Sonic the Hedgehog has not exactly shined since the character made his transition from 2D to 3D, while many praised the core ideas of the original games since then Sonic has struggled to find new life. Sadly it is not that the games were bad, Sonic has some truly great games throughout his history, but it seems that for every game I take a shining to a bad game turns up that I am not so fond of. So here today I will discussing my top five worst Sonic games, however I will note that Sonic 06 will not make this list as I have never played it. So here we go to talk the darker history of Sonic.
- Sonic Unleashed
Sonic Unleashed is a mixed bag when it comes to its existence, in one place I could praise the game, but on the other I really hated it. It is because of this feeling that this game scraped onto the list in this position and more importantly it is because of the parts of the game I hate that it lands on this list, previously I have condemned Sonic games for their tedious fast paced level design but in Sonic Unleashed I loved the design, however it is the games actual dark side that makes me hate this game.
Sonic Unleashed sees Sonic become a Werehog when night rises and these sections are so bad, this idea takes up more than half of the game and each level that consists of Sonic in his werehog form is so tedious. Compared to Sonics’s regular fast paced platforming this game now becomes a slow crawl filled with bland combat sections (still not as bad as Sonic Boom’s), I can appreciate the work that went into this and the idea itself for doing something different but this just makes me hate the game. This idea is never fun and really made me struggle to play the game.
- Sonic and the Secret Rings
When the Wii was released Sega was one developer who quickly jumped on the future making use of the Wii’s motion control system to release a Sonic game that played with motion exclusively. What was born from this idea was Sonic and the Secret Rings and honestly this game is not that great, while I can praise the idea behind the story book setting (an idea I loved in Black Knight) it was the gameplay and controls that really set this game back for me.
This was one of the first games I played on the Wii when I got it in 2007 and I tried to like this but the controls prevented me. I will happily praise motion controls especially on the Wii but this game suffers from an issue of not getting the controls working correctly (like another game on this list). Sonic and the Secret Rings was played by holding the control flat and to move Sonic you tilted the control and he was supposed to follow your commands, this of course did not always respond making the game difficult in parts. The rest of the game was handled in the same fashion except often required you to shake the remote to reach enemies, the worst part is that this idea was used in later games and worked. To put it simply getting controls right is as important as gameplay and this ruined Sonic and the Secret Rings especially when the gameplay is built into the controls.
- Sonic Boom Rise of Lyric
Finally an obvious entry for this list, but wait I am sure a question is being asked which states why on earth is this game only at three? Well, allow me to answer that with a simple response, Sonic Boom Rise of Lyric is not a good game but yet it is not the worst game Sonic has ever had both in general and in my eyes. I can’t defend this game in any way as it is not a good game but lucky for Sonic there really are worse, I think by this point it should go without saying why this game is here but it needs to be discussed.
Sonic Boom Rise of Lyric struggles to even be playable a good portion of the time, the gameplay is not good and often borders on tedious with the repetitive and often dull combat. But worse is the story and the characters, for starters the story was incomprehensible and I could not manage to understand anything that was going on, and furthermore I hated the characters minus Amy, the writing is extremely bad and the voices are terrible. In addition the game is riddled with glitches and the character designs are really ugly. I wonder how this game was allowed to release in this state, and I really urge you not to do what I have done and play this to try to see if you like it, the game is bearable but really not worth it.
- Sonic Drift
When it came to Sonic racing games many could have thought these were great ideas, Sonic is supposed to be fast so a racing game would be a perfect fit for the franchise, the truth is it isn’t. It was not until 2012 when Sonic finally proved to me that a racing game worked completely and the stupid part was Sonic was in a car. However, years earlier Sega made many attempts at planning the hedgehog into a racing format and as history showed these failed, however one game rose from Sega’s early attempts and this was Sonic Drift.
I believe Sonic Drift was built to be a Mario Kart competitor and if this was the case then it failed miserably, even for an early game Sonic Drift was dull and its courses were very generic. I appreciate the attempts Sega made but Sonic Drift just failed to be fun and put a bad name to Sonic racing games. The sad part is that Sonic R tried the same idea but was simply filled with enough charm for me to like it, but Sonic Drift just tried too hard and lacked any real heart and enjoyment.
Before we get to number one on this list I first want to share a couple of honorable mentions from the series that I personally felt were bad:
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball
Now finally the game that leads the worst Sonic games list is:
- Sonic Free Riders
Oh look another racing game, Sonic Riders is one of Sonic’s more interesting leaps into the racing foray in recent years. The series has at least three entries that I am aware of and I have mixed feelings across the franchise, personally I felt the first game in the series was not very good, while the second game Sonic Riders Zero Gravity made my top five Sonic games list, then there is Free Riders. What is a new device or system without their games, Sonic Free Riders was a launch title for the Xbox 360 Kinect and is easily the worst Sonic game ever made because of it.
I stated that Sonic and the Secret Rings tried to make use of new technology to make a new experience for the Wii and did not quite pan out, Sonic Free Riders is history repeating itself all over again but in an even worse way. While the Kinect certainly did not always work across its history it was many of the third party launch titles that suffered most, Sonic Free Riders just did not work and it was easy to put your back out just trying to get your character to turn which you were lucky if you could manage to do this. I may have said that some games were barely playable, but you know what Sonic Free Riders is unplayable in all sense of the word. This is why Sonic Free Riders is the worst Sonic game ever made and in my opinion.