5) Sonic Adventure 2
This game brought a bunch of new dynamics, and expanded on some features that games further down the list brought about. The best part of the game was the fact that it actually had a good story filled with a bunch of characters. You get a total of 6 playable characters, all with their own dynamics. The game also does a good job of expanding on the idea of Shadow The Hedgehog, which makes another appearance further down our list.
The cool thing about this game is the ability to play a hero or dark story, each with a timeline of their own that expand on the overall story. The cut scenes are fantastic, but everything else needs a bit of work in order to keep pace with the story. This is why it hits our list at 5.
4) Sonic CD
What better way to introduce new tech than to slap your biggest icon on it? That’s what Sega did when the Sega CD released. It was a peripheral like attachment to the Sega Genesis that added the ability to play disc based games. The biggest highlight of the new adventure was of course Sonic.
Sonic CD took the franchise in a new direction and the new mechanics stuck for a very long time. The worlds were a bit more “3D” and models looked a bit better. Overall it was a new generation of Sonic blended with core mechanics and it was rather neat to play. The best thing about Sonic CD was a new mechanic that really made things interesting. Instead of being linear dashing to the right, you actually had to explore a bit and find time portals. You could then travel to the past or future, and depending on how you play the game you would have various endings to the game.
The only bad thing about Sonic CD was honestly the terrible 3D bonus stages that were an absolute pain to play properly. This was a big step backwards compared to Sonic 3.
3) Sonic Generations
When Sonic Generations released we had been sitting in years of pretty much garbage Sonic titles with repeat attempts to rejuvenate the franchise. So what better way to finally accomplish that than to simply revamp all the old games and bring them to a modern generation?
That is what Sonic Generations did by bringing back all the classics with revamped visuals and improved tech, did we say proper physics in old games? Everything is done beautifully with a mix of new school and old school mechanics that blend perfectly. The game even ties everything up in a nice bow by giving fans a rather good story to follow along with.
2) Shadow The Hedgehog
As Sonic went on and on, the studio started to run out of core ideas. You could only take Sonic side scrolling so many ways, and the 3D perks were becoming more of a fad within the games. (A full on 3D adventure shortly before Shadow was horrible.) So what did they do to combat it? Make an entirely new character, make him edgier, and give it a new approach.
Shadow The Hedgehog is the only Sonic game that doesn’t say “Sonic” in the title. While he appears, he isn’t a main character. Instead we focus on Shadow which is darker, edgier, and more “adult” with his approach. Oh and we get to combine the movements of Sonic with Shadow wielding guns, which is awesome! The games new approach is either loved by long time fans, or hated because it changed so much.
The game hasn’t aged too well, like most Sonic titles, but there is a lot of potential for something great to be had here. Shadow has also gone on to appear in many of the later team based Sonic titles.
1) Sonic The Hedgehog 3
I may get some flak for putting this here, but this is my all-time favorite Sonic title. I grew up with the Genesis and played Sonic constantly, I mean if Mortal Kombat didn’t exist then Sonic was all I would’ve played. Yet when I look back and remember all my favorite moments, favorite levels, and favorite characters a majority of it comes from this title.
Sonic The Hedgehog 3 was truly a game that was ahead of the industry with great visuals and probably one of the first 2D games that had a soundtrack worth mentioning. (Michael Jackson helped make the music!) Each level had its own feel, each act had a boss battle, and each portion of the game felt different and unique. This was also the first game that Knuckles was introduced and he has gone on to become just as iconic as Tales. The level design alone makes the game brilliant because unlike past titles, simply holding right and jumping won’t get you 90 percent of the way home. Did I mention the ability to actually save? Oh and probably every Genesis’ fan favorite memory, those special “3D” secret levels.
The game basically tied up everything the past two titles were building towards and wrapped a bow around the franchise in the most perfect way. Of course we got a follow up with Sonic and Knuckles, but that was technically supposed to be a part of Sonic 3, so this is fair.
Honorable Mention – Sonic Rush
I couldn’t find a spot to put in Sonic Rush and figured that you could pretty much interchange it with any game on the list, so it becomes an honorable mention.
Sonic Rush gets credit for being the perfect handheld title. The game release on DS and utilized both screens to create a rather fun approach to handheld sonic titles. The pacing and platforming was a true return to Sonic’s glory days, but the hip new visuals and music really modernized it for a new crowd. The bonus stages utilize the touch screen controls of DS, which were new and unique when the game released.
The story was fun and interesting, but fans will argue if a new addition to the character cast is worthwhile. Blaze the cat, a fun new character or the Jar Jar of Sonic’s universe. That’s up to you.
Overall it is pretty amazing how far Sonic has gone with his 2D adventures blended with 3D worlds. We can only imagine where the team might be taken Sonic in his next adventure, which is set to be announced at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. There are plenty of games not worth mentioning, but there are games we also missed. So what are some of your favorite Sonic Adventures?