- Original release year: 2011
- Consoles: Windows, PS3, Xbox 360
In 2001, Sega celebrated Sonic’s 10th anniversary with the release of Sonic Adventure 2. If you completed SA2 and collected all the emblems, you unlocked a 3D, remade version of the original Sonic the Hedgehog’s very first level, Green Hill Zone. It was ok and kinda cool, but Sega took it one further in 2011 with Sonic’s 20th anniversary, releasing this phenomenal trawl through Sonic’s history, in Sonic Generations.
Building on the Sonic renaissance seen with the releases of Sonic Colors and Sonic 4, Sega made another brilliant Sonic game that celebrated his past, present and future in one brilliant game. The premise of Sonic Generations is simple. Feature classic Sonic (you know, the one from the Genesis/Mega Drive games) and modern Sonic (the one from the 2000s and beyond) and feature two different play styles. Act 1 is Classic side-scrolling Sonic levels inspired by the Genesis games and Act 2 is modern 3D Sonic, playing like Sonic Colors and Sonic Unleashed, with the odd side-scrolling section also thrown in. As for the levels themselves, well, Sega have taken one level from every main Sonic game ever released (this excludes Sonic 3 – as it’s technically one half of Sonic & Knuckles, which is featured – and Sonic CD, which isn’t considered a main entry) and remade it completely from scratch, making a whole new game out of old levels. And it’s awesome!
Even though Sonic Generations remakes old levels, it does so in such a way that it feels completely fresh and new, but with an awesome twist of nostalgia that just makes it feel so much more awesome. Don’t get me wrong though, the gameplay is fantastic, with or without nostalgia. There’s no gimmicks, no silly characters, it’s all just pure Sonic fun.
Personally, I prefer modern Sonic’s levels to classic Sonic’s, because it just blends everything so well into a modern package. The classic Sonic levels are great too, but whilst its trying to imitate the Genesis’ games classic style, you’re reminded that, whilst good, it won’t reach the same heights the original series did. And how can it? Let’s be honest, it’s still ok to enjoy and be excited by new Iron Maiden albums and new Metallica albums, but no one expects them to releases another Number of the Beast or another Master of Puppets. The same applies to Sonic now. Modern Sonic brings Sonic nicely into the 21st century though and provides awesome 3D Sonic gameplay (much better than the mediocre/bad titles in the mid 2000s).
Most of your favourite Sonic moments are beautifully recreated in this game. Whether it’s a classic battle between Sonic and Metal Sonic (Sonic CD), Sonic facing off against Chaos (Sonic Adventure), Sonic soaring through the stunning Sky Sanctuary level (Sonic & Knuckles), Sonic whizzing through Green Hill Zone (Sonic the Hedgehog) or Sonic speeding down a steep San Francisco inspired hill, being chased by a huge truck (Sonic Adventure 2). It’s all in there, all feels new and all plays awesomely.
Sonic Generations is probably my favourite 3D Sonic game of all time, creating a worthy tribute to the blue hedgehog we all loved. Sonic may have lost his way in the later 90s and 00s, but Sonic Generations was the return to form many of us had been waiting for and had been hinted at in Sonic Colors and Sonic 4.
Now, Sega, why in God’s name did you not make Sonic Generations 2 this year for Sonic’s 25th anniversary!?