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Sonic: The Hedgehog – Blue Streak or Road Kill?

Sonic: The Hedgehog – Blue Streak or Road Kill?

By: Lee Guille

Sonic the Hedgehog turns 20 this year, and to celebrate Sega is releasing a nostalgia-
filled romp through the Hedgehog universe on Xbox360, Playstation 3, and Nintendo
3DS. Sonic Generations will have not one, but two Sonics racing through a variety of
classic levels from Genesis and Dreamcast days, and new levels using all the power of
the current generation of consoles.

Like his older, porno-stashed rival, Sonic has starred in a number of titles across multiple
platforms. Unlike the mushroom marauder, Mario, many of Sonic’s recent titles range
from mediocre to… less than good.

Sonic Generations boasts a new time traveling villain, known as “Time Eater” who will
probably turn out to be Robotnik/Eggman Jr. or some iteration thereof. Classic character
such as Tails, Knuckles, and Metal Sonic are rumored to make cut scene appearances.
Hopefully we won’t be seeing the cast-of-thousands that have been creeping into the
post-Genesis titles. There is such a thing as too many cute critters.

After downloading the Sonic Generations demo, the first thing you’ll notice is a “X
Days Left” countdown under the start menu. I doubt that anyone, barring blue hedgehog
fetishists, will need more than the 20 days made available, but still feels like an odd
restriction in today’s market.

The gameplay feels… classic. Just not in a good way. Sonic’s standard jump-spin attack
still feels laggy and difficult to control, jumping from a standstill is slightly shy of being
prom-date awkward, the camera is choppy in areas, and navigating at high speed requires
more luck than skill. Another annoying feature pops up frequently when travelling
through high speed areas: the camera zooms out or changes angle and all of a sudden you
feel like you’re watching a “look at what we can do” demo from the developers.

Hopefully this hands-off feel won’t be reflected in later parts of the game, but judging by
the teaser video released by Sega, it’ll be par for the course, especially when Sonic busts
out his redundant (and seemingly frictionless) all-terrain snowboard.

Sadly, the nostalgia value of Generations (or at least the earlier levels) is severally
depreciated by the release of Sonic 4, an episodic throwback to the classic titles, available
on Xbox Live Arcade, PSN, WiiWare, and other platforms.

There are a few pluses evident at this early stage. Old enemies have returned with new
looks and attack patterns, taking a hit no longer stings as much because you’ll only lose
part of your ring hoard, and the Green Hills Zone feels nostalgic, from map layout to
soundtrack.

Sonic Generations clocks in at a triple-A price tag of $59.99 in Canada ($49.95 in the
US), a quite frankly unacceptable cost for something that feels very much like a Xbox
Arcade or PSN title.

Now I should be fair, the demo available on PSN and Xbox Live was made available a
full six months before its final release in mid-November and will likely see a fair bit of
tweaking before it hits the store. Still, at that price, I’ll wait for it to hit the bargain bin.

*Lee Guille is an old school gamer who played nine kinds of hell out of Genesis console
Sonic titles. He believes in beer, barbecue, and Bioware.

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About janhutchings

Canadian Game Industry Blogger / Contributor for @Sonyrumors & @ShogunGamer / Communications and PR Professional. Voice of Canadian and Indie Gaming. http://jtmgames.com/

Posted on July 1, 2011, in Opinions And Editorials and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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