After the launch of Sega's ridiculous Sonic and the Black Knight, it is fitting that I came across this video (posted on Sega's PR blog no less). It is a speed run done in Sonic Unleashed for the PlayStation 3, by an unknown Japanese gamer who displayed a level of skill and reflexes in the game that definitely deserved recording and saving for prosperity.
(A speed run is where the player tries to run through a level or entire game as quickly as possible.)
In the level, the unknown player puts Sonic through his paces at breakneck speed. From the word "GO!", he is a blue blur and more amazingly, the world around him is nothing but a beige blur. Okay it is just a speed run, but when you watch enough of them starring Sonic, and especially those taken from the new Sonic titles, if you're like me, you get an intense feeling of nostalgia.
You also get a bit pissed off because these speed runs hearken back to the days of 16-bit Sonic the Hedgehog—back then speed runs were sort of the whole point of the game.
The developers at Sega were once asked why the 3D Sonic titles don't feature more of the old school gameplay that fans remember. The response was that to create an entire game that allowed players to go through it like the old Sonic the Hedgehog games would have take years to make, incorporate hundreds of miles of environments and architecture, but still only take 3 hours for gamers to complete. Clearly, they put some thought into it and came to the conclusion that it wouldn't be fiscally prudent. My question is, how is giving Sonic a sword a better solution? For that matter, what was the purpose in putting him on hover boards? Or making him turn into a werewolf? Or featuring his band of useless sidekicks and rivals in a game as playable characters? Do I even need to bring up Shadow the Hedgehog?
Sega doesn't have an answer. That these sequels and new titles keep appearing can only mean that someone out there is buying them. So it isn't likely that they will go in a different direction any time soon. My only wish is that Sega at least keeps an eye towards these speed runs, incorporate them into more Sonic games; or just have them as a separate feature for those of us who would rather spend our time doing that than these silly gimmicks that only further tarnish an already sullied name.
Source: Sega America Blog