Well, this list has certainly been a long time coming. Those of you who have been reading my top lists since I started posting here at Blistered Thumbs will remember that one of my very first published lists was the top nine sonic characters that needed more air time. I still stand by that list, though I would probably rearrange the order a little bit, and I could probably explain myself a bit better in my choices.
Now, I’m excited as hell for Sonic Generations, which, at the time of this list’s posting, will be hitting store shelves very soon. And since that game is all about Sonic going back to his roots and remembering his past, I shall do the same by presenting you all with the complete antithesis of that early list. We’re looking at nine characters from the Sonic series that I wish would just go away. Far away. Really far away. But instead, these characters keep popping up in almost every game released! Why, Sega? WHY?!
Anyway, no special rules for this list, as most of them have over-saturated the Sonic universe and this is probably going to be a little therapeutic for more than a few of us. So let’s not waste any more time and take a look at why we need not see any of these characters ever again… ever…
Oooh boy, I am not going to make any friends for this one. Before you try to hunt me down and crucify me, allow me to defend myself by saying that he is a bare minimum inclusion, hence his placement at the top of this list. I love Knuckles, and if I were to make a list of my favorite Sonic characters of all time (coming April 1st, 2012) then Knuckles would definitely be in my top five.
When he was first introduced, he was a very clever concept. He was supposedly Sonic’s antithesis at the time, just as strong as Sonic was fast, and as rigid and orderly as Sonic was carefree and wild. His story was a good one, being the last of his race and not understanding why he needed to stay alone, on a floating island, guarding a huge jewel, only that it is important that he does so. At least, he was the last of his race, before Sega started expanding the universe.
But here’s my reason for retirement: His story has been told. Now don’t get me wrong, he still a good character and still vastly likeable, but he’s very much lost his edge. He’s no longer even a rival to Sonic, more just a friend, or at worst a disposable plot point. Yes, their personalities sometimes clash, but the last time the two of them were even close to being ‘rivals’ was back in Sonic Adventure, where the two of them got into a scrap over the chaos emeralds. From there on out, Knuckles found his own rival in Rouge, and Shadow took over as Sonic’s rival. The problem is, again, Knuckles hasn’t really had much development in most recent games and has become pretty much a generic side character. He’s still cool, but he’s not standing out the same way that he used to.
While I’d be sad if Sega did shelf the character, I wouldn’t be surprised. He’s good and likeable, but he’s kind of outlived his original purpose and has since been pushed to the side for the newer characters. I say, either knuckles needs a comeback or they should just stop using him, because his presence at this point adds nothing but fanservice, the biggest exception being Sonic Chronicles.
As if the Sonic Universe wasn’t already bloated enough, the Sonic Riders series gave us these fine fellows. Jet the hawk, Wave the swallow, and Storm the falcon were meant to be team Sonic’s antithesis in these games, but they just come off as annoying (Jet), pretentious (Wave), and stupid (Storm).
Their entire backstory is really another clone of Knuckles’ story as well. They’re the last of the Babylonians, who apparently mastered the power of flight long before anyone else did, and who were also (allegedly) master thieves. Yes, they’re master thieves the same way I am an expert on ancient Mesopotamian pottery. In short, they are not master thieves at all. Their whole shtick is that they’re trying to revitalize their civilization by finding various treasures and artifacts left over from their civilization, even though it’s never really made clear how these treasures got scattered, as it was mentioned that the Babylonians guarded that stuff pretty jealously.
The one real defining trait that these characters have is that they’re supposedly really good at using the air gear hover boards, but they’re quickly put to shame by pretty much every other characters in the game who learn how to use the boards in a matter of DAYS. In other words, we have three unoriginal characters that have absolutely nothing unique apart from their looks (which if you look closely are actually ripped off from other obscure Sonic characters) and thus, they have no reason to exist.
I let these characters off pretty easy mostly because they only appear in the Sonic Riders racing games. While they’re incredibly annoying, they at least have the good sense to remain in the spinoffs instead of infecting the rest of the series with their stupidity.
Her entire character is based around the fact that she is a rabid fangirl. This is terrifying.
Amy started out as the damsel in distress that Sonic had to save, alongside liberating the small planet Robotnik’s tyranny. After that, he dashed off. But apparently, Sega thought that her fanboy streak was enough of a valid character trait to turn her into a full time character, giving her a playable, or at least relatively important, role in almost every Sonic game to follow!
I have never much cared for her character because her entire motivation is that she is obsessed with Sonic, constantly chasing after him into dangerous situations that no one would be foolhardy enough to jump into. And don’t give me the excuse that she can defend herself. She has a giant mallet, so what? She can’t seem to use it very effectively, and when your enemies frequently employ laser guns, you’re less effective than the guy who brings a knife to a gunfight! Oh, and let’s not forget that she’s like fourteen canonically. And Sonic’s only Sixteen in terms of his in-game biographies. That just makes the fact that she’s proclaiming that he will marry her a whole lot creepier.
Amy has no real purpose in the games either other than to cause trouble, get caught, and be rescued. Even when she’s a playable character, she’s always getting kidnapped and used as bait! There are a few exceptions, but again, it could have been done without her presence if they had made a more competent female character instead. She was the one who helped Gamma remember his humanity in Sonic Adventure and she helped Shadow remember his real promise to Maria in Sonic Adventure 2, but apart from that, she has contributed absolutely nothing aside from headaches to the games where she’s present.
Again, wasted potential is the phrase of the day with this character. He’s basically a spiritual successor to the very popular one-shot character Gamma, who had one of the more dramatic storylines of the six main playable characters in Sonic Adventure. The idea behind him is that he was an attack robot, the most advanced AI-based bot that Robotnik (at this point renamed Eggman) ever created.
For reasons not really expanded upon, Eggman deactivated him and left him locked in an abandoned base, leading the robot’s artificial mind to be completely consumed with thoughts of revenge. It’s actually pretty dark for the Sonic series, a robot who wants nothing more than to kill his creator. But it’s clear that his main motivation, his vengeance, will NEVER come to pass canonically, because then they’ve lost their comedic villain forever. He basically just exists to be the muscle for Rouge and Shadow when the three of them team up, even though it’s been shown that Shadow and Rouge are both very tough fighters on their own.
Thus, Omega is really a superfluous character, only existing to complete Team Dark and being fueled by a vengeance, which will never be satiated or even explored in full. I suggest we just forget about it and move on.
I’ll be quite honest here. I don’t hate Silver. I don’t really like him, but I don’t hate him either. He was one of the few parts of the 2006 Sonic game that I could stomach (thought Blaze was the only competent character in that piece of crap). He had an interesting back story, and some cool powers which, while they kind of broke the game, were fun to play around with.
But the main problem comes in with the concept of the game he was introduced in. Spoilers for those of you who haven’t played Sonic 06 (trust me, I’m doing you a big favor here) but at the end of the game, Sonic basically rewrites history and completely erases the events that took place in the game, technically meaning he changed the entire future, and given that Silver was born into an apocalyptic world roughly a century after the events taking place in the game, therefore logic would dictate that he shouldn’t even exist.
I know that I’m putting much more thought into the story than the writer’s did, but that’s the problem when you include time travel of any sort in a game. Unless you REALLY have your crap together, you leave dozens of plot holes open. But that sad fact aside, let’s instead address the fact that, once again, his entire story was told. He went through a character arc, completed it, and finished the tasks that he set out to do, culminating in a changed future, not that we get to see just HOW sonic affected the future. Thus, him showing up in games like Sonic Rivals does not make much sense from a logical standpoint. That hasn’t stopped Sega before, but whatever.
Here’s the thing, though: I can buy him being in Generations, I really can. Generations is basically based around someone or something screwing with the timeline and actually compressing it, so it does make sense that Silver, from some point in time, would appear. It also helps that Sega has not overused him the way that they have other characters on this list, but this is a preemptive strike. I’m saying retire the character now before history repeats itself and we end up with another version of the eventual number 1 on this list.
I really don’t see it. I don’t see why this character still exists.
Rouge’s original concept was fine enough. She was supposed to be a new rival for Knuckles, and was the Dark team’s treasure hunter. Her part in the game was basically just to give Knuckles something to do in this game without making it feel too much like a rehash of his stages in the first Sonic Adventure game, which didn’t really work.
Apart from that, she is painfully annoying and while Sega does seem like its trying to push her into some sort of romantic relationship (though they can’t seem to decide if she should be with Knuckles or Shadow) but she’s just such an unlikable character, completely self-serving, arrogant, and unnecessarily sultry. I’m thoroughly convinced that all of her appearances are basically just Sega’s bizarre attempt to inject some sort of sex appeal into the Sonic games. You think I’m crazy? Well, let’s take into the account that in many of her appearances, particularly in Sonic heroes, she is always wearing tight outfits that almost always show cleavage in the cutscenes, and remind us that, yes, she is not only female, but apparently one of the few sonic characters who is not a teenager. As if this weren’t already obvious enough, in the Japanese version of Sonic Adventure 2, it’s made even more obvious, as her breasts bounce every time she jumps, in a way that would make the girls in Dead or Alive jealous!
If that’s your thing, fine, I’m not here to judge, but I seriously don’t need that kind of stuff in my Sonic game, and certainly not from a character who has no real point. Hell, most of the games she is featured in, she could have easily been replaced by a different character and not much about the game would have changed in the first place. So thank you, Sega. Thank you for reminding me why I hate bats so damn much.
Maybe I sound bad for saying this, but I’ve hated this character ever since her inception. I cannot stand her in the slightest, at all. Even moreso than other characters on this list. This might just be out of personal bias, but she’s going on this list anyway. Sonic games have always held a minor ‘cute’ element to them, but with Cream in the picture, I feel like I’m getting diabetes just playing the game.
The entire point of her first appearance was that she needed Sonic’s help to rescue her mother, Vanilla, who’s name is just a playground of innuendos, from Dr. Eggman who wanted her for… some reason, I dunno. THAT should have been it. I’m fine with including one-shot characters like this if it gets the plot moving.
But somehow, SOME HOW, she became a recurring character in the series, and then Sega did the worst thing imaginable and gave her a voice. Every single time I hear her talk, my brain goes numb. I now know how glass feels when it shatters. Couple this with her shy, sweet, naïve nature, and you have the perfect annoyance. In most games, she’s not even a playable character, instead just being a footnote or a character who has no bearing on the plot. She is just there because she’s there. There is no reason to have her around. No reason except causing headaches and perhaps meeting some sort of unmentioned loli limit that all Japanese companies are required to meet eventually.
Considered by many to be Sonic Team’s crowning moment of derp, Big the cat was originally introduced in Sonic Adventure as a big, dumb cat who lived with a frog and did nothing but fish and nap all day. He had the shortest playtime of all the six main characters, and his entire gimmick is that he basically turned the game into Sega Bass Fishing.
He has nothing important to say, either, not even realizing when he’s facing down the god of destruction. All he cares about is fishing and getting Froggy back. If the frog keeps running away, I think it’s a sure sign he doesn’t want to be near you. Sega doesn’t even try to disguise the fact that he’s brain-dead either. They admit that he’s extremely stupid. In Sonic Chronicles, his specially ability is to run through poisoned areas without being harmed. Why? He is so stupid that he doesn’t register that it’s poisonous, and therefore is unharmed. I’m dead serious, and I’m also pretty sure that poison doesn’t work that way.
But of course he didn’t just disappear. While he hasn’t appeared as frequently as some of the other offenders on this list, he has appeared in some of the more prominent titles. He was playable in Sonic Adventure, Sonic Heroes, and Sonic Chronicles, and he makes continual cameos in other games, such as in Sonic Adventure 2 and Sonic and the Secret Rings. Why? No reason. Someone at Sega just seems to think this character, who REALLY adds nothing with his presence, is really cool.
But how could I possibly top Big? Easily. Take a look.
Here we have a character who has so thoroughly worn out his welcome, I can not even begin to describe the level of fail involved in this character, but I’m going to try anyway. Get comfy, kiddies, this might take a little bit.
Like many other characters on this list, Shadow started out with great potential, and in fact managed to live up to said potential. He was a character with a tortured past, who felt the entire world was to blame for his pain. He was willing to cause as much pain in return as he had to, to make the world as miserable as he was. As fast as Sonic is, he is serious minded, and extremely dark, with an amoral quality to him that hadn’t really been seen in a Sonic character up to this point. He made a great anti-hero, a great rival to Sonic, and he went through an entire character arc through the game’s story, which was actually much more involved than usual. In the end, it appears as though he sacrifices his life for the world he hated so much because he began to realize the value of life and humanity, and that his purpose was not as a destroyer, but as one who was meant to help the world. It was what should have been a perfect ending to his character.
But then Sega decided, WAIT! He was popular! Let’s bring him back, only let’s give him Amnesia, throw in aliens and robots and clones and see how badly we can screw this up! Thus, in every single game that came out afterwards, featuring the character, he has completely devolved into an emo asshole who can do nothing but whine endlessly about existentialism and what it means that he exists. And my god, is this so tired and trite, and thoroughly uninteresting that Shadow manages to drag down just about every game he is in.
Even his own game, Shadow the Hedgeog, which supposedly gave us all the answers, and even let us choose how we wanted him to end up, didn’t stop them from reusing him again and again and again. Even at the end of the game, after you get the true ending (meaning that all the previous endings you tried so hard to get were completely pointless, by the way) which gave him all the answers to his existence and brought him to his own conclusions about what his purpose in life was, was completely thrown out and immediately he went back to waxing philosophical on the meaning of his life and existence in general. It was boring, and it was his only character trait that Sega was running with.
For his absolute fall from grace from a badass character to a completely worthless and annoying one, I hereby proclaim Shadow is the number one Sonic character that needs to retire.
I’m sure some of you will disagree with my choices, and I know there are fans of all these characters out there. I’ve done my best to state my case, But I feel that all of these characters have outlived their purpose or potential, or just had no right existing in the first place. I’m hoping after Generations, Sonic can continue to turn out some quality titles that focus on him, and only him, and not all these superfluous side characters.