If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Sonic is back twofold this November to give the Sonic series a much needed refresher course in this new 20th Anniversary release. Combining the original side scrolling speed gameplay with the new 3D gameplay that started with Sonic Adventure, Sega hopes to dash away from all the lack luster releases since Sonic Adventure 2.
The story in Sonic Generations is pretty easy to keep up with. There is a mysterious black cloud with teeth and claws that decides to crash Sonic’s birthday party (or Anniversary party). This creature opens up time portals to areas from previous Sonic Games and pulls all his friends into a different area. Sonic gives chase and ends up in a familiar place from his past. Past Sonic is also on the case to figure out what is going on with that black cloud.
Green Hill Zone makes a return in both 2D and 3D... it looks so nice!
After Tails is rescued the story becomes a little self aware of how ridiculous it has become in the past and it hopes that the audience just goes along with it. Sonic’s friends are trapped in each different stage and it’s up to both past and present Sonic to save them and stop this time cloud from messin’ with time even more.
Like I said previously the Sonic Generations combines to the old and the modern day controls to a point. The stage selection screen is more of a stage select “area” with you being able to choose a stage by running to it in the area. There are only 9 Stages each with 2 Acts that are played with both Sonics. The simple controls of past Sonic return in the first Acts with “run that way,” jump, and charge up roll. Also later in the game you unlock the ability to use shields like the fire and lightning. Modern Sonic also gets his chance to take on the stages with his new controls as well like the homing attack and run boost. Although I enjoyed playing with past Sonic there was something faster and more entertaining with the Modern Sonic and the way stages seamlessly changed between 3D running and side scrolling. At times I did forget that some moves aren’t available to both Sonics so I ended up making mistakes. For convenience there is a little blue doll (Chao) that keeps you company throughout the stage to button prompt you when approaching an obstacle that will slow you down.
I'd like to call your supervisor and tell him how YOU are driving.
On a side note, you can find a Sega Genesis console in the game and after you get a Genesis controller you can play through the original “Sonic the Hedgehog.” I have to say that compared to now Sonic was pretty slow.
Although there are only 9 stages it doesn’t that is all for those stages, after beating a set of three stages you open up challenges for that area that vary in objective and difficulty. It’s nothing spectacular but as an incentive to beating these challenges to you unlock abilities, artwork, and music tracks you can use in the stages.
Memorable bosses from previous titles make a return to slow Sonic down to reach the final boss. Unfortunately they aren’t difficult to defeat because most of the time that little helper is there to tell you what you need to do to beat them. I only had trouble with one boss because I had no idea if I was doing something correctly.
Big head Metal Sonic tries to ruin your day once again.
On another side note there is a small online component but it is reserved for those who want to gloat about who is the better blue hedgehog.
Next to the gameplay it’s the music that really shines in this game. Each stage has been complimented with a remix of their original background music. But if you want to mix things up you can unlock different tracks from the many Sonic titles of the past and play those while running though the stages. One of my personal favorites from the intro to Sonic CD is one of those. Nearly all the classic sound effects are intact from the rings jingling and the sound of Sonic coming to a screeching halt. The voice acting is on par with the Sonic Adventure games, nothing impressive but adequate. It’s minimal as well since the voice acting is reserved for the cutscenes.
Graphically the game doesn’t disappoint. Although since you are dashing through stages you rarely ever get a chance to enjoy the view. The vibrate colors really give the game that classic feel even in the newer stages. Sure it my not be of the caliber of Uncharted but Sonic Generations looks sharp and clean. With the exception of past Sonic and Tails the rest of the character models look a little recycled from previous titles which isn’t all that of a bad thing.
During my first playthrough I didn't notice those hot air balloons.
All in all this is a very entertaining game. Sonic Generations reminded me why I enjoyed playing Sonic games so much. There is still life left this little blue hedgehog even though it’s mostly found in the past. But with the main story running up to about 3 hours and a few more hours with the challenges it’s not worth the $50 price tag in my opinion. That’s right it was $50 dollars in its release. I would recommend to wait for it to drop in price because it’s definitely worth owning.
Have fun and happy running.
- El Capt. Mexico