Sonic the Hedgehog (referred often as Sonic '06 to avoid confusion with the first game in the series) is a 2006 platforming video game made to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise. It was released for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in 2006. A PC version was also in development but was scrapped due to the poor development cycle.
It is considered to be one of the worst games of all time, and was originally seen as the worst entry in the Sonic franchise (until Sonic Boom was released, challenging that claim).
Sega delisted the game from retailers in 2010, following its decision to remove all Sonic games with below-average Metacritic scores in order to increase the value of the brand.
Dr. Eggman plans to revive an evil demon known as Iblis by kidnapping Princess Elise of Soleanna. However in the future, Iblis has caused the end of the world, so a hedgehog known as Silver goes back in time, believing Sonic is responsible for awakening Iblis. What no one knows is that they are all pawns of another demon known as Mephiles, who plans to unite with Iblis as both Iblis and Mephiles were once a single entity known as Solaris, the God of Time.
You play as Sonic, Shadow, and Silver, in three different storylines. Sonic uses his speed and agility to get through his level, Shadow uses speed, vehicles, and hand-to hand combat to progress, and Silver, while slow, has powerful telekinetic abilities. Throughout the game, all three are assisted by other characters, bringing the total number of playable characters up to 9.
Why it Sucks
- It was heavily rushed. Sonic Team didn't finish the game. They took an untested beta build that could be played from start to finish and released that. This predictably caused lots of glitches and bugs.
- Extremely sensitive controls. Just a slight tilt of the analog stick is more than enough to turn your character 90 degrees.
- Poor controls make the game frustratingly bad, making it hard to jump through rings or drive a vehicle.
- The story is convoluted, messy, and downright riddled with plot holes (see points 16 and 17).
- Many gimmicks are buggy, it's easy to glitch through walls, etc.
- There will be times in a certain stage where Sonic goes at high speed (known as Mach Speed Sections) and you need to control him so he avoids obstacles. The moving controls are inconsistent, Sonic normally moves forward by himself, but when he hits an item box in the air you suddenly need to move the left stick for him to move forward, it is also very difficult to avoid obstacles as the stage throws way too many things at you. Jumping in these sections is also extremely dangerous since it locks Sonic's movement while in the air.
- Eggman's realistic design was heavily disliked for being incredibly disturbing and falling into the uncanny valley. Elise's design was also noted for being too pale and looking like a poor-man's version of a character designed by Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts character designer Tetsuya Nomura.
- A lot of puzzles in this game are broken or poorly designed. An example is the infamous ball puzzle in the Dusty Desert level where you play as Silver and have to push a ball into a hole at the end of a path while avoiding other holes scattered throughout. Due to the terrible physics and aforementioned controls, it can be EXTREMELY difficult to get the ball in the right hole due to the fact that you can only hit the ball a limited number of times before it explodes, and as mentioned there are also other holes in the ground that both Silver and the ball can fall into. If Silver falls into one of these holes he dies and you lose a life. Also, the metal crates that are blocking the holes don't really help much.
- The bad controls can cause cheap deaths. For example, in the first zone there is a bridge below an item box which Sonic can get stuck on and die if you aren't moving the left stick after going on the ramp just before the bridge.
- Sonic's gem power-ups were supposed to be timer-based, but due to the game being rushed, the timers are not programmed and never run out, meaning you can use them forever.
- All seven Gems themselves are very broken, and they are:
- The Blue Gem (which gives you a burst of speed) can be used to quickly go through levels.
- The Red Gem can be used to slow down time. This includes the level timer, making it easier to get big scores.
- The Green Gem creates a tornado around Sonic, damaging everything close to him.
- The White Gem allows Sonic to perform a more powerful and controllable Homing Attack.
- The Sky Gem makes Sonic throw a small gem, and wherever the gem lands, Sonic will zip towards that location. However its range is not unlimited, and it can accidentally launch Sonic off the stage.
- The Yellow Gem creates a yellow-colored Thunder Shield around Sonic (similar to the lightning/magnetic shield from older games). While it can only take 1 hit, there is nothing preventing the player from simply making another one.
- The Purple Gem (which can shrink you down and (for some bizarre reason) give you the ability to fly by jumping repetitively) can be use to skip huge chunks of levels, this is probably the most broken Gem as it lets you beat levels in a few minutes or less.
- All seven Gems themselves are very broken, and they are:
- Next to no speed in a game franchise that is supposed to be fast-paced and characters are supposed to be fast, even Sonic himself (you know, the fastest thing alive) runs relatively slow compared to other entries in the series, and the stages where Sonic DOES run fast are damn near impossible to control.
- While nowhere NEAR as bad as Shadow the Hedgehog, this game can take itself way too seriously. For example, in the Last Story, Sonic gets killed by the main villain (albeit temporarily).
- The opening cutscene feels like it could fit more in a Final Fantasy game than a Sonic game, nothing in it feels like Sonic the Hedgehog, until Sonic and Eggman jump in and do their roles.
- On that topic, the game's art direction received mixed reactions from fans because it combines realistic humans and animals with the cartoony designs of Sonic and his friends. It's very inconsistent, and while it was a running theme in other Sonic games like Sonic Adventure, Sonic Adventure 2, Shadow the Hedgehog, and later Sonic Unleashed, those games had at least a cartoony appearance. In this game however, it is very glaring with its mediocre models and more realistic environments.
- Constant scripted events and autopilot sections in the levels. Often you can find yourself not pressing any button for over 20 seconds while the game plays itself. (For example, you can beat the Shadow hang gliding sections without even touching a SINGLE button)
- The storyline for the game is way too complex and confusing for younger audiences to understand.
- On the topic of the story, it is filled to the brim with many plot holes, inconsistencies, retcons, and plot threads that make no sense, some attributed to the time travel element. Among these highlights pointed by Somecallmejohnny include:
- In the scene where Shadow is sealing Mephiles in the staff, Mephiles says that one day he will escape and kill Shadow, which could explain how Mephiles knows Shadow when they first meet, because Shadow was meant to stop Mephiles, one little problem tho, SHADOW WAS STILL SEALED IN THE CAPSULE IN PRISON ISLAND AT THAT TIME!!! So there was NO way he could have stopped Mephiles in the first place!
- Shadow WORKS FOR G.U.N.?! You know, the same company that tried to KILL him in the last game?!?! (That game's Expert Mode contains some dialogue that helps fill this in, but it's quite a far fetch)
- Before the Duke (Elise's father) dies, he seals Iblis inside Elise (who is unconscious) and tells Elise to always be happy, and that if she ever cries, Iblis will be free, the problem is, HOW was Elise able to not cry for ten years??? ESPECIALLY after her father dies?????
- Before Shadow and Silver go back to the present, Silver gives the young unconscious Elise the Blue Chaos Emerald, which could explain how Elise has the Chaos Emerald in the begin of the game, but THAT'S in Silver's story, in Shadow's story, if you look very closely at Silver's right hand as he heads into the portal, you can see the Blue Chaos Emerald is still in his hand, as the words of Somecallmejohnny: "OOPS".
- WHY DID SHADOW LEAVE THE SCEPTER OF DARKNESS BEHIND?!
- But probably the biggest one is THEY CAN TIME TRAVEL AT WILL!!! Why doesn't Mephiles just go back in time and merge with Iblis right away?!
- The reason for all of this is because Sonic 06 was meant to be a series reboot, if that was the case, it would be fine, but Sonic Generations treats it as canon with the rest of the series, so the massive retcons, inconsistencies, and plot holes can't be excused anymore and also introduces plot holes in the rest of the lore.
- Nothing happens in Sonic's story. All of the important backstories of Princess Elise and Solaris are told in Shadow and Silver's stories. With Sonic (you know, the main character of the game), it's just the completely pointless scuffle with Dr. Eggman complete with Elise getting kidnapped FIVE TIMES!!!
- Painfully long and frequent loading times. The worst instance of this is when you do a side mission. First, you accept the mission, it loads, then the NPC explains what you must do, and it loads again, you finish the mission, it loads, the NPC praises/criticizes you, it loads. It takes FOUR loading screens to do a sidequest, sometimes the load screens will last longer than the sidequests!
- What's even ironic is that there is a side quest in Shadow's story where you help a G.U.N. soldier, and it has only ONE loading screen. Why can't ALL of the levels be like this?
- Despite Mephiles being the main villain of the game, Sonic never meets him once.
- Many playable side characters, but they are rarely used and are just as buggy as the main characters, if not worse:
- Tails' gameplay is similar to that of Sonic Heroes (when he is on his own). He can fly, but his flight has too much forward momentum and he'll drop like a brick after a while. He can attack enemies with Dummy Ring Bombs, which are slow but effective against enemies. However, they create fake rings upon exploding, and if you take damage, there is no way to tell the difference between real and fake rings.
- Rouge doesn't use hand-to-hand combat like she did in Sonic Adventure 2. Instead she uses bombs, similar to Tails.
- For Omega, he only has a pea shooter and homing missiles that sometimes work. His attacks also lack the impact that they had in Sonic Heroes. He also has a hover ability that can be EASILY exploited to skip parts of levels.
- Knuckles and Amy both have the WORST controls in the game:
- Knuckles is slow, hard to use, and has terrible combat that could make Shadow the Hedgehog blush. He and Rouge are also arguably the buggiest characters in the game.
- Amy has gone back to her gameplay style that she had in Sonic Adventure, only much worse than before.
- Sonic's personality turned from a cool hero with an attitude into a mostly serious one. (It should be a mentioned that while in earlier games, Sonic DOES take things seriously, he tends to have a sense of humor at times since you know, this is a kids game).
- Elise is by far one of the most worthless and useless damsels in distress in video game history (surpassing even Princess Peach of the Super Mario Bros. franchise, which is quite the accomplishment), since she gets kidnapped so often it's ridiculous. She has the power of Iblis inside herm which is extremely powerful yet she almost never uses it (as it only triggers if she sheds a single tear, which in itself is pretty stupid), making her a poor man's version of Jean Grey (only without becoming a strong female lead).
- Both Elise and Silver were poorly received. After Sonic 06, Elise (so far) has never been seen in any future Sonic games. Silver on the other hand gained more popularity than Elise, becoming a side character in the franchise, and appearing in minor roles like the two Sonic Rivals games, the Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games series, Sonic Riders, Sonic Generations, and Sonic Forces. Silver usually gives people Sonic 06 flashbacks, which might be why he doesn't appear often.
- The NPCs look like uglier versions of the character models in GTA: San Andreas and they also have terrible animations.
- The game has poor camera controls, making it difficult to know where you're going.
- There are also glitches where Knuckles and Rouge can get stuck on a wall while climbing them.
- Absolutely inappropriate romance between Elise and Sonic's that was criticized for implications of bestiality ("ya know, for kids!"). The scene where Elise kisses Sonic is one of the most infamous and despised moments in the entire franchise. To make matters worse, Sonic is DEAD in said scene, adding a mild element of necrophilia.
- In the ending, the game literally retcons itself. This infuriated players because they have to endure this game for approximately 12 hours only to be told it was all for nothing.
- The game was so rushed, the manual lists items and features that aren't even in the game and half of the achievements have grammatical errors (see point 49).
- You cannot even jump on enemies to defeat them. You know, one of the most classic features in the entire franchise.
- Blaze and Knuckles are both really out of character and have no reason to be in the game both of whose serve almost no purpose whatsoever.
- Shadow's vehicles control poorly.
- In Shadow's Kingdom Valley level, Rouge tells you that you need 3 keys to open a door, similar to the hunting stages in the Adventure games. Only this time, you don't have a radar to help you find them and there are no hints, leaving you completely blind when looking for these keys.
- Most of the boss fight are lame, two that are most infamous is the Silver boss and the Iblis phase two boss. Silver as he can grab and throw you into a wall, while saying his most infamous quotes: "It's no use!" followed by "TAKE THIS!". This boss fight is also infamous due to a glitch where he can repeatedly throw you against a wall, without giving you any time to recover. When this happens you keep unintentionally picking up 1 ring so you're left stuck unable to stop getting hit by Silver. Iblis phase two (while not as bad as Silver) is also infamous due to the fact that it is little more than a waiting game.
- While you do play as three different main hedgehog with different abilities (Sonic (for the most part) has speed and can use the Gems, Shadow is more combat-based, can drive vehicles and can use Chaos powers, and Silver is slow, but has Telekinesis and can float in the air), there are times in the main story's level for that hedgehog where you play as the other two main hedgehogs in that level as well, which doesn't make any real sense.
- While not as bad as Bubsy 3D, there are cheap enemy placements, meaning that there are times where an enemy can pop out of nowhere and ambush you.
- The tenth and final stage (THE END OF THE WORLD) is one of the WORST levels in the game, and one of the WORST final levels in the entire franchise. It's painfully long, has 7 separate loading screens each lasting over 20 seconds, you don't even play as Sonic or Blaze (both characters who have the best controls in the game), you have to deal with EVERY other character's problems at once, is filled with instant-kill wormholes placed in very horrible locations resulting in cheap deaths, you start with 5 lives and it's difficult to get more, and if you get a Game Over, you have to do the whole level all over again.
- No automatic saving. So if you forget to save manually and get a game over on the first level, you have to start the whole game ALL OVER AGAIN from the beginning of the cutscene.
- When you get hit, your character's model can disappear for a few seconds.
- The Hub world is so big that it's way too easy to get lost in because set-pieces are non existent and everything looks the same.
- It is also unnecessary for a Hub world, as it serves no purposes other than being a free place where the characters can talk to people, play missions, and buy upgrades. You can't even replay any levels that were introduced in that hub world. This is unlike Sonic Adventure, where you can actually replay the levels and can get upgrades in the levels or Hub.
- On that topic, in order for you to get upgrades, instead of looking around the area like Sonic Adventure or in the levels like Sonic Adventure 2, you have to go to a shop to buy upgrades with the rings you collected.
- Getting enough rings is also easier said than done, as mention from above you can only play though a level once in the story mode (which can give you a good hand full of rings), and due to how some of the levels can be poorly made that can cause you to lose rings due to the cheap enemy placements, you won't even have enough rings, if you want to get more rings, you have to play a bunch of missions.
- The forest Hub area is also unnecessarily large and spacious, with a big amount of nothing in it. In Somecallmejohnny's review of the game, he stated that it's even worse than Hyrule Field from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
- The PS3 version is EVEN WORSE than the Xbox 360 despite having extra development time, with longer load times (25 seconds while the Xbox 360 version loads in 20 seconds) and worse frame-rate than the 360 version and there's no way to install the game on the hard drive to reduce those problems.
- You collect medals that are similar to the emblems in previous 3D Sonic games, only this time you get absolutely nothing when you get them all. All you can get from them is an achievement in the 360 version.
- The game has a co-op mode where two players can race each other towards the end of a level of their choice, but it's extremely unbalanced because Sonic is too overpowered and Silver is too slow but he can freeze opponents pretty much making it one-sided.
- Sega never even bothered to release any patches to fix the game.
- Putting aside glitches and poor controls, the game is still full of bad design choices and unneeded content that took away development time that could've been used to POLISH the thing.
- The achievements are poorly written and have grammatical errors and mispellings, giving the player not enough information on what to do. For example, one achievement is called "Blue Phantom" , in order to unlock it, it says "Super Sonic Obtain the all moves.", which apparently wants you to get all the gems with Sonic, but it doesn't tell you that you need to do that.
- Beastiality. Elise kisses Sonic.
- Awesome, and we mean AWESOME music, especially the main theme, "His World", and Silver's theme, "Dreams of an Absolution".
- The opening cutscene and the graphics look very nice.
- Despite being excruciatingly bland, Elise has a very touching backstory.
- While the bosses aren't that good, there are some good bosses here and there:
- The Egg Wyvern boss is a nice call back to the Egg Viper boss from Sonic Adventure.
- The first boss of Silver's story (Iblis phase one) is highly intimidating, even by first boss standards.
- The final battle with Solaris is AWESOME!!!
- The game has a lot of call backs to Sonic Adventure.
- While the controls for most of the characters are bad, Blaze and Sonic for the most part have some good controls.
- Mephiles is a decent villain.
- The story does have funny moments here and there: such as the scene after the boss battle between Shadow and Silver: Silver was about to attack, but Shadow uses Chaos Control to stop him, and then he runs behind him to kick him in the back of the head.
- Some of the levels are somewhat open ended, leading to some fun exploration here and there.
- The gems (while broken) are still a lot of fun to use.
- There is thankfully a glitch that lets you skip the infamous ball puzzle by using one of the metal crates to lift yourself against the door until you phase through it.
The game at first was hyped and had fans with very high hopes, with most of them expecting it to repair the damage Shadow the Hedgehog had done to the franchise. Under pressure from the Christmas rush and because of the PS3 launching, the game was released as a near unplayable beta build with little testing and as a result, it was panned both by critics and fans alike, often averaging around 40%.
The game is often considered the point the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise hit rock bottom. As mentioned above, the game is widely considered to be one of the WORST games of all time, and was regarded as the WORST Sonic game of all time. Adding insult to injury, in essence this game was the closest there would ever be to a "Sonic Adventure 3", and because of that it is unlikely that Sega will ever make another Sonic game following the "Adventure" formula.
A large amount of fans gave up on the Sonic franchise believing it to be dead after this game. On the other hand others believe this game to be a necessary evil, as at the time the franchise was filled with awkward experiments like Shadow the Hedgehog, and following this game Sonic slowly began to get back in track with games like Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations, at least until Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric happened, which is also considered one of the worst games of all time. There's frequent debate over which game is worse, this or Rise of Lyric.
A fan project is aiming to develop a build of the game for PC with all the gameplay problems and bugs fixed.