In a series devoted to a wide cast of characters, we focus the most on two hedgehogs: Sonic and Shadow. Since 2001, these two continue to bump heads as rivals and adversaries. With so many characters in each game, it makes you wonder just how many of them remain relevant after their introduction. While we could make a fun list of “Forgotten Sonic Characters,” let us turn our attention to one other hedgehog that hasn’t had the chance to shine as many others before him: Silver the Hedgehog.
Introduced in Sonic The Hedgehog (2006), Silver would be the next big playable character in a game that would have the darkest storyline yet. For as exciting as the buildup to the game was, the final product left a lot of fans disappointed, and rather pissed off. It was bad enough that the game had tons of broken gameplay and long loading times for one piece of dialog and even more loading issues before you get to the actual game. It’s made worse since Silver got the short end of the stick and was the individual (besides a certain princess…) that ruined the whole game.
Is it fair to judge Silver off one game? It’s difficult to say, but let’s inspect the Hedgehog of the Future and see if there is a possibility of him having an actual future in Sonic Games. Could he still get his shining moment? Or is Silver best left on the curb and forgotten? Note: we will look at his appearance in-game. Chances are that the comics have done a better job in making him likeable, but this will be a look at what the games are.
Is Silver essentially Trunks?
When you look at the Sonic series, would it be fair to argue there were inspirations taken from a small series, Dragon Ball? It’s funny how many references one can pull if you were to think about it, such as the seven important items, the ability to go “Super” and even Shadow trying to be an edgier Vegeta just to name a few. To add even more on top of the stack, there was our introduction to Silver and how his backstory almost emulated Trunks. Coming from the distant future (200 years), he sets out to stop the source of his world’s evil to make things right before they went wrong.
He is an optimist (although he called himself a realist in Sonic Forces), full of a sense of justice. and believes in standing up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. He is also like Knuckles in the sense of being easily fooled into attacking Sonic. While we can go on further with Silver, here is one glaring issue about trying to make him recurring: he’s from the future. Just like Future Trunks in Dragon Ball Super, the only way he can be relevant is going back in time and tell everyone about the “new threat”, and going back to get help. With Silver though, his attempt at fixing the future involves making Sonic’s life hell and letting Eggman capture the princess, and rather than trying to fix the future, he spends a good chunk of time hunting down Sonic and screwing things up for him.
Silver’s Contributions to Sonic 2006
So if we were to look at Silver from the game he came from, there are more plot holes that can make a few people raise questions. While this is a “destroyed future,” our “Not Satan” hedgehog Mephiles approaches him and shows him that Sonic is the “Iblis Trigger.” While one would question if the computer used was the only one in existence, Silver doesn’t hesitate in his plan to kill Sonic. It is also hilarious that Blaze is there with him and already knows Sonic, but doesn’t say much about it and is also fine with killing him. After arriving in the past, and to round out the first half of the story, our “hero with a strong sense of justice” finds more interest in attacking Sonic than helping the captured girl screaming for help. Twice.
It isn’t until Silver take a kick to the back of the head that Shadow tells Silver about Mephiles’s plan to destroy the past. It is from this point forward that Silver finally connects the dots and only now goes after the princess… who dies in the next scene.
Umm… Our… Hero?
But not to worry! Silver knows Chaos Control and can fix that minor issue up. While he gives Sonic the chance to go back in time to save her, Silver comes up with the brilliant plan to be Iblis’s vessel but doesn’t share that plan with Blaze until he finds out it will not work. Having to step in, Blaze take Iblis and tells Silver to send her to the next dimension. Silver can’t do it, so Blaze sends herself to help save the future. While we know this won’t kill her, it’d be fun to think “sending someone to the next dimension” was one more thing from Dragon Ball…
While Silver in Sonic 06 wasn’t bad, it is hard to argue of his positive impacts on the story. Silver may have been manipulated into attacking Sonic, but it seems ironic how he causes as much trouble in the story as Eggman. We don’t even get a confirmation about Silver’s future. Did things remain the same? Did he go back and see a better world? With so many things questions left unanswered, it makes one wonder if the story got overlooked because of its technical issues.
What good is a hedgehog that can’t run?
So let’s step away from the story and look at Silver’s gameplay. Back in Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic and Shadow were just about the same character with the only differences being that Shadow had rocket skates, and the ability to use Chaos Control. All that changed when Sega thought it was a good idea to give him access to guns, vehicles and anything else that could sharpen his edginess even more. It was… weird (and a touch concerning), but at least was something to give the two different qualities besides just looks. With Silver, he had his own fair share of tricks at his disposal that gave him an edge in stages. While he wasn’t as agile as other hedgehogs (or even other cast members), his skills came with manipulating the world around him.
During the planning stages of 2006 Sonic The Hedgehog, the development team got to work with a new physics engine in-game. Because of what it could do, Silver came to be alongside his access to psychic abilities. Besides being able to float in the air for a limited time, he can throw nearby objects with telekinesis. It was an interesting approach to add variety to one of the main playable characters. Here’s the problem though: as mentioned in the “How Does One Save Sonic?” editorial, Sonic games have a specific theme to them: speed. Even with all the things Silver can do, fans weren’t that excited to play with him since it felt like his stages were slower than his two counterparts. Levels weren’t all too special, and the gameplay was… well, to summarize it:
It’s No Use! Take This!
Whether if you were playing as Silver or fighting against him, he was an absolute nightmare. To get the early one out of the way, there was the infamous “It’s No Use!” loop that caused Silver to throw the player against a wall constantly for minutes on end because you collect the rings that fell on the ground as he tries to murder you. The problem though is that if you couldn’t get within range of him without him catching you and throwing you again the wall. He would then chase you down until he got into a range where you couldn’t escape. It was a broken fight and one that got on everyone’s nerves.
As for his actual gameplay, the final result left many to believe he was a broken character. It didn’t take long for players to find several ways to break the character and what he could do. Examples include bouncing off the water’s surface, floating longer distances than what the developers intended and even moving objects they are standing on to reach the end while skipping large parts of the stage. For those who don’t speed run the game, there was no denying that Silver’s stages ran at a much slower pace.
Conclusion: The Past is Far Behind Us! The Future Doesn’t Exist!
For as funny as it is to quote Don’t Hug Me, I’m Scared, this holds true to the case of Silver. While Silver wasn’t handled with care back in 2006, the steps taken since then have been… admirable. Even those of the Sonic community accept the character. There are still cases of Silver going back in time to change the future, part of the issue is that it feels like not enough is being done with Silver to make him someone worth mentioning. If we are to find connections with the character, we would need something in the “here and now” rather than how whenever something happens, he goes to the past to tell people that shit’s about to go down like we saw in Sonic Forces.
It would be nice to see Silver’s character salvaged later on, but the biggest issue is that it would feel like a big gamble that isn’t going to pay off. There’s a reason after ’06 Sonic, the gameplay stuck with only Sonic and his younger self (and Shadow in Sonic Forces). The best way to salvage Silver would be if you were to make another Sonic Adventure or Sonic the Hedgehog and take your time with making sure that everything works as it should. Silver might have stood in the line up as “The Third Hedgehog,” but where things stand let’s hope that Silver finds that better future for himself. Let’s cross our fingers that it won’t be a repeat of his first appearance.
So what do you think?
Does Silver deserve a second chance? Should he get another playable role in a future Sonic game? Leave a comment down below and be sure to follow us here at Culture of Gaming for more insightful character studies.
A quick shout out to the Sonic News Network for the information found on Silver the Hedgehog. Be sure to go check them out.