Video game review number two hundred and seventy six in my 365 Games in 365 Days project is "Sonic Rush"
All year long, I've been hating on Sonic the Hedgehog. I've played a ton of hedgehog based games this year, hoping to rediscover the fun I had as a teenager on the Sega Genesis with Sonic, but for the most part....it's been a big letdown. Either Sonic has changed or I have...because we are no longer compatible with each other. I've finally come to terms with the fact that it's time for me to break up with Sonic the Hedgehog.
We had our good times in the nineties, and then I sort of forgot about Sonic for awhile. My 365 challenge this year seemed like a great time to reconnect, but the first new Sonic game I tried was 3D and crappy. Then there was another one that was almost as bad. I began to hate the hedgehog. In fact, the only Sonic games I've actually enjoyed this year were games where he was making cameos in Sega All-Stars compilations, and even one of those sucked. Overall, it's been a bad year for Sonic.
Still, I remember why I loved him once. Sonic starred in some of the best 2D platformers from the 90's...and that's what Sonic Rush was supposed to be like. A throwback to the glory days. I rented it to give it a shot. At first, it was actually pretty good. The game uses both of the Nintendo DS screens in a way that's actually kind of cool. If you're traveling along the top screen, zooming through loops, you can see the ground below you on the bottom screen. Suddenly, you'll find yourself on a ramp, and then boom....you're on the lower screen, controlling Sonic from there. It's twitchy, fast...and fun.
I beat the first three levels and then reached what has to be the hardest "first boss" I've ever encountered in a Sonic game. It's Eggman (of course), and the bastard is driving another one of his giant machines (again). All you really have to do is jump out of the way when it attacks you and jump onto it's glass roof whenever it stops. Sounds easy, but for some reason, the damn pattern took me about 15 lives to master.
Despite the difficulty, I finally beat it and moved on to "area 2", a water level. The water levels were my nemesis in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Genesis, and this one seems ten times harder by comparison. Air bubbles are still scarce underwater, and when you're about to drown...the familiar music still plays before Sonic dies and sinks to the bottom. It's still sad when he croaks.
Try as I might, I was unable to make my way through this level after a good many attempts. It's rare for me to do, but after 5 levels....I gave up on this one because of the difficulty, not because of the quality. It's actually a pretty nice game, and it has almost everything that the old versions I loved had...save one thing: It's just too fucking hard.
Despite that, I think it has potential. It's not available for purchase from Gamefly, so I returned it...but I'm putting it on my list of games to buy before my next trip to wherever it is I happen to go next. I think this game is going to be one hell of a challenge, but from what I've played so far, it's a challenge worth taking. There's still hope for Sonic after all.
Overall Score? 6.5/10. So far, this is a better than average Sonic game. The graphics are old school, but the use of the two DS screens is new and cool. It was a little too difficult for my tastes at first, but that's not going to stop me from coming back to it someday. It's a solid old school style platform, and frankly...I think there's a shortage of those these days.
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