If you can dig out your Xbox 360, have at it
Fans battle constantly over what constitutes the “worst Sonic games in the series,” and many have narrowed it down to Sonic ’06 at the top of the list; otherwise known as Sonic the Hedgehog. Helmed by Yuji Naka, Sega attempted to make both a 15th anniversary blowout game and a “serious” take on the franchise, and both blew up in their faces. It got so bad that the game is only remembered today by the general public as “the game where Sonic kisses a human woman,” and Sega subsequently delisted the game (among others it deemed critical failures). Until now. Sonic reloaded? More like Sonic relisted.
Mysteriously, thanks to a fan tip, we’ve learned that Sonic ’06 is back on the menu as a Sonic relisted special, as clear as day, alongside of a ton of “picture packs” (remember those?) and even some DLC. The kicker is that it’s on Xbox 360 (sans backward compatibility), and it’s five bucks.
Depending on who you ask, this is where the Sonic series took a sharp decline. Sonic Adventure 2 and Heroes didn’t quite ruin the series’ reputation despite their flaws, but following this we got Sonic and the Black Knight, as well as Sonic Unleashed — which drew the ire of Sonic fans across the world. Of course, some say the fall happened earlier, with November 2005’s Shadow the Hedgehog.
In any case, Sonic ’06 is where it reached critical mass and people weren’t going to take it anymore. But for the sake of game preservation, Sega shouldn’t hide their history. They should remember it, learn from it, and make it available to posterity. In other words: “please be good, Sonic Frontiers.”