Almost As Good As You Remember - Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1 - PlayStation 3 -
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Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1

Almost As Good As You Remember

My relationship with Sonic dates back nearly 20 years. Things were great in the early days; we ran through the fields and thwarted a mustachioed mad man’s evil plans together. But after a few years of bliss we hit rocky times; Sonic experimented with 3D and hit rock bottom. This trust-shattering downward spiral continued for almost 15 years, but now Sonic has promised change. Is the blue blur’s return to fidelity and 2D enough to reignite the blissful old flame? Yes, but some of the magic has faded.

Sonic 4 sets the tone with a fitting tribute to Green Hill Zone. The hedgehog tears across the lush green environment, trailing vivid blue streaks that evoke fond 16-bit memories. Treks through casino, water, and factory-themed levels not only show off the game’s gorgeous visuals, but also serve as breezy remixes of the best Sonic levels.

Each level is packed with familiar enemies, power-ups, and speed devil set pieces like loop de loops. The goal is still to blaze through these stages while raking in enough rings to play special stages and score seven chaos emeralds – a challenging but rewarding task. If you’ve played a classic Sonic game in the last year you may struggle with the way he controls now. While he accelerates fine without constant spin dashes, Sonic’s signature momentum wanes without a constant press of the analog stick. However, an efficient and fun new homing attack overshadows most frustration caused by the not-quite-apt controls.

This new title looks, feels, and sounds like an upgraded Sonic game. Easily digestible torch lighting puzzles and mine cart segments do well to break up the game’s pacing, but more variety would have been welcomed. Playing four stages within one level’s theme gets repetitive. Additional incentive for enduring frustratingly difficult special stages to collect arbitrary gems would have been nice, too – Super Sonic and a teaser ending just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Sonic does his best to make things like they used to be, but all the candlelit dinners and chaos emeralds in the world can’t hide the fact that we’ve both changed. It may not be the be all end all Sonic game that professed enthusiasts like myself have been waiting 15 years for, but Sonic 4 is a fun, frenetic download for fans and newcomers alike.

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User Reviews:

  • Sega is no stranger to making controversial decisions when it comes to its key franchises. Sonic has seen its ups and downs over the years and fallen victim to some of the most questionable calls in gaming history. But in seeking to revive this once great mascot, Sega may have committed the most unforgivable...
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  • 10.00
    lets time travel back 2 1991 and there u find the first time seein sonic the hedgehog for genesis and sonic has gained popularity through sega genesis (and others of course)but now in 2003 sega is done with consles and games along with sega genesis cant get out of the jams but sonic was lucky sega didint...
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  • 6.75
    Sonic the Hedgehog. Anyone who knows me, or has had to put up with me, over the last 20 some odd years knows that the little blue speeding hedgehog has played a huge part in my life. From the first time I played the original Genesis version of Sonic, running through Green Hill Zone, I've been hooked...
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  • 8.00
    i agree with this rating because, its not as good as the classic genesis sonics, but its a classic for this generation. meaning it is good like the old ones, but it can never reach their class again. is this sonics rebirth? no. not yet at least.
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  • 8.00
    The G.I. review was fair, accurate, and should be your gauge when determining whether or not to download it. I had a lot of fun with this game, and I didn't think that 1200 MS was too much. (If you can get it cheaper in a future "Deal of the Week", waste NO time doing so.) All of the levels...
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