There was a time when SEGA positioned its Sonic the Hedgehog games as worthy rivals to Nintendo’s Mario platformers, but that brief period ended right around the point when the Genesis stopped being relevant. In other words, it’s widely accepted that the first few Sonic games are classics, while the majority of subsequent titles released over the last two decades are hot garbage. Much of this can be attributed to Nintendo having much more success transitioning the Mario franchise from 2D to 3D, whereas SEGA continues to struggle with how to make three-dimensional Sonic games to this day. The real problem with Sonic games though is their lack of consistency, as the series seems to alternate between polished experiences and glitchy messes on a whim, sometimes even within the same year.
Fortunately for fans of the blue speedster, things have been looking up as of late as the most recent installment in the long-running series, Sonic Mania, is being haled by critics as a return to form for the speedy hedgehog. While we’d heartily recommend it to anyone who enjoys the classic Genesis games from which it draws its inspiration, there are many other Sonic games besides Sonic Mania worth checking out. Here are our 10 favorites.
10. Sonic Adventure 2
The last Sonic game to be released on a SEGA console, Sonic Adventure 2 arrived at a time when the Dreamcast was on the way out and as such, the title represents something of a swan song for the short-lived console. Developed primarily by Sonic Team USA, Sonic Adventure 2’s level design was heavily inspired by the studio’s San Francisco location, with the game’s breakneck opening level clearly modeled after the city by the bay. The game as a whole is much more stunt-heavy and overblown in its design than its predecessor, featuring levels with all sorts of grind rail sections and other environmental features designed to keep Sonic moving at a steady clip.
Unfortunately, it’s also a much more uneven experience than the original Sonic Adventure because while the Sonic/Shadow levels are almost uniformly fantastic, the game’s pace is dragged down by Knuckles/Rouge the Bat’s tedious chaos emerald scavenger hunts and some decent, if not truly memorable shooting levels with Tails/Dr. Robotnik. Sonic Adventure 2 would later be ported over to the Nintendo GameCube with some added features, including an enjoyable versus mode, making it arguably the definitive version of the game.SEGA