I wanted S4E1 â€“ that’s what I reckon all the cool kids are calling it â€“ to be excellent. I think I only read one review when it was released last year, and took that as confirmation that it is indeed excellent. Having finally got round to downloading it, I’m not entirely disappointed.
It starts perfectly: the SEGA logo and voice sample are bang on. It goes a bit wonky on the title screen though. The music just isn’t right; it’s suitably 16-bit, but it sounds tacky rather than fun.
That’s soon forgotten though, whizzing around the Green Hill Zone, or whatever they’re calling it this time. Running, jumping, spinning, springing, looping â€“ all that jazz is as much fun as ever.
Gladly, there are few interruptions to this speedy tomfoolery. There are tonnes of alternative paths, and the odd puzzle, but nothing to bring the game grinding to a halt. Except once. There’s one torch-based puzzle, which isn’t hard to understand, but is tediously fiddly to execute because Sonic is so unweildy to control from a standing start.
While I’m moaning, I should go on about the final boss stage. First, you have to go through all the bosses seen earlier in the game again â€“ lazy, lazy, lazy. Robotnik’s very final incarnation is actually quite imaginative, and it’s satisfying to work out how to survive some of his more challenging attacks. But the number of hits he takes at every stage of the fight makes it needlessly repetitive â€“ and hard. I was more relieved than satisfied to finally beat him, and that’s not the way it should be, is it?
I do approve of the length, though: four zones, each with three acts. Long enough to leave me sated, but with enough room left in my gaming belly for a bit of replaying â€“ to collect the Chaos Emeralds and all that.
So: not entirely disappointed. Not very disappointed at all, actually. I played the Mega Drive original not so long ago, and I was bloody rubbish at it. Maybe my complaints are just a result of my ineptitude. It wouldn’t be the first time.
Anyway, here’s looking forward to Episode II. I don’t anticipate being especially disappointed.
That torch puzzle had me yelling at the controls for a short while. Wasted about eight minutes fine-tuning Sonic’s path between the various torch brackets.
Visual wows aside (who could forget the road of cards bit?), I wasn’t that impressed with episode one, if I’m being honest. The title says “4”, yet all I saw was renamed zones from previous games. If I were approaching it as a remake or even a remix I’d have been jumping for joy, but I walked away feeling a bit short-changed by a general lack of new setpieces.
Still enjoyable though, and I’m hoping that episode 2 starts afresh after re-familiarising everyone and takes its own path.
I still think Sonic Advance on GBA is the best Sonic game since the 16-bit era.
Well I’m glad it wasn’t just me gnawing my fists off at the torch puzzle. Stunningly misjudged.
You’re right though, there probably isn’t enough new stuff. I’m not sure I was expecting there to be, so I wasn’t disappointed. It was the (relatively) cheap bit of fun I was looking for. Perhaps I should have expected more, but as you say, maybe that’s for Episode II.
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