Sonic: from worst to best according to critics

For many years, Mario was the sovereign mascot, winning hearts and bringing several new players to Nintendo consoles. At the time, its main competitor was SEGA, and the company started running after a character who would hit the head with the mustachioed plumber.

It was then that they found the formula for success and money in a potbellied and very fast hedgehog. This is the Worst to Best of the Sonic franchise, which is part of the Voxel holiday special. Here are our criteria, pay close attention:

  • The notes presented are based on the Metacritic and GameRankings note aggregators. If the game was released for more than one platform initially, we will take the notes for each version and do an arithmetic average.

  • We only considered the main games in the franchise, so spin-offs didn’t make it.

  • If you have a different opinion, just leave your list there in the comments and we will read everything.

12) Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) – 44.5 (Xbox 360, PS3)

What was supposed to be a reboot and a celebration of the franchise’s 15 years turned out to be a disaster. Sonic the Hedgehog, launched in 2006, accompanies Sonic and his friends having to protect Princess Elise from Soleanna, who was kidnapped by Doctor Eggman, who we will call Robotnik here.

But here the player will not be in control of Sonic, but also of Shadow and the rookie Silver. The gameplay follows the same line as most 3D games in the series, with the character running in linear levels, having to pass through obstacles, defeat enemies and collect rings to advance the story.

There are not many differences when using Shadow, unless the gameplay focuses a little more on combat, but with Silver things change, since he is not so fast, but uses telekinesis to defeat enemies and solve puzzles.

At the end of each level, the player receives a ranking, with D the worst possible and S the best. The game went through several problems and the development ended up being rushed for it to come out at the end of the year, which ended up yielding all the criticisms that the game received, related to the loading time, the camera system, the history, the stability and controls. This bad bath earned him a 44.5 grade.

11) Sonic Forces (2017) – 58 (PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC)

Sonic Forces, released in 2017, ranked eleventh on our list. It has three gameplay modes: Classic, which is 2D side scrolling, Modern, which is in the same footprint as the franchise’s 3D games, and Avatar, which the player controls a character created by himself, called Rookie. Each has a variety of unique skills and attributes.

The story follows the resistance force created by Sonic’s companions, who must face Robotinik, Shadow, Chaos, Zavok, Metal Sonic and the mercenary Infinite, who not only defeated and imprisoned Sonic but are planning to take over the world in 6 months.

The critics liked the presentation, the music, the voice work, the character creation system and the modern gameplay, but did not like the plot, level design, the various technical problems and the presence of Classic Sonic. He got a note of 58.

10) Sonic Unleashed (2008) – 60 (PS2, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii)

Sonic Unleashed, launched in 2008, turns our beloved hedgehog into a bizarre monster. In the story, Doctor Robotinik manages to catch Sonic and, using a lightning bolt, takes away all Chaos Emeralds and the hero’s powers. With them, he unleashes a very powerful best called Dark Gaia and that will have devastating consequences. At the same time, the lightning and the lack of emeralds caused side effects, transforming Sonic into a Warehog, a creature with great strength and abilities, but only in the night.

With this, the game is divided into two gameplay styles defined by the time of day that the stages take place, during the day being the classic Sonic 3D, and at night a more boring footprint with the player battling with the creatures created by Dark Gaia .

The game was a commercial success, with almost 2.5 million copies sold, but the reception from the specialized media was not the best of all. Analysts liked the graphics, the sounds of the environments and the feeling of speed in the daytime phases, but they criticized the mechanics like Warehog and various concepts of gameplay and design that to be bad would have to improve a lot. Your grade is 60.

9) Sonic Heroes (2003) – 68.75 (GameCube, PS2, Xbox, PC)

Sonic Heroes, launched in 2003, has a very simple story: the player controls a team of heroes formed by Sonic, Knuckles and Tails that must pass through several different places and gather the 7 Chaos Emeralds to then defeat the evil Dr. Robotnik.

The visuals are all in 3D and to pass through the most different obstacles, the player has to take advantage of the unique abilities of each character, such as the strength of Knuckles and the speed of Sonic. In addition to the team mentioned, there are three others who have their own campaigns and difficulty levels.

Many analysts liked the light effects, the stable frame rate, the art direction, the vibrant colors, the return to the origins of gameplay and the balance of the teams, but I can’t say the same about technical problems in the PC and PS2 versions , the large and unnecessary number of teams, the easy difficulty and, moreover, the title does not try to improve what the predecessors had problems with, like the camera. This made the game score 68.75.

8) Sonic Generations (2011) – 76.6 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)

Launched in 2011, Sonic Generations came to celebrate our protagonist’s 20th birthday, in addition to uniting the past with the present. After his last defeat, Doctor Robotinik, stranded in space next to his robot henchmen Orbot and Cubot, ends up finding a powerful entity that can travel through time.

The villain takes advantage of her to go back in time and form an alliance with his past self to destroy Sonic of the two ages. The protagonists of different times end up meeting and get together to finish off their enemies. This makes the gameplay also mix the classic with the modern, since with the Sonic of the past the gameplay is 2D side scrolling while with the modern is 3D.

The game levels are those of previous games, such as MegaDrive and Dreamcast. In total, there are 9 levels and 7 bosses. Analysts praised the visuals, audio and gameplay, but criticized the problems with the controls and the possible drop in frame rate. Your grade is 76.6.

7) Sonic Colors (2010) – 78 (Wii)

In Sonic Colors, released in 2010, the player follows another Sonic adventure, which must stop Dr. Robotnik, who plans to enslave an alien race called Wisps and thus accomplish his great goal, which is to dominate the planet.

The game takes place out of space, with the phases taking place on different planets that are connected to each other. The gameplay alternates between the side-scrolling and third person perspectives during the levels.

There are 8 colorful special powers from the Wisps that the player can use, making it easier in many moments. The game also has a cooperative multiplayer mode called Eggman’s Sonic Simulator, which players use robots based on Sonic or the Mii characters, from Wii, to go through different phases.

The critics praised the graphics, the audio, the soundtrack, the gameplay and the replay value, but the difficulty, the design and the weak multiplayer mode didn’t help much. Your grade is 78.

6) Sonic & Knuckles (1994) – 81.75 (Mega Drive / Sega Genesis)

Sonic & Knuckles, released in 1994, is a sequel to Sonic the Hedgehog 3, released the same year. After some disagreements between the two main characters, they come together to defeat a common enemy: Dr. Robotnik.

The game has two campaigns, one with Sonic and the other with Knuckles, which takes place shortly after the events of his companion. The player must go through six different levels, each divided into two acts.

Sonic and Knuckles have different gameplay, with the first using its speed while the other takes advantage of its ability to scale structures. Initially, the game was supposed to be part of Sonic 3, but as the cartridges were very small at the time, Sega decided to divide them into two different titles.

Part 2 of the game, if I may say so, ended up doing relatively well with criticism. Analysts liked the lock-on system, the replay factor and the high difficulty, but it was too much the same as its predecessor, which doesn’t exactly offer players a new experience. His grade is 81.75.

5) Sonic Mania (2017) – 84.75 (PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC)

Sonic Mania, released in 2017, came to celebrate the twenty-fifth birthday and try to please old school fans. The game continues the events of Sonic & Knuckles, bringing together Sonic, Knuckles and Tails that aim to defeat Dr. Robotnik, his elite team and his army of robots. In total, the game has 12 phases, 8 of which are remixes of classic zones, such as Green Hill Zone.

The gameplay goes back to the fast and frantic side-scrolling that popularized the series in the early 90’s. Each character has its own abilities, which change the gameplay, increasing the replay factor. In addition to the normal mode, there is a time attack, which players must complete the levels as quickly as possible and their times are placed on a world scoreboard, and a competitive multi-screen split-screen mode that players compete with each other.

The team that developed the title was made up of ROM hackers and people known for their franchise-related fangames. The love and hard work of these developers ended up paying off. The game was praised by analysts for balancing references from the past with new ideas, for the sound and presentation, for the gameplay styles of the characters and for the level design.

Some commented negatively on the frustration due to the controls and positioning of the enemies, the weight of nostalgia and the low difficulty of the boss battles. Sonic Mania was the game with the best rating in fifteen years and scored 84.75.

4) Sonic the Hedgehog (1991) – 86 (Mega Drive / Sega Genesis)

And we go back to the origins with Sonic the Hedgehog, released in 1991. The game accompanies the small and fast hedgehog Sonic in his mission to stop Dr. Robotinik, who imprisoned animals in robots and stole the Chaos Emeralds. The development of the game was born from Sega’s desire to have a mascot, and, after some suggestions, ended up choosing the name Sonic, which is related to the character’s speed.

In the game, the player has to gather rings and defeat enemies to advance through the levels. These rings even function as the character’s life and are dropped when the player is hit by an enemy on the way. The phases are divided into three acts, with the third having a battle against Dr Robotnik. Critics considered the game as a response to the Mario franchise, from competitor Sega, and the game managed to hit the headlines.

Analysts praised the detailed and colorful graphics, the design as a top, the fast gameplay and the fun soundtrack. Some found some songs boring, the difficulty too high and the frustrating to lose all rings at once, but still the game impressed and got a 86 note.

3) Sonic Adventure (1998) – 87 (Dreamcast)

Sonic Adventure, released in 1998, accompanies Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Big and Gamma on their journey to recover all seven Chaos Emeralds to prevent Dr. Robotnik from releasing the ancient monster Chaos. Each of the 6 characters has their own stories and special abilities and must use them to explore the levels and collect various hidden items.

The game is entirely in 3D and, even though it is primarily platform, it has several elements of action and RPGs. There are some levels that include separate story minigames that can be racing, shooting and more, but they can only be accessed with certain characters. The game is the best-selling game in Dreamcast history, with 2.5 million copies sold and ended up convincing analysts.

The visual was the main point of praise, with many describing it as wonderful and an evolution in the gaming world. The gameplay was also well praised, but the audio part was not unanimous among journalists and the camera was well criticized. His grade is 87.

2) Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (1992) – 88 (Mega Drive / Sega Genesis)

Second is the second game in the series, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, released in 1992. The game was the first in which Sonic has the help of Miles Prower, better known as Tails, the two-tailed fox that assists our protagonist in several moments.

The story follows the two characters going after Dr. Robotnik, who stole the Chaos Emeralds to supply his space station, the Death Egg, a clear reference to the Death Star, or Star of Death, from the Star Wars film series. At the beginning of the game, the player can choose between using Sonic, Tails or both. By selecting the latter option, another player can control the fox through a second control.

Some levels are exclusive to one of the characters, with the other not being available for use. Putting all the Chaos Emeralds together, the player can transform into Super Sonic, which runs faster, is immune to attacks and jumps farther, the problem is that he loses one ring per second, transforming the character into normal Sonic when the rings are zeroed.

The game also contains a competitive split screen, in which players compete against each other to see who finishes the stage faster. Analysts commented on how the game improves in several ways and corrects the mistakes of its predecessor.

The problem was in the two player mode and the addition of Tails, with many considering the companion as useless and irritating. They also complained about image distortion and graphic flikers, but the game still impressed and scored 88.

1) Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (1994) – 89 (Mega Drive / Sega Genesis)

We came in first with a draw. Let’s talk first about Sonic the Hedgehog 3, released in 1994. The game is a direct sequel to its predecessor and follows Sonic and Tails, who are looking for the Chaos Emeralds to prevent Dr. Robotnik from launching his Death Egg spacecraft back into space. .

The problem is that our heroes will have to go through several traps set in the way by none other than Knuckles.

The gameplay remains almost the same as Sonic 2, with some additions, such as the ability of Tails to fly for a short period of time using his tail as a propeller, in addition to the little fox being able to swim, something that the hedgehog cannot. The competitive mode is here, with players being able to choose Sonic, Tails or Knuckles to run in 5 levels that do not appear in the main menu. And for those who like to compete alone, there is also the time attack mode.

The game was a commercial success, selling 6 million copies of the title, as well as critically impressing. Even though the game has little innovation in its predecessor, it has incredible designs, wonderful music, striking levels and delicious gameplay. His grade is 89.

1) Sonic Adventure 2 (2001) – 89 (Dreamcast, GameCube)

And also in first place we have Sonic Adventure 2, launched in 2001. The story shows the two sides of the coin, with two campaigns that address different characters. Playing with Sonic, the player must try to save the world with his friends Tails and Knuckles.

Already playing with Shadow, he must make an alliance with Dr. Robotnik and Rouge to try to conquer the planet. The game is in three dimensions and features parts of speed and frenzy, parts of exploration and others of shoot ‘em up.

The levels are set in cities, forests, desert pyramids and even in outer space. In the multiplayer part, there are several options for players to have fun together, from shooting levels to kart racing.

Analysts complained about the camera and the storyline isn’t that good, but the gameplay is very good, the graphics are beautiful, the soundtrack is striking and the game has a very high replay value. Even though he did not have overwhelming sales, he impressed and also scored 89.

Remember, these notes are not ours, but the Metacritic note aggregator. This was the Worst to Best of the Sonic franchise, which is part of the Voxel holiday special. What is your favorite character? Do you prefer 3D or 2D? Put it down there and we’ll read everything.

Leave a Comment