Sonic The Hedgehog review
Well, guess it's time to go back to the drawing board
Revival? From what!?
Sega promised that this particular game would revive the Sonic franchise, and get it going the way it was. May I ask... how did Sonic die, exactly? Shadow The Hedgehog? Nah. That game was decent enough. Sonic Heroes? Maybe... I remember that game glitching out towards the end, though it had a strong start, so... I'm kind of in limbo here. But yeah, the idea of a good 3D Sonic game was but a pipe dream. They almost did it with Sonic Adventure 2: Battle, but failed because they added other styles that were executed terribly at best. But hey, let's check this out anyway, maybe it'll make a decent spiritual successor to Sonic Adventure 2.
Time travel, princesses, and hedgehogs. Better get my "smart" drink.
The basic story is that in a region known as Soleanna, a princess by the name of Elise is having a parade in honor of the god, Solaris, when all of a sudden, Eggman swings by to attack the city and kidnap her to get a jewel from her... which I guess is a Chaos Emerald. Sonic comes by to rescue her.. only for her to be taken again, and now Sonic has to foil Eggman's evil plot. The one thing that stands out in Sonic's plot is that Eggman is finally a bit of a threat. He's not like his Sonic SatAM counterpart, but at least he's not a complete joke. Other than that, Sonic's story never really kept me awake. It's... kind of like a typical Mario story, plus some light bestiality. Not exactly a favorable story...
Unfortunately for Sonic, the Term-- or rather, Silver the hedgehog comes by to kill him in order to prevent the fall of Skyn-- I mean to prevent Sonic from unleashing a demon known as Iblis (seriously, the Silver part of the plot was making me think of Terminator). In the future, Iblis dies over and over again thanks to Silver and his partner, Blaze, but he always comes back good as new. As advised by Mephilis, they travel back in time to kill Sonic to prevent this. Silver's story is fairly interesting, until you realize just how much sense it makes - not all that much. The basic foundations are there, but afterwards, you probably might want to think about what substance you put into your body before proceeding, because the story ends up... well, it makes you want to leave your brain behind, I'll leave it at that.
Meanwhile, Shadow and Rouge now work for the GUN military faction, and they are trying to locate an item known as the Scepter of Darkness. When they find it, they accidently unseal Mephilis the Dark, who is a mysterious creature who can travel through time. Shadow, Rouge, and Omega team up to find out the history behind Mephilis and take him down. Again, interesting, yet you might want to leave your brain elsewhere. Of course, all three end up together, and... they stop the bad guy. There.
Sonic; he can really move! Off the platform, that is!
The first character is Sonic. If the Genesis games and Sonic Satam have taught us anything, it's that he's a fast little hedgehog with an attitude. Well, I can't argue with that. He is fast... which leads to some control issues with him, but I'll get to that later. Let's start with his basic gameplay, which consists of the usual Point A to Point B structure, running really fast across platforms, jumping at times, and a few set pieces here and there allowing progression.
The concept could work, IF the controls work too. Unfortunately, the controls handle like piss. If you even touch the left analog stick, Sonic runs like he has propellers up his down face first into the abyss, or against a wall if he's lucky. You see, the controls are sensitive as hell. You touch that stick, you'll be running like a mad cow. As well as this, you've got to wait almost a second between homing attacks, which makes fighting enemies an even slower procedure. Sonic's bouncing attack is also much slower to use here than it was in Sonic Adventure 2.
It turns out that slowing down Sonic's actions were unnecessary, however, as the levels do a perfect job of slowing Sonic down anyway. These levels were not designed to run quickly through. Doing that will kill you. Countless times, you'll be running ahead, only to fly off a cliff. Apparently you were supposed to make a sudden left. Whoops. It feels like the level designers were designing a standard platformer game instead of a Sonic game, and this is COMPLETELY at odds with the desire of Sonic fans to RUN FAST. At times walking SLOWLY is key to beating these levels.
Quick Sonic! Mad cow chasing you!
At times, gameplay style changes to Sonic running like a mad cow, which is appropriate, because it feels like mad cows and dodos are chasing you. Best known as the mach stages, it would seem like the quintessential style of gameplay Sonic should be, but oh no, this is just terrible. Only a couple of levels actually manage to provide some fun. Most stages put in too many obstacles and too much flying feces to keep you occupied, which doesn't suit the controls, whicht have stiff-ish turning controls, and crappy jumping controls. It's like if you jump, you have to make sure there isn't anything anywhere near in front of you, since everything hurts you like a bitch. In the end, you'll be praying that these stages end and either never come back, or improve (see: Sonic Unleashed, which improves this concept tenfold).
Oh man, what's the license plate on that truck?
Shadow's gameplay is a bit more like what you'd experience in his own game. It's a bit between Sonic's running gameplay, only a little slower, and a bit of his own style including vehicles. I already discussed running in Sonic's gameplay, so I don't want to repeat myself, since it's largely familiar, just without the mach stages.
Then you drive a few vehicles. Three out of four control like they have engine problems, probably beyond my skills to fix. They are sluggish as hell, and as you play through Shadow's stages, you have to fight the controls. They fight more like badgers, since they just don't WANT to WORK! The enemies? Nah, they're too easy, let's make the controls tough as shit to work with. That seems to be Sonic Team's mindset. You fall off cliffs, you slide all over the place, you turn sharply just by touching the damn stick... Son of a bitch, these controls suck! The glider pretty much provides the only fun to be had outside of the running stages (in terms of this game, not gaming in general). Problem - short. Not many of them, and they don't last that long.
SILVER used Psychic. It's super effective!
Silver is the last of the three big characters, and his style is different. For one, he doesn't run fast. He prefers to jog briskly. But his style isn't meant for speed - he prefers to rely more on psychic powers, which allow him to either float in midair for a period of time, or throw objects at enemies. There isn't a targeting mechanism, but due to terrible camera controls, it wouldn't matter than much. They also cram in some puzzles where you have to move giant balls into certain slots, and you can only use your psychic powers on them a certain number of times, or else, they explode and you have to start again. These puzzles almost got me into it, but some of the level designs, coupled with the questionable physics engine (let's just say that they can get all over the place due to a lack of a targeting system and lack of cohesive camera controls), just pissed me off. I'm glad that they're not in an overabundance, otherwise, I'd end up wishing I could invent something to reach into the TV, and punch the shit out of him.
Hooray for Sonic and his 20 friends nobody cares about! Well, some matter.
The three hedgehogs could've been better, but instead of putting heaps of effort into improving their gameplay and controls, Sonic Team thought it'd be a GREAT IDEA to give everybody else in the universe a fair chance. Unfortunately, quantity =/= quality, especially when everybody else controls and plays like crap.
Knuckles and Rouge still retain the basics from Sonic Adventure 2, which includes punching and gliding. The stages seem to be more like basic platforming stages with a little search and gather every now and again, but it's at least not overkill like in SA2. What stops me from enjoying them would have to be a very evil glitch - THEY DON'T GET OFF THE GODDAMN WALLS! Well, they do, but it seems to be random. Each time you press X, there's a small chance that they'll get off. Other times, they'll just hump the wall. Bastards. That, and they control just a little better than Sonic, but that's not saying much. You have to be pretty close to actually do damage against enemies... Like, "get hit" sort of close.
Most of the other characters aren't that great. Omega can float like Silver, but he doesn't have a jetpack meter, so you're not fully aware of when he falls... guess where you'll be headed! On paper, his style seems good, but when you play it, it just doesn't feel that great. Stages feel boring, and same with his style. Amy's style seems foolproof - basic platformer with a double jump. She just happens to suffer from the same problem Omega does - not all that interesting. She also has a problem with moving after a double jump, making it only useful to get up high enough to grab onto platforms. Then again, these stages seemed good upon release on the 360 (and ONLY the 360) because the only other platformer there was.. was Kameo. 'nuff said.
Tails is the biggest offender. His controls are slippery, his attack just creates framerate issues more than it stops enemies, and he doesn't seem to want to fly too long. You fly for a bit, then he just stops spinning his tails and drops quickly. He's nothing but a nuisance. On the other end of the spectrum, Blaze is the best of the bunch. Her controls are... good. She doesn't control like a kid with downsyndrome, and her gameplay, while largely similar to Sonic's (barring mach stages), actually feels much better. Her stages are a bit on the "been there done that" side, but - and this is strange - her gameplay makes up for that by not being crap. Why Sonic Team didn't put that much effort into the rest of the gang's gameplay, I'll never know, but if they did, this game wouldn't be utter crap. That's why Blaze serves as the middle finger... Yeah, well, here's two back at you!
Wild ROBOT used Mega Punch. Wild ROBOT's attack missed.
I hinted at this during Shadow's gameplay section - the enemies are mostly dumb as hell, so Sonic Team flabbergast you with bad controls. This is actually how the entire game goes, not just Shadow. Most of them just kinda... stand there. At least Shadow The Hedgehog had... I guess EXISTING AI, where they actually do something! The enemies here don't do much. They're like target practise for each of the characters! The only reason you have to die is due to shit controls that make you fall down or bump into obstacles.
Giant Enemy Ship attacks!
Boss battles aren't much better. Like in normal platformers, you just have to memorize their patterns, wait for them to expose their weak spot, attack, and then rinse and repeat. Most of the bosses here are actually damn easy. Might fail a few times, but then you'll manage to destroy them without too many problems. In fact, only one or two bosses actually provided some challenge... or at least, more death sequences for us and patterns that are a bit more complex. The boss battles aren't that bad, though, but a decent amount have to fought more than once, and a fair few of them weren't that interesting the first time. Those ended up feeling a bit... meh at times, like as if they could've done better battles, but due to having to rush everything, they didn't. Not too much change-up sorta thing, and having to fight them twice is a bit rude.
Loading - my favorite screen.
This game likes to chuck loading times right at your face, and this is more annoying in the town missions (which, by the way, consists of finding somebody in the city, then doing some mundane task involving going through some hoops, or finding an item for somebody - I'm just glad they're mostly optional, except for some story missions, and achievements) than in the main game. They also go a long time, sometimes up to 35 seconds. Loading what? Mediocre graphics?
More infested than a heehive.
This game is chock full of glitches. I've already explained the wall glitch with Knuckles and Rouge, and here's more. It you get to close to the ceiling or wall, the camera will spaz out, and instead of staying on that auto run sequence, you'll just fling off to the side and burn in hell. Sometimes when you start a mission, you just go plummeting down into the abyss. Sometimes when you hit a spring, you'll miss the platform and die. Sometimes, you can faze through walls (it's more common in the snow level as Shadow). I'd like to go on, but I don't want to have to explain every glitch - there's tons of them! Look them up! Point is, they make the game feel more incomplete.
If looks could kill, you would be a scrunched up piece of paper.
Holy hell, what did Sonic Team's PS3 team do with the graphics? I remember the 360 version looking vibrant and colorful. Here on the PS3, they're less vibrant, which isn't making Sonic look good, because Sonic is all about vibrancy. This IS a fantasy world after all, no matter how much the artists wanted to dress the human NPCs and Eggman up to be realistic-looking. Of course, you could play with the TV's color settings, but why should you have to? Come on guys. The textures compliment that by looking rather bland. It's like Sonic Team originally meant for this to be a PS2 game, but took a little longer and just HAD to release it on 360 and PS3 without amplifying much to make it for the 06 Christmas sales (why do companies release half a game for Christmas? Rise Of The Argonauts failed for that reason, too!).
Of course, amplifying seems out of the question, because the framerate blows! Again, the 360 version wins, because it hardly ever, if at all, slows down. The PS3 version feels like it's slow motion... at random times! Sometimes, there's just Sonic running alone on a loop... in bullet time! Sometimes, there's heaps of people or enemies, and half the time, it lags, but the other half, it doesn't. It just behaves on its own! It gets annoying because platformers require timing, and slowdowns bugger it up!
In other words, they didn't age that well. This was one of the first seventh generation games, so I guess they would've been impressive when they were released. I'll admit, the 360 version mezmerized me when I first played it. Too bad it wasn't all that good of a game.
I bought this game just for the music.
The music is impressive. It's a nice blend of rock and techno, kind of like what you'd expect in other 3D Sonic games. And just like those, the songs kick ass! Each of the songs are not only awesome to hum to, but they also stick to your mind like worms. No doubt, you'll remember this more than the pain in the ass glitches.
Voice acting feels like a bit of hit and miss to me. All of them have this campy feeling to them, but some characters just go way overboard. Amy... oh my god, her voice annoys me. It's like a stereotypical valley girl.. to the power of two! You already know how annoying one is, so that should be a no brainer as to how annoying two lots combined would be. On the flipside, Knuckles and Eggman sound awesome, especially Eggman. Both of them sound good and you actually feel more enticed to watch a scene because of their voices (but seriously, who can resist Dan Green, eh?). Others manage to get the campy feeling right, making it all feel like a B-rated fantasy story. Too bad the story lost my interest about halfway through.
It's your call.
Sonic 06 is very hard to recommend to anybody who isn't a Sonic fan. It just didn't want to cooperate with the player, especially when it comes to certain characters, situations, and the camera controls themselves. It's like sitting on wooden poles - it eventually becomes a pain in the ass to deal with! Yeah, music's good, Blaze's gameplay was good... that's it. Everything else felt like Sonic Team wanted to *bleep* us dry for not liking Sonic Heroes and Shadow The Hedgehog. Drab graphics, boring and broken gameplay, bad controls, and... just bad overall!
It had some interesting concepts, but just like a good amount of Sonic storylines, execution is anything but interesting.
The basic foundations are there. They just don't work out well most of the time. From Sonic's mach 5 stages, to Silver's stages, to Shadow's vehicular manslaughter stages, and I guess everybody else's... again, the basics are there, but there isn't much appeal. Tails was bad enough without the ability to whip enemies with his tails, but now opting for dummy ring bombs that slowed the game right down to a framerate consisting of a single digit per second? Get out!
I think I've already made it obvious how shit these controls are. The camera is too slippery and never seems to be in the right place, and movement controls are no better. Mach stages have some stubborn turning controls... It's like they designed the controls to screw with you!
Bland textures, mixed with muddy colors and framerate issues up the ass! This would fit well on a PS2, though. Besides, I keep getting the feeling that Sonic and company, except Eggman, don't belong in a world full of realistic people (to the extent a PS2 can do).
Soundtrack is the source of all that is good about this game. I definitely dug it. Fits well in the stages and stuff. Not a bad song in sight. Voice acting is very mixed, though. Some are drab, while a couple are actually good.
Long and frequent loading times for a glitched out pile of dog turds... I found the loading times for Bomberman: Act Zero more tolerable, and that loaded about the same thing... just that Act Zero had less. If basic logistics has taught us anything, it's that less of a bad thing is a good thing.
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