Sega recently started a tournament to see which was the fanbase’s favourite Sonic sidekick, and I’m very sad to report that a great injustice has been committed, this is the biggest thing to happen to this fanbase since Sonic’s eyes became green.
That being, Big the Cat may get knocked out in the first round.
At the time of writing, Big sits at just under 40% whilst the Chao sits at just over 60%. Now we have to ask, what is wrong with this picture? What is wrong is that Big the Cat is the best character in the whole series and if he were president of the United Kingdom he would be the best president we have ever elected, since King Charles the third.
Now if you’d take a moment, just to sit right there, I shall tell you why Big the Cat is the best character in the series.
This is a picture of a cat, this cat is named Merch Kitty, she is a cat, she is reading a book, a book about Sonic.
She is not Big, but this is a cat who is Big.
And that is why he is named Big the Cat. It is science and literature, combined into one. Now you understand why he is named Big the Cat.
Ever since Sonic Adventure 1, poor big has been the brunt of jokes and the ridicule of many since his first outing way back in the day when he fell victim to an attempt to sell more copies of Sega Bass Fishing, a truly excellent survival horror game.
Even now, years later, still this is the typical reception to Big
And it’s hard to deny, Bigs game play is slow, it can be hard to find it exciting to fish, when you’ve just been rushing through stages smashing robots or trying to find emerald pieces.
There really is nothing more boring than Big’s stages in Sonic Adventure… Meanwhile… in the Chao Garden.
So let me propose a question to you, a question which we should ask the most advanced Supercomputers, and then eventually Quantum Computers.
Is it the fault of a ‘character’ if his ‘game-play’ has problems?
Let me put it another way, take your favourite character, or critically acclaimed characters throughout any media, film, theatre, television or games… now take that character, all the reasons you like, and if it exists, consider them being in something which is considered bad. E.g. Resident Evil’s characters from the game, Vs their characters in the movies.
Or another way, say your favourite character is this man.
This is Tybalt from William Shakepeare’s Romeo & Juliet, Tybalt is a pretty cool character, but not every performance of this play or adaptation is going to be good. Does that mean Tybalt as a character is somehow lesser? Or is it just that the adaptation isn’t that great? Or maybe the performance of the character, the source material never changes, but the execution of it does.
Let us now return to Sonic Adventure and check in on our Chao Garden…
And back to Big. What is his source material? How do we first encounter and see Big?
Big the cat lives life care free in a tropical paradise.
- He spends his days fishing.
- He spends his days sleeping.
- He spends his days relaxing.
- He is clearly unfit.
- He is clearly in no position to do much physical activity.
- He doesn’t have great communication skills.
All of these things could be argued to be a negative or a flaw, so what happens to Big to get him involved in the game?
His best friend, a frog, completely defenceless, goes missing, is kidnapped and put in danger.
What does Big do?
He gives up, he gives up his paradise in the tropics, his carefree lifestyle, his favourite hobby, to go on a dangerous, exhausting, mission, fighting killer robots and an ancient God of destruction.
Does this sound like the actions of a negative character? Of a bad character? Of a character who should be shunned?
How about this, unlike nearly every other character in the game, Big has no combat experience, he has no super powers, he has no advanced gadgets, he just uses what he knows, fishing equipment. And he fights killer robots, a god of destruction a deranged scientist with an IQ of over 300 who laughs manically HAHAHAA!
And ye think he be weak!? He doth be bad!? He quote terrible character!? By the gods!
And despite his obvious lack of communication skills, he’s able to make several new friends, all with wild personalities by the end of the game. Have you been in a social situation with people who have big personalities? Is it easy to fit in… come sit on the couch with me… it’s not easy is it… But Big does it.
This is a story of friendship, of loyalty, of what it means to be a true hero, without powers, or armour or a big ball of string, to go out into a dangerous world and save your best friend.
Upon completion of the game what benefits does he have?
Pay no attention to the fact volume only comes out of the right speaker.
He has nothing, Big personally has no benefits made to him other than his friend is safe. Even the E-Series Robot has a better outcome, he has been made free of Eggman’s control and has been reunited with his family and as a robot learned to love and feel for lesser creatures (thanks to Amy).
Big however has nothing other than his friend back by his side. He suffers no major benefit nor does he manage to impose any rule or impose any new system of belief/thought over the society or any other character in the game.
He’s the ultimate hero in that he faces truly impossible odds to save an innocent lesser life and succeeds! Also he dances at the end, and everybody loves dancing.
Turn your attention to Sonic Heroes. He is on Team Rose, let us go through the motivation of the characters on his Team.
- Amy: “I want Sonic!”
- Big: “Froggy is in danger!”
- Cream: “So is my pet!”
Again, he acts out of friendship, but his role has improved, now he’s also acting as protector, bodyguard of sorts, what happens when Vector insults Amy? Big steps forward and says with a very deep tone “It’s not nice to tease MY friends…” In other words, back the off, or else. And sure enough, in the next scene, he’s kicking the Chaotix’s arse! The Chaotix! Made up of a head banging rock and roll loving crocodile, a hyper active bumble bee and a ninja! And all he has is a fishing rod! Fishing rods again!
We sadly, have to turn our attention to Sonic Chronicles, but don’t worry we don’t have to play the game or listen to the music. We just have to look at how they treat Big.
When we first see Big, he’s fishing in a swamp, when his friends need help to get through poison gas, who decides to help? Big! Nobody else is strong enough to get through the poison gas but Big! He’s got no reason to join, he doesn’t have a reason to join. The only reason he has is because he needs to help his friends, just about every other character in the game acts for their own means or goal, not Big, he acts for the benefit and safety of his friends.
Furthermore, he offers free hugs! FREE HUGS MAN! Everybody needs a hug once and a while!
Even if you do not have him in your party (a pox on you for doing so!), he always enters the dialogue when things seem bad, and how does he try to help everyone out… with a hug! This character may not seem smart, may not seem to have the best communication skills, but he has the ability to recognise when people need uplifting and helps the only way he knows how!
He is all this, but we would rather sit in a garden, looking at eggs, waiting for them to hatch. I guess it makes sense, it’s fun to endlessly replay the same stages over and over again trying to catch animals, to sit and wait for hours trying to get stats to climb just so we can play as Metal Sonic. You know when you get up early on a Monday morning, and you see those people walking slowly, with their heads down, looking sad and depressed, that is not Monday morning blues, these are the people who spent Sunday grinding chao, their reward, get a strange alien thing. Which has the one of the following character traits.
That’s a character… That is… Well what do Chao do which make them a good character… well they… WAIT WHAT’S THAT!?
OH MY GOD! Big the Cat is playing a form of chicken with the Gun Truck! And he wins! And in the same game he somehow busted out of jail! And he’s sat in a military base fishing whilst it blows up around him! Does he care! He’s Big the Cat! He’s the god damn Batman of Sonic Adventure 2!
Headcanon this! The only reason you do well in Sonic Adventure 2 is because Big the Cat is secretly undermining all the enemies by sabotaging their plans and watching it fail from the sidelines!
Meanwhile… in the Chao Garden entertainment at last!
Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to sit over here and wait and see how many people take this article way too seriously.
But seriously, Big is an awesome character, don’t let a poor game design tarnish his character, especially when it’s actually a pretty good one.