Sonic: The Core Design and Beyond pt.1
Monday, January 26, 2009 at 10:24PM
Richard Terrell (KirbyKid) in Enemy Design, Genre, Level Design, Mechanics, Misc Design & Theory, Platformer, Sonic

For those who have been following the critical-gaming blog, you know that I've been trying to write an article on the 2D Sonic games for about half a year now. When I had originally revisited the games, I was simply trying to remind myself of why I liked Sonic so much when I was a kid. At some point in my investigation, I became curious to get to the bottom of the Sonic vs. Mario debate. Last year I analyzed the core 2D Mario design and applied what I learned to the other games in the series. Now, after having played every 2D side scrolling Sonic platform game I could get my hand on, I think I've figured out the essence of Sonic.

In this three part series I'll examine the core design of the 2D Sonic games, explain in full detail why the Sonic Rush games are the best Sonic games, and consider the design paths that Sonic should take to to make a quality, next-gen game.

The following is a look at the core design of the 2D Sonic games that is largely consistent between Sonic 1, 2, 3, Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic Rush, and Sonic Rush Adventure. Througout this section, I will compare the design of Sonic to the design of anlogous elements from Super Mario Brothers.


Core Mechanics


Ring Design


Enemy Design


Level design

incredible image by UpaUpa on Deviantart

The 2D Sonic games are perhaps the most popular example of this roller coaster design. Tomorrow, I'll explain in full detail how the core design in Sonic Rush has refined the core roller coaster Sonic design and why the two are my favorite Sonic games.


Article originally appeared on Critical-Gaming Network (
See website for complete article licensing information.