Nearly 12 years since it was taken off digital stores, a piece of Sonic the Hedgehog history is available to purchase and download digitally again. Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) (often known colloquially as Sonic 06) is widely regarded as one of the worst games in the series, and it’s now, once again, relisted and available to buy and download on Xbox 360 consoles. But only Xbox 360 consoles, unfortunately.
Sonic 06 was one of several Sonic games delisted from digital stores in an attempt to increase brand value after the series had put out a fair bit of stinkers in 2010. Also among these games was Sonic Unleashed, but the 2008 game was made available on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and eventually made backwards compatible on Xbox platforms. So Sonic 06’s relisting is significant, even if it’s a largely derided entry in the franchise. However, as of this writing, it’s not backwards compatible with Xbox One and Xbox Series consoles, so you can only download it and play it on an Xbox 360. I just threw my old one away after Mass Effect: Legendary Edition took away my one reason to keep the old box around, so I’m shit out of luck on this. But since Unleashed was made backwards compatible, it’s probable Sonic 06 will, as well.
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Honestly, even though it’s a terrible game (infamously long loading times, some series’ worst voice acting, the flimsiest of character control, and at one point Sonic is kissed on the mouth by a human woman voiced by Gretchen Wieners), I have a lot of nostalgia for Sonic 06. It was the last time Shadow the Hedgehog, my favorite character in the series, was a playable pillar in a mainline game, and while the game was rough to play, it has some of my favorite moments of Shadow and his friendships of the entire series. Sonic games have been incredibly unkind to my boy in the years since, it’s always been a moment in the franchise and its character writing that I’ve fondly looked back on. Plus, it also gave us “Dreams of an Absolution,” which is probably my favorite vocal track of the series.
Even my attachment to the game aside, this is a win for preservation, as Sonic 06 is still a game with some historical significance for the series. Plus, Sega hasn’t been shying away from it in tributes like the series’ 30th anniversary symphony. We can still celebrate the highs while acknowledging the lows.