From triumphs to tragedies, the Sonic the Hedgehog series has seen a huge lineup of games released across the years. It’s notable for its unabashed willingness to toss Sonic into a totally new world, timeline, or role time and time again, to a mixed reception from the fan base.
Thanks to its long and varied history, many titles have been lost to the passage of time, while some have stayed in the public consciousness when they should have been forgotten long, long ago. Here are the most notable games that people have totally forgotten about, and the ones they should forget.
10 Forgotten: Sonic Labyrinth
Sonic Labyrinth is an interesting entry to the series, in that it took away the very thing that makes Sonic Sonic: his speed. Eggman swaps Sonic’s sneakers for his new invention, the Slow-Down Boots, which – funnily enough – make our once speedy Sonic slow enough to rival a snail.
Rather than speed, the gameplay is focused on puzzles and platforming, as Sonic uses his Spin Dash to bounce around stages like a blue spiky pinball. It’s not an especially loved game – after its release, it was slated for clunky controls and Sonic’s inability to run. Perhaps this one is better forgotten.
9 They Want Us to Forget: Sonic and the Secret Rings
Compared to some of Sonic’s other adventures, this one may not be the worst in his repertoire, but many fans were unhappy with his drastic departure from the normal life of Green Hill Zone. In the game, released exclusively for the Nintendo Wii, Sonic is sucked into a storybook containing the world of the Arabian Nights.
Throughout his journey he meets strange alternate versions of existing characters (why is Eggman the king?), which some criticized as weird and unnecessary. The controls are finicky, too – Sonic veers round corners and smashes into obstacles, making specific tasks such as “don’t break any pots” near impossible.
8 Forgotten: Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car
Available exclusively in Japan, Waku Waku Sonic Patrol Car was an arcade game released in 1991. Built like a police car, two players could climb inside, using the steering wheel and buttons to play.
Bizarrely, Sonic is a police officer, who must patrol the streets while making sure Dr. Eggman doesn’t wreak havoc. It’s pretty short, providing about two minutes of gameplay. A weird role for Sonic – being a guy with “no master except the wind that blows free” – but it sure sounds like fun, especially for the kids. It even has a siren button to press when Eggman appears.
7 They Want Us to Forget: Sonic Free Riders
A common thread in the less successful Sonic games, Sonic Free Riders was a launch title, for the Xbox 360 Kinect. It’s a racing game, and the third in the Sonic Riders series. Using the Kinect’s motion sensor, players move their whole bodies to control the characters on their boards, twisting about and jumping.
However, motion controls nearly always evoke mixed reactions, and Sonic Free Riders is no exception. Players and critics alike complained of the controls being difficult to use, and even flat out broken. Yikes. Not exactly an experience to remember.
6 Forgotten: Tails’ Skypatrol
Who would have thought that little Tails got his own game? Back in 1995 he starred in Tails’ Skypatrol for the Sega Game Gear, a handheld console that rivalled Nintendo’s Game Boy. In it, he investigates a suspicious railroad and finds not Eggman, but a new villain – an old lady named Witchcart. (She’s a witch, who rides around in a cart – it’s genius.)
It plays like most traditional Sonic games – it’s a side scrolling platformer – but Tails is suspended in mid-air, and the player makes sure he doesn’t bump into anything and fall. It was rated pretty badly, but most fans don’t remember it anyway.
5 They Want Us to Forget: Shadow the Hedgehog
Released in 2005, Shadow the Hedgehog puts the series’ most beloved edgelord into the spotlight. This game was a wild deviation from the norm, as Shadow is on a personal mission to discover his lost past, armed with guns to fight his way through the stages, and even using low level swear words.
Some fans loved seeing a more serious side to the Sonic characters, but with a complicated story filled with plot holes, and a jarring tone shift from the usual perky Sonic games, Sega no doubt want this one buried in history.
4 Forgotten: Sonic the Hedgehog’s Gameworld
Here’s a niche one: this game was released in 1994 in Japan, 1996 in North America, and never at all in Europe. It was on the Sega Pico: a weird laptop-like console including a drawing tablet, aimed at kids to get them into gaming.
The Pico didn’t last long on the market, so that’s another reason that most fans have never heard of Sonic the Hedgehog’s Gameworld. It’s essentially a collection of mini-games, with things like tree-climbing and racing, which Sonic and his friends must complete to find the Chaos Emeralds.
3 They Want Us to Forget: Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric
It seems almost like Sega wanted to forget this game before it was even released, as they refused to send review copies to journalists. As players got ahold of the game it was clear to see why. It feels sluggish and choppy, with the system struggling to render any serious action.
The tone of the game was criticized, too; it featured a lot of cheesy one-liners and reduced Knuckles to a total numpty for comedic effect. Combine filler cutscenes with bad visuals, glitches, and controls, and you’ve got a game that’s not meant to be remembered.
2 Forgotten: Sonic’s Schoolhouse
Sonic’s Schoolhouse is an educational game for children, released on PC in 1996. Players move around different rooms answering questions by shooting the answers at blackboards. Sonic’s voice is eerily high-pitched, and in each room there are bouncing numbers with faces, which are pretty uncanny. It’s a bizarre, educational nightmare.
You can even go on Sonic’s School Bus and take a “field trip”, which is some video clips featuring facts about different animals. Why Sonic owns a schoolhouse or a school bus, is never addressed. At least he’s helping educate the youth.
1 They Want Us to Forget: Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)
Oh dear. That’s the sentiment echoed by most fans when this game is brought up. The most notorious entry in the series, Sonic ’06 has a bad reputation to say the least. The game was knocked for having awkward controls and long loading times. The story is all over the place, with time travel paradoxes to boot.
Oh, and it also has the cringiest moment in all of Sonic’s history, when a human girl (yes, human) kisses him to bring him back to life. With the premise of a horribly written self-insert fan fiction, this is definitely a game to be swept under the rug for good.