Release Date: 13 October, 2010
Genre(s): 2.5D Platformer
Developer: Dimps, Sonic Team
Rating: E (Everyone), 3+
I must be honest. I had extremely high hopes for this game, and had been looking forward to it since it’s announcement. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode One see’s the return of the fast, blue hedgehog in a set of brand new adventures… new-ish I should state. However, this time, he is alone, without the help of Tails or Knuckles. Loner!
In the first episode, Dr. Eggman returns (really? Dr. Eggman? Couldn’t have a new main villain for once maybe?) Set shortly after “Sonic and Knuckles”, yet for us its been 14 years, Dr Eggman rebuilds his classic creations in an attempt to stop Sonic from stopping his plans.
That’s the story in a nutshell. It’s your average story which you got from the original Sonic games in the past, and it’s great to see that they kept it nice and simple. It doesn’t really matter if you have played the original Sonic games or not, as the game just feels remade, which I will come onto soon enough.
So since it’s been 14 years since the first game, Sonic 4 has had some major graphical updates. The controls are much different from the original Sonic games, as they have added a new feature move, which adds a red target circle around an item, like a trampoline, or an enemy and you can access it by pressing the same button you use for jump. It certainly helps a lot when accessing hard to reach areas and difficult enemies, but it can become a huge distraction at times, and you might end up going in a direction you don’t want to go by accident. With every Sonic game, there are giant rings (well with every main series Sonic game anyway). Once you collect over 50 rings, and have 50 rings by the end of the level, a giant ring will appear, just like in the original Sonic. The special stage is just like the one in the original Sonic, except you choose the direction the screen turns, and in order to get to an area, you need to have collected enough rings. There’s a bit more of a catch: You’re on a timer. The special stages are very fun, and are a lot more challenging than when they were in the original Sonic.
If you’ve played the original Sonic games, then you may just come to this conclusion: THIS. IS. A. REMAKE. Despite it not being, every level is just the same as those in Sonic 1, except there’s been graphical changes and the map has been rearranged/restyled. I will admit, there are a few extra levels, and some acts have had a few changes, such as in one level, you are on a mine cart, and in another level, you are running on giant balls. I do thank the Sonic Team for those levels, but it certainly ain’t enough to carry the game through. There’s certainly a lot more rings too. The boss battles are extremely like the originals too, except they’ve had a slight (just a slight) change. For example, the very first one is when Dr. Eggman has that big ball swinging from side to side. After you hit him enough times, he will get enraged and will flip the ball over him and try to slam you. Every boss battle gets a slight change, but not enough to grab you. Except the very very last boss, which is a nightmare, along with the third boss battle you will face (took me like 20 attempts on the third boss). The controls are an absolute nightmare to get use to as sometimes you can never go where you want to go first time. Saying that, you never really know where to go sometimes. You can get absolutely lost in the levels, unlike in the original Sonic where the pathway was a lot more easy to find. It certainly adds a challenge, but when you’re looking for a way out for five minutes, you can’t help but get annoyed.
I must be honest. I expected a lot more from this game, and I expected many more levels than what you get (you get 4 zones consisting of 3 acts and a boss battle, plus the special stages and E.G.G. Station, which that itself is just all the boss battles you encountered throughout the game, but a bit more challenging. That may feel like a lot of stages, but actually, you wanted more zones, but at the same time, you just can’t wait until you finish the game due to the lack of creativeness). It wouldn’t shock me if Episode 2 was a remake of Sonic 2, and it contained co-op due to Tails being there. I hope that Sonic Team can get it right next time, and think up some new ideas for levels and boss battles, because nobody wants to play a game we’ve already played thousands of times.