The 2006 Sonic the Hedgehog game was the first Sonic game to be released on the 7th generation hardware and is often considered to not only be the worst Sonic game ever made but one of the worst games ever made period, is this game really that bad?
Following a pattern seen in earlier 3D Sonic games, Sonic 06 has multiple short stories that each connect with each other instead of one campaign, due to this I will discuss each one separately and give my thoughts and opinion.
The plot of the Sonic Campaign mainly revolves around a princess named Elise who is kidnapped by Dr Eggman in order to harness her power and resurrect an ancient and deadly power that is hidden inside of her, he would then use this power to take over the world.
Sonic’s gameplay is fast paced action and 3D platforming that has some serious issues with lag and the game often struggled to keep up with the speed of Sonics character, this often led to either Sonic dying due to slow down or falling to his doom due to textures and platforms not loading correctly.
I played the PS3 version and found lag even in the overworld when I was walking around, this issue resulted in my experience of this campaign to be mainly based on luck, patience and hope rather than skill and compared to previous games in the franchise this was not enjoyable in the slightest.
While Sonic was often too slow due to the lag, other characters in his campaign were extremely light and made flying and hovering really difficult to control and it didn’t feel natural at all, I felt like I had very little control over characters such as Tails and Knuckles, the small segment with Silver actually controlled fine and I will discuss the Silver Campaign next..
Sonic 06 introduced fans to newcomer Silver the Hedgehog, in the game Silvers story sees him travelling through time to destroy Sonic, Silver believes that Sonic is the reason that Iblis an immortal demon of flames was resurrected, due to this he assumes Sonic is a villain who wants world domination, Silver plans to kill Sonic before later teaming up after realising that he is a friend.
Silvers gameplay is very unique as it requires players to take their time and use more strategy compared to other campaigns. Silver has telekinetic powers which he uses to pick up objects and throw them at enemies to damage them, objects take a while to regenerate so players will need to use them wisely trying to damage multiple enemies at once so you don’t need to wait long to get more ammunition. I thought it was really cool that you could also grab enemy bullets mid air and shoot them back at them, Silver is also able to hover temporarily but this is a very short distance so you need to use this wisely as well.
Alongside Silver are a handful of stages where take control of Blaze the Cat, Blaze’s levels are very similar to Sonics gameplay as she can move quickly but she has a heavy reliance on combat similar to Knuckles, in reality she is a combination of the two and it works extremely well and she is genuinely a really fun part of the game.
I really enjoyed Silvers campaign it had very little issue with Lag or glitches, not to say they weren’t there but compared to my experience with Sonic this was much better. I found his story to be really compelling and thought he was a enjoyable all around, in fact I wouldn’t a mind a solo game with Silver such as what they did with Shadow but due to how bad that game was I cant see another spin off happening any time soon.
Shadow’s Campaign can only be described as a train wreck but before I go there lets quickly go over his story.
In the game Shadow is tasked with rescuing the ex villain and now G.U.N agent Rouge the Bat after she has gone silent while searching for the Sceptre of Darkness from Dr Eggmans Base. He finds her at the end of her mission and because of his interference Dr Eggman arrives at the base, a fight for the sceptre ensues and unfortunately it is shattered into pieces releasing Mephilis an evil spirit with a likeness to Shadow who is the other half of Iblis after they were separated by experiments on Solaris.
Shadows gameplay is like Sonic’s but a lot worse, he also moves very fast so the lag is back to maximum levels but on top on this he uses roller skates which give his character a gliding effect when he runs, with the lag spikes it makes the general movement of shadow clunky and also slippery, he is practically unplayable on foot but in vehicles he is slowed down and they play smoothly enough.
There are two other playable characters in Shadows campaign, Rouge the Bat is primarily used for treasure hunting, in a similar style to Sonic Adventure 2 she can climb walls and glide temporality, she generally controls ok but I had always had issue getting off of the walls when I was climbing, whenever I tried to jump off it was like she being held in place and this quickly became very frustrating.
The other character is Omega, his gameplay is mostly combat with little platforming, he uses projectiles to shoot enemies and this works fine, it was the only part of Shadows campaign that was actually fun and had very few issues.
Shadows campaign in Sonic 06 was really bad, the plot was great and from story narrative this may be the best part of the game but unfortunately the majority of this section is almost unplayable to the point that you begin to realise that the developers must have known about the issues because they are so constant.
After completing all of these campaigns you unlock a final story segment which concludes the game.
One of the biggest issues in the game are load times, these are slightly longer than you may wish but for me I was more annoyed with how often they appeared, they play between level segments and even during cutscenes.
In between stages you are often taken to Castle Town, A hub world which separates the levels and often requires the player to complete several side missions, some of these quite fun but again the load times are a little frustrating, the best side mission is the hidden race against Sonic Man, its very stupid but I cannot deny that it did make me laugh.
There are also collectable silver medals hidden throughout the game, I personally wouldn’t recommend going for them as they do not affect you percentage of completion, I played the game on the Playstation 3 and there were no trophies due to this being an early title on the system so I didn’t really go for any major completion goals in the game.
The soundtrack to the game is very good, Sonic Games are known for their fantastic music and this is no exception, I love the main theme of the game, it stuck with through out the whole experience of my playthrough and was always a pleasure to listen too when it played, other great tracks include aquatic ambience, wave ocean and tropical jungle, I do wish there was more vocal tracks but I cannot deny that the soundtrack is not disappointing.
So I finally finished Sonic 06 and it was a lot worse than I honestly expected, I was really hoping to go into this one and find something positive to say about the game but I have to review my experience and it wasn’t good.
Graphically the game is ok and the soundtrack was enjoyable with some very memorable music pieces. Silvers Campaign was a ton of fun and I really liked the new game play style, there was very little issues with his sections and if the entire game was like that I would be a lot kinder than I am being now. Sonic and Shadows campaigns had serious lag problems and were very frustrating, Shadows was the worst because it lagged and had slippery controls.
It sucks that I dislike this game because I think it had a lot of potential, you can tell that it took a lot inspiration from the Sonic Adventure titles but even compared to that first game this really falls short and its not because the story or levels are bad, its because the game isn’t finished and is full of issues, the developers rushed this game and released it knowing that it was an incomplete product, what does that say about the developers and publishers? I really did not want to follow the trend of hating this game but I have to be honest with my self and admit that it is really bad and deserves a rating no higher than a 2.5/10
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