I sense the forces of Karma at work in the forthcoming release of Sonic Generations, Sega’s next-gen homage to the blue hog’s first 20 years. And it should give everyone hope – except that little shiz Geoffrey Lawrence.
See, when Generations hits the Xbox 360 and PS3 later this year, it will indeed be a generation since the truly defining moment in Sonic history – when my beautiful Japanese import of the Game Gear outing (with it’s awes-tastic 17.5% of extra speed!) disappeared into the black hole of aforementioned gimp-boy’s pocket. And the link?
Well, karma-conspiracy-fans, the plot for Sonic’s next instalment only frickin’ sees him sucked through a time-hole to join forces with classic Sonic against a “mystery enemy”. Who else could that BE?! This is CLEARLY some kind of karmic retribution where that punk Lawrence finally gets the comeuppance he avoided back in the day! 1991’s gonna getcha Geoffrey! Wait, what?! What do you MEAN this sounds more like hopeful, gibbering froth than a plausible rationale for new game development?
Let me tell ya, thats how things work! Because after the drivel Sega have pumped into this franchise in recent years, this kind of crazed thinking seems to be all they have to go on. And yet, this time, I’m feeling different about things. Feeling the spark. Feeling, maybe, there’ll be some karma-based redemption. And here’s why:
See, you can pretty much draw a half-way point down the franchise, and the last 20 years, at the Dreamcast’s Sonic Adventure. Sure, while Sonic 2 was undoubtedly the real peak, up to ’99 it was still going ok for the hog – and, crucially, his creators. But when the DC and Sega began to stumble in the first part of the noughties, it ushered in a decade of letdowns and buh that, with a keen sense of ying and yang, has struck an unerring balance against the glories of the 90’s. So you see, the cosmic forces are aligned at a tipping point – whatever happens, the balance has now got to shift one way or the other and this could be the game that does it.
So what are Sega doing to ensure that eternal salvation swings their way? Strategy number one is ensure Generations is rooted in the classic – the old-style Sonic, original levels, 2D-scrolling and the simple delights of Spin Attack and Spin Dash, all make a welcome return. Tasty shiznit, nostalgia-fans – how I’ve missed Green Hill Zone! – but what’s new?
Well spank my thigh if we haven’t got ya a cheeky trailer to show just that. And what you’re seeing is that all the levels are spanked out in lushnuts 3D and HD too – modern Sonic taking the reins here with his Homing Attack and Sonic Boost manoeuvres. And for added fun, other characters and hidden treasures will be revealed throughout the game. Lordy, what an absolute hog-based jizzfest! Who could possibly want more?
Hmmm. Well. All this does kind of sound like the spiel that Sega rolled out for, oh-oh,Sonic 4. Not that you’d think that was a worry listening to David Corless, Global Brand Director for Sonic. “By having the classic 1991 Sonic that many fans know and love team up with his modern day incarnation, we are bringing back the nostalgia of the early days of Sonic and combining it with the innovation and stunning HD technology of the modern gaming era,” he says, with a surprisingly straight face.
Inspiring. In that it inspires me to buy something else. But you know what? Despite the despair-inducing concept that Sonic even has a Global Brand Director called David – despite the unbelievably high odds of complete, joy-shattering failure that all of this presents – I’m keeping the faith. This is SEGA’s Rocky moment – the fightback, the implausible return from the ropes. And if the dwarf-man Balboa can return, despite multiple poundings, and despite knowing his only reward for battling through them all is to gaze through the blood-smeared haze of his shattered irises at the unholy visage of Adriaaaaaaaan, then so can little old Sega.
And I mean it. Whatever happens, whatever appalling reviews this illicit spawn of once-great lineage may attract, I make a promise – I’m gonna buy it in an act of blind faith.
So, Sega, don’t let me down. Your eternal fate, and my hard earned pennies, are depending on you.