Yesterday Sonic The Hedgehog turned 25 years old, goodness it makes me feel older than I already am, and so Sega couldn’t let this anniversary go by without an bit of a party during the San Diego Comic-Con held at the House of Blues. By colour by name it was always going to be an exciting blue event by nature for fans, this followed by the announcement of two new Sonic titles. Sonic Mania and an untitled original game for release on console and PC in 2017.
Firstly, we have Sonic Mania, the press release states that this “brings fans back into the 2D world of platform games with nostalgic pixel-style art and core classic gameplay by reimagining iconic Zones and Acts from Sonic The Hedgehog, Sonic The Hedgehog 2, Sonic CD and Sonic The Hedgehog 3 and Knuckles, and adding in completely new Zones with all-new Acts, and bosses into the mix. Developed by SEGA of America and in collaboration with PagodaWest Games along with Christian Whitehead and Simon Thomley, the game will be available for digital release in Spring 2017.” Let’s look at the trailer.
Whether it’s a level ripped from a later title I have no idea (Sonic titles started the gradual decent downhill after the first two, excluding CD) the colours are garish, the backgrounds are flat and lack the parallax, by Megadrive standards this is poor, it lacks style and design ethic, in which the Green Hill Zone now loses its wonderful happy blue sky environment for a dingy cave. That’s the best element of this world gone, the feeling that made it so nice to play in the first place. So back to the press release “Sonic Mania was born out of our fans’ love of the classic Sonic 2D platform games,” said Takashi Iizuka, Head of Sonic Team.”. When I think of Sonic Team now, it’s not where it was, this game reminds me more of the GBA releases than the first two greats of the Megadrive era. I await to be proved wrong, indeed I hope I am, but as a fan with experience then and now, if this was Sonic at the time, it would have gone down with Spinball.
Sega also revealed another new Sonic title for 2017, with no official title for the game and only pre-rendered visuals, it was an uninteresting trailer at this stage. A wonderful brand and heritage but after Sonic Mania my passion for the product was quickly put back in check. So it may have been 25 years but it’s been a bumpy road, and as I play through Sonic CD and go into the Future, alas it seems Sega lost that Chaos Emerald along the way.