blue blur.... I remember now!

  • Sonic the Hedgehog 4: episode 1
Way back in the 1990's, before there was such a thing as a "hardcore" gamer, there lived a hedgehog that we adored and spent hours playing with. Sure, he didn't really look like a hedgehog at all, but he looked cool nonetheless and we welcomed him with open arms to our living rooms/basements/bathrooms across America.

The reason I'm taking a look back at this game first is due to the fact that, honestly, it's the first video game I remember playing. It's not a vivid memory by any means, but I can still see my brothers and I staring in amazement at the new 16-bit blast processing action.

For a while, Sonic saw some pretty tough times. You all know what I'm talking about, unfortunately. However, If for some strange reason you need a good example of what I'm referring to, go pick up "Sonic The Hedgehog" for the Xbox360 or PS3.... On second thought.. don't. Just trust me when I say it was terrible.

Anyway, when news came about that a new 2d Sonic game titled "Sonic the Hedgehog 4" was on its way, a few people flipped out- I was one of them. A direct sequel to Sonic & Knuckles sounded like the greatest thing since Mega Man 9, and I had high expectations. Maybe too high..

On release day, I anxiously waited while the download neared completion. Suddenly, memories of Green Hill came rushing back to me as I darted past badnicks and loop-de-loops.
Familiar zone after zone challenged my aged gamer's instinct and it felt good. Not perfect, but good.

The only quarrel I have with the title are the physics. Simply put, it just doesn't feel that much like the old Genesis games, which is a bad thing. For example, if you place sonic on a downward slope and hold down, you would expect him to roll down while gaining momentum and speed, right?
Well that doesn't happen here. Unfortunately, you have to constantly be pressing in the direction you want to move, otherwise Sonic will abruptly stop, even in the air. It just doesn't feel... right.
But! It doesn't break the game. It simply makes it feel like a completely different breed (No pun intended). It's still fast, mildly challenging anthropomorphic action. The music is catchy, using samples from the 16-bit days and the sound effects are spot on. The few battles that we get with Dr. Eggman (Robotnick) are also varied and well executed.

Oh yeah, and did I mention it's episodic? It sucks. After passing four zones, the game is over and you're forced to wait for Sonic the Hedgehog: Episode 2. I've never been a fan of this marketing strategy, and I'm still not. Honestly, why don't these developers just take longer to work on the game and release a finished ****ing product?

Final Thoughts:
For some reason this game gets progressively more enjoyable with each play-through, which is awesome. (Especially since it's such a short game.) It's the way Sonic is meant to be played, and I hope SEGA remembers that.


Things you should check out:
Project AM2R

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