Tuesday, May 18, 2021

The 5 Best Sonic the Hedgehog Spinoffs.

April 3, 2021 by  
Filed under Ent., Opinion, Tech/Internet, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) Sonic the Hedgehog was first released back in June 1991. Yes, the 30th anniversary of Sega’s second company mascot is just a couple of months away.

Let’s take a quick jaunt through five of the best Sonic spinoffs. These are games that aren’t part of the main numbered series but feature all of the same characters as well as the same setting.

Sonic Spinball (1993)

Here we have the first Sonic the Hedgehog spinoff I ever played and found it challenging initially. Basically, this was a pinball game with a Sonic twist and oddly enough, it worked.

This was a concept that should’ve been a throwaway game but it was fun, kept the colorful aesthetic of the games, and had a level of difficulty where it wasn’t easy to the point of being boring.

The spinoff wouldn’t just totally fade away into throwaway game territory but it was dormant for ten years before Sonic Pinball Party was released on the Gameboy Advance in 2003.

Sonic the Hedgehog spinoffs

Knuckles’ Chaotix (1995)

I have to say: Knuckles’ Chaotix is probably the most obscure spinoff on this list. The only reason I say that is because you required the 32X attachment to play it in 1995.

No one really picked up the 32X. It seemed unnecessary as only a few desirable games required it. I was still a Sonic fan in 1995 and seeing this game promoted in GameFan magazine made this a must-play for me.

I’d get that chance years later and it’s an acquired taste. It uses a mechanic from Sonic Crackers, a demo game. I guess the game itself didn’t look like a winner or it was felt that the tether mechanic would be better used in another game.

It was a fun game and a little outside of your typical 2D Sonic game but it wasn’t going to have people flocking to the franchise like the main series. You could definitely put this in the Spinball bin.

Actually, I’m not even surprised it didn’t get a sequel.

Sonic Battle (2003)

Years after Nintendo found a way to turn its properties into a popular fighting game franchise, Sega dropped Sonic Battle. Off the bat, it wasn’t going to be a game that got over.

At this time, fans wanted straight-up, no gimmicks Sonic. However, Sega was trying some of everything and continues to do so. As a result, this game and many of the games outside of the early main series have a split opinion.

Some peeps enjoyed it, some didn’t. I thought it was fine but I’m extremely tolerant of games released on Gameboy Advance. I believe the game could’ve worked as a 3D fighter on a home console as opposed to a fighting game on a handheld.

I mean, fighting games didn’t really start to look good until the Nintendo DS and PSP. They were always functional but part of the appeal of fighting games is the art style of particular developers.

Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood (2008)

I loved this game! Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood is a HUGE departure from the platforming formula of the franchise as it sails RPG waters.

Sega is no stranger to RPGs but they’re not exactly well-seasoned veterans either. I’d put them as experienced players in the RPG game. Fortunately, they had a well-seasoned veteran in Bioware working on this one.

While it got mixed reviews, I thought Chronicles was dope. No level design and blast processing to play portions of a stage for you here. No, this is Sonic with a defined plot and strategy.

There’s a very fan game vibe here purely because of the bold direction of a Sonic RPG. I really wish Sega would’ve continued with the Chronicles concept with a new developer.

There’s a perfectly good ATLUS and Nippon Ichi Software that could pick up the mantle and continue this project.

The Sonic Racing Games

There are so many racing games in this franchise it’s ridiculous. While some are better than others, I decided to just include the genre because a lot of them are fun.

I’m not even a big racing game fan. Actually, I can’t stand racing games—although Excite Bike 64, Cruisin’ USA, Daytona, and Need for Speed were dope games.

However, a mascot/character racing game will always catch my attention. I don’t know what it is about these kinds of games but Mario Kart and Diddy Kong Racing encouraged me to keep an eye open for this super specific subgenre of games.

These games started off as kart racing, dabble in foot racing for a game, moved on to hoverboards, and now we’re back at karts and cars—with a stopover with hoverboards between them.

Personally, I prefer the kart racing games but the hoverboard titles were pretty damn fun as well. I just found it odd that the “fastest thing alive” would bother racing with karts when he can outrun them.

Then again, it’s probably because he can outrun a kart that he races them with his friends. I mean, Sonic has to give them a fair shot, right? He can’t just smoke them. That would be embarrassing.

You’re driving an engine-powered vehicle and some blue mutant animal in red sneakers not only beats you, he laps you—on foot. No car necessary. Without thinking too much into it, the Sonic racing games are a blast to play.

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.

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