Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Video game number three hundred and five: Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1

Video game review number three hundred and five in my 365 Games in 365 Days project "Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1".

At long last...old school Sonic the Hedgehog is back, and not a moment too soon. Anyone reading these reviews even a little bit has probably stumbled across at least ONE Sonic game I've reviewed this year (There's a pretty complete summary of my feelings on Sonic in this review). All in, it appears that I've played (at least) seven different games featuring Sonic so far this year...and I've hated almost every single one of them. Why?

Because none of those games are anything like this one is.

Sonic 4 Episode 1 is a throwback to the glory days of Sonic the Hedgehog on the Genesis. When you boot the title, the old school Sega logo comes up, and it has that classic 16-bit "Sega!" sing-song jingle. The midi instruments start playing, and instantly...you know you're home.

It's not like I don't love new versions of old titles that do something completely different with the series. Hell, just read my review for Super Mario Galaxy 2 (a game I still need to buy and finish when this challenge is over). What I hate is when new versions of old titles figure out how to sap everything you loved out of the classic..and then replace it with bullshit.

That's what countless Sonic sequels have been doing for years....ever since the last good game on the Sega Genesis or maybe (just maybe) the one on the Dreamcast.

Well no more. This downloadable title turns it all around for the series, by taking it back to the old school...and I love it. Sonic starts out in "Splash Hill Zone", and it looks just like the first levels of the old school Hedgehog games, except with updated graphics. Side scrolling...speedy gameplay...I was INSTANTLY familiar with the controls and knew exactly what to do. Keep running to the right, killing everything you see, going as fast as you can...all while collecting rings and power-ups.

Say what you will, but this formula is classic for a reason. It WORKS. Sure, I like new games...and I've played DOZENS of them this year, but sometimes...a classic just "does it for you", and this game is one of those.

Overall Score? 8/10. This is classic Sonic at his best. I might even score the game higher after I finish it, but for now...it's feeling like a really solid 8. Great game, and if you're an old school fan...you'll be pretty much guaranteed to love this game.

Achievements? I got a couple so far...with more to come:

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