A solid show and one of the better Sonic games of late
Sonic fans are some of the most abused fans out there. Time and time again there are lofty promises about some new Sonic game. The fans, like the fools they are, get their hopes up that maybe this time, this time might just be different. Then the game is released and it blows. And the fans have their hopes dashed again. Then the process repeats itself. The short end of the stick to be sure those poor poor Sonic fans. But hey, what if they just throw a bunch of levels from those original good sonic games and just make them all HD and perrty? Well that’s what you get with this latest offering, Sonic Generations.
Sonic Generations features the new age Sonic and Tails being thrown through a time vortex with the old school Sonic and Tails. The story involves some kind of time crossing monster thing but it is of course Dr. Eggman behind everything like it always is. If it seems like I am glossing over it that is because I am because Sonic games have never been about a good story, much like the Mario games, Sonic has been about going fast. And this game knows a thing or two about going fast.
There are 9 levels worth of going fast and two different varieties of each for what you could call 18 stages. Act one of a level features mostly 2D action with some 3D effects and as you might have guessed features the old-school Sonic blowing through such nostalgia rich levels as Green Hill Zone and Chemical Plant. There is also a level from Sonic and Knuckles, Sky Sanctuary or something like that (I didn’t play a lot of that one.) the rest of the levels are from the 3D Sonic games. Act 2 features the 3D blazing action you have come to expect from the later Sonic games with new age Sonic front and center. He has all of his abilities that you have come to know at this point putting him leaps and bounds better then old-school Sonic and his Spin Jump.
These levels are broken up into three chunks. Essentially you play three stages twice, once with each Sonic. After you do that challenge rooms appear above the stages and you are required to complete one per level in order to progress to the boss battle. These challenges vary in type quite a bit. There are switch based levels where you have to figure out how to manipulate switches to get to the goal in the fastest time. There is a nifty race challenge where you must make your way through the whole level before your challenger. There are 5 challenge rooms per level and they differ from Sonic to Sonic. I can see why they want you to spend so much time on a particular level but in reality once I played through them twice, I didn’t really want to play through them again. But it is a cheap and easy way to stretch that game time to completion that is such a high selling point now a days. Along with the appearance of the challenge rooms there is a mini-boss battle. The game features Metal Sonic, Shadow, and Silver as the three mini-bosses and they are well done. Then you fight a boss battle to unlock the next chunk of 3.
With every challenge room that you complete, you will get a collectable. There are a lot of these and they are mainly for the completionists out there. You get your regular appearances such as concept art and music tracks. The neat thing is that you can pick the default tracks for the levels, which are great in their own right, or you can substitute in some unlockable music such as the original Green Hill Zone music. Every time you finish a level or challenge room or boss battle, you get points. The amount depends on your finish rank, something that is not new to the Sonic family of games. You can take these points and cash them in for a limited power up system. You can get abilities such as starting the stage with a bubble shield or landing on your feet when you hit an enemy. There are several of these but they really don’t have a big impact on the game. Part of me wishes they would have taken this further, maybe a full blown RPG style leveling system? Then I realize that would mean playing the same levels even more and that would not be fun. A good start at any rate.
So that is Sonic Generations in a nutshell. This is probably one of the better Sonic games in a long time. Sure there are several areas that could be improved. I don’t really know what kind of story you could apply to this franchise that would both make sense and be enjoyable to play through. I would like to see a better level hub. Open world level hubs are very popular now and for good reason. After coming off of the level hub of Lego Star Wars III this white void they present their levels in is just plain bad. As I mentioned I would like to see more done with the power ups, it is a good idea to be sure. I would even go a step further and say I would like a Sonic Generations 2. So if you are like me, a downtrodden diehard Sonic fan, you will enjoy this title. It is short, I suppose I should mention that. But it is still fun and if you want to support Sega and say this is the direction you want Sonic to go in, then by all means go out and pick this up.