November 13, 2011

Sonic Generations


It’s offi­cial. After years of fum­bling around with strange top­ics and awk­ward, seem­ing­ly untest­ed game­play, Sega has pulled out a tru­ly excel­lent Son­ic the Hedge­hog game. Although short, it’s a sweet ride that hope­ful­ly will get the Spin-Dash ball rolling again.
The game fol­lows an incred­i­bly sim­ple sto­ry­line. Son­ic’s friends are in the process of throw­ing him a birth­day par­ty when a giant mon­stros­i­ty (which I shall hence­forth refer to as the Fly­ing Pur­ple Peo­ple Eater) appears out of nowhere and cre­ates a vor­tex which sucks in all of Son­ic’s friends. Son­ic chas­es them into what appears to be a giant white lim­bo. Even­tu­al­ly, he and the res­cued Tails note that the areas and ene­mies are sus­pi­cious­ly famil­iar. Upon stum­bling on ver­sions of them­selves from the past, they dis­cov­er that they’re trav­el­ing through time. It sounds kind of sil­ly, but the sto­ry­line of this game isn’t the point.

The per­son real­ly trav­el­ling through time is the play­er. Every lev­el in the game comes from some Son­ic game in the past, span­ning the whole his­to­ry of the series from the very first Son­ic the Hedge­hog to the recent Son­ic Col­ors. You play through each lev­el as both Mod­ern Son­ic, who han­dles like you’ve come to expect from Col­ors or Unleashed (or, if you’re unfa­mil­iar with those, Son­ic Adven­tures, only with a few new pow­ers and occa­sion­al­ly sidescrolling) and Clas­sic Son­ic, who han­dles the same way he did in the Gen­e­sis days. Each lev­el is bril­liant­ly reimag­ined, rang­ing from incred­i­bly famil­iar feels with the “cor­rect” Son­ic for the lev­el to fit­ting and inter­est­ing spins with the oth­er Son­ic.
Every­thing about this game is designed to tug at the nos­tal­gia strings. The lev­els both look and feel famil­iar, with the same ene­mies and many of the same rec­og­niz­able areas as in their orig­i­nal titles. What evoked the most nos­tal­gia from me, how­ev­er, was the music. Each lev­el fea­tures two takes on the orig­i­nal music for that lev­el, rang­ing from almost-cov­er reper­for­mances to new and inter­est­ing remix­es. I took far longer than I should have to beat the game because I prob­a­bly played my most mem­o­rable lev­el, City Escape from Son­ic Adven­ture 2, ten to twelve times before mov­ing on.

Apart from the main sto­ry arc and stages (which is, sad­ly, an incred­i­bly short ride that lasts under 5 hours), the game is full of chal­lenges of all sorts using por­tions of each stage. Some revolve around oth­er char­ac­ters, such as hav­ing to use a search­light to find a cam­ou­flaged Espio, or run­ning through a lev­el with no rings save for the ones that Cream the Rab­bit drops for you. Oth­ers involve using spe­cif­ic items from past games to clear stages with­in a lim­it­ed time, or rac­ing a dop­pel­ganger Son­ic. If you real­ly feel like hav­ing a nos­tal­gia jour­ney (or you’re too young to have expe­ri­enced it and want to see what it was like), you’re able to play the orig­i­nal Gen­e­sis ver­sion of Son­ic the Hedge­hog after buy­ing a con­troller in the item shop with points you earn by play­ing lev­els.
I loved this game, and with­out tak­ing any­one else into con­sid­er­a­tion, I would have giv­en it a 10. How­ev­er, there are a few draw­backs to Son­ic: Gen­er­a­tions. As I’ve already said, the game is rather short, but bears the weight of a $50 price tag. That’s $10 less than the usu­al game price, but still a rather hefty cost for the amount of time you’ll spend with it. Also, some of the dia­logue is incred­i­bly child­ish. I under­stand the need to be able to mar­ket a Rated‑E game to chil­dren whether it’s nos­tal­gic or not, but a few select lines made me feel like I was watch­ing Nick Jr. or PBS Kids. Last­ly, some of  the boss­es took a while to beat, not due to dif­fi­cul­ty, but due to sheer con­fu­sion. The final boss, name­ly, was so con­fus­ing­ly “sim­ple” that I had to dou­ble-check my meth­ods by look­ing on the inter­net. Yes, for a Son­ic game.
Com­plaints aside, Son­ic Gen­er­a­tions is an excel­lent game for all ages, but most of its effect comes from nos­tal­gic val­ue. If you were ever a Son­ic fan, you’ll def­i­nite­ly enjoy this game. It is a mas­sive step in the right direc­tion after Son­ic Unleashed (seri­ous­ly… a were­wolf?) and Son­ic the Hedge­hog 2006 (a game so bro­ken I’ve dubbed it my biggest per­son­al gam­ing dis­ap­point­ment of all time and con­sid­ered giv­ing it an AVGN/Spoony-style Let’s Play beat­down.), and proof that Son­ic is NOT dead. With Son­ic cer­ti­fied “alive”, per­haps all hope is not lost for what could be the great­est Son­ic game of a gen­er­a­tion, should it come to be: Son­ic Adven­ture 3. Hear me, Sega? Son­ic Adven­ture 3. We want it, prefer­ably with Crush 40 cre­at­ing the title theme.
 
Pros:

  • Nos­tal­gia
  • Excel­lent, sol­id game­play
  • Nos­tal­gia
  • Qual­i­ty sound­track, cre­ative remix­es
  • Nos­tal­gia
Cons:
  • Very short for a $50 game
  • Dia­logue rather child­ish at times
  • Not much of a plot to speak of
  • Boss fights can be con­fus­ing
  • A bit too reliant on Nos­tal­gia

Have your say

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Archives - Powered by WordPress - A theme by cssigniter.com