January 18, 2013

Sonic Generations – First 10 Minutes

Sonic the Hedgehog. What more needs to be said about this iconic, legendary IP? This speedy blue dude with a bad attitude has been dashing across TV screens around the world for over two decades now, including mine. SEGA created him as a mascot to rival Nintendo’s Super Mario, and countered the 8-bit plumber’s slower, more deliberate games with fast-paced platforming and 16-bit graphics that blew the Jump Man away.

Over the past few years though, the fastest thing alive’s perfect track record has been smudged by a few less than playable games (I’m looking at you Sonic ’06.) Although I loved the 3D Sonic games, long-time fans of the series have been asking for the Hedgehog to return to his 2D side-scrolling roots. So, as both apology to its fan base, and celebration of Sonic’s 20th Birthday, SEGA released Sonic Generations.

What’s better than a ridiculously fast blue hedgehog jumping on robots? Two ridiculously fast blue hedgehogs jumping on robots. Sonic Generations decided to defy all the laws of time-travel by featuring Sonic’s shorter, chubbier classic design, as well as the more slender modern Sonic. As cheap of a gimmick it was, it did as well as to become one of my favorite games of all-time, and I’m gonna tell you about my first few minutes with this game.

The game starts up making sure it wastes no time shoving the nostalgia down your throat. As soon as the loading screen fades away you find yourself as Classic Sonic side-scrolling through Green Hill Zone, complete with the old theme and all. The stage seems to spring to life as you revisit the beautiful mountainsides in full HD. The platforming is solid and the speed is perfect. It even included Sonic’s trademark spindash, and the little spinny-sign thing as you beat the level.

It truly is the little things in life you learn to appreciate.

So Sonic is running around in Green Hill and a black hole appears in the sky and some dark monster appears from it and sucks Sonic in. Fade to white. Now there’s a scene of Modern Sonic and all his friends throwing him a birthday party. The black monster appears once again and sucks all of Sonic’s friends away before proceeding to knock Sonic out with a single swipe. Sonic wakes up in some white limbo place and sees a lifeless, gray-and-white Green Hill Zone. Now you get to see the game’s overworld and play as Modern Sonic.

Now here’s where the magic of the game happens. You get to play through the Green Hill Zone once again, but this time from a completely different perspective. Modern Sonic plays from a behind-the back 3D view in the same style of Sonic Unleashed and Colors. You get to see the all 360 degrees of the awesome scenery while running to a more modern rendition of the classic themes featuring more prominent guitar riffs and upbeat drums.  Modern Sonic’s playstyle allows for much more theatric levels as well. For example, Green Hill Zone has a part where Sonic grinds along a rail going up a geyser while a giant robotic fish chases after him. Modern Sonic’s abilities include a boost that both speeds him up and makes him invincible, the homing attack, and a quick step to move left and right. He’s much faster than Classic Sonic and in my opinion is much more fun to play as.

After you beat the level, Sonic finds a white frozen statue of Tails in front of Green Hill Zone in the overworld as he slowly reanimates, as well as the backdrop of Green Hill. Tails proceeds to tell him that all his friends are trapped in all the other zones and they must travel throughout different time periods in Sonic’s history to save them and return the zones back to life.

That’s the story. That’s it. But since when has story ever mattered in a Sonic game?

After this, you switch back and forth between the two Sonics racing through levels, restoring the zones, and fighting old bosses like Shadow the Hedgehog and Eggman’s mech from Sonic the Hedgehog 2. The whole game is a glorious anthology of older games, and I enjoyed every second of it.

If you haven’t noticed yet, I love Sonic and I love this game. The graphics are amazing, the music is nostalgic and fresh, and the gameplay is more fun than any Sonic game previous. This game came out in 2011 and I still play it regularly, and it is one of the two games which I actually exerted the effort to fully complete. Sonic games lately have been hit-and-miss, but Sonic Team truly hit a home run with this one.

Image Credit: SEGA

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