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Rating the Sonic Stories


Zavok the SpinningSilver

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Where do we start? I guess Adventure 1 tried it's best to link all 6 stories(Even Big's like WTF!?) but I liked for what it is, it started great character development for Amy and Tails( sad to see that it was canned for so long, Lost World seems to brought Amy's personality back so I'm good). So I would give Adventure 1 an 7.9/10.

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I posted what I thought a few days ago but I go more in-depth about it and rectify a few things.

 

First off, I don't mind simplicity in Sonic games stories as long as the story is told competently. Same goes for more complex plots. '06 isn't in any way, shape or form the correct way to tell a 'complex' story as much as Generations is in no way, shape or form the correct way to tell a simple one because at the end of the day, both have plotholes, both fail to utilize the characters in any truly competent way and both are undone by their adherence to their ways of telling stories.

 

When it comes to the main series games which I'm going to review, I'll use a 1.0-10.0 scale and judge each by the typical standards of Sonic game stories, not by any other gauge.

 

So to start off...

 

Sonic Adventure - 8.2/10 - The stories interestingly intertwine. Dr Eggman is competent, diabolical and malicious whilst exhibiting whimsy as well, getting involved directly in his plan which gives his villainy much more 'oomph'. Characters are portrayed well and are given great character development. They’re given motivation to do things and have real reason to go to the places that they do. Overall competently-told with no obvious plotholes. Always did question that bit in Knuckles' story in which Gamma drops out of the sky randomly when Knuckles is wondering where the final pieces of the ME are and then Knux follows it to Final Egg's entrance in the jungle when nothing like that happens in Gamma's story.

 

Sonic Adventure 2 - 7.9/10 - Dark themes that are interestingly balanced-out by the themes of hope, redemption and the hero side character’s mannerisms and attitudes. Dr Eggman is once again portrayed and utilized marvelously but he could've done with more whimsy to balance-out his malevolence. Real genuine sense of tension at multiple points. Has moments of intrigue and clever foreshadowing. Cool sense of progression. Characters act believably though Amy's reliance after she stated that she wanted to be independent at the end of the previous game is a touch annoying. Very touching ending which was in no way undermined by Shadow's survival.

 

Sonic Heroes - 5.1/10 - Pretty trite and boring. Not a well developed sense of tension. Eggman factors into the story minimally and his portrayal in the main game is undermined by the fact that it was Metal Sonic masquerading as him. Characters are often Flanderized yet still exhibit some nice interactions between each other in their teams. Still, has an inhibitingly basic story outline that doesn't facilitate much variety out of the characters. Metal Sonic was given very little attention and aplomb considering this was touted as his return. Disappointing.

 

Shadow the Hedgehog (Oh God) - 3.7/10 - (Last story taken into account with a neutral path) Very hard to get a precise read-on due to different paths. If I am judging it’s multiple pathways? Very silly. ‘Choosing Shadow’s alignment’ ultimately comes-off as contrived and meritless when you consider that you can make his pathway wildly inconsistent and non-sensical and that none are canon at the end of the day. The story's tone is very much undermined by how unintentionally funny many of the cutscenes are. Sonic is portrayed stupidly and the other characters ultimately turn into Shadow-shillers.

 

SONIC 2006 - 2.5/10 - Awful. Sonic gets shunted sideways and becomes less of a character with actual plot impetus and more of a catalyst for a fundamentally-screwed plot point which can never be taken seriously i.e His death. Copious plotholes and idiocy from every single one the characters. Pretentious feel about the ‘seriousness’ and all of it is utterly undermined by it all getting wiped out of canon. Dumbass main villain. Characters are mostly included for the hell of it rather than incorporated with logic and hardly any of them provide plot impetus. Characters are forced quite a lot of the time to go to areas for the obvious sake of making them enter every action stage no matter how illogical it is for them to enter them in the first place.

 

Sonic and the Secret Rings - 9.0/10 - Excellent. Truly. Very high standard of characterization out of Sonic which was a revelation and particularly eye-opening after Shadow the Hedgehog and '06 treated him awfully. Believable character actions bring about highly influential effects on the plot without looking the least bit contrived or forced. Main villain was dimensional, intelligent and diabolical, having a profound level of influence over the two main characters in a believable way. Balances it's tones very well, having very dark and very lighthearted aspects with neither coming off as forced. Well-established sense of tension from the morton’s fork involving Sonic’s curse and Erazor’s prerequisite for it’s removal which would benefit him no matter what Sonic did, making me wonder how the hell Sonic would get out of that one and therefore keeping my attention. Not a single plothole. Settings are used well. Competently-told throughout with things actually happening. Incredibly satisfying ending that combines badassery with sweetness very well.

 

Sonic Unleashed - 8.2/10 - Has interesting themes i.e The mutual nature of light and dark and the cyclic nature of all things. Great characterization. Memorable script. Fantastic opening. Characters have motivation and reason to do what they do and go where they go. Cool sense of humor that’s never overblown or obnoxious and is well-spaced. Unfortunately becomes incredibly uninvolved and boring in the middle and also loses points for missed opportunity regarding Werehog form and it’s effects on Sonic and could’ve done with a bit more Tails and Amy. No plotholes. Overall competently-told.

 

Sonic and the Black Knight - 8.5/10 - Flawless portrayal of Sonic that I’d say is the most triumphant portrayal of the character yet. His attitude to heroism is utilized extremely believably to bring about plot points i.e Saving the kids family compels Nimue to guide Sonic, his refusal to give-in to Merlina’s machinations brings-about his Excalibur form and believably gets him out of a jam. Fantastic script. Well-utilized characters and light is shed on their real priorities, making them characters with real influence on the plot. Sonic is given a highly-endearing foil in the form of Caliburn who contrast him excellently, their relationship developing from mutually disrespectful and clashing to harmonious in a very cool way. Misses points due to the blurriness of Camelot’s future and lack of exposition on Merlina’s foretellings somewhat undermining her aims to some degree but she’s still a deeply interesting quasi-villain who is also sympathetic, her and the conflict is intriguing. Could've done with being longer.

 

Sonic Colours - 4.9/10 - Takes the fact that it’s supposed to be telling a story nowhere near into consideration as much as it should do. Plot development is shunted-aside to push ‘humor’ to the forefront, said ‘humor’ being never clever nor particularly funny. It's light hearted tone is incredibly overbearing. Sonic is hugely flanderized when this was completely unnecessary as previous games showed that his brand of humor and his more awkward tendencies could be acknowledged by other characters and be portrayed without them consuming him. Eggman is delegated to mainly acting behind the scenes and this detracts from his overall villain status. Plot points with huge potential such as Tails' mind-control are brought-up and quickly abandoned. Wisps are never developed making it next to impossible to truly care about their plight which in turn undermines the main plotline about saving them. Some instances of plotholes. Cutscenes are incredibly samey and lack variety because many focus on shutting down generators/Dumbass interactions with mute robots. Unsatisfying ending. What are highly commendable are the Sonic-Tails interactions and Orbot and Cubot, who are genuinely cool characters. I always wondered why they weren't introduced sooner...with the exception of Orbot who was still 'not whole' in Unleashed.

 

Sonic Generations - 4.4/10 - Plot hardly ever goes anywhere or has ‘bumps’ in it therefore not facilitating interesting character portrayals. Classic Sonic's muteness is the very epitome of pandering to warped interpretations, shooting a hole in his character. What worsens this is the way he’s never incorporated in any creative way in the narrative anyway. Characters are treated like generic cheerleaders and objects to save rather than dimensional characters with big personalities and potential to contribute to the plot. Time Eater is one of the most boring Monster's of the week ever with practically no background given for it's existence. Eggman hardly factors into the story to any large degree. Story is overall a massive missed opportunity made more pitious by the game being a supposed celebration of 20 years of the series. Contains some truly great and memorable lines however and Sonic's portrayal is a step above Colours.

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I would give Shadow a 2. The story is incomprehensible at best and for the most part, entirely pointless. None of the events seem to match up.(Look at how the Neutral playthrough unfolds) The characters are dull and uninteresting(why do I need to care about black doom again?). And 6 endings are considered 100% noncanon because this spinoff "choose your own adventure" game has a final canon ending. Did I mention that most endings suck anyway?

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Stories in Sonic games are quite the controversial subject in the franchise ain't it?  More so, than they should be but I digress. 

Here's how I rate some of the games' stories.

 

Great:

Sonic 3 & Knuckles: An epic tale told mostly through gameplay pulled off very well.

Sonic Adventure: Six stories for six characters that included growth, struggle, action, happiness, sadness, mystery, and resolve.  Excellent!

Sonic Adventure 2: Arguably still the best!  Another epic with the sides of Hero and Dark clashing with each other until another conflict rises and both sides are able to put personal issues aside for the preservation of their world. Greatness!

Sonic Rush: Blaze's story which partly resolves in this game and cleverly continues in the sequel.  Outside of Shadow, Blaze probably has the best character arc in the series.

The Storybook series:  Both tales in this duology gave Sonic a chance shine as a character with surprising satisfying results.

Sonic Colors: After dealing with god monsters, aliens, giant lizards, genies, wizards, and admittedly annoying side characters, Sonic and Tails (mostly Sonic) could use an adventure that could allow them to have some fun and share a few laughs while they save the day.

 

Good:

Sonic 1, Sonic 2, Sonic CD, The Advance Trilogy, Sonic Heroes, Sonic Rush Adventure, and Sonic Chronicles (I don't read 'em so I can't be sure, but I feel like this game's story feels like something I would find in the archie comics).

 

Bad:

Shadow the Hedgehog: What an awful follow-up to SA2's story!  Aliens? Really!?  Well ok but it's just so utterly ridiculous and I highly doubt the writers had this in mind in regards to Shadow's origin around the time they were writing for SA2.  Also this game's overly dark tone and awful structure of the plot just didn't sit well with me at all.  I still like Shadow as a character but this game didn't do him any favors whatsoever.  No wonder he decided to just put the past behind him.  EVEN HE WAS DISSATISFIED! 

 

Sonic the Hedgehog (2006):  What hasn't been said about this stinker?  A plot even more ridiculous than the last (in fact, I think you'd be better off reading bad fan fiction), veteran characters either acting out of character or just plain stupid, new characters that suck ass (poor Silver sad.png and fuck Elise angry.png ), villains who either just as stupid or just there for the sake of having a villain, plotholes and inconsistencies by the truckload, continuity snarls, and cringe-worthy cutscenes made an already terrible game even worse!

Edited by FireBird75
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Personally, I think in terms of tone and general writing, SA1 and 2 got it spot-on on their first tries. Aside from the storybook games, pretty much everything since has either been a broken, convoluted mess that's trying to be dark and edgy (see; Shadow and to a lesser extent 06) or sickeningly barely-plot fluff that could have been written on the back of a postcard. Sonic Unleashed dodges this bullet a little by being a relatively happy medium, although personally I still found it erred a little too much on the side of light and fluffy. That said, it's still many times better than any of the main series plots we've had since. 

 

Whilst the plot was butchered beyond any real redemption in 06, I still prefer it on a tonal and conceptual level than I do anything we've had since. Aside from the (only slightly) more 'realistic' visual style (ugh, that Eggman design) and setting, plot-wise there's really not much at all in 06 that makes it any 'darker' or 'taking itself too seriously' than either of the Adventure games. 

 

As of Colours I can't say I've cared for the plots in the Sonic games at all. Colours itself was the first outright barely-plot we got, with a good 90% of the so-called 'story' just being a string of cringeworthy bad jokes and one-liners (in the English dialogue anyway- not that the Japanese dialogue made the story any better, but at least it didn't make me want to strangle Sonic to death most of the time). Generations just had the most pitiful not-plot ever. As I've said before, whilst the gameplay is getting better, I really don't care for the direction that the series has taken in every other aspect in recent years, and the story is one of the biggest offenders. :/

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I'd order the ones I know of as:

 

1. Sonic Unleashed (8/10): Already mentioned my feelings on it in the Unleashed topic.

 

2. Sonic Adventure (7.7/10): Well done plot that incorporated multiple characters, gave them each individual goals, and managed to tie everyone together. My only complaints are that Tikal has no reason to go to Amy, Big, or Gamma since they never interact with Chaos meaningfully in their stories. Furthermore, Big's story felt unnecessary, given that he had no plot relevance to anything that happened. His only contribution is having a frog that gets possessed by Chaos' tail, a fact that becomes meaningless when we see that Chaos' perfect form has no tail for all of the trouble Eggman went through to get it.

 

3. Sonic Colors (7.5/10): My problems with some of the forced humor aside, I feel this was a pretty solid Sonic title, somewhat hearkening back to the original Sonic game, only with Wisps instead of animals. I only wish it had been a bit more serious like Unleashed and had less reused bosses (and thus overly similar cutscenes), prompting my lower ranking of it compared to adventure.

 

4. Sonic Adventure 2 (7/10): It had a good overall story, but it's marred by a lot of silly coincidences that start to stack up. Knuckles' involvement and appearances are quite forced. Tails manages to find out about a secret government base on television. Amy also does and manages to get there undetected... somehow. Everyone somehow manages to become completely unaware of how to identify color, mistaking Sonic for Shadow. And so on.

 

5. Sonic 2006 (5.5/10): For all that it got wrong, Sonic 2006 had an interesting premise. Shadow's story and development was well done, being the best of the three games. The characters (aside from Knuckles), also had pretty decent reasons for being around, and managed to actually contribute over the plot (aside from Amy, who disappears early on, and Blaze, who just kinda...stands around). But the game comes up short in the other two stories, having Sonic's story being a glorified fetchquest and Silver never once questioning if he can trust the demonic looking hedgehog with no mouth.

 

There are also a lot of other matters that are never really addressed:

  • Why does Mephiles travel back in time to fuse with Iblis when it's already awake in the future? He is shown in the Last Story to be able to summon Chaos Emeralds to himself, so why couldn't he do that in the future?
  • Mephiles has no real plan. He wants to fuse with Iblis and then... destroy the universe, I guess? It's never really made clear what Mephiles hopes to do after becoming Solaris. Destroy everything? Exist as an all powerful being that rules through fear?
  • Solaris is made out to be an evil villain, but is revealed to have been experimented upon by the people of Soleanna. Is it really evil? SEGA seems to want you to believe so, but the fact that we never see Solaris' misdeeds before said experimentation makes it hard to see Solaris' attempts to destroy everything as anything other than outrage at how he was treated.
  • Sonic interacts with Elise, who has Iblis sealed inside of her, and Eggman, who is trying to capture Mephiles to merge with Iblis to put Solaris into a machine and control time with it. But Sonic's story doesn't give you these details. The OTHER two stories do (in one cutscene each, at that). As such, a lot of Eggman's motivation that could carry the plot and make Sonic's story more important just doesn't exist.
  • Eggman wants to control time by putting Solaris into a machine and experimenting on it. The exact same thing that the people of Soleanna did. This is never addressed and we're supposed to sympathize with the king and his people while hating Eggman.

Additionally, I have to make an obligatory comment on how disgusting Sonic and Elise's "romance" was. I honestly think Elise's role could have been salvaged if she was made to be a version of Blaze from Sonic's universe.

 

6. Sonic Generations (4.9/10): So much missed potential that it was upsetting. For all of its cheesy dialogue, Colors actually did manage to use humor effectively at times, and I was looking forward to the number of in-jokes that Generations would supply. While there were many that were good, the fact that there are only two cutscenes involving the worlds is disappointing. Furthermore, the explanation for why Sonic is untouched by the effects of the Time Eater is lackluter. They could simply have mentioned it was due to him coming in contact with Chaos power so frequently (which would explain why Metal Sonic, Shadow, and [possibly] Silver didn't get frozen). There's also the matter of all of Sonic's friends being reduced to cheerleaders, especially given that ALL of them fought against Eggman multiple times before.

 

7. Sonic Heroes (4/10): This game was pretty much the beginning of the Flanderization of a lot of characters. Amy became more stalkerish, Tails lost a lot of his independence, etc. There's also the problem of this game having about as much story as a Sonic Advance title, which is a lot less pleasant for a game on a console system that followed Sonic Adventures 1 and 2. Most of the game is pointless, with the only two plot points raised being:

  • Metal Sonic is the main villain. Too bad he doesn't do anything until the very, very, VERY end of the game.
  • Is Shadow an android or not? However, this plot point fails by virtue of the fact that Shadow makes several comments throughout the game that suggests he is the SA2 Shadow (Saying "some things never change" to Rouge after she says she plans to steal the Master Emerald; being familiar with Super Sonic; making allusions to The ARK on the Egg Fleet) and the fact that the game never ties up this plot point. It falls to Shadow's game to do that.

8. Shadow the Hedgehog (UGH): The whole point of this game is "Is Shadow the real one or not?" The answer is ultimately yes... but you have to stall the final boss for about seven minutes to find that out. Everything else in-game is pretty much senseless filler, even in terms of the game itself. The morality system has no purpose given that Shadow becomes a hero in the end, and Final Story makes no attempt to tie together what path Shadow canonically took to get to that point.

 

There's also the issue about Shadow acting as though he has no one to trust, even though he spent the previous game bonding with Rouge and Omega. Shouldn't they be characters that feature more and have more of an impact on Shadow's decisions throughout the game? Instead, they just show up briefly and rarely interact with Shadow. Given that Omega only shows up in non-canon pathways that result in Eggman's death, it's likely that Omega canonically wasn't even involved in the events of the game.

 

Furthermore, if Shadow wanted to know about his past, there are a number of people he could have asked.

  • Amy.
  • Rouge. Considering that she's one of the most trusted people he knows given the events of Heroes, you would think that he would just ask her about himself. Or that Rouge would just tell him herself.
  • Sonic, Tails, or Knuckles. Why? To quote Sonic's pre-boss battle quote for Team Dark: "Not the best way to greet someone you haven't seen in a while!" Clearly, they know of Shadow, so it would be worth a shot.
  • Eggman. Admittedly, he does attempt to do this... and Eggman decides to say the exact same thing Metal Sonic did in Heroes for some reason.
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Hmm, this'll be a fun topic. biggrin.png

 

Anyway, let's start with Sonic Adventure 1. I'd give that game an 8.4/10

 

The plot is comptentantly told, with multiple storylines that intertwine well into the main plot. The different characters each have individual goals and motivation to achieve them and are characterized well - Amy and Tails even manage to get some very well done development. But I'll echo what Hobogoblin said - I don't see why Amy, Gamma, or Big got sent to the past by Tikal. I see no need for it as they never really interected with Chaos. I mean, Sonic's the one that ultimately stopped Chaos, so he makes the most sense. And Knuckles descended from the ancient echidna tribe, so I can see Tikal showing him a bit of history. As for Tails, he at least got to properly fight Chaos. All Big ever did was fish Froggy out of him and Gamma and Amy.... I don't thnk ever even saw him in thier stories.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Now that Lost World is out and most people here have played it, I guess it's somewhat reasonable to rate its story. From seeing the cutscenes, I would give it an 8.5 since it took it self seriously when it needs to and has some funny moments where the humor was actually pretty funny. It's also a good thing that Amy isn't a parody of herself anymore. But it does has it's flaws like Knuckles' appearance (he wasn't really needed IMO), it also doesn't explain how Eggman got out of the White Space and why are Wisps in the Lost Hex, we also don't know how does Tails know The Lost Hex or the Zeti and the planet itself but I digress and it's ending was quite disappointing but wasn't too bad either. Overall, this is some of the best stories in a long time and can not wait to see more from the writers!

Edited by SoniTH
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Sonic Adventure- 7/10: Offers six stories in total, which does offer a lot of variety and character development. The core story is good overall, but it gets bogged down by graphics and voice acting that have aged horribly. Also, while I appreciate Amy's personality in this game, her and Big don't really contribute much to the grand scheme of the plot with Chaos, and Tikal appearing to her, Gamma, and Big is BS.

 

Sonic Adventure 2- 8/10: The best part of a game that's aged horribly IMO. Sure, there's a ton of plot holes that have been discussed time and time again, and Knuckles feels shoehorned into the plot, but I find it enjoyable aside from that. The story does have a bit of a dark tone, but it still carries a fun attitude that still reminds me I'm watching a Sonic story. The entire voice cast aside from Tails does an outstanding job, and Shadow was an awesome and likeable character with an intriguing backstory in his debut game.

 

I can't really say much for Heroes, Shadow, and 06, as I haven't played these games yet and consider it unfair to offer a full opinion on their stories, although Shadow's retconning pisses me off to no end.

 

Sonic and the Secret Rings: 8/10: Very enjoyable stuff here, Erazor is a fairly threatening villain aside from the hammy vocal performance, I don't find Shahra to be annoying and felt sorry for her at the end, and Sonic has a lot of personality in this game. It's also cool getting to see different versions of Sonic characters in the world of Arabian nights.

 

Sonic Unleashed: 8.5/10: The middle act is basically nonexistent, but the beginning and middle are so memorable that it earns a lot of points for me. The friendship between Sonic and Chip was great, Dark Gaia is one of the most threatening villains in the series, and the ending was top notch and is still my favorite of any Sonic game, making me feel emotional-yet-triumphant at the same time. 

 

Sonic and the Black Knight: 9/10: Easily my favorite of any Sonic story. I sympathized with Merlina's motive, the twist was pretty shocking, and Sonic is the most likeable he's ever been here. I also felt this was one of the few games to take advantage of almost every character and giving them a purpose to serve, (mainly talking about the Knights of the round.) The 4kids cast was definitely at the top of their game here too, really selling their performances.

 

Sonic Colors- 6.5/10: Orbot and Cubot are hilarious, stealing every scene they're in, and the Sonic/Tails Bromace is great, but there's too much focus on humor and not much else here. I'm fine with that approach in a Sonic game, but when jokes like 'Baldy Mcnosehair" fall flat on their face most of the time, I just cringe. I really don't give a shit about the Wisps either, I guess they're kind of cute in a plush doll sort of way but they don't really have a personality. 

 

Sonic Generations- 5.5/10: Extremely disappointing. The humorous approach from Colors would have worked well here, and I would have loved to see the writers poke fun at past Sonic experiences like 06 and witness more references. I think a lot of cutscenes ended up on the cutting room floor. The only saving grace of this bland story are Sonic and Tails commenting on the first few stages, the ending, and post credits scene with the two Eggmen.

 

Sonic: Lost World: 7.5/10: The best story since Black Knight, but there was a lot of missed potential here. There's hardly any explanation for what the Lost Hex is, who exactly the Deadly Six are and what their motivation is. Eggman, Sonic, and Tails are all characterized well here, and seeing them work together adds a lot of interesting tension. The Deadly Six also grew on me, they've got some great dialogue and they all feel unique from each other. But seriously, that is one incredibly anti-climactic ending. Knuckles and Amy are also unfortunately shoehorned into the story and don't really do anything useful.

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