So doing the review for Sonic Generations 3DS got me thinking. What ARE the top ten Sonic games? So we've come up with a rather specific list this Tuesday. Sonic might have made a few missteps in his time, but there can be no denying that the titles on this list should be under consideration for any gamer worth their salt. Enjoy and, as usual, hit us up with your thoughts below if you think we missed any.
10. Sonic and SEGA All Stars Racing
Yes, we're in spin-off territory with this one entry, but it's a worthy one. All Star Racing proved that Mario Kart could be matched. Offering up madcap, racing fun for the HD console generation, SaSASR proved to be enormous fun with friends, with some cracking tracks and neat powerups.
9. Sonic Adventure
It's Sonic in 3D. That by itself was enough to blow minds back in the day. Like many of the games on this list, it stuck to its guns and did the basics well - short, sweet levels and some fantastic bosses. Not only did Sonic Adventure manage to deliver a brand new take on the speedy hedgerow dweller, but it did so by embracing the simple pleasures that made the series great in the first place.
8. Sonic Advance
Okay so it's not the fastest Sonic game out there, but that's not the point. It was all about multiple routes, pinball physics and some cracking retro level design. It was authentic, 16-bit Sonic on the GBA and when the game did ratchet up the velocity, the camera often had a hard time catching up. One of Dimps' finest works.
7. Sonic Chronicles
A left-field option here, but a worthy entry nonetheless. Bioware took the convoluted mess of the Sonic narrative universe and made previously reprehensible characters bearable and, dare I say it, likeable. It goes without saying that this game has the best story in the entire series, but it should be noted for its lovely art style and meaty combat too. An absolute must for any Bioware fan as well as Sonic followers.
6. Sonic the Hedgehog
The game that started it all. Injecting a little pace into platforming as gaming entered the Nineties, it's difficult to overstate its importance. packed with cracking level design, fantastic music, a perfect balance between speedy, eye-melting colours and a desire (and capability) for exploration, its legacy is undeniable. And, in Green Hill Zone - Act 1, it has possibly the most iconic video game level ever created.
5. Sonic Colours
We'd given up hope. After the disappointment of 2006's awful release and the unbalanced nature of Unleashed, things looked bad for Sonic. But then Sonic Colours came along and restored the faith. It was fast, it was gorgeous to behold, the level design was fantastic. Colours succeeded where others had failed, blending the classic and the modern together while still managing to add in new elements that for the first time in years didn't distract, but enhanced the experience. It's still one of the best titles on the Wii.
4. Sonic Rush
Kiss goodbye to gimmicks, minigames, princesses, fishing minigames and shooting galleries. Sonic doesn't f*ck around in Rush, he just gets it done. This is balls-out speed platforming at its finest. Once again, Sonic Team and Dimps provided a new handheld console audience with a back to basics Sonic title. The sequel would go on to stuff a load of unnecessary filler into the mix, but Rush remains one of the finest Sonic games on any platform to this day, partly down to the astounding soundtrack from Hideki Naganuma.
3. Sonic Adventure 2
Two words: City Escape.
It's so freaking good. Ignore the swathe of poor imitations that followed it and concentrate instead on a Sonic game that you just wanted to sink into and spend time in. The introduction of Ranks incentivised replays, but in reality you just wanted to check out every inch of the levels themselves. SA2 is home to the series' finest setpieces and, let us not forget, some utter musical genius.
2. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 / Sonic & Knuckles
We're cramming them in together. Again, there were some utterly brilliant levels to be found here - a particular favourite being Sky Sanctuary. Considered by many to be the best in the series, this built upon the successes of Sonic 2 with bigger worlds, crisper, graphics, more animated worlds and, of course, the greatest addition to the series ever: Knuckles.
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1. Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Predictable? Perhaps. But if it is, then it's with good reason. Just reeling off a list of the levels contained within - Emerald Hill, Chemical Plant, Casino Night, Oil Ocean - would be evidence enough, but there's more. This is, after all, the game that gave us Super Sonic, Tails, introduced two-player modes and, most importantly, gave Sonic the Super Sonic Spin Dash. Finally, let us remember that this was the game that pulled SEGA back into the console game after Nintendo's early lead, with SEGA nabbing 50% of the market share as a result.
Dig out the Mega Drive and it's clear to see that, perhaps unlike its predecessor so much, this game is still just as much fun to play through. Age has not withered Sonic 2's appeal one iota, and that is why it tops this list - possibly one of the best direct sequels ever made.