Hear me out before you go saying that I'm just some rabid Sonic fan whining about bad scores. I'm not here to defend Shadow the Hedgehog or Sonic '06. I'm here to demonstrate that Sonic games do NOT get a fair shake from reviewers. And I can also tell you why. Each Sonic game is hailed as either the death or revival of the franchise. Each game is reviewed with the failures and successes from every game in the series in mind. And that is totally ridiculous. The Sonic franchise has grown far beyond what it used to be. To compare Sonic Rivals 2 to Sonic and Knuckles and punish the former for not reminding one of the latter is idiotic, because the two games are from entirely different genres and eras. I can't remember a time when a Sonic game was reviewed for what it is, rather than what the reviewer thinks it should be based on preconceived biases. Each reviewer picks up a Sonic game with a distinct idea of what they think it should be. It the game is something different, that's an instant score deduction. Each game in the series is rated by how well it stands up to the 5 classics (Sonic 1, 2, 3, CD, & Knuckles). That is completely unfair. If all games were measured against those five, then almost no games would be worthy of a good score. Those are five of the absolute greatest games ever made, and anyone who disagrees either hates platformers or hasn't played them. Each time a Sonic game is released, the reviewer makes sure to list the flaws in previous games, even if the two games are completely unrelated (for example, Sonic Adventure 2 and Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games). If you're going to compare Sonic games, compare them to games from the same damn series (compare Rivals 2 to Rivals and Rush Adventure to Rush; don't compare either of them to Sonic Heroes). Here are some quotes that support my claims: ----- Riders 2: "So once again, we have here a modern day Sonic game devoid of the elements which made olden days Sonic games so good"-Eurogamer "No: In Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity, it still doesn't make sense that Sonic the Hedgehog would need to race upon a hoverboard"-Gamespot "It’s time to rethink the racing design, and go back to the franchise’s roots. C’mon SEGA, all we want to do is run fast…"-IGN Secret Rings: "However, the transition to the third dimension has not been kind to SEGA's mascot extraordinaire. The speedy blue one jumped into 3D almost a decade ago on Dreamcast with sloppy level design and an even clunkier camera system and, despite several sequels and spin-offs, the Sonic games have not changed since. Dazzled by 3D so many years ago, critics and gamers were more forgiving of these issues - hell, we even went easy on the GameCube iterations, which had their share of problems. But in today's market of polished 3D experiences, there is just no excuse for anything that falls short. Case in point, recently released Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 hedgehog games boasted next-generation graphics, but were regardless ruined by the same design and technical shortcomings that have cemented Sonic firmly in mediocrity for years - and they received incredibly low ratings to prove it."-IGN "After a slew of disappointing and downright bad games..."-Gamespot "We had the misfortune of playing the abysmal Sonic the Hedgehog projects for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3"-IGN "I'm less willing to tolerate and forgive them now that 3D games have fully evolved and we've seen exactly what great developers can do in the third dimension."-IGN "Secret Rings takes everything that was pure and fun about the Sonic series and flips it on you."-Game Revolution "In the old days..."-Game Revolution "The hundred levels in Secret Rings feel more like short bonus stages than the usual Sonic sprawl."-Game Revolution "Sonic’s recent mood swings have shaken our trust: first he dyes his hair black, takes up a gun and a bad-boy motorcycle. Because the world’s fastest rodent needs a motorcycle. Then he goes from jet-black to platinum-bleach hair faster than My Chemical Romance, ooh he’s so outcast! And from what I hear, he’s even started kissing girls. Sonic’s rebellious phase means nothing if he can’t bring the gameplay. I’d like to get past my seeming bias for the Old Days, but every mistake and death reminds me of some comfortable feature from yesterday’s Sonics that didn’t make it into Sonic and the Secret Rings. Sonic is just too fast for his own good."-Game Revolution "The overall experience of navigating through Sonic and the Secret Rings doesn't manage to bring the series back to glory, but at least it gives it some life. Taking the shattered corpse of the Sonic license and assembling those pieces into an almost amazing game, one that barely shows the scars of cruelty that it's experienced, is a feat. This is more of a shambling Frankenstein than a real resurrection for the series, but that's more than Sonic fans have gotten in a long time."-Gamespy Chronicles: "Unfortunately, the characters and interactions are really the only actual Sonic-like aspects of the game."-IGN Sonic '06: "Sega's blue critter has been around since the 16-bit days, when his side-scrolling platformers were strong enough to take on Mario, the then-undisputed kingpin of the platforming genre. Sonic's fall from grace has been slow, starting with a promising first stab at 3D with Sonic Adventure, but it's all been downhill since those far-gone days"-Gamespot "Certain things should stay in the past. Just take a look at The Dukes of Hazard movie. The same thing goes for struggling videogame franchises. Some of them should just stay put and let gamers remember the way things were. Such is the case with Sonic the Hedgehog."-IGN "Instead of convincing players that Sonic deserves a second chance, it all but eliminates his chances of a second coming worth remembering."-IGN "For further proof, just boot up one of the original 16-bit games..."-IGN Rivals 2: "Let's face it: Sonic has had a rough time for the last decade or so. A lackluster crossover with the former competition, an abortive attempt at a franchise reboot, an underwhelming hoverboard racer... The list goes on and on. If you were on the lookout for an end to this disturbing trend of shoddy sequels and unimaginative spinoffs, Sonic Rivals 2 is not for you. Any but the most diehard of Sonic fans would do well to stay away from this, the next rung down the ladder of Sonic's continually downward-"spiraling career."-Gamespot "Poor Sonic just can't catch a break. His adventure games haven't been good for years, bogged down by laughably bad filler content and "storylines" that do nothing but dull the edge of a character that used to personify SEGA's version of cool."-IGN "Even during the best of times -- e.g., the halcyon days of the 16-bit era -- Sonic was more Bruckheimer or Bay compared to rival Mario's more cerebral, exploratory, cleverly designed adventures. While classic Sonic level designs were often as vertical as they were horizontal, the only real incentive for going north or south was to boost one's ring count before level's end. Sonic Team was more concerned about speed than in offering tons of secrets to find, but at least there was that."-1up Rush: "Over the years, Sonic the Hedgehog has gotten away from his roots. What once was an incredibly fast-moving, well-designed platformer series eventually exploded into adventure games, racing games, and the other typical genres that you'd expect from a mascot-type character. While the Sonic series has continued to be popular, many felt that the game was at its peak in those first three or four side-scrollers."-Gamespot "...the devs, the chaps who did the Sonic Advance games on GBA, seem to have a lot of good ideas for things Sonic could be doing above and beyond what he did on the Megadrive. (Unlike SEGA itself, judging by the last few 3d efforts.)"-Eurogamer Rush Adventure: "Dimps and Sonic Team continue to prove that 2D is the perfect canvas for the Sonic the Hedgehog design." Olympic Games: "It's not the fast-paced platformer most were hoping for, to say the least."-1up "So it would be silly to try and hold this title up to the same standards as say Halo 3 or even Madden."-GamePro "The bright side to all this is that the hardcore gamers who were so obviously overlooked for this game may console themselves with the fact that they will be able to watch Sonic and Mario finally duke it out for supremacy in the upcoming Smash Bros. Brawl, which I'm guessing will be a far better game."-GamePro --- Don't tell me you can't see it. I am wholly convinced that if each of those games were released exactly as they are now, but with completely original characters instead of Sonic and friends, they'd ALL have higher scores. People instantly deducted points from Mario and Sonic because it wasn't a platformer. More than half of the reviews of Secret Rings were spent whining about Sonic '06. They make damn sure to tell you that Sonic belongs in 2D and not 3D, no matter which game you're reading about. They're removing points from Chronicles and Olympic Games for not feeling "Sonic-y" enough". It's ridiculous. You didn't see people marking down New Super Mario Bros for not being Super Mario Bros 3. You didn't see people marking down Mario Strikers Charged for not being Super Mario 64. Each game should be reviewed with no preconceived notions of what it should be. These games should not be compared to games from 17 years ago, they should be rated based on how they compare to current games from their same respective genres. How does Mario and Sonic compare to Sonic 2? Pretty poorly. How does it compare to other current minigame compilations? Pretty damn well. Conclusion: If you want a real idea of how good a Sonic game is, take the Gamerankings average and add 5-15%. I promise it will work every time.