This post was originally written as a userblog for Destructoid on 05.25.2013
The other night I was playing the original Sonic the Hedgehog. As I ran through the familiar stages, collecting rings, smashing TVs, and destroying Dr. Robotnik’s robot creations, I noticed something. A large chunk of the animals I was freeing from these robots were almost instantly falling to their doom. The ones that didn’t fall into a pit of lava or a spike trap crawled their way into falling platforms, crushing them instantly.
Or at least, it sure felt that way. The game obviously didn’t have the graphics for showing these animals being smashed, crashed, spiked, torn, drowned, or wrecked. Besides, Sonic’s the good guy. He’s liberating these animals from their robotic prisons. He is? Isn’t he?
Suddenly, I wasn’t so sure anymore. An entirely different point of view started revealing itself almost automatically.
What if Dr. Robotnik is creating these environmental suits for the animals to protect themselves from the hazards this world has scattered all over the place? This is a world that’s full of lava, moving platforms, and hidden spikes. Everything about the planet is trying to kill you. There’s no way an innocent rabbit would survive for more than a minute in this kind of environment.
So why is Sonic freeing these animals?
Well, he isn’t. Sonic’s got an attitude. He’s rebellious. He’s also one of the very few animals who can fend for himself. Running fast on two legs and smashing into everything with his spiky back isn’t all that special anymore when every other critter on the face of the planet can do all that and more. Jealous of all these new powers the animals are getting, he destroys their protective armor and chases after the guy he holds responsible, Dr. Robotnik.
Dr. Robotnik in the meantime is the only one really trying to fight back. Everyone else is too afraid of losing their life in Sonic’s rampage through the world. That’s why there’s no other boss fights in the game and you only fight Robotnik repeatedly. The reason all the fights against him are so similar is because he’s not a fighter, he’s a scientist.
The reason he flies around in that contraption of his is because he’s not too mobile himself. Sure, he can walk. But not long distances, he understands the pain of the other animals and their crippled state in a harsh reality and tries to help them overcome their weakness as he once did his own disabilities.
Sonic, being the one superior creature on the planet is afraid to lose his position as the fastest and best creature on the planet. He’ll take any chance he’s got to bring down anyone who might take his place, making him the real bad guy of this game.