Thoughts on Dialogue in Sonic Games

If I am being honest, I wasn’t sure how I wanted to wrap up the month at first. I knew that I would be spending more time looking at Modern Sonic in my posts because I feel like the classic games would need their own month if I really wanted to give an analysis on them . It is much easier to generalize newer Sonic games because they usually follow a set formula with any deviations from that formula usually leading to the game wallowing in mediocrity at best. I feel like during this month I wanted to highlight the rut Sonic has found himself in recently and point out a couple things in the hopes that improvements can be made for future games. However, after a certain point I only feel like I am criticizing the games and that is not what I want. I believe it is fine to make fun of a game so long as you have a general understanding of it, but no game should be nitpicked down to its very core. So I decided to find something about 3D Sonic to be generally positive about for this post. The difficulty with that was I wasn’t sure what would be a good talking point that wouldn’t be treading old ground. That is until I was watching a Sonic Generations playthrough and I realized in my obliviousness that I forgot Sonic’s 2D counterpart does not talk. That’s when I realized that talking was going be my talking point. I know that was cheesy, but thatis an example of the level of dialogue I expect from a Sonic game.

I know that sounded like a criticism, but it really isn’t meant to be taken that way. Cheesy is the best kind of dialogue for a Sonic game. Not too cheesy to the point where is becomes cringeworthy, but a light coating of cheese is just right to make a dialogue feel like it fits in with the characters in the Sonic universe. These characters are cartoons and so they should be allowed to act like it. Usually wherever dialogue doesn’t work in these games it is for one of two reasons. The first is when they drown the dialogue so heavily with cheesy quips and jokes that the whole thing just falls apart. For an example, think about an overloaded nacho chip. The second is when the dialogue is taken too seriously for the game world it’s in and so the dialogue feels stale and boring. For an example, think of a sad, lonely nacho chip with no cheese or dipping sauce of any kind. I should probably stop typing posts when I’m hungry huh? Oh well. The point is that they should have fun with not only the writing, but the delivery as well. Character is just as important for dialogue as the lines that are spoken. If the lines don’t match the character or the delivery is sub-par then the whole thing falls flat. As the best example of this in the Sonic universe let’s look for a bit at the man who is the exact opposite of flat: Dr. Eggman.

There is a reason why Mike Pollock has not ever been changed as the voice actor for Dr. Eggman. Well I’m sure there is more that one reason, but the big reason for me is that every time he delivers a line, he delivers in perfectly suited to the role of the character. He sounds great in his delivery every time and he usually gets the best lines to reflect that. More importantly, his delivery always sounds believable so his monologues and dialogues with characters are definitely the best cutscenes any Sonic game has to offer. He is hilarious and I hope he continues to be the main villain in Sonic games in the future as well. In fact some of his best dialogue can be seen even in some of the games which aren’t as good such as Sonic Lost World or Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric. Although he isn’t the only one with good dialogue in those games. He is just the one who sticks out the most with his over the top performances in each game. You got to hand it to Mike Pollock for being able to make his name synonymous with an eccentric videogame evil genius scientist.

Now I just want to end really quickly by looking a bit more at Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, one of the Sonic games I avoided talking about all month. Now this game definitely has its fair share of problems in many different aspects. It’s worst aspect is probably how it doesn’t feel like it is meant to be a Sonic game. However, I will say that the dialogue is probably some of the best the series has to offer. That is under the condition that it is a cutscene. This is something that happens in many games and this one is unfortunately no exception to the rule. So I am going to say this as a general note to all game companies who might be reading this. It does not matter how good you think your in-game dialogue is during gameplay. As soon as that line comes up more than twice, it has gotten old. Adding more dialogue during gameplay will not solve the problem. For dialogue during gameplay, stop trying to make quips and just keep it simple. As great as some of the character interactions are in Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, the dialogue for every random action in the game is not only annoying but extremely unnecessary. Dialogue is meant to add to the game, so don’t add it for the sake of filling space. That is why we add music to games. Although being honest, Sonic usually does fine on that front too. I could have talked about that instead, but that would have made things easier for me and I love to give myself unnecessary challenges so here we are.

So now that Sonic month has ended, I would like to revisit a series that is not a platformer for once and try something different for next time. We’ll see what happens, but no matter what I’ll have fun with it. See you all next month.

Published by thatguy377

Nothing much to say. Just a guy who enjoys talking about games and has too much free time on his hands.

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