgehog, released in 2005, also had a few deviations from the franchise's wholesome image.
"When people saw the first revealed trailer for the game, the opening shot was of Shadow the Hedgehog standing on a cliff, and you see him cocking a gun," Oxford said.
"Everyone thought, 'Is this a joke?'… But no, this is a game where Shadow the Hedgehog has a gun, and he uses the gun. Of course, Sonic the Hedgehog is not a violent series."
Oxford believes Sonic's inconsistency comes down to Sega's desire to reinvent Sonic with each iteration.
"I feel like the franchise could actually thrive and be quite excellent on a very consistent basis if Sega would just kind of take their ideas that are actually pretty good, build on them and make them very good," Oxford said.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (1992)
For a good time, Oxford recommends Sonic the Hedgehog 2, which was released for the Sega Genesis console in 1992.
"It's one of the quintessential sequel games in that it takes everything the first game did and really improves upon it," Oxford said.
Everything from the game's pacing, to its soundtrack, controls and graphics are an improvement over the first in the series, Oxford adds.
"There's a set of levels called Aquatic Ruin Zone, which just still looks fabulous to this day. I still love looking back at these old graphics."
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