Can Sonic Adventure 3 revive the once almight blue blur?
Like many Sonic fans, I enjoyed the Adventure games (the second game being one of my favourite games) However. with the recent news of Sega registering Sonic Adventure 3 domain names, is it too late for Sonic to go on a new adventure?
Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2:
To determine this, we need to look back at exactly what Sonic Adventure meant for the Sega poster boy. In a time where multiple franchises -Zelda, Mario, Final Fantasy- were making the jump to the 3rd dimension, Sega had to make a decision; to take the fastest character in gaming and make him work in 3D. This, like the aforementioned franchises, was easier said than done and as a result we got Sonic Adventure (well, you could also mention the failed attempts that where Flicky’s Island and Jam) a rather interesting take on the Sonic formula that took a more story based outlook on the franchise. People still hold Sonic Adventure in high regard, despite it’s now very prevalent flaws.
Sonic Adventure 2 was next, gaining lots of popularity with it’s Gamecube port/remastering, somewhat becoming a cult classic in the process. This is also where Sonic fans tend to split in their opinions and argue whether the extra characters and deeper story made the franchise any better or if it was the sure sign that Sonic was running out of rings. However, I’m one of the former; I love SA2, it’s characters, gameplay and it’s rather bodacious story…oh and then there’s the Chao Garden.
These two games had it all for Sonic gamers; fast paced gameplay, smooth controls, a good story, amazing music and characters with personalities (well, maybe not Big the Cat, we all hate him). If you’ve played them, then you will understand that they have a certain feel that Sonic games these days can’t possibly emulate, or should I say won’t emulate. Then came Sonic ’06.
Sonic ’06 – the bottom of the barrel:
Sonic ’06, a name that will burn Sonic fans down to the core, a game that was so broken and shoddily made that even the hardest of Sonic fanboys despise it. Technically though, Sonic ’06 was our Sonic Adventure 3, just not a very good one. Like the previous Adventure games; Sonic ’06 played very similar and was the last chance we got to having that feeling once again, obviously, the game had some redeeming features, but it just fell flat when people literally couldn’t play due to bugs. Oh and no Chao Garden, despicable.
The backlash from ’06 left a lot of gamers making accusations as to why the Sonic games were getting the way they were. Some people blamed the ludicrous amount of characters, others blamed the story and then a few clever people realised that Sega just dropped the ball and made another bad Sonic game. However, this is where, personally speaking, Sonic went downhill. Due to all the negative backlash from the dimwitted majority of the Sonic fanboy community, Sega made an attempt to change things up and add new things to each game, which we like to call gimmicks.
Sonic and the Secret Gimmicks:
Obviously we had already seen some ‘gimmicky’ Sonic games already -Sonic Heroes and Shadow the Hedgehog- but even with their gimmicks. the games were still rather solid. The real games I’m thinking about here are games like: Sonic and the Secret Rings, Sonic and the Black Knight, Sonic Unleashed (damn Werehog stages), games that were just another shoehorned cash grab after the next. This brings us to where we are now, new Sonic, clean Sonic…uninspired Sonic.
Running out of rings:
So after years of complaints over the mediocre games they had brought out over the previous few years, Sonic Team just cut their losses and made Sonic Colours; a game which brought back fast paced gameplay, no bullcrap, oh and stripped the roster bare. They got rid of all the awesome music and made ‘Sonic as he should be’. But what can I say about Sonic Colours? It’s exactly how a Sonic game should be in the third dimension, a true translation from 2D hedgehog to 3D hedgehog. Despite being the ‘true 3D Sonic game’, Colours left a bad taste in my mouth, it was like Sega’s way of throwing a bone to the fanboys who were moaning that Sonic was ‘different’ or ‘should have stayed in 2D’.
Sonic and the Fanbase:
Sadly, this is where I have to stop the Sonic fanboy train whilst it slows down. The Sonic fanbase tends to have split ‘factions’; classic Sonic, new Sonic and those who like both (me being the latter). Unfortunately, it’s the polar indifference’s of the two former groups that have degraded Sonic into what he is today: a washed up blue hedgehog.
In the left corner, we have the classic Sonic fanbase; those who like the simplicity of running from A -> B without any of the tedium of story, tend to be a lot older than the other fanbase, fans who grew up with the blue blur.
In the right corner, we have the modern Sonic fanbase; those who like the story and personality Sonic has come to have in recent years, tend to be children, also encompasses for why Sonic has remained so popular these days.
And then there is your ref, the middle ground per say; those who love classic Sonic, but also love the gameplay, characters and storylines of the newer Sonic games.
Sega knows these two separate fanbases exist, the proof being Sonic Generations.
So what am I talking about right now? Conflict. Thanks to the classic Sonic fanbase, Sega is stuck with this sort of idea that everything needs to stay like the games used to be, run right and pick up rings. I’ve seen many posts and angry rants from this type of fan on many a message board, with the poster usually being some sort of middle aged man; ironically, a lot of the time being the sort of person who has ‘outgrown’ Sonic and most likely wouldn’t buy Sega’s attempt to appeal to that said gamer (I.e Sonic Generations). This conflict also stems a lot from the kids grew up playing the likes of Sonic Heroes, the kids that like all this over angsty bull crap and never got to experience some of the better storylines -like Sonic Adventure 2.
…and this all happens whilst us in the middle weep into our Sega Megadrives.
Whilst all this was going on in the home console scene, the handheld versions of Sonic were going down a blast and were actually pretty damn good games -especially the Advance series. This is where a lot of Sonic ‘fanboys’ who were complaining about Sonic’s lack of 2D should of looked, instead of venting at the 3D Sonic games. This is where 2D Sonic games would be best suited for, proven by Sonic Rush being a much better game than both Sonic 4 episodes, yet appearing on an inferior platform.
Where Sonic Adventure 3 fits in:
This is where Sonic Adventure 3 comes in, presuming it happens (I really think it will), as it has the chance to redeem everything that has derailed Sonic up to this point and put him right back on track. How? We take the things we want (a good storyline, characters we like and the great gameplay from earlier games) and wrap them up in a lovely, next gen package. Want an outline, Sonic Generations. That game was so very close to being the game Sega needed, but fell just shy of progress.
Hopefully Sega will actually listen to my outcry/slight deranged rantings in order to craft what is the Sonic Adventure 3 we want and the Sonic Adventure 3 that Sonic needs. Oh and here’s hoping that they bring back the chaos, Sonic needs more chaos.