“Sonic! He can really move! Sonic! He’s got an attitude! Sonic, he’s the fastest thing aliiiiive!” I can’t remember the last Sonic game that could be accurately described by those lyrics. Most Sonic the Hedgehog games nowadays are strangled with gimmicks, be it swords or werehogs, you can be sure they’ll throw something in there that will more than likely ruin the game for you. As compared to its predecessors, Sonic Rush contains one key difference, Sonic Rush is good.
Scrap that last sentence, Sonic Rush is GREAT. Anyone who thought that the Sonic franchise died with the Genesis can now proceed to eat their words. This game is proof that SEGA has the potential to bring Sonic back from the brink, before he becomes a distant memory in the hearts of gamers.
Sonic Rush is a continuation of the Sonic Advance games on the GameBoy Advance. Anyone who has played the Advance series will know the quality of those games, putting our furry blue friend back in the drivers seat at 200mph. Developed by the combination of Sonic Team and Dimps, the game plays entirely as a side-scroller, focusing on one thing; speed.
Although the nostalgia doesn’t stretch as far as the graphics, what they’ve replaced it with looks pretty outstanding. The smooth 2D sprites of old have been replaced with spectacular 3D character renders of the 21st century! With the game playing on a 2D plane the effect works nicely on the small screen of the DS. The level backdrops appear to be in 2D however, and the contrast between the two gives the game a real sense of depth. However all the boss battles in the game are in full 3D… sorta.
The aim of the game is speed, blasting through levels as fast as you can worked in the previous Sonic games, why wouldn’t it work now? It does work, to an extent. Sonic Rush utilizes both of the DS’s screens, in a way that we don’t see very often. The game plays on both top and bottom screens, as you run you can transfer up and down using loops, ramps or spirally things. This is a very cool feature and adds velocity to the gameplay, but sometimes it can be difficult to tell when Sonic goes up or down, you have to have pretty sharp eyes to see amongst all that speed.
There are a number of new features in the game; new level ranks depending on your time taken to complete a stage and a points system. An all new ability in Rush comes from the “Tension Gauge”. The gauge is filled by running and performing tricks, much like in Sonic Advance 3, you then hit a button, and this button does amazing things. There is now a “boost button”, the more tension you have built the faster you will go, defeating enemies, moving through the level at tremendous speeds, resulting in more points and a higher grade, and when playing as Sonic, accessing the bonus stage. The stage harks back to Sonic 2 on the Genesis, you run through a wide and very long halfpipe, collecting rings to the amount the game tells you, with a goal of collecting a Chaos Emerald at the end of the stage.
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