Happy 25 years Sonic! Let's not start this article with the same old "he's had a rough few years..." speech you've seen time and time again -- let's celebrate some of the hedgehog's highs and some of the great things he's been able to accomplish in his time as one of gaming's most iconic characters.
And one thing Sonic's always consistently achieved greatness with? Music.
Even some of his worst outings are accompanied with a memorable soundtrack, with songs ranging anywhere from guitar fuelled high octane pieces to epic violin and drum tracks which accentuate epic boss battles.
So without further ado, let's take a look (and a listen) to some of the best songs from Sonic's recent outings. Get your headphones ready!
Everyone knows that Sonic's first next gen outing wasn't a good one. It's universally regarded as one of the worst big name titles to ever release on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Riddled with a myriad of development issues to meet deadlines, a lot of the game was left untested and unfinished.
But that doesn't mean this game didn't give us some amazing music.
Wave Ocean ~The Inlet~ is an upbeat, blood pumping piece, bolstered with guitars and drums to match its super high speed level. Sonic blasts off chasing after Eggman's battleship, leaping off rock faces and leaving enemies in his dust. It's a classic Sonic style song which hits all the right notes.
What originally started as a Nintendo Wii port of the 2006's Sonic the Hedgehog eventually became the spin-off title Sonic and the Secret Rings, placing the hedgehog deep in the story the Arabian Nights. The story took on a visually pleasing storybook-esque aesthetic as Sonic took on Erazor Djinn, an evil genie, alongside his new companion Shara.
The soundtrack here is much more vocal, with lyrics planted into almost every tune. Sand Oasis is undoubtedly one of the most memorable of the lot (not mentioning other favourites such as The Palace That Was Found or Seven Rings in Hand) fully embracing the new egyptian theme at hand. It's so upbeat it's hard not to bop your head to it.
Jazz, jazz and more jazz. This stage's opening moments see you running down roads in the sky with sax blasting into your ear before breaking down into a great drum beat which keeps the momentum going. This stage is a New York city rollercoaster in the sky, and this track perfectly captures the essence of that crazy visual.
Sonic Unleashed was the first modern Sonic game to nail the feeling of next generation, boasting incredible visuals from the newly developed "Hedgehog Engine". Featuring multiple levels based off countries such as Greece, Africa and Italy, Sonic traveled the globe to save the world from Dark Gaia, an evil entity trapped at the core of the planet.
Sonic Colors was called almost a "comeback" for Sonic, being his best critically received game in years. Dabbling with new power-ups called Wisps and returning to a more traditional platformer, Colors aimed to perfect the formula so well received in Unleashed before it with success.
In this level, Sonic travels to an aquarium with oriental inspired archways and roads. For the first time since the Sonic Adventure titles, water levels return to the franchise with a bang with this beautiful piano synth piece. Just don't stay in the water too long...
It could be said that Sonic and the Black Knight has one of the most underrated soundtracks ever -- with the game itself being pretty unspectacular, it doesn't give you much of a reason to visit its medieval world.
This title's music however? A fantastic collection of multiple genres including rock, folk, orchestral... many of which hit the mark. It even sports some vocal themes for those nostalgic of the Adventure days with Crush 40 returning for various pieces.
This track feels like a Sonic title meeting a Legend of Zelda game somewhere in the middle. You can almost picture the medieval inspired Hyrule Field in front of you as the track goes on.
Does this game technically count as cheating? One of the best Sonic games in recent memory is a love letter to the franchise itself, taking on classic zones and reimagining them in new ways in a time travelling adventure where Sonic teams up with his classic, 1991 self.
This remix of Sonic Unleashed stage Rooftop Run sees Sonic dashing on the roofs of an Italian inspired city. The classic version of the song marries the original's violins and song structure to a more upbeat, retro aesthetic, making it a tune you almost wanna jam out to.
Even though Sonic's most recent outing (barring the spin-off Sonic Boom) only received lukewarm reception from fans and critics, its music is nothing to scoff at. Each act boasts a unique theme to accompany its concept, and each act is completely different from the last -- giving you more variety in your soundtrack than ever before.
This is probably one of the most beautiful songs in the franchise, set to an underwater tunnel grind. Violins and piano come together in a beautiful theme which sounds almost ripped from a Kingdom Hearts game.
There you have it -- seven fantastic music pieces from Sonic games from the last ten years. Do you have any favourites mentioned here? Let us know in the comments.