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Second Opinion: Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1 (XBLA)

I think I'm a little too harsh on modern Sonic games. As much shit as I give them I did more or less enjoy Rush and Colours. They had their fair share of problems, sure, but they still had their moments. So anyway where am I going with this? Basically it's so you know that when I say Sonic 4 is a totally awful piece of software with hardly anything to redeem it, I'm serious.

 

Sonic 4 was an attempt to bring us a new Sonic game that played like the classics. Y'know what Capcom and Nintendo did. The problem is it never really manages it, it's more like what someone who was playing something else but occasionally watching the screen of someone who was playing Sonic 2.

Let's get this out of the way now, Sonic 4 is 1200msp, I don't what that is on PSN but it's around a tenner. There are so many good, decently lengthed games you could get for that, though if you buy CoD Map Packs it may seem like a bargain! Hell 1200msp wouldn't been too bad... if the game had more than four zones. Now already your alarm bells should be ringing, "four zones? That's barely a demo", well worry not. Y'see SEGA also decided four zones would probably be short so what did they decide to do? Obviously they made them all three full acts (a mistake that was already corrected after Sonic 1) that go on for way to fucking long. This game is the very definition of stupid padding. But okay, long levels are good right? Only if the levels were fun to begin with, but they're not.

So let's talk about the levels in detail a little more shall we? All of them are basically patchwork rehashes of older levels with new and boring gimmicks that fail to be fun in the least. Splash Hill Zone (what is a Splash Hill even supposed to be) is basically Green Hill/Emerald Hill with the added gimmick of swinging vines you home in on and swing around, jeez I thought I was playing Sonic the Hedgehog not a bad Donkey Kong Country. Casino Street Zone is Casino Night/Carvnival Night zone, mostly devoid of any new gimmicks outside of a stack of cards you can attack to have Sonic autorun over and cards you can run past giving you a life or some rings if you match 3 images (which you will and you'll end up with way too many lives) it mostly sticks to what its predecessors did already. Though it did change the way cannons worked by having you manually aim them. Lost Labyrinth Zone is the biggest offender of terrible gimmicks with each act adding a new one from balancing on rolling boulders, to having the game go dark and you lighting it up with a torch (hello Sandopolis Act 2) and of course not forgetting mine cart riding (shame I already made the Donkey Kong Country reference). Mad Gear is Metropolis Zone only instead of running on bolts to go up or down you run on gears (which I guess are pretty angry about it) to go mostly horizontally but sometimes vertically.

Of course levels and enemies aren't the only place it decides to rehash old stuff. Each Zone has its own 4th boss act, which are surprise surprise the same thing you already fought. Though after a while they change it up to being boring and copied to just being boring. I don't wish to spoil anything and they're mostly not even worth the energy to type about... But I will mention the Mad Gear boss, his first form is more or less the same as Metropolis but you can now attack his balls and they turn into little bouncing Eggmans that blow up. It's pretty awful since he takes up too much of the screen, but it only gets worse. After you've done enough damage he runs away like a massive fucking pussy. Now I really hate this boss, I hate bosses that run away, they're never fun. Once you've done with the four levels you're at the final zone which is basically just a boss rush with them taking less hits before meeting the final boss... Which is ripped straight out of Sonic 2. Infact at first it's a lot easier than Sonic 2 because it has a larger hit box and less chance of getting hurt on his arms. Then it goes into a rampage mode and that was the point I couldn't be arsed with the game any more. It basically just became another modern Sonic boss where I'm waiting for his long attack patterns to end so I can finally hit him.

Of course that's only a small part of the game (which is small enough already) I haven't even talked about Sonic yet. Well it's Sonic all right and everything you remember about him is back, his homing attack is of course in so the devs could add in little enemy bridges (worth mentioning that these are always the same terrible badnik from Marble Garden regardless of the zone you're in) and Sonic is incredibly slow. No wait, I don't remember Sonic being slow, what the hell? But he is, he is so slow, slow to get moving and and he never really speeds up much when he does. The whole game feels like it's going at a snails pace. Just to get him at an adaquet speed if I ever have to stop I need to jump and do a homing attack. 

So gameplay is atrocious, but does the game look and sound good? HAHAHAHAHAHA no. The graphics are a mess, I'm not really sure what sort of look they were going for but it's like they tried to do a cellshaded Sonic rush and then took the smoothing option from Backbone. Eggman being the worse offender he looks like some stupid balloon thing. Levels them selves are pretty ugly though they do tend to have really nice looking backgrounds that are multilayered, Lost Labyrinth especially. 

And the music? Bad. Well maybe bad isn't really the word... just completely uninteresting, I ended up just zoning it out because it was so dull. Eggman again is the worst offender with some of the worst boss music I have heard in a long time.

Man Eggman sure does seem to be the biggest sorce of awful in this game.

That said the game does have one thing going for it. You may have noticed I didn't talk about the special stages well now I am. The special stages are, again, a rehash of Sonic 1s. But instead of a terrible hard to control LSD trip that is the Sonic 1 special stages they're easier to navigate timed LSD trips. Now they're still bad but they're an improvement of what was in Sonic 1.

So really this game is not worth the money it costs nor the harddrive space it takes up. It's just one bad decision after the other. A lot of people tend to point to Sonic 4 when they moan about the people who want a classic Sonic saying they obviously don't know what they want when they've been given Sonic 4. If you've ever even thought this you're a massive retard. This isn't something anyone could possible want. It's basically a total waste of time and I only stuck with it because I felt bad about spending money on it.

If you think nice backgrounds and slightly improving Sonic 1's special stages is worth a point 

1/5

If like me you don't, then do the math.

18th March, 2012 - 22:51 GMT SimonShirley Article viewed 1299 times 2 Comments

Comments:

Atrias 01st January, 2016 - 13:38

Sonic Chaos is a favourite of mine. Never played it all the way through as Tails because of the lack of Special Stages, but it was cool to have his presence for those needing a bit of an extra helping hand. Levels weren't too challenging but they were all unique and had great color palettes and the bosses were fun and not always b*****d hard as in the no rings, instakill Sonic 2! Mind you, I was 8 at the time! Special Stages were also a high point as they were all different (Always got stuck on the second level with all the pipes, you had to be really quick and precise on your directional buttons, which wasn't always easy on the ol MS pad!!). Still a winner in my eyes, and I wish they'd done Triple Trouble as a MS game as well, and not just a GG exclusive as I can't quite stick the screen size and resolution these days!!

Atrias 01st January, 2016 - 13:39

Oh and not forgetting the music which has some of my most memorable of Sonic tunes!


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