Sonic Origins is about to hit PC and consoles, and like just about all previous Sonic collections, it only hits a handful of the franchise’s highlights. Despite seeming otherwise, there are actually plenty of decent games in the Sonic library besides those that Sega seems obsessed with throwing at fans over and over, and many of them could really do with a proper re-release. There are also at least a couple of fans favorites that could do with a remake or remaster by now. So, here are a few Sonic classics that would be worth Sega’s while to revisit.
While not the only Sonic classic to never see a re-release, Knuckles’ Chaotix is the quintessential example of such. Originally released in 1995 for the 32X, Knuckles’ Chaotix has not seen any sort of release since, making the original cartridges into fairly valuable collector’s items. It’s a shame too, since the title features several unique mechanics that never caught on in the mainline series of games.
Each of the four main characters: Knuckles, Mighty the Armadillo, Espio the Chameleon, Charmy the Bee and Vector the Crocodile each had different abilities and properties which would open up certain avenues while also closing certain others thanks to the tethered ring and partner system. The tethered rings act as a sort of rubber band, so players could do things like build-up some distance between their characters and then allow the tether to snap-back and launch the characters to otherwise unreachable heights. Making use of Knuckle’s climbing ability or Mighty’s air boost could enhance such maneuvers even further.
Reviews at the time of Knuckles’ Chaotix release weren’t terribly positive, but Sonic fans still deserve a chance to experience this unique piece of Sonic history for themselves. Who knows? It may very well be that this game was under-appreciated in its time and is actually a truly good entry in the franchise.
Sonic Advance Trilogy
The Sonic Advance games are also something of a lost piece of Sonic history. The original Sonic Advance released for the Gameboy Advance on February 3, 2002, which was only a few days ahead of the release of Sonic Adventure 2: Battle for the Gamecube on February 11.
While still its own, unique game, Sonic Advance shared functionality with its Gamecube counterpart via the “Tiny Chao Garden” feature. With this game, players could earn rings and purchase unique items to help raise Chao imported from the other game. More importantly though, Sonic Advance and its sequels also put a unique twist on the classic Sonic formula.
Instead of only having their choice of one or two characters, players get their choice of between four and five different characters to play as depending on the game. Each character also come with their own special abilities and qualities, plus another special power in the case of Sonic Advance 3.
That last game even takes inspiration from Knuckle’s Chaotix and employs a system similar to the older game’s tethered rings. This along with the series’ soundtrack and unique set of levels make it something that’s seriously due for a comeback.
Sonic 3D Blast (Sega Saturn Version)
The Sega Genesis version of Sonic 3D Blast is actually available right now on most platforms either standalone (PC) or as part of the Sega Genesis Classics collection. It’s a different kind of Sonic game that might not jive well with all fans, but it’s an entry all fans should try regardless thanks to its unusual design choices and unique art style. Of course, said visuals are dated, so it’s odd that the Saturn version hasn’t been seen since the days of the namesake console itself and one obscure PC release.
For those who haven’t had the chance to try it for themselves, Sonic 3D Blast is best described as an adventure platformer with light puzzle elements. Each stage challenges player to locate all of the wandering Flicky birds and navigate their way through the trap-laden, sometimes labyrinthian maps. It’s not a particularly difficult game, nor is it long; a determined player can easily beat it in an afternoon.
Still, between this structure, its 3/4 camera perspective and its distinctly early-3D art style, there’s nothing else quite like Sonic 3D Blast out there. The Sega Saturn is already an overly-forgotten system, so it’s a shame that it’s not even referenced when it’s home to a game’s superior version. In short, this needs to be in the next collection.
This entry in the Sonic franchise is actually still easy to acquire on Steam and the Xbox Store, so it doesn’t actually need a re-release in the same way that the previous entries do. Rather, Sonic Generations is a great candidate for a remaster. When it first released in 2011, Sonic Generations was the game that restored many fans’ confidence in both Sonic Team and in the Sonic franchise itself. As it seemingly always has been, Sonic had been struggling thanks to releases like Sonic 2006, Sonic Unleashed and Sonic and the Secret Rings.
Sonic Colors was considered okay, but was far from being the game to bring the series back into the sun. Sonic Generations was that game though, giving fans remixed and remastered versions of the best stages from Sonic games past (and one from Sonic 2006), lots of side missions with different mechanics to try out and plenty of nostalgia-fueling bonus content. It was an excellent way of re-invigorating the franchise.
It’s been over ten years since Sonic Generations released, and Sonic is once again looking like he’s on the ropes. Now would be a great time to remind fans why they liked Sonic in the first place, and a remastered (and expanded) version of Sonic Generations would be a great way to make it happen. All Sega would need to basically hit a sales homerun is make it look pretty, add a few more levels, and give fans more options in terms of music and the like. Make it happen, Sega!
Sonic Adventure 2
What Sega started with the original Sonic Adventure, it nearly perfected with Sonic Adventure 2. Seriously, there is a strong case to be made for Sonic Adventure 2 as the best of the early 3D Sonic games. The story is self-aware without actually breaking the fourth wall, the characters’ personalities are just the right mix of serious and hammy, there are many more great stages than awful ones, the soundtrack hits that early 2000s sweet spot and the gameplay (mostly) keeps players feeling the flow. The game isn’t without its rough spots of course, but they aren’t fundamental problems and could likely be easily resolved in a proper remake.
Fans actually got a taste of what a remake could look like with the City Escape stage in Sonic Generations. It wasn’t a one-to-one remake, but it retained the core essence of the stage; that’s what was important. It got just a little too arcade-y with the giant truck at the end, but otherwise was a truly solid reinterpretation of the stage. The speed felt real while charging down the sloping road, the music and special events synched up beautifully, and the branching paths seen in the 2D games were expertly recreated. It was everything Sonic fans could hope to experience in a 3D Sonic title, and it needs to come back.
It might not be possible to replicate the tone and feel of the story or characters of course. Times have changed after all, and it just won’t have the same nostalgia factor as the original. Still, a Sonic Adventure 2 remake could be a massive hit for Sega. Replicating the gameplay seen in Sonic Generations, smoothing out rough spots like those obnoxious driving stages, and expanding fan favorite features like the Chao Garden would likely be more than enough to make it work. Seriously, this could be the biggest Sonic release in years if done right.
The Sonic series is more than just the greatest hits, and indeed there are other Sonic games not mentioned here that deserve another chance at life. Bringing these games back in some form would just be a great place for Sega to start. It may not be looking too great for Sonic at the moment, but he’s got plenty of gas left in the tank. It’s just a matter of actually putting it to use.