The Adam Sloman Column: Oi, Sega! Pay attention!

Sega needs to sort Sonic out and soon, reckons Adam...

Mario and Sonic hit the DS. They shouldn't have...

Come on, Sega. Do something right for a change. After the cocked up relaunches of Sega Rally and NiGHTS, it’s high time Sega sorted out its biggest and best loved franchise, and to do it, they should follow Nintendo, and Mario‘s example.

With New Super Mario Brothers nearing its release on the Wii, it shows with great success, that 2D or pseudo 3D game play can work. The game uses a very similar mechanic to the original classic NES and SNES games.

As successful as the 3D Mario titles have been, and they are the best 3D platformers out there, the original games still have a special place in the heart of many a gamer. Nintendo isn’t stupid and knows this. After the success of New Super Mario Bros. on the DS, the game is now receiving a follow up on its big brother, the Wii. And it looks great.

Now, let’s hope that Sega are paying attention, and might finally take Sonic back to the setting befitting of the spikey blue one. The original Mega Drive titles were top notch; the games got better as the series went on.

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The first game was a revelation; the game seemed so fast after Mario. The hedgehog was everything the plumber wasn’t. Sonic 3 With Sonic & Knuckles finally offered the depth offered by the likes of Super Mario World, and with a new Sega console around the corner, it seemed like Sonic would go from strength to strength.

But it wasn’t to be. The Saturn had two canned 3D games, and we had to wait until 1999 before Sonic leapt into the third dimension. Shame then, that the 3D games have suffered from the law of diminishing returns, time and time again.

Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast received rave reviews, but was it all that good, compared to, say, Mario 64 or Mario Sunshine? The walking and talking was dull, the camera was flawed and near broken in some sections. Sonic Adventure 2 at least did away with the tedium of Station Square and its dull inhabitants, but the broken camera and glitchy game engine remained. And it hasn’t got any better in the last ten years.

From the shockingly bad Sonic Heroes and Shadow The Hedgehog (evil Sonic with a worm-gun. What?), through to the reboot in 2006 on PS3 and 360, fans of Sega’s mascot have really been put through the ringer. The release of Sonic Unleashed and Sonic And The Black Knight have only served to further ram the point home. Unleashed promised a lot, but then, just as we were ready to believe Sonic was back to his best, up pops a werehog and ruins the party. A werehog. Honestly. Who at Sega thought that was a good idea, and why weren’t they stopped?

Sonic games in 3D don’t work and we’re getting bored of being served up the same badly designed tripe. So, come on, Sega. Look at Nintendo’s success. Look at New Super Mario Bros. and give us what we want.

Stop trying to make Sonic look more human, ditch the woeful voice acting and get back to what those early games were so good at. Lightning quick, hedgehog-flavoured platform action. No badly tagged on storylines, no RPG-lite elements. Just plain simple high speed action, jump on the badniks to release the animals, and a boss every two or three stages. Come on, Sega. It’s not hard.

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Oh, and stop calling Dr. Robotnik ‘Dr Eggman’!

Check out Adam’s previous column here.