Sonic returns with the high-speed thrills of the 2D originals on Nintendo's funked-up portable - we keep up with the action in our full review.
Sonic Rush is the latest entry in the traditional side-scrolling Sonic video games. Developed by Sonic Team in cooperation with Dimps, Sonic Rush features the same type of high-speed platforming hijinks as its side-scrolling predecessors, but this time harnesses the unique power of the DS to display the action on both screens, while implementing a little touch screen functionality.
Instead of utilizing a single screen to display the main game and the other for stats and whatnot, the dual screen set up provides players with an expanded view of the playing field by displaying the lower half of a level on the bottom screen and the upper half on top, which helps spot enemies hovering way above you, or potential death-drops below.
As Sonic zips through, collecting rings and power ups, you'll constantly be trying to keep up with the action happening on both screens. While it can be a somewhat confusing setup at first, once you get used to it, it works beautifully well. While the action levels get the dual screen treatment, stuff like the game's cinematic sequences, stats, zone map, and boss battles are relegated to single screen displays.
Rush is everything you'd want in an update of the classic side-scrolling Sonic formula. The game moves at a blisteringly fast pace (faster than its 16-bit predecessors) when playing as either of the game's protagonists, Sonic and Blaze the Cat. Blaze is the newest character of the Sonic universe; a royal figure from another dimension, this mysterious feline has a hell of a lot more attitude than Sonic, albeit a pretty bad one throughout most of the game.
Blaze embarks on a mission to acquire the seven Sol Emeralds to save her world, a world in dire ruin thanks to Eggman Nega (the Eggman of her dimension), who's made his way to Sonic's world and left hers to die. Typical stuff, then. Blaze unwillingly teams up with Sonic to stop the Eggman duo, so both characters' stories intertwine throughout the game, allowing players to experience more than one outcome.
While Sonic and Blaze pretty much embark on similar 'kick Eggman's ass' quests, their main objectives are different as dictated by the story. Sonic's around to simply thwart Dr. Eggman's nefarious schemes at every turn; Blaze on the other hand must reclaim all of the Sol emeralds in order to save her world. Both characters' adventures span a total of 22.
While their moves look different from a visual standpoint, that's pretty much all the difference there is as not only do they both control the same, but for every move Sonic has, Blaze has a comparable move. For instance, Sonic's spin jump and spin dash moves are matched by Blaze's axel jump and burst dash. In addition to Sonic's classic moves, he's also equipped with Jump dash move that allows him to dash forward while in mid-air, in order to destroy nearby enemies or propel himself to a nearby platform.
The newest and most important move added to Sonic's arsenal is his Super Boost, or in Blaze's case, the Fire Boost. These moves allow them to literally rush smashing through enemies and obstacles at super speed, while also providing temporary invulnerability - but use of the boost is limited by a Tension gauge that gets depleted with each use, and once completely depleted, must be replenished by defeating enemies or performing tricks throughout the levels; both characters can perform a number of fancy air tricks when launched into the air, as well as grind tricks while grinding across rails.
Level designs are very well done, with spiraling water slides, loops, grind bars and a wide variety of funky gizmos and contraptions to propel the already speedy Hedgehog (and cat!) through the levels. As the name implies, gameplay can be quite a rush, and you'll often be challenged to maintain pace with enemies appearing or popping out at the most inopportune moments, testing your twitch gaming reflexes. The game's speedy pace is often interrupted by enemy battles that require all of the enemies in a locked area to be destroyed.
While Sonic Rush starts out easy enough, the gameplay can become quite challenging, often requiring a bit of trial and error in order to familiarize with the hazards throughout the lengthy level designs. It goes without saying that there will probably be times in the game when you'll be tempted to throw the DS against the wall - but hold off; despite some frustrating moments, Rush is just too damn fun and addicting.
There's a number of special stages that only Sonic can enter as long as his tension gauge remains charged enough to activate the special generators found in remote areas of each of the seven zones. The 3D stages utilize the touch panel as the only means of controlling Sonic's movement, while running the 3D half-pipe courses. Players simply interact with the touch panel to move Sonic side to side while occasionally using speed ramps, collecting rings and avoiding hazardous objects. Players can also tap away at enemies to destroy them and acquire more rings, as well as run into the Trick Springs, which offer up quick puzzle-like sequences.
While the action levels and special stages provide spectacular speed rushes, the game's boss battles are quite a sight on their own, as Sonic and Blaze are pitted against Eggman's mechanized contraptions. While the boss battles are basically pattern-based affairs, they're a whole lot of fun as the full on 3D presentation and shifting viewpoints keeps things interesting throughout the battles. All of the boss battles are memorable in some way and the entire experience is capped off with an impressive final boss conflict against a towering foe!
When it comes down to it, Sonic Rush isn't all that long for experienced gamers. The game will probably take a few hours to complete your first time through with subsequent playthroughs taking significantly less time once you've familiarized yourself with some of the level layouts and pitfalls that await you. After completing the game our first time with Sonic, our second time through with Blaze the Cat was a much faster affair that took less than two hours. After completing the game players with be rewarded with unlockable features such as a Time Attack and Sound Test mode, and perfectionist players looking to improve their scores and grades can opt to replay individual levels and make a bold attempt at achieving all 'S' ranks.
Sonic Rush also contains some Wi-Fi multiplayer components, allowing two-players to battle it out while racing to complete the levels. The cool thing about the multiplayer aspect of the game is its support for game sharing; while the wireless battle mode allows two players, each with a copy of the game, to go at it as mentioned before, there's also a download battle feature that allows a single copy of the game to be used for multiplayer by allowing a secondary DS unit without a copy of the game to download the data needed from the first unit.
Graphically, Sonic Rush is a very fine looking game that provides a solid blend of 2D and 3D graphics. While the action levels are your typical Sonic fare, with bright, colorful backgrounds blazing by at speeds, a modest sprinkling of polygons enhances the 2D appearance, and the game's boss battles are where the graphics shine most as things shifts betweeb side-scrolling and 3D. While there's a bit of pixelation on some of the stuff in the 3D areas, the graphics are still pretty good, with nicely textured backgrounds and smooth animations on Sonic and the boss characters.
Along with the game's impressive visuals, the audio accompaniment is also worth mentioning. While the music might not be what fans of the classic Sonic side-scrollers are accustomed to, the fast-paced, upbeat themes provided by the game's wacky soundtrack fits the game's 'even faster' action quite well. The sound effects also offer up a pretty decent selection of sounds, and a number of decent voice samples help make for an all-around solid audio presentation.
Sonic Rush is a return to form for the series. Navigating the lush greenery, ancient Aztec-like settings, underwater ruins, and wacky carnival settings among others while engaging in plenty of platforming play, Rush's gameplay is just fantastically true to the originals yet decidedly modern in its implementation.
(See Latest Videos & Video FAQ Here)
|PLEASE DO NOT DIRECT LINK TO ANY MEDIA FILE ON KIKIZO|
Newly added recent direct feed gameplay footage (Sega)
|1.55m||15MB||DF, SD, 30
Gameplay footage (Sega)
|1.53m||21.1MB||DF, SD, 30
Gameplay footage (Sega)
|1.39m||18.5MB||DF, SD, 30