That is not dead which can eternally hit the snooze button

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L.I. Underhill is a media critic and historian specializing in pop culture, with a focus on science fiction (especially Star Trek) and video games. Their projects include a critical history of Star Trek told through the narrative of a war in time, a โ€œhereticalโ€ history of The Legend of Zelda series and a literary postmodern reading of Jim Davis' Garfield.


  1. Harmen
    July 5, 2017 @ 11:37 am

    I’m kind of fascinated by the idea of Jack Graham watching and reading this. More then I should be, to be honest.

    Anyway, you’ve made clear how much you like Generations Josh. But I’ve wondered what you make of the earlier Sonic games. Sonic Colors, for instance, is for me one of the great Wii platformers. Curious to hear your thoughts.


    • Josh Marsfelder
      July 5, 2017 @ 5:54 pm

      I’ve been a big Sonic fan from the beginning!

      Totally agreed with you IRT Sonic Colors. One of the great Wii platformers, and one of the great Sonic games. Frankly, Top 3 or 5 for me. And Aquarium Park was always a massive standout, so this mod was very highly anticipated for me, I don’t think I could have asked for anything better TBH.

      I remember Sonic from as early as the Mega Drive games. I’m of the somewhat controversial opinion the first one is the best and they go in declining quality from there, but I’m a Mario person too. Sonic 2 has some fantastic moments of its own, and I adore the look and vibe of Sonic CD (I just wish its level design was better).

      I did play the Sonic Adventure games as well. I thought the first one was very impressive for its time, but I played the second one more. City Escape is a wonderful, classic level and I love Sonic’s physics in that game (Green Forest/White Jungle is a terrific showcase of that). I thought Sonic Heroes was fine (actually perhaps a bit underrated), but Shadow the Hedgehog and the 2006 reboot are as bad as everyone says they are.

      Me being mostly a handheld gamer, I’m all about the Sonic Advance and Sonic Rush series, and I think that’s actually where Sonic really comes into his own. I played those games to death, and they’re still to this day among my very favourite Sonic games. The Sonic Rush games in particular: The addition of the boost and tricking mechanics gave the series something it didn’t even know it was missing, and the aforementioned Blaze the Cat changes the game in a lot of really radical and positive ways. Of the two Sonic Rush Adventure is my favourite due to its gorgeous aesthetics and catchy, bubbly soundtrack, but Hideki Naganuma’s work on the first game’s score is top-notch stuff (if quintessentially 2005). And the sprite art in Sonic Advance is beautifully adorable and memorable.

      Sonic Unleashed brought some innovations, particularly in its first steps towards refining the Rush style of gameplay, but it wasn’t terribly good IMO. But the Unleashed Project, which mods its stages into Generations, gives it a needed second life and critical re-evaluation. I’ll defend Sonic Lost World more than most people will because it’s an interesting thought experiment about what the cancelled Sonic X-Treme might have looked like. But I can’t pretend it was terribly successful either, though the first level is grand. The Sonic Boom games are a massive letdown to the show’s young fans, and I can’t understand how SEGA dropped the ball so badly on them (though the latest 3DS one is…passable, at least).

      I’m looking forward to both Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces, but actually mostly Forces. The main game and its story don’t interest me much (like I said in my E3 writeup, it’s not being made for me, which I am totally in favour of), but I hope it’s as friendly to and is adopted as readily as Generations was by the PC mod community.


      • Harmen
        July 5, 2017 @ 7:01 pm

        Same for me on the handheld gamer front. Had the first two Sonic Advance games as well along with Sonic Rush and agree that the portable games were great and are still pretty underrated.

        For me, i’m looking forward to Mania the most. I love the look of it. But Forces also looks pretty good. At least the series bottomed out with ’06’.


        • Josh Marsfelder
          July 5, 2017 @ 7:47 pm

          Sonic Advance 3 is interesting if you’ve never played it: It’s one of the only true co-op Sonic games, something the Game Boy Advance lends itself quite well to. It’s good and has some neat levels (especially Sunset Hill), but I don’t like it quite as much as I do the first two.

          I’ll go to bat for Sonic Rush Adventure any day. If you liked the first game, I can’t recommend the sequel enough. It’s everything that’s good about the original Rush but greatly improved and tightened, and its levels and festive, tropical atmosphere are among my favourites in the whole franchise. It’s also a more palatable The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker sequel than The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass ๐Ÿ˜‰

          The DS version of Sonic Colors isn’t bad either, playing quite a bit like the spiritual successor to the Advance and Rush games (though the lack of Blaze is a big bummer). I actually think the DS version of Planet Wisp is the best of any of them.

          The 3DS version of Sonic Generations, by stark contrast, is sadly best avoided.


  2. David Faggiani
    July 5, 2017 @ 3:55 pm

    That looks SOOOOO fun ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Josh Marsfelder
      July 5, 2017 @ 5:55 pm

      It sure is for me ๐Ÿ™‚


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