Sonic The Hedgehog in Robotnik’s Laboratory
"Sonic the Hedgehog, featured in the Sega Mega-Drive games, must rescue his friends, who have been kidnapped by the villainous Doctor Robotnik. Robotnik plans to use Sonic's friends to find out the secret of his amazing powers."
…where to begin?
This is possibly the worst novel I’ve ever read. I wasn’t expecting much, admittedly, from a children’s book based on the Sonic games but…wow…this was almost painful to read.
It’s part of a series of four Sonic books published in the UK in the early nineties. Being British it follows the UK version of the game story. It’s a bit much to get into here, but at the time the original Sonic game was released, due to the limited story of the game, different countries would add in additional things to fluff up the narrative. The American version introduced Sonic’s love of chilli dogs while the UK gave us the Dr Kintobor back story that see’s Sonic turned blue during an experiment to measure his speed (when he breaks the sound barrier) and the kind Dr Kintobor turned into the evil Dr Robotnik (see what they did there?) after an accident involving faulty lab equipment and a rotten egg.
If that bit about the egg seems strange, yeah, you’re in for a fun ride with this book. This book is just weird, jam packed with moments that seem packed in purely to fill a narrative that the author is struggling with because he hasn’t played the games. The odd reference to the games gets chucked in every now and then but it feels as if the authors read it off a list of items somebody from Sega left on his desk.
Instead of anything actually relevant to the Sonic story or characters, the writer includes a really odd running joke about Sonic and Tails being constantly hungry. The logic is that because he’s always running, he works up an appetite and constantly needs to eat. This would maybe be funny once (…well actually, no it wasn’t funny once) but it’s referenced so many times that Sonic barely gets through a single page without asking tails if he has any Nachos. Also, as it’s a British novel, it’s probably the only instance you’ll ever see, of Sonic using the word “Crikey”.
The plot is a joke, Robotnik kidnaps Sonic’s friends and invents a ray gun that turns them into everyday household objects. Yep, you got that. A large chunk of this novel sees Sonic turned into a toaster which Tails then uses as a waffle gun. Johnny gets turned into a mop, Porker gets turned into a vacuum cleaner, Joe Sushi gets turned into a radio and…what the hell am I reading?
For one of the coolest video games characters of all time and a series with a setup and set of characters that could work really well as a novel. This book is just awful. Even as a massive Sonic fan I struggled to get through this one, by the end of every chapter I really felt like giving up and had to really force myself to finish it. I can’t imagine how readers who don’t like Sonic would react.
I had originally planned to make this review a four parter, to finish this book then read the next three in the series. But frankly, I don’t want to put myself through that ordeal.
This book sucks, do not read it.
If I had to say one positive thing about this book, it’d be the fact that it has a flip animation in the corner. I love flip animations.