The Best

Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster’s Hidden Treasure

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Year Released: 1993
Platform: Sega Megadrive

Okay, now we’re onto the good stuff. Konami also loves to jump onto the Sonic clone bandwagon. But instead of making their own mascot (which we’ll get to later), they had the Tiny Toons license to work with. After doing a Mario clone, they ended up doing a pure Sonic clone featuring a speedy Buster Bunny and a ton of weather-themed levels, lots of rats & wildlife that can be jumped on, and a ton of carrots to collect.

The levels in Buster’s Hidden Treasure are pretty big yet contained, with lots of secrets and bonus levels to discover. The challenge ramps up just nicely, with tricky gimmicks and sections that make their way in the later ice and factory stages. The music itself is pretty catchy if you’re into Yamaha-based synthesized Tiny Toon Adventures soundtrack remixes.

All in all, we wished Konami brought this and Tiny Toon Adventures: ACME All-Stars back in a retro-bundle of sorts.

Spark The Electric Jester

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Year Released: 2017
Platform: PC

The most-recent Sonic clone on our awesome list also pinches a lot from Nintendo’s Kirby series. As Spark the Electric Jester, you still run from left to right through playground levels, ramps, and labyrinths, but now you can get powers from enemies and treasure boxes. These let you double jump and slice enemies with sai blades, or even make Spark fly and do gravity-altering moves.

These powers, and the fact that the levels here require you to make use of them to the fullest, makes this Sonic clone stand apart from the rest. And subsequently, make it all the more fun to play. Coupled with a soundtrack that’s also contributed by Malaysian audio guy Falk, and you’ve got a “gotta go fast” game that can go toe-to-toe with even this generation’s Sonic Mania.

Freedom Planet

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Year Released: 2014
Platform: PC, Nintendo Switch

This 2D platformer came out at a time when we needed a break from all the ludicrously-designed 3D Sonic games that teased a bit of 2D jonesin’ (at least until Spark came into the picture). You play a bunch of Sonic-like anthropomorphic speedsters who have different abilities that open up branching paths in the game’s many, MANY stages.

You have a speedster named Lilac who can zip around like as if she had a rocket pack, and another one called Carol with kung-fu attacks, wall-climbing abilities, and a bike that makes traversal fun. There’s even another Sonic type character called Milla who can throw stuff, reflect projectiles, and do the Yoshi floating jump. Each of them has their own skillsets and difficulty curve; newbies should use Lilac while experts should try out Milla.

What’s really cool is that each level is tailor-made for each different Sonic archetype here. Freedom Planet manages to create its own take on the “gotta go fast” platforming formula that’s challenging, frenetic, and fun. The colourful aesthetics also help elevate this title beyond its indie status.

And if you can’t stand the cringeworthy story and voiceovers (which is on course for a colourful 90s game of its ilk), you can always play this game in Classic Mode.

Best Honorable Mention

Rocket Knight Adventures

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Year Released: 1993
Platform: Sega Megadrive

While not purely a Sonic clone since main character Sparkster can’t run for squat, the possum knight’s debut deserves some mention because it still emphasizes on speed. Just with a different mechanic & playstyle; instead of running, Sparkster charges up his rocket pack to blast off careening in either direction in the 2D space.

The game is tailored like an action game ala Konami’s own Contra with a boss or two midway to impede your progress. Your sword can shoot out projectiles, while your rocket charge attack does a ton of damage to any weak spot or idiot in your way. Do not sleep on this title; it features outstanding level design and challenges, and a kick-ass soundtrack with awesome graphic tech, all backed up by a team led by Contra III lead Nobuya Nakazato.

I’ll bet you that his latest work that he’s overseeing is a hundred times better than both Contra III and Rocket Knight Adventures combined. It’s not like he peaked so early back…

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….well, f***.

Thanks for reading this feature on Sonic clones. If there’s any game we missed, let us know either on the comments here or on Facebook

 

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1 Comment »

  1. I think that your meme-ing of Contra: Rogue Corps at the end of that article is really uncalled-for; while the game isn’t exactly your cup of tea or your expectation of what a Contra game should be, your basis for bashing it is based on a current trend on smearing Konami (note that I have read your review of past Contra games, which I agree mostly to some extent, the tone delivered comes off as quite off-putting, which might end up sounding alittle insincere). That being said, I agree with your list of Sonic-like games though I believe that there are more titles that can be evaluated. Perhaps doing a Let’s Play of each of these Sonic-like titles in the style of Nico Evaluates would help to improve the visibility of such games and serve as both entertaining and informative videos for future game designers and Sonic fans.

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