Sonic the Hedgehog has been the face of Sega for over three decades, starring in everything from platforming games to racing, fighting, and pinball games. He was the sole reason Sega had a name in the 90s console war with Nintendo. His cool attitude combined with the Sega Genesis' "blast processing" gave the underdog console manufacturer a name during a time that Mario and Nintendo were clear kings of the industry. Sega may no longer make consoles, but Sonic remains its iconic franchise with regular game releases. While there have been plenty of bad examples of his games (Sonic Boom, Sonic (2006), etc.), you don't last this long and build a devoted fanbase without gems. Here are the ten best Sonic the Hedgehog games. 10. Sonic Heroes Image via Sega In Sonic Heroes, rather than control one character through platforming sections, you swap in-between a team of three characters. Each team has a speed, power, and flying-centric person that will help you advance through various obstacles. This game was a good change of pace for 3D Sonic games at the time and incorporated some interesting ideas. While it does have quite a few bugs that bog down the experience, this is a unique experience that you will not find anywhere else in the series. Related: Sonic Heroes: 18 years later, Sega needs to port it to modern consoles 9. Sonic Advance Image via Sega Sonic Advance released for the Gameboy Advance in 2001 and came out in a time where Sonic would be exclusively on his 3D platforming run for quite a while on home consoles, so getting 2D games in the handheld market was a nice change. Sonic Advance didn\u2019t do anything special or different from other 2D games in the series. Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles play almost identically to how they played on the Genesis and the newcomer is Amy Rose who is a bit slower than the rest of the group but can destroy enemies with her hammer. Sonic Advance didn\u2019t rewrite the series in any way. All it did was provide a solid, although short, game that was a strong start to Sega\u2019s third-party games. 8. Sonic Adventure 2 Image via Sega Sonic Adventure 2 was the Sega Dreamcast\u2019s last hurrah before the company shut down console development and began focusing on being a third-party software company. As opposed to the first game, the sequel cut down on the story modes to only three playstyles spread between two campaigns: hero and dark. In hero, you play as Sonic racing through levels, Tails in mech shooting levels, or Knuckles in treasure hunting areas as they try to save the world. On the dark side, a darker version of Sonic named Shadow the Hedgehog was the speedy variant, Eggman had his mech, and newcomer Rouge the Bat was the treasure hunter. As with the first Sonic Adventure, the levels focused on speed were the ones that tended to be more popular. While mech battles and treasure hunting were not as unpopular as fishing, they seemed largely unwanted in the grand scheme of things and have not returned since. One thing that cannot be ignored with Sonic Adventure 2 is the amazing soundtrack attached to it. \u201cCity Escape\u201d and "Live and Learn" remain some of the community's favorite gaming songs of all time, and the presentation of the game was a vast improvement over the original Sonic Adventure, although not perfected yet. Later versions of the game included multiplayer modes that weren\u2019t terrible but was no selling point for the game. The Chao Garden returned and was a decent waste of time for breaks from the action. 7. Sonic Colors Image via Sega Sonic Colors was a subtle shift for Sonic Team, who, at this point, had released a few disappointing games in a row. Colors was released in 2010, two years following Sonic Unleashed, which was half of a good game, and also the abysmal games Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Sonic and the Secret of the Rings, and Sonic and the Black Knight. Dr. Eggman has enslaved an alien race called wisps who essentially work as the game's power-ups. Sonic races through his amusement park set in outer space to release the wisps and prevent Eggman from launching a mind-control ray that would allow him to conquer Earth. Sonic Colors was a game where Sonic Team focused on fixing issues certain games in the series had been dealing with within the 2000s. No annoying side characters are playable, and there was a focus to balance speed and platforming. They took what was good about Sonic Unleashed\u2019s daytime levels and focused on that. 6. Sonic & Knuckles Image via Sega Sonic & Knuckles is a genuinely unique game released in 1994. Not that the gameplay was any different from other Sonic games at the time, but the situation surrounding its development was odd. S&K was initially intended to be a part of Sonic the Hedgehog 3. However, a combination of cartridge storage capacity issues and production time led Sega to release it separately. The genius part about the game, though, is they used what they called \u201clock-on\u201d technology that allowed you to insert another game in the top of the cartridge. If you put Sonic the Hedgehog 2 in, you could play through that entire game as Knuckles with his gliding and wall-climbing abilities. If you put Sonic 3 in, you combined both Sonic 3 & Knuckles into one game so you could play them the way they were meant to be played. 5. Sonic Adventure Image via Sega Sonic\u2019s first leap into a 3D plain, Sonic Adventure, was a significant change up to what a Sonic game was. The game featured a story that let you play six different characters with varying controls. Sonic, of course, was focused on running as fast as possible through levels. Tails would race Sonic to the end of each course and could shortcut by flying. Knuckles had to search for three randomly hidden master emerald pieces. Amy had to run away from a robot trying to capture her. Big the Cat would fish for his friend Froggy. Finally, E-102 had shooting levels. Some character campaigns were better than others. For example, Big the Cat\u2019s campaign is infamous for having very frustrating fishing controls while Sonic levels are more in line with what the series continues to excel at. Sonic Adventure\u2019s story was also much more in-depth than other games in the series' past. Up until this point, each game was primarily focused on Eggman putting animals into robots. This time, there was a new threat in Chaos, who would transform and become more of a monster with every Chaos Emerald he was given, culminating into an epic final boss fight where you fly through a flooded city as Super Sonic while dodging his attacks. Besides questionable game mechanic choices, what holds back Sonic Adventure from being higher on this list is the presentation. Character models and animations are laughably bad at times. While this was an experimental time for Sega, Sonic Adventure has not aged well. However, the things that the game did right make it one of the most popular Sonic games in the series still for fans that grew up with it. 4. Sonic Generations Image via Sega Sonic Generations was a celebration of 20 years of Sonic the Hedgehog. A monster has been interfering with time and pulled modern Sonic and the younger, classic version of Sonic together, and they pass through the series' most iconic levels. Each level consisted of two acts. The first one was played through as modern Sonic in a 3D set-up that played similarly to Sonic Colors and the second act played as a side-scrolling 2D level as classic Sonic. Sonic Generations was a brilliant recreation of Sonic\u2019s highest (and even some of his lowest) moments. It was divided into three sections. The first three levels were recreations of levels from the Genesis-era games, the middle three were Adventure-era, and then the final three were the most recent games (at the time). Each level also included remixed songs for the modern and classic versions, and the collectible red rings and unlockables were good reasons to replay all the stages continually. 3. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Image via Sega As stated above, Sonic 3 was the other half of Sonic & Knuckles. This game featured the introduction of Knuckles and also had cutscenes in-between levels for the first time. Levels were unique and fun throughout the third game (even the underwater levels in the second zone are more tolerable than usual). Save from one very poor example of level design in Carnival Night Zone, each zone is set up brilliantly and makes this a lot of longtime Sonic fan's favorite game. 2. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Image via Sega We go from the introduction of Knuckles to the introduction of Tails, who could be controlled by your younger siblings plugging in a second controller while you were playing. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 released one year following the original game and brought with it better level design, music, and controls. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was the first time Sonic and Tails could charge up and speed off. This was where they would come to a complete stop, crouch into a ball, and rev themselves up before blasting forward. This was a small inclusion that made a big impact. You no longer needed to build momentum to get past places. Wherever you were, you could pick up speed quickly. Another positive addition was the new special stages. To access these, you needed to have at least 50 rings and pass a checkpoint. At this point, you can jump into a ring that will place you on a track to collect rings. This mode is probably the most fun of any special stage in the series. It nails that feeling of running fast and using your reflexes to avoid bombs and pick up rings. Finally, the most badass inclusion in Sonic 2 is the introduction of Super Sonic. The obvious nod to Dragon Ball Z makes Sonic invincible to all attacks, run faster, and jump further. To access the transformation, the player needs to collect all seven chaos emeralds from the special stages, have 50 rings, and jump. Super Sonic was a feature to strive for, and when you got him, you knew you were a master at this game. 1. Sonic Mania Image via Sega Related: Years later, Sonic Mania is still the best Sonic the Hedgehog game \u2014 and the 30th anniversary should bring us more The absolute best Sonic the Hedgehog game is 2017\u2019s Sonic Mania. It was created by a group of Sonic fans who had a history of porting Genesis Sonic games to mobile and creating fan games online. Like Sonic Generations, Mania had quite a few levels remade from classics in the past. The difference is this game was built entirely from the ground up to feel like a Genesis\/Saturn game, and they thoroughly nailed it. Sonic Mania\u2019s presentation is unmatched in the series. It nails that perfect feeling of nostalgia in its pixel graphics combined with smooth gameplay across all playable characters (Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Mighty the Armadillo, and Ray the Flying Squirrel). Sonic has a new move called the drop dash that is an even faster way to speed yourself up without stopping and charging yourself. Sonic Mania was lovingly put together by fans of the series original beginnings from start to Sonic CD. If you were playing a Sonic game at any point in the 90s, there is a good chance you will find something that will make you smile in this game. It is the absolute best Sonic game ever made, and Sonic Team didn\u2019t even make it. This article includes affiliate links, which may provide small compensation to Gamepur.