Sonic The Hedgehog: The Toughest, Most Battle Scarred Character In Video Games
Despite taking plenty of lumps, Mario's greatest rival continues to succeed.
In some respects, Sonic the Hedgehog is the Nicolas Cage of video game characters. Despite starring in a number of stinkers, he's endured largely because of a storied past. For Cage, it was the Oscar for Best Actor in 1995's critically acclaimed Leaving Las Vegas. For Sonic, it was just about everything released on Genesis in the 90s, as well as the sublime Sega CD effort, Sonic CD, which debuts on iPhone and iPad before the end of the year.
The primary difference between the two is the simple fact that fans still come out in droves to support Sonic, whereas Nicolas Cage films have an expiration date that rivals milk.
To that end, the portable Sonic games (with the exception of Rivals on PSP) have always been top notch, and Sega kicked off a console revival with 2010's Sonic Colors, followed by the superior Sonic Generations for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, with a 3DS version releasing November 22.
That said, it's still quite remarkable that the blue blur has lasted this long when so many imitators and rivals have failed.
Just look at Crash Bandicoot. Once the darling of PlayStation, now he's stuck in limbo after getting passed from developer to developer like some hookah pipe. It remains to be seen whether studios will even be able to recapture the magic that made him a reliable third pillar, next to Sonic and Mario.
Ultimately, Sonic continues to attract the spotlight because those aforementioned Genesis games were/are so entertaining (we still recall having our minds blown with the "lock-on technology" from Sonic & Knuckles) and the overall strength of the brand. Say what you will about Sonic's games, but his continued presence in various forms of media, from comic books to a TV series and even a shocking cameo in Super Smash Bros. Brawl has kept him relevant in the wake of poorly received titles.
In other words, there's definitely a college paper in here somewhere about what it takes to effectively market one's intellectual property so incredibly well that even a series of blemishes fail to destroy the original concept.
At the end of the day, we just want to play fun Sonic games, and thus far, it appears Sega's doing a fine job delivering them.
To hardcore Sonic fans, apologies for the Cage reference.