Published on June 16th, 2010 | by Cameron Woolsey
Sonic 4: The Blue is back
It has been a good long time since I’ve been excited for a Sonic title. After Black Knight, I had all but thrown up my hands in frustration, giving up any chance to ever see Big Blue in a game that gives him some dignity. Luckily, Dimps (of Sonic Rush fame) has stepped up and is now bringing, what I believe, to be the reboot needed for the franchise with Sonic the Hedgehog 4. Today I finally had some play time with the title and don’t worry, I also brought some questions.
Sonic 4 will be released in episodic form, four episodes in all. Each episode will contain four zones, each with four acts. There will be 25 acts in all. The first three acts will be the level acts, which is where most of the gameplay will be had. From what I experienced, the acts shouldn’t take much longer than 3-5 minutes to complete, much like Sonic games of old. The last act is, of course, the boss fight with the series’ infamous antogonist, Dr. Robotnik. I will never call him Eggman. Ever.
Looking at recent videos/screens may make you wonder if it’s nothing more than a remake of Sonic 1. Well that would only be partially right. I was informed that the first zone has been purposely designed to look reminiscent to the first zone in Sonic 1, right down to our ol’ buddy Robotnik swinging a big yellow and red disco ball during the boss fight. However, the second zone is completely different with the Sega rep at the booth telling me that gamers will go “wow.” I’m sure I can take his word for it.
Now let’s get to my play time with the game. The first thing I noticed was how clean and bright the graphics are. Sonic has always been known for bright and colorful environments and Sonic 4 does not disappoint; it is a beautiful game. The controls are similar to older Sonic games and are simple to learn. Jumping is performed by the press of the A button and spin dashing is done by holding down on the analog stick and tapping A. As you play the level, certain objects will be highlighted with a target. These objects will include enemies, bumpers, and power-ups. Pressing B while in the air with an object targeted will shoot Sonic at the object. Doing so will cause Sonic to bounce off bumpers or destroy enemies quickly. Often times enemies will be floating next to one-another in air and act as a destructable bridge for Sonic to move across.
I had some issues with the controls. Sonic ran fast through the level I played, but slower movements felt jerky. Trying to shift positions in air will often stop Sonic from moving altogether making him either slowly move toward the direction I pointed, or just simply drop. It also took a little too long to really get from a stop to top speed. Luckily, the Sega representative I was with thankfully informed me that Dimps is fully aware of these small problems and he has assured me that they will be fixed by the time Sonic 4 hits sometime in the second half of 2010. A little vague, sure, but at least it’s known that it will be out sometime this year.
I left feeling impressed by what I played from Sonic 4 and I am planning on getting some more information soon. Tomorrow I should have some Sonic 4 gameplay video up for everyone to check out. ‘Til then!