Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Importance of Sonic 4 and its Impact on Sega.

Back in 1991, Sega introduced Sonic the Hedgehog to the masses. Back then it was a phenomenon. Sonic was the mascot to beat for many years. Then, Sega and Sonic Team lost their way and some of the staff. With the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, Sonic had the perfect platform to go up against Mario and Nintendo. Sega had the winning formula, great character, great gameplay and story. The graphics in sonic were great as well.
The original game sold more than 4 million copies worldwide. Even by today’s standards that is really good. There were 2 sequels that received critical acclaim and brisk sales. Sonic and Knuckles was an add on cart to all 3 games and was an instant hit. After 9 portable 2-D games which met with generally good reviews and were great adventures, none matched the success or acclaim that the original games had. And with Sonic 3D blast and Sonic Jam (a collection of almost every Sonic game) for the Sega Saturn, the future of Sonic was in jeopardy.
Here comes the Sega Dreamcast, and the game is Sonic Adventure. This brought back most of the original Sonic Team back together, to usher in a new era for Sonic and Sega. This game was a new spectacle of true 3-D gaming much like Nintendo did with Super Mario 64. The game was fast and playable with a few camera issues (like Mario 64), but overall the game was a worldwide success. Then Sonic  Adventure 2 made way for Sonic Team to try and experiment with the gameplay and story. While a great game overall Sonic Adventure 2 didn’t really take off until it was ported to the Nintendo Gamecube in 2003. Now some noteworthy Sonic titles that should be looked at are Sonic Heroes (GC,PS2,XBOX), Sonic Rush, Sonic Rush Adventure and the Great Bioware RPG Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood. These games are great games to add to your Nintendo DS collection.


Now that leads us to the dark times for Sonic. Sonic the Hedgehog for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 from the all but defunct Sonic Team was poised to break new ground and to reintroduce Sonic to all Next gen consoles. Well face it to say that the game didn’t exactly set the world on fire. Sonic the hedgehog all but sealed the characters doom. Fortunately the game actually sold well, although word of mouth and reviews were not to kind to the little blue blur. Now with Sonic Unleashed released in 2009, Sega seemed to be on the right track. With the 2.5D gameplay and the rail action in Sonic Adventure, Sonic Unleashed seemed like it was going to reboot the franchise. The night or “Were hog “ levels were new and unwelcome to some. The thing is I actually liked the game as a whole.
After mediocre to poor sells at best, Sega stayed vigilant. Sega needed a hit game and maybe a reboot of a beloved franchise. Instead of going through the Vast array of titles in there arsenal, Sega decided that the Sonic games that had the most appeal were the Gameboy Advance and Nintendo DS versions. These games were developed by Dimps under the Sonic team moniker. Dimps made all of the portable versions of Sonic for the GameBoy Advance, Nintendo DS, and Playstation Portable. These versions of Sonic were some of most well received games since Sonic Adventure. They also developed Sonic Unleashed, which in the opinion of this editor, was a very good game once you got into the meat of it. Maybe this is Sonics’ last Hurrah, and maybe Sega is trying one last time to bring back the glory days of Sonic. Sega is obviously taking a page from Nintendo’s playbook. Since Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island and a few noble but not noteworthy attempts to bring Mario into 3D, Nintendo struck gold with New Super Mario Bros. New Super Mario Bros. Wii is the first 2D Mario game on a Nintendo console in 15 years and we all know how well that is going.
Now let’s get into Sonic 4: Episode 1 also developed by Dimps in a true return to form for our little blue friend. This game seems to do just what Sega needed since they became a third party developer, show us why we liked Sonic in the first place. This game looks to be a step in the right direction. The more I see of this game the more excited I get. What the industry needs is a reminder of why we gamers keep the industry going. At the end of the day, gaming is all about having fun. That is what Sega needs to do is get back to that general philosophy, it is all about fun. Sega just came down off the high that was Bayonetta. And they are set to reveal Resonance of Fate. Let’s hope that they can keep the trend going with Sonic 4: Episode 1. I wonder what other Sega franchises they will revisit.Now let’s hope for Shenmue 3. Maybe a Burning Rangers remake?  How about Shinobi or Streets of Rage? If you guys at Sega need any input, just hit me up. I am always ready to help. SEGA!!!

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