As soon as I heard the UK Official Xbox 360 Magazine were to list their top 5 worst demos on Xbox Live I had a feeling Sonic The Hedgehog would be on the list. I was right but you may be surprised to hear it only appeared at number 4, with only the Battlefield 2: Modern Combat demo behind it due to the online connectivity issues. The magazine hits the nail on the head when talking about the Sonic demo.
It was supposed to be a glorious rebirth of an old, wayward icon. Sonic has struggled to recapture the glory of his 2D heyday since leaving the Megadrive behind but that was all going to change with this game, promised Sega. A simple title, a new beginning, a new Sonic.
After the tepid Shadow The Hedgehog and Sonic Heroes, Sega had carefully and meticulously crafted some momentum for this latest addition to the series. And then, with the arrival of one terrible demo, all that momentum was stopped.
Sonic The Hedgehog suffered from the same problems all 3D Sonic games had. Uncontrollable. Unplayable. Uneventful. The sensitive controls and linear level felt like you were trying to guide a marble down a hair, with the camera whizzing round doing as it pleases and the limited lives making it a frustrating demo to play through.
Sega went full speed ahead with its damage limitation plans, spreading word that the demo was based was an old build and the final game was much, much better. Yet when the game itself was released, it didn’t take long for word to spread that it wasn’t different. At all. Having had their fingers burnt on the demo, most Sonic fans decided to sit this one out.
To be fair they are a little harsh. Not all 3D Sonic games have been ‘Uncontrollable’ or ‘Unplayable’, the Sonic Adventure games were perfectly playable and even Heroes wasn’t broken. I was fooled into thinking the glitches and problems I experienced in the demo would be fixed in the final game only to still fall through the floor on a regular occasion, miss a spring in a scripted jump sequence, fall off a track into a pit for a 5th time due to the skittish controls and any number of other glitches.
Check the list for the rest of the top 5.
This post was originally written by the author for TSSZ News.