They made a bad 2D game as well
Recently when reviewing Sonic Episode 4 I made statement saying that there were no bad 2D Sonic games. Remembered that there was actually one game I had not played yet made me go back to this. Sonic Rush Adventure or Sonic Rush 2. This is the 5th 2D Sonic game in modern platforms. GBA having 3 and DS 2.
I am certain there is no Sonic fan who can argue that the quality of Sonic games has gone down since he jumped to 3D. Sonic Adventure for Dreamcast was perhaps the last only decent effort on this. Sonic Rush Adventure is traditional 2D platform game with the same adventure aspect. In other words: story. It was not only the 3D that got piece of the horrible Sonic sub-cast.
Story starts with Sonic and Tails cruising along on their sweet bi-plane. They run into a storm that throws them into a desolated tropical island. Here they come across a manic local teenager Marina who starts bossing them around. While Sonic and co and travelling around and looking a way back they come to number of strange incidents in the archipelago. As well the meet up with some the Sonic lore's less interesting characters, such as Blaze. The biggest difference to any other Sonic game is the seafaring part. This is actually slightly similar to he excellent The Wind Waker.
After each Sonic's 2D stage is rewarded by different coloured items which are used for building new vehicles. Which is were Tails comes in handy, pardon the pun. Further exploration is done when discovering new levels (i.e. islands). The various vehicles are used to sail to a new location. Each vehicle having its own controls which are used in form of mini games between platform levels. IE. sail boat viewing the sailing from side view and using different weapons to tackle the harsh sea life and ring collecting. The sailing mini games were relatively short, luckily. Only annoyance here was the plotting of the course. The course must drawn by using stylus, avoiding islands and underwater rocks/reefs. Often allowing only minor deviance.
Outside the non platforming nonsense good old traditional Sonic action resumes. Multiple different zones in different environments are presented. Some more non traditional Sonic scenery. Such as pirates and odd snowboarding level. Nice variance in the levels, but way too many endless pits. Older Sonic games are known to be relative hard but never in such unfair way as in here. Only other worth thing mentioning about the level is the awfully strange first level. It is jungle like in any other Sonic game, but it doesn't look anything like the traditional Green Hill zone. I am all up for changes but not when it looks it was drawn by an old 8 year old.
Boss levels exist in the majority of the levels. These getting close to the challenging boss fights that Sonic is known for. Each battle occurs in one form of 3D view. Which is a nice difference from the standard platforming. Most part the battles work and are fun. Only slight complaint would be the length. Because these are on 3D view Sonic can not do his normal rolling dash. Meaning with his normal running the battles just go and on.
The overall feel with the adventure theme and the atrocious hip-hop music makes it clear the target audience is not the old Sonic fans but the younger audience. Art-style at times warm the old-retro guys heart ,but unfortunately these are hidden behind the adventure nonsense.