If Sonic the Hedgehog had been a movie star, his 2006 comeback game Sonic the Hedgehog for the Xbox 360 should have ended his career. In its "anti-awards" for 2006 games, GamesRadar called it the "antithesis of a classic Sonic game" and slammed its "finicky controls and pitfall-strewn level design [that] actually discourage speed." GameSpot called it "a mess from top to bottom," and criticized its camera that "causes often-severe gameplay problems." It's easily the worst Sonic game ever made that's not a port. And yet, for some reason, a handful of fans going by the name of Gistix DevLab have spent a couple of years preparing a Unity-powered release of the original for PC players.
And now you can play the demo yourself. If, you know, you have the stomach for that kind of punishment. Gistix's version doesn't suffer from any of the three minute-long loading screens that plagued the original release and it seemingly has fewer glitches, but I only played it for a few minutes before finding myself frustrated with the same camera that GameSpot complained about over a decade ago. After so much effort, I would have expected Gistix to clean up some of Sonic 06's design flaws rather than porting it so faithfully to the PC. Maybe it's just trying to be very authentic to the original experience.
Gistix, oddly enough, has been working on this thing for well over a year, with the earliest YouTube video of their progress dating back to April of 2015. In time, the whole game should be available, but the demo gives a good idea of what's in store. At least it's not the absolutely worst Sonic game. According to Metacritic, that honor goes to the port of the original Sonicfor the Sega Genesis to the Game Boy Advance, which also happened to come out in the incredibly Sonic-unfriendly year of 2006.
Sonic's preparing for another comeback, and we should see the two resulting games sometime this year. But in the meantime, if you're a PC player who's always wanted to see how the first comeback attempt worked out, you can download Gistix's file through this link. In the likely event that the file's being too hammered by traffic, just copy the file to your own Google Drive, make a copy of that file, and then download the resulting copy. Gistix is currently asking for donations, which is the kind of thing that should bring Sega's lawyers out of the woodwork within a couple of hours, so you'd be wise to start the download soon.