Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Sonic should have stuck to hating humanity and shut the hell up!

Have I gone out of my mind? The article title might suggest this but I do in fact have a fairly decent collection of points to make about it, although the question of my sanity still lingers for other reasons. This post concerns the character of Sonic the Hedgehog and his endless struggles against the tyrannous Dr. Eggbotnik Man, or whatever he is called...

... well it's this guy, anyway. He bad man.

If you look at the history of Sonic's character, it is hard to disagree since Sonic's inception in 1991 that things were going swimmingly until Sonic Adventure came out on the Sega Dreamcast in 1998. In the blue boy's defense, Sega's imminent demise as a console manufacturer did harm the reputation of Sonic Adventure but since that time, what has become to be known as "Modern Sonic" style games have come under significant fire from even the most ardent of Sonic fans long since the Dreamcast became nothing but a memory so the blame must lie within the games themselves.

Sonic wasn't to blame for the Dreamcast's demise. The blame must lie somewhere else...

Sure the transition from 2D to 3D wasn't fantastically graceful but the games have always been more than playable. You can still go fast, collect rings and emeralds and duke it out against ridiculous mechanical bosses just like old times and also play as a full cast of memorable characters... and Big the Cat. Although the merit of each of these features is debatable, one significant change to the Sonic games is the fictional universe within which it is set.

Back on the Sega Mega Drive (or Genesis in the US) the way we interpreted Sonic was as a champion of nature in an unspoiled paradise populated entirely by local flora and fauna. Then along comes the evil human character of Dr. Eggman, with all his machinery and selfish disregard for the beautiful environments he has come across as he sets about (sometimes literally) ripping the entire world apart in search of the fabled Chaos Emeralds. The emeralds themselves are integral to the balance of nature in Sonic's world which again shows Sonic as a sort of eco-wariror against the insatiable lust for power that his nemesis Dr. Eggman possesses. Back then, Sonic was fighting for the future of his homeworld, particularly so in Sonic CD, where the time travelling aspect of the game emphasised the damage that would be done if Dr. Eggman's robots and machines were to suck the life out of the world.

In Sonic CD, you can see how failure to stop Eggman's plans can ruin the world forever.
However, skip to the Sonic Adventure games and we find that humans are everywhere! spewing their pollution from their grand cities left right and center and Sonic is hounded by their police and military as well as having to stop Dr. Eggman getting up to no good, except now it seems that there is nothing left to save! What is Dr. Eggman even trying to do? Apart from being hellbent on killing Sonic, I can't see what else motivates the good doctor any more since he isn't trying to overthrow any governments or enslave humanity in any measurable way. The whole thing seems pointless. There's even a scene early on in Sonic Adventure 2 Battle where Doctor Eggman clearly admits he's just stealing the Master Emerald for no real reason.

Also, who thought it would be a good idea for Sonic to speak? The sonic narrative used to consist purely of Robotnik running away comically with his spindly little legs and of Knuckles trying to inconvenience Sonic in increasingly petty ways (such as turning off all the lights and punching your spaceship) and in my opinion it should have stayed that way. Speaking is human's business and Sonic never should have got involved. Don't believe me? Try this out for size. Goodbye.  

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