Sunday, May 26, 2013

Lessons Learned from Sonic 2006

Lessons Learned From Sonic 2006

Re-writing the mistakes we’ve made-
To begin, in 2006, Sonic Team wanted to start from scratch giving Sonic & friends a new head start. So by going on a journey no one thought possible since Sonic CD. In fact, that was the original spin on things, taking Sonic into the past, present, and possible future. The usage of time in this series has been really risky. Back then it was delivered in a solid storytelling fashion, just you (as Sonic) up to the task of recovering Time Stones. Once all seven were re-collected, the Planet would be restored to its proper balance.

However, depending on your choices in obtaining the Emeralds Sonic would be immersed through different versions of the world he was zipping across. With 2006, it actually became centered on a human, a supernatural entity, and Shadow’s dark shadow (Mephiles). Some redeemed the game as the biggest mess in the series history. But was it something else altogether?

I recently just started replaying 2k6, and it made feel like writing to help represent this zero chapter in the Hedgehog series. Note: Biased? Nah, I’m open minded to what’s been said already. This is just my perspective with some of my gaming history.

Chaos Control – Adventure’s great divide-
So there’s this phrase that’s been coming up recently. Chaos Control, a term first used in the Adventure mini-series. It would be a tie-in phrase that would shape many things that changed the series since its Genesis days. With the introduction of Tikal, and the Chao creatures, they were connected through the Master Emerald that Knuckles has been protecting from day one. However, bad things happened, and Tikal fused her energy with the Emerald becoming the voice of the very stone itself.

In part of her efforts, her energy resonated with the heroes as they fought the Perfect Chaos. Only to reset it back to its normal self. With Adv.2 it becomes a novel use from Shadow (who apparently is an alternate version of Sonic from many years ago). Bizarre as it may sound, perhaps Sonic knew he wasn’t always alone. Actually I don’t think its ever been established as to how he wound up being a hero in the first place. In the original Sonic (1991) all we ever knew is that Sonic always managed to stop Robotnik from taking over his homeworld.

A possible timeline is explored in the long running Archie Comics’ series. Plus it was also foreshadowed in the two animated series, that Sonic’s home planet is called Mobius. A planet where nature, and humans have resided together for generations. But oddly enough some of their storylines crossed over into the game series universe, where anything is possible.

Back to the What?-
Apparently Sonic and friends find themselves on a crossroads with Soleanna. Oddly enough it is not even clear how or why they wound up here, but the Emeralds took their wielders to a specific point in time. After Adventure II and Heroes, its abundantly clear Sonic and his friends are a bit older. But in the order of things it could any time or place with the Emeralds capabilities. (explained thusly by Tails: in Adventure I, behind the first Tornado, before heading towards the Egg Carrier battle) (and Adventure II, with Tails catching up with Amy before getting in a tussle with Robotnik.)  With one major exception, anything they’ve fixed in the timeline with this adventure is actually wiped with a clean slate. No Iblis, or Mephiles, thus no need to be here anymore. The reason I gave that part away, is because that is exactly what happened for those needing to catch up. Adventure over, let’s move on, simple as that.

Between the fans, and the irony – (or how some of us stopped the hate  on 2006)
Welcome to the not-so-fun portion of the gaming community. For one, it is the most debated, disliked, and confusing part of what makes Sonic fan communities work. Except there are a few of us that  consider it a game; and enjoy what we can aside from naysayers.

Here’s what I take from Sonic 2k6 – It works like an episode of Doctor Who:  1) we find a situation, try to fix it, 2) We find out there are parallel effects from our decisions, 3) finding a conclusion, things go back to the way they were meant to be, 4) However no one outside of our circle will remember anything.

Now how the Sonic communities have been feuding over it still? Well there is a somewhat love interest with Princess Elise, that does bring out rage. Plus the story may get some fans confused. But most of all the controls, and level designs, to game breaking moments of “yelling at your tv when you hit an object full speed!” Overall 2006 was meant to reboot the franchise in a whole new way. But to some it was a “hit and miss” in the long run.

Musically interpreted-
Aside from the negative, the soundtrack to this game is astonishing. Boasting a mixture of rock, pop, EDM, jazz, and classic rock, the limits are endless when it comes to a Sonic OST. Adventure set the bar pretty high with the variety of themes, and level bgms. Its tough to compare one over the other because each game’s soundtrack is so unique, it is truly a whole new adventure every time you go from one title to the next.

Back in the game – where to from here- Unleashed, Colors, Generations to Lost Worlds
After 2006 found its spot in the,“not-so-positive” part of the critics corner. However the series redeemed itself with even more fun tales of the blue hedgehog and friends.

Unleashed – Enter the Night: Sonic finds himself on the brink of victory, when fate intervenes and Robotnik actually wins. Sent to Earth, dazed and confused, he gains an ally in a creature he nicknames Chip. Only to find out that at night, he becomes a creature of the night. With the only cure of fixing the planet’s tectonic alignment once more.

Colors (a sci-fi spectacle theme park courtesy of Robotnik) and Generations (past and present collide, to fight for the future!* *wait that’s from another game, oh well. A planet called “Wisp” needs Sonic & Tails help to prevent the loss of their treasured home. There seem to be hints that this could be the same planet we saved back in Sonic CD. Plus the forthcoming “Lost World” is a direct sequel. So anything is possible for the Colors mini-series.

For one, this series does not back down, it gets back up never accepting defeat. There are many platformers that attend to “hop and bop” or “a to b” but there is nothing else like the Sonic franchise.
To recap, since Sonic 2k6, the series has rebounded and found itself a fanbase on various sides, and consoles. (including our PC brothas and sistas!) It no longer needs to be defined by just the speed that Sonic has carried over the years. Just intense action, chills, spills, and insane moments that leaves us wanting more in the next game.

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