Brad:Well, we all knew that before the end of Sonic Week, we were going to run out of unpopular Sonic offshoots to eliminate, and now that we’re left with nothing but highly regarded titles to choose from, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and start pissing some people off.There are a lot, maybe even a majority, of Sega fanboys who say Sonic 3 is the best game of the series, but as I’ve said before – if these people were rational, they wouldn’t be Sega fanboys in the first place.The fact of the matter is that Sonic 3 represents a pretty significant change of style for the series, and not necessarily for the better.
The first two games of the series were damn-the-torpedoes, full-speed-ahead-at-all-costs affairs.That’s not to say that you didn’t occasionally have to wait for a platform, or time a jump, or proceed with a bit of caution.But you’ll notice that the path through each stage is almost always pretty obvious, and you rarely have to repeat a section if you screw up.Miss a jump?You usually either die or fall onto an alternate route.Exploration was more a diversion than a necessity – many of the stages had branching paths, but since they all led to the same end, you didn’t have to try to figure out the “right” one.And puzzle solving in these two games was usually limited to pushing a block, hitting a switch, or in a few really inspired cases, pushing a block onto a switch.
Things get a bit more methodical in Sonic 3.There are parts where you have to really try to figure out how to get through a section, and if you screw it up, you’ll have to keep trying again until you get it right.There’s also a lot more parts where you’re just kind of watching the little blue furball bounce around without really interacting.The length of each zone (often about twice as long as in the previous two games), makes the game feel slower, regardless of how fast the action on-screen is.And some of the stages get so repetitive that you sometimes wonder if you aren’t backtracking.It’s slow and its frustrating, two things that we previously appreciated the Sonic series for not being.
Understand that I’m not arguing that Sonic 3 is a bad game simply because it’s not like its predecessors.And I’m not saying I don’t understand why changes were made – by the third installment of any series, there is a serious risk of things starting to get stale if a conscious effort isn’t made to shake things up.The problem is that these changes made the game less fun than the first two of the series, and to a certain degree, less unique.Sonic 3 is an above average platformer from an era when games like this were a dime a dozen.Even if there weren’t any other Sonic games to compete against, I’m still not sure I’d call this of the system’s Top 100 games.
Stryker:I have to admit I enjoyed Sonic 3 a bit more than Brad did, but for me, it’s a numbers game.How many Sonic games do you need on a Top 100 list?We decided anything more than two would be pushing it, which is why we came up with Sonic Week (the fact that there were a couple of unworthy spin-offs worked out rather nicely for us).And what are the best two Sonic games?The first two.Sorry, Sonic 3 – you’re good, just not good enough.