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August 24, 2021 in Sonic Games
Wisps: Introduced in Sonic Colors, returned in Sonic Lost World, Forces and Team Sonic Racing
With the return of Sonic Colors in its Ultimate life form, I thought bringing this topic would be interesting. Sorry, if this would be more suitable on General Sonic Chat, I'm still a little confused about both.
Whenever we think about Sonic Abilities, we can go back as far as Sonic's debut on SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive. It's hard to believe the first entry in the series didn't even feature the Spin Dash, while basically only allowing the player to move forward/backwards, look up and down, roll, and of course, jump. As we all know the story well, the Spin Dash didn't come much later in Sonic 2, also on the Genesis/Mega Drive. It has become a standard ever since, and nowadays, it's sometimes easier to find Sonic 1 with Spin Dash than without it.
It's hard to say any other ability was so important than this one, I could only think about the Homing Attack, and still wouldn't give it the title of "Sonic's most innovative ability".
Of course, this was just the beginning. Sonic News Network's page of Attacks and Moves lists over 250 abilities between all Sonic characters. Many of them are so inherited in the franchise, you probably faced yourself at least once trying to do a newer ability on an older game: ahem, Drop Dashing in the classics.
This, as you can believe, led to a massive introduction of new abilities, most of them probably to see which would stick with fans. Sonic CD introduced the Super Peel-Out, Sonic 3 (& Knuckles) the Insta-Shield, Sonic Adventure, the Light Speed Dash and the Homing Attack (technically it was 3D Blast, as a monitor), and many, many more.
Some of these abilities were also exclusive (and pretty much still are) to some characters, also being their most recognizable aspects, most remarkable Tails with Flying, Knuckles with Gliding, and even Amy with her Piko-Piko Hammer, this is not mentioning "generation"/timeline wise, such as Classic Sonic with Drop Dash and Modern Sonic with Homing Attack.
However, many of these abilities, sometimes for gameplay reasons, got stuck into a few games and never or rarely got a return, such as Super Peel-Out on CD/Chaos/Triple Trouble with a return on Lost World and Mania, or even going deeper into solely gameplay, the Werehog exclusive to Unleashed and Wisps which were exclusive to Colors, but got mainstream.
Arguably, a multi-ability Sonic could be cool (Jump, Spindash, Super-Peel Out, Insta-Shield, Homing Attack, Light Speed Dash and even Drop Dash) but extremely messy to play, the same way I don't think many fans would like a return of Werehog. So, which would you want to be Sonic defaults abilities? Should some gameplays be game exclusive? Or Sonic should learn something new every game?
As a personal opinion, and as part of the research for this topic, I do think Sonic already had introduced lots of abilities, and unless you have a controller with lots of buttons, I don't think they ever should exceed all those abilities I just mentioned in the last paragraph. Gameplay wise, I really would love some games with more playable characters, as long they have significant gameplay changes (and one of them isn't just finishing). Last but not least, it's interesting to see the series evolving, I must say I'm not Wisps' biggest defender, despite doesn't really bother them, and I would be curious what could be the next mainstream move, or if SEGA could drop one of them for simplicity reasons.
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