The early 1990′s were still fresh enough to bring new gaming characters into the spotlight and see what the general reaction was, who would have thought that a fast, blue hedgehog was the one to essentially become the mascot of the world-renowned SEGA?!
Whether you were (or still are) a Nintendo only (fanboy) gamer, you would have still heard of Sonic the Hedgehog, but would never have played any of the games unless you went to a SEGA console owning friends house to watch or maybe even play them. Sonic actually had a small SEGA Master System release that was overshadowed by the Mega Drive (Genesis to US folk) version due to it having better graphics and sound because of the 16-bit specifications.
Sonic Generations takes him into the next generation with HD versions of the original game, with a 3D ‘Act’ of each stage that gives you a whole new perspective of the level, literally. You start with Green Hill which as any Sonic fan knows, is the first world and Act 1 has you playing as Classic Sonic in the typical side-scrolling fashion with a bit of a difference, it’s all spruced up to have some depth and in high-definition.
To play as Modern Sonic and the 3D version of the level, choose Act 2 and not only are you treated to a third person perspective view which, for those of you with 3D compatible televisions, can enjoy the next level of gaming goodness. It seems that 3D is something us reviewers may need to invest in if it becomes a more popular feature in order to give a proper opinion as to whether it works for the game or not, with a game like Sonic Generations you can bet that extra dimension will enhance the gameplay experience even more.
Take no notice of complaints about frames per second, the game runs fast and smooth enough to not have any visual impact and the colours are amazing. The detail of the levels are fantastic with the good old classic style, but all smoothed out, nice and sharp environments whizz past and all that has been added are a couple of new moves to help you get past obstacles. Your friendly little Chao will help you as you progress by popping up at places that require you to press a button to break rocks or through walls or slide through gaps in between the ground and low hanging rock.
Selecting Zones is also a whole new story, it’s not just a case of scrolling through each one, it’s a lot more interactive that even has its own set of challenges. SEGA have not only rejuvenated Sonic the Hedgehog, the addition of Challenges for each Zone is a great way to help the gamer dig deeper into the world of Sonic. In each Act of the Zones or should I say, Worlds are five red stars to find and collect which unlock special items like artwork and music that can be viewed in a special room, on completion of a Challenge, a bell appears above the portal. Jumping to ring the bell and catching the note that is released unlocks more collectible items.
The artwork consists of storyboard pictures, concept art and scribblings from the artists, the music is the original tracks taken from all the Sonic games. Yes, including Sonic Spinball, you can listen to music from Sonic the Hedgehog (first and original Mega Drive version) right up to Sonic the Hedgehog 4, something for true fans to play their fingers off and be greatly rewarded with classic and original content.
Collecting rings and keeping as many as possible until the end isn’t just for the sake of getting a better rating, there is actually a use for the amount of rings you accumulate after each Act and Challenge. There is now a ‘Skill Shop’ which allows you to spend your rings on items that can help you in-game, a quick example would be the ability to not lose rings when hit by an enemy or landing on spikes, something that could be quite beneficial in certain challenges.
Completing both Acts unlocks the character that’s associated with the Zone, that character then stands outside the entrance and offers some tips when you talk to them, they will also help or race against you in certain Challenges, whatever you wanted in Sonic the Hedgehog, it’s pretty much there. The best thing about it is that it’s all done with a modified version of the original game, in HD and generally better than ever, a very worthy ‘remake’ or ‘reboot’ or whatever else you want to class it as, I’d prefer to call it Sonic the Next Generation which is almost what it’s called anyway.
Why should you buy it? Hours of gameplay, great graphics, awesome sound and you should put aside your dislike of the blue spiky one if you’re an old Nintendo fanboy, be a true gamer, don’t deny yourself and play a great game.