Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. This is me Andrew Hatcher, the Retro Reviewer. I’ve decided to put my two cents on a topic that has been debated on since 1991. Who is truly better? Mario or Sonic? I have been a fan of both of these characters for as long as I can remember so I will do my best to keep any biases out of this topic. Let’s get started.
Mario. The plumber we all know and love got his start after starring in the classic Donkey Kong Arcade and then in the game Mario Bros. Nintendo decided that they wanted to further explore the possibilities with their new character by releasing Super Mario Bros, a launch title that came with the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985 also with Duck Hunt. By the time the Super Nintendo had come out, Mario was well established as a strong character in the new industry of videogaming. With 3 other platforming titles, things looked up for the plumber on the release of Super Mario World and the many other Super Mario related games that would follow all the way until today. Since 1985, Mario has been in more videogames as the main character, a side character, and numerous cameo appearances. His fame is unmatched by few. Mario recently celebrated 25 years of glory. At the rate he is going, the old plumber will soon celebrate 30 years. This is an accomplishment almost no other character can match.
Sonic. The speed defying hedgehog got his start after the company Sega decided they needed a mascot that could match Mario’s fame and success. With their last character, Alex the Kidd not cutting it, Sega threw around ideas for what would become Sonic. Once his first game debuted, it became a hit and the Sega Genesis (Mega Drive) soon gained much popularity and the 16 bit wars were on. Over the whole decade of the 90’s Sonic would dominate on the Genesis and Game Gear with his platformers that focused on speed and a lot of it. This wouldn’t go without a few hiccups in between. Before the new millennium, Sonic seemed to be hit or miss with questionable titles. But once 2000 came and went, he bounced back with a vengeance and regained so much popularity that a subsidiary of Sega was named for him, Sonic Team. Sonic has had a roller coaster history but he continues to be a major player in the videogame industry. He shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Who had the better jump to 3D?
Mario saw his jump into the 3D world in 1996 with the release of Super Mario 64, a launch title for Nintendo’s new hardware. Everything from his previous adventures was brought over into a massive game where you had to collect 120 stars to rescue Peach from Bowser. These stars were scattered in over 18 different massive levels. The stars did not require you to collect them in any specific order so the game had many different routes the player could take through the game. The game was a massive success with it’s free roaming camera and accurate controls for the day. This game stood as the formula for 3D games even to this day. With a DS remake and releases onto Wii’s Virtual Console, this game’s popularity still stands and the game has aged well.
Sonic fared differently in his jump to 3D. While Sonic 3D blast was a 3D game, it wasn’t true 3D roaming and the game wasn’t very good to begin with. Sonic wouldn’t get his first true 3D game until 1998, 2 years after Mario got his jump. Sonic Adventure was released on Sega’s Dreamcast as a launch title. As with Mario, all of Sonic’s gameplay was brought into the 3rd dimension pretty well. Sonic Adventure follows 6 characters and the story told from their point of views: Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Big, and Gamma. So you could say that this game has only about 1/5th of it focused on Sonic unlike Super Mario 64 with all the focus on Mario. However, this does not mean Sonic Adventure is bad. Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles control the best like they did in their 2D games. The stages in this game are less than Mario 64 but I think it works better because the levels are much more detailed and Sonic controls beautifully in this game. While Big the Cat is not welcomed, the rest of the game stands on it’s on with no problems. Sonic Adventure saw 2 re-releases, one on Gamecube and then that port was brought to Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation network. The Dreamcast version hasn’t aged too well with it’s voice acting. The Gamecube port has aged better though.
Overall: Mario got the better 3D game. While Sonic Adventure had it’s rocking soundtrack and 6 different characters and the Chao gardens, Super Mario 64 did more and the Nintendo 64 lasted while the Dreamcast failed, not cause of Sonic though. Super Mario 64 may have lacked in graphics but graphics does not define a game and between the two games, Mario wins this round, but not by much.
Who has better abilities/powerups?
Mario has had a lot of powerups over his adventures. From the beginning he had the Mushroom which allowed him to take more damage and more recently, the mushrooms have expanded to allow him to turn into a Bee, a Boo, a Spring just to name a few. He also had a Fire Flower that would allow him to take more damage than just the Mushroom (Super Mario Bros 3 and onwards) that would screennuke most minor enemies and make bosses complete wusses. In the more recent games, the Ice flower has also been brought on. This flower allows Mario to throw Ice balls and skate along water. The Starman allowed for invincibility. Since then he has added many more powerups to his arsenal that you would think he would unstoppable. There are some even I don’t even know what they are for. In terms of abilities, Mario is no average plumber. He is a Star Child, he has a ton of strength, endurance. He breaks bricks with his bare hands and just moves on, no pain. He is strong enough to swing Bowser around without a sweat. His fighting skills are pretty impressive as well. He’s gone toe to toe with Bowser multiple times and always comes out on top. He can hold his own against other Nintendo powerhouses as seen in the Super Smash Bros games. He has been burned multiple times, trapped in paintings, swallowed multiple times but always comes out on top ready to kick major ass.
Sonic has fared less favorable in terms of powerups. During his 2D years, he had shields. The fire shield would protect him from fire projectiles and gave him a double jump. The bubble shield would give him a bouncy kind of jump and provided some extra protection. The electric shield would protect him from electrical hazards. In his more recent years, he has a normal shield and a reformed electric shield that would draw rings towards him. Rings are what mushrooms are to Mario. As long as Sonic has one ring, he won’t die. His speed is his greatest ability. He can hit speed boosts and reach speeds that Mario can not obtain although this wasn’t really noticeable on he jumped to 3D. In his more recent adventure, Sonic Colors, Sonic has added little alien guys known as Wisps. Each one giving him different abilities. The Cyan one would allow him to move like a laser, Orange would propel him high into the sky, Yellow acted as a Drill, Frenzy would allow him to eat anything in sight, and so on. His greatest powerup are the Chaos Emeralds. With one he has learned Chaos Control in his recent games from his rival Shadow, allowing him to slow down time temporarily but he doesn’t use it much in his travelling. When he has all 7 together, he goes Super Sonic, ripped from Dragonball, and he is a force not to mess with, unless he runs out of rings then becomes his normal self again but in top physical condition almost healing all his injuries if he had any before transforming. In terms of fighting ability, Sonic has learned hand to hand combat and developed his own style using his speed. In his game Sonic the Fighters, he goes against every character that was in his series so far up to that point and comes out on top to stop Eggman. He would once again go back into a fighting game in 2006 with Sonic Battle. Then he would finally go against Mario for real in Super Smash Bros Brawl. And next year, he returns for the next Smash Bros game for Wii U and 3DS. Sonic has a high endurance, able to run for long periods of time. He has been crushed and burned as much as Mario, but he comes out on top every time.
Overall: Both Mario and Sonic are near equal in terms of fighting ability and main powerups. The fan show Death Battle from Screwattack took a look into this topic as well to determine who would win in a true fight to the death. They concluded that both are near dead equal in terms of powerups. Mario’s Metal Cap can deflect Super Sonic. Sonic’s speed can outmatch Mario. In terms of this in my point of view….I think Sonic takes it by just a hair. Mario has nothing like the Chaos Emeralds in his arsenal.
Who has fared better in recent years?
In recent years, Mario’s appearances in games has near doubled. Every year at least 2 new Mario related titles come out, racing, tennis, Olympic games, baseball, soccer. Mario has been in recent critical hit games such as his Galaxy games. But his New Super Mario Bros games have overstayed their welcome as a lot of gamers will agree. (No offense to those who really like them!). A lot of people argue that he is being treated similar to the Call of Duty games, the same thing every year without much changes. For years this did not apply to the plumber…but now it seems more likely. Mario has almost taken over in terms of first party Nintendo characters besides Link and Pokémon. Nintendo loves their plumber but maybe they’re using him too much…..I don’t remember ever being a year without a Mario game somewhere……
Unlike Mario, Sonic has not appeared in as many games as he used to. Back in his earlier years, a lot of games with him in it existed. Over the years, the amount of Sonic games per year dropped to about 1 or 2 or none. Since the fall of Sega’s console dreams, Sonic Team has played it a little more safe with the blue hedgehog. With games to keep games busy like Sonic Adventure 2, Heroes, Colors, and Generations, gamers did not need a new Sonic game all the time to keep their interests. 2006 was almost the end for Sonic as his famous game that year nearly ended the series. While his future looked unsure, he bounced back strong and has rebuilt his image 75 percent. Sometimes you need to hit rock bottom before you can change for the better, something Mario has yet to experience. Also, Sonic’s voicing has changed a lot. Mario has kept the same voice actor for years. Sonic’s changes about every 5 years.
Overall: Sonic has fared better these past 4 years. Mario is suffering from game overload and his fans are starting to notice it. I haven’t bought any new Mario games myself cause the last one, Super Mario 3D Land wasn’t very enjoyable. Sonic Team’s decision to keep Sonic out of the spotlight has led him to have more of a chance to be successful. He also had a better anniversary game. While Mario had a Super Mario All Stars re-release. Sonic had a whole new game designed for his 20th Anniversary.
Which character has had better attention outside of videogames?:
Both characters have had so much merchandise based off them from toys, board games, plush dolls. The one aspect I’m talking about is media attention. Both Mario and Sonic have had their share of tv shows. Sonic has had 4, Mario 3. Mario’s tv shows became subject to the Youtube Poop fad as well as content from his subpar game Hotel Mario. Sonic’s tv shows have fared slightly better but have been tainted by r34 artists all over the internet. Because both of them have had similar media appearances, I will say Sonic has done better cause his tv shows were much more memorable and some of them had pretty decent storylines. News is he is also getting a new tv show next year. Can’t wait for that.
My overall opinion:
I could spend hours talking about each character and compare them on plenty of other different topics such as accomplishments but at the end of the day, these two characters are so similar that it would be hard to keep going from here. I’ve discussed the main topics used in arguments to determine who really is better. Both of them are videogame giants of their own companies. Without these two characters, videogames were not able to move forward. Mario and Sonic allowed competition, Sega and Nintendo got their names engraved in videogaming for these two characters alone. While I love them to death, I have to come up with my final opinion on who truly is better overall, Mario or Sonic.
(credit goes to SonicTheHedgehgogBG)
Sonic the Hedgehog. Yes, I believe Sonic the Hedgehog is the better character. While I grew up on Mario first and never played Sonic games until 2004, I feel Sonic is a more relatable character to his fans and we can all agree we all have acted like Sonic at one time or another. I also feel that sometimes his games are more fun and I have more memories with Sonic games a little more than Mario games. Sonic Adventure is one of my favorite games of all time, so is Super Mario World. I also love the Chaos Emeralds and how they affect the plots of his games more than Mario. I can’t say I love Sonic a hundred times more than Mario because that is not right at all. The two characters for me are so close that even saying this feels like a disservice to the other. Oh and please make Sonic easier to use on the next Smash Bros.
Alright guys, I gave my best opinions and none of my biases were brought into this. Hope you all enjoy my next Retro Review this weekend and once again, have a Happy Thanksgiving. To those going Black Friday shopping, good luck and not get killed. Oh and I hope in the future, we get a real crossover between these two legendary characters in the future.