(Digitized rendition of the theme song)
The Nerd: Remember my Christmas Wish List episodes? That was when I answered to one of my biggest requests. (Screen flashes back to Episode 116.) The requests I hear all the time is the bad Sonic the Hedgehog games. (The Nerd is confused.) What bad Sonic games? In this episode, I talked about how awesome the Sonic franchise was, but then examined some of the titles that I hadn't played till then. And these are the ones you could say were not so good.
The Nerd: But the requests still continue. The game, that everyone keeps pointing me to is Sonic the Hedgehog or Sonic '06 as it's known by. But I can't imagine it being that bad because it's Xbox 360, it's only slightly over ten years old. I mean, how bad could this poss- (angrily) it's gonna fuckin' suck isn't it? (The Nerd puts the disc into the Xbox 360 and starts the game.)
The Nerd: Oh, wow. The opening scene looks great. I mean, the graphics are great, but what am I looking at exactly? Is this Final Fantasy meets Pacific Rim? Then Dr. Robotnik shows u...excuse me, Eggman. I'll never get used to that. And then Sonic comes in, but where are we? This doesn't look like any Sonic universe that I know. Then we get a loading screen. (groans) And then, another cutscene. Yeah. There's loading in between the cutscenes. But the second scene looks nothing like the other. Now it looks more like the in-game graphics. But you're not playing it. Then there's another load screen, and after that, the game finally starts. But the loading only gets worse. Any time you push a button or do anything or scratch your nose, it loads. Like here, look at this. You go up to talk to someone, it loads. Then they say something, and it loads again. And the loading can take as long as 20 seconds. Maybe more.
The Nerd: So far, this game has given me nothing but shit. The game is giving me shit! (Sonic '06 literally gives the Nerd shit.) No! No! No!
The Nerd: What are we doing in a town anyway? I'm not aware of any Sonic games where Sonic the Hedgehog is coexisting with human beings. (Cuts to a guy wearing glasses) I mean, look at this guy. He doesn't belong in a Sonic game. He looks like he should be doing your taxes. And they're all speaking a thousand silent words per minute. (Cuts to a guy saying "Welcome".) Especially him. The only word on the screen is "Welcome", but his mouth is moving like crazy. What could he possibly be saying? (The Nerd appears on the screen) Welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome.
The Nerd: Here we have Bob Hoskins from Super Mario Bros.: The Movie. Then there's this crack addict in an alley. Hey, hey, hey, did you see that, did you hear that. (speaks unintelligibly) Crack, crack, crack, I need crack.
The Nerd: This guy's moving around like a creepy marionette dummy. And this old woman bugs me out too.
The Nerd: What makes this whole thing even more disturbing is that the same people are repeated throughout the town. What is this place? You could harass people in this game too. It doesn't have any lasting effects. It's just enough to make their day miserable. (Tails disappears and grunts sound.) Whoa. What's happening here? Tails was here for a second, and now the game is beating itself up. (The Nerd rolls on the ground.) Ah, it's fuckin' up. Fuckin' up! Take cover! Take cover!
The Nerd: There's a bunch of guards blocking the path, but if you try you can actually run past them. Slightly. They're not blocking it. There's some kind of unseen force that they happen to be standing in front of.
The Nerd: Other times, there's nothing there at all. The whole game is enclosed by invisible barriers. So, where do I go? (Tails flips over the rail and into the water.)
The Nerd: Did Tails just kill himself? (Replay of Tails flipping over the rail.) He did! (Tails flips over the rail again. The Nerd appears in the game.) He just couldn't take it. The game was that bad! (The Nerd jumps into the water.)
The Nerd: To get anywhere, first you have to talk to this raving madman who gives you shoes. (The Nerd appears on-screen holding his hands up.) Shoes! Shoes!
The Nerd: Once you have the shoes, you get to run through a bunch of hoops. (Cut to Superman 64.) Who does Sonic think he is? Superman? (Sighs) After you do that, you're able to buy the light chip, which allows you to jump across the water, which leads to the entrance. (Laughs) The entrance. To Level 1.
The Nerd: In the level, the game takes on a fantasy style, which is more like what you'd expect from a Sonic game. This is where the action begins. You're fighting robots, you're running around loops, you're doing all the fun stuff you'd want. But, it's not fun. It almost is. You're doing something that would normally be fun, but there's something on top that's making it less preferable, like jumping on a trampoline with a bucket full of dog turds on it. Most of the experience is sort of automated. All you do is push buttons at the right time, and Sonic jumps to wherever he's supposed to land, including a killer whale. It looks cool, but you're not controlling much of it. When you take out enemies, Sonic automatically locks on to his target, so all you're doing is tapping the button over and over. But the gameplay changes every 10 seconds, so there's no way to really sum it up. It's all over the place.
The Nerd: You also get some kind of weapon called a Dummy Ring Bomb. What kind of name is that? What else is there? Dope Gem Gun? You can move the camera angle, but if there's anything in your way, the camera stops, as if there's physically a camera that exists which bangs into everything.
(Cut to a scene with the Nerd holding a camera. The Nerd moves to the side until he hits a rock.)
The Nerd: (groans)
The Nerd: Then there's other times when the camera angles are automatic. But there's a few moments when Sonic actually runs past the camera.
(The Nerd appears holding a camera again and tries to keep up with Sonic. Sonic zooms past.)
The Nerd: Oh. Ah! Man, I knew we should have gotten Flash.
The Nerd: Okay, just hanging on the whale here. (Scene abruptly cuts to Tails.)
Tails: Okay, Sonic! I'll be right back!
The Nerd: What just happened?
Tails: (falling into the water) Ah!
The Nerd: It switched to Tails, but there's hardly any warning, and it faces you in the wrong direction. Not to mention, when you die, you go back. Not back to the start of the level, oh no. Not back to the town either. No, no. You go back to the opening cutscene. (Game returns to opening cutscene.)
The Nerd: Damn! Is that a punishment or what? The only thing worse I can think of is if the Xbox spit out the game, which landed back inside the case, which re-shrink wrapped itself and flew back to the store so you had to buy it again!
The Nerd: Anyway, I made it to the end of the stage. A gate comes down, which prevents the whale from getting out. So, the goal all along was to trap the whale? As Spock would say, "This is not the hell your whale." I thought you'd be freeing the whale, like Free Fucking Willy. (Cut to the Free Willy poster.) By the way, don't you think on the poster of Free Willy it looks like the kid is punching the whale? Who the hell could punch a killer whale so hard it becomes airborne? You don't fuck with that kid.
The Nerd: Anyway, after the whale, the stage still goes on, because it feels like it. Now Sonic is running automatically at top speed. You have to steer to avoid smashing face-first into everything in sight.
The Nerd: I'm gonna die. I'm gonna die. I'm gonna d... (Sonic touches the end ring.) I won. Cleared ACT Mission? What kind of terminology is that? That's like saying "Cleared level stage." This game is dick cock.
The Nerd: After this, you find a feather, which clues in Sonic that the Princess was moved to another location. Seriously? You're gonna pull that "princess is in another castle" bullshit? This isn't Super Mario Bros. Also, when the feather falls down it reminds me of the opening scene of Forrest Gump.
The Nerd: (as Forrest Gump) My momma always said, life was like a box of shit. You always gonna get shit.
The Nerd: So we're in the town again. Yeah, the town is like the main hub, which links you to all the stages. So every time you beat a stage, you have to go back to the town and complete some other asinine goal. For example, there's an area which you're trying to gain access to. The guard, Pietro, says to find the captain. All right, so now I'm running all over the place like an idiot trying to find this person. I talk to everyone, and nobody knows who the captain is.
The Nerd: Now I'm taking to Pietro again. He asks me if I found the captain. I say no. He says let's wait a while. So, once again I'm running around aimlessly. There's nobody else to talk to, so I go back to Pietro again. "Did you find the captain"? Hm. Yes. Fuck it. Now he says go and talk to the person who I think is the captain. Oh, so it's like a guessing game now? Wait a minute. Is it Pietro? "You guessed it. I'm the captain." (The Nerd is stunned.)
The Nerd: It was this asshole the whole time? Shitty game design is one thing, but this was an intentional cheap shot. They pulled a joke! They fucked you over! Assholes.
The Nerd: Then there's a kid who wants you to find his dog. Really? A Sonic the Hedgehog game where Sonic has to retrieve a lost dog? This isn't a sidequest. This is something you need to do to progress in the game. So I'm running all over the place looking for this dog, but no luck. So I go back to the kid to see which direction he's pointing. He says the dog is over there. Okay, that should help. But, hang on. Where is he pointing? Wait. You can't be serious. He's pointing at a wall!
The Nerd: You know what, kid? How about you find the dog. Put up some posters. That boy's gotta think. You got a pet. You got a responsibility. If the dog gets lost, you don't stand there pointing at a wall. You get your ass out there and you find that fucking dog!
The Nerd: (groans) So I complete the task. I get the kid's dog, and, h-hang on. Stop and think about this. It's designed to look like a real-life dog, yet it's sitting next to a giant cartoon hedgehog. What kind of world does this game exist in?
The Nerd: By the way, am I hearing Megaman 2 music? (Megaman 2 music plays)
The Nerd: Gotta get through the gate. Ah, come on. What the? Can I just jump over it? Can I? Can I? I can just jump over it. I find it amusing how Sonic can propel himself by touching these bumpers, even though he touches them from the back. I think that kind of thing happens in some of the classic sidescrolling Sonic games, but of all the things they could have included from the classic games, why that? That would be like making a new Castlevania game, and making sure to include the ability to moonwalk on the stairs, but otherwise doing whatever garbage you want. (Sonic jumps and the screen rapidly changes the camera angle.)
The Nerd: Whoa. Did you see that? Ah. All I did was jump. The game can't handle that?
The Nerd: Sometimes, if you run up against a wall you lose control, and Sonic does this sideways moonwalk.
The Nerd: And sometimes you end up standing at a strange angle. Why is he standing like that? Why is he hovering in the air? Why can't he jump without going upside down? Why is it when you fall in the water you disappear or fall through the ocean floor? What other game can you think of where you fall in the water and end up in the sky? And sometimes Sonic just completely spazzes out.
The Nerd: (gasps) Ah, I changed my mind. This game's awesome.
(Cuts to the Nerd doing a sideways moonwalk, dancing while hovering in the air, and spazzing out against a rock.)
The Nerd: So after you go to Egypt and defeat the giant Transformer dog by grabbing the light saber that's sticking out the back of his neck and riding him head first into a wall, you rescue the Princess. I'm pretty sure she can walk, but Sonic is always carrying her, even when he's not running. Anyway, you race through the next stage and there's all these fallen pillars in the way, but you can go right through them.
The Nerd: Okay. Now it's like we're playing Big Rigs. (Cut to Big Rigs.) No stage would be complete if it didn't throw you some kind of curveball. (Sonic and the Princess fall through the sand.)
Sonic and Princess: Whoa!
The Nerd: Here, whenever you're running on sand, you have to hold R-T which surrounds you in a magic aura. Otherwise you fall through the sand. You don't sink in it like it was quicksand. You fall right through! Maybe it's really quick quicksand.
Sonic and Princess: Whoa! (Sonic runs into an enemy hidden behind a pillar.)
The Nerd: Oh come on. How was I supposed to see that coming? The pillar was in the way. This is all too much. There's enemies everywhere. I'm bouncing all over the place. The ground disappeared and I'm walking on thin air. Captain America left his fucking crates laying around, and I'm bouncing on the robot's hot nuclear glowing dicks. Robococks.
The Nerd: After this stage, he gives the Princess a backhanded middle finger, and then the cutscenes start getting really weird. What's weird about it exactly? I'm not quite sure. It could be just the fact that it's a cartoon hedgehog sharing a semi-romantic moment with a human princess, or, yeah, that's it. I said it. But there's so many odd things in this one scene, like when Sonic picks his nose, and then she's about to go down on him. But the part that bothers me the most is something very subtle that lasts for half a second. Watch.
(The Princess turns her head to the right, looking at the camera.)
The Nerd: Did she just look at the camera? It's so brief, but once you see it, it's locked in your memory. Why is she looking at the camera? What does that expression mean? Also, she's looking to her right. Notice the position of the right shoulder. But in the next shot she's looking to her left. Am I nitpicking too much? I'll move on.
The Nerd: You want to talk about shitty boss battles? When you fight Silver the Hedgehog, this is the motherest of fucks. He uses telekinesis to move objects around including Sonic. You can't get close to him unless you're charging him from the back. But most of the time he's off screen, so you never see where he is. This is bull dooky. (The Nerd takes Sonic '06 out of the Xbox and placed it back into the case.)
The Nerd: You know what? I've played worse. This at least qualifies as a game. But the problem was, it needed to be a masterpiece because it was a Sonic the Hedgehog game, and not just any Sonic game, but it was the Sonic game for a new console and a new generation. This would be like if Zelda: Twilight Princess sucked. They even had the balls to call it Sonic the Hedgehog. Not Sonic: Revival 3D or something. No, just plain Sonic: The Hedgehog, as if this was the only Sonic game you need to know. If you never played one before, just start with this one. Everyone calls it Sonic '06 but I call it Sonic O-Fucking PIece of Shit! This is anal sauce! It's so bad it's a work of art! It's a fine, delicately-crafted sculpture of shit! And I'm impressed. You know, this is another one worthy of the collection. I don't mean this collection. I mean the collection.
(The Nerd gets up and pulls on a game to open the door to "the collection". Inside the dungeon, hanging by chains, are Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Dark Castle. Inside an iron maiden is Silver Surfer. The Nerd walks in with Sonic '06 and whips the game.)
The Nerd: (grunts) Take it, you fucking game! Mmm! Yeah! (whips) You like it like that? Fucking piece of shit! (whips)
James Rolfe: This episode of Angry Video Game Nerd is sponsored by Full Sail University. Make games that don't suck. World building, strategy, and storytelling are the fundamentals of creating a game, and it takes a cohesive team of creative thinkers to cover those basics. At Full Sail University, there's a range of gaming degree programs to address each unique role. In the game art undergraduate program, you'll focus on the fundamentals of interactive graphics development including character creation, in-game effects and animation. Then, in the game development degree program, you'll master the tech and tools necessary for single and multi-player video games. And at last, in the game design degree program, you'll learn production processes used by today's studios to design and produce games while studying the building blocks of narrative design. Full Sail graduates have worked on big titles such as Titan Fall 2, the Call of Duty series, the FIFA series, Battlefield 1, and tons more. For more info, visit fullsail.edu/AVGN.