|Posted by Kelsy on August 22, 2019 at 10:10 PM|
The Best 2D Modern Sonic Game
A Sonic Rush Review by Kelsy "SuperGirlKels" Medeiros
Nintendo DS - 2005
When the Nintendo DS launched in late 2004, the world was taken by storm. The possibilities of making games in a whole new way was out of this world. Not only were there touch screen capabilities, but there were 2 screens. Just about every developper was jumping into the DS to get a hold of the technology and possibility that their teams can create. SEGA of course, being one of them and now a huge partner for Nintendo was on a mission to creating the next Sonic handheld series. At 2004's E3 conference, a DS Sonic Touch demo was being presented which the world was blown away with and people thought this is the next Sonic on handheld. Now keep in mind, something that Sonic has always seemed to be so consistent with is his handheld adventures. They were always either true to the classics, or just down-right amazing. So the world was waiting to see what was next after the big seller in 2003: Sonic Heroes. This Sonic Touch demo though was eventually a upcoming Sonic title that was later scrapped and development moved to a more... traditional style. In the hands of Dimps, they were tasked with creating a game that fans would be familiar with but that would also incooperate something new for new players to enjoy. Income Sonic Rush, a 2D Platformer with bursts of speed, new tricks, and a new face that makes her mark in the series: Blaze! Was the game successful to create a series? and did the world love the new handheld Sonic?
Rolling around at the speed of sound Sonic goes again on an adventure until Sonic stumbles across Eggman who seems to be up to no good once again! Sonic stops him, but finds a mysterious gem in which before he can even grab it, a burst of flame interupts his progress as a girl he's never seen before appears, claims the "Sol Emerald" and jumps off. As Sonic tries to figure out why Eggman was using that gem in the first place, it leads him onto his new adventure of stopping him from finding these gems while solving the mistery of who this girl is, finding out if she's on the right side, and saving the day!
In the story mode, it is seperated into 2 stories: The first being Sonic as explained above, and Blaze the Cat. The newest character to the Sonic franchise at the time, comes from another dimention to stop a foe and find the Sol Emeralds to save her home planet, and stop the world from devestation. At the same time... Blaze meets a friend along the way and learns what friendship is about and not needing to push everyone away and do everything on her own.
The story is the basic Sonic story of "let's stop Eggman and save the world!" But this time there's double the action! Honestly, I wish SEGA just stays to these kinds of stories. It suits Sonic, and keeps the games simple in tasking us on what to do. There's a mysterious new face, new power, and an egg to scramble!
GRAPHICS / MUSIC
This is the first time we see Sonic on a handheld that isn't done with Sprite animations... and it looks amazing. Even though it's a 2D title, the game is entirely rendered with 3D models including the background, and environment. Sonic has never looked so alive on a device that I can take to go. I remember my 12 year old self just not even playing in the levels and just looking at Sonic. I would make him look up and down because of the animations. I wanted to see Sonic stand there and tap his feet, or fall asleep in a way I've never seen it before. He just looked so cool! Both characters: Sonic and Blaze look and feel so alive and during the entire game you FEEL the adrenaline rushing through you. SEGA does a fantastic job at taking advantage of the new DS technology and advancing Sonic to even greater speeds! It was the first time where I'd run with Sonic and felt like I had no control of what was ahead that I needed to slow down... and it was a great feeling!!! I was immediately into the speed and once adjusted, I was trying to do the coolest of tricks! The game, the bosses being played in 3D just look so realistic (for 2005 on a handheld).
The music is some of the best Sonic tracks I've EVER heard to the point where I'm still listening to the soundtrack 1 year later after completing this game. Each track matches the speed of the game, and really makes you just want to not only move, but have fun! I feel like every track made me feel like I was in Sonic's shoes and felt what he felt. If it was a scary environment, I felt that but also still the adrenaline that I had to keep moving ahead in anticipation like the blue blur. I'm literally still listening to the soundtrack as I'm typing up this review, it's just so damn good! As a first, there are voice clips used for beats in the tracks and it makes the melody so much smoother and makes every track really stick in your head. Bosses themes are EPIC and the final boss's music is the perfect way to end off the game. Every zone's music is also SO much more different than the last as you progress. Act 1 is an entirely new sound and act 2 is a remix of that act 1. SEGA never did this kind of style of music again but if they ever did, I would be more than happy and supportive.
The entire game of Sonic Rush is BY FAR the best Level design in any modern Sonic game. fight me.
There is constantly always something happening: grinding rails, building up points by doing tricks, giving yourself an extra jumpa t the perfect timing, finding short cuts to beat your time, landing on springs, going through loops, finding chaos emeralds, and more. You're not just holding forward anymore when it comes to Sonic Rush, and when you are... you are punished for it pretty badly.
This brings me to the only thing that I don't really like about the level design: there are DEATH holes EVERYWHERE. What I mean by this... if you hold right for example, and get sent straight up a ramp and keep holding forward... you can't exactly see where you are in the air so your instinct is to keep moving forward... this though, results in you landing right into a bottomless pit...costing yourself your life, your score, and confusion. this has happened to me in almost every zone at least twice. Sure with practice, I knew all the stages and when to not maybe.. "hold forward" and I know the game was teaching me that... but it just seemed unfair. The game naturally rewards you now with going fast at your will instead of earning it. So you can technically always move forward at your own pace, but when you get to a point where you can't see anything in front of you anymore from how high your speed has launched you up from a ramp... at least add some arrows or something instead of always surprising me with death for no reason.
Besides this though, everything feels so magical. It's as if the music created the stages... the music and design of the levels just flow so perfectly. If you have an instinct to jump while moving so fast, chances are... SEGA was prepared for that moment and created a shortcut for you! Have a feeling to go high instead of low? There's an item box for you! You are constantly rewarded for exploring and challenging yourself as you go through high speed. It's a great feeling and this ended up being a huge inspiration with upcoming Sonic games such as day time Sonic Unleashed levels, Sonic Colors, and Sonic Generations in 2D having you perfectly time jumps and find shortcuts. It inspired SEGA, but wow has it inspired me!
Sonic feels like Sonic. And Blaze feels like how Blaze should be played. Sonic runs fast, and Blaze might be slower but has more stunts and tricks. The new mechanics that are introduced with Sonic Rush are the boost mechanics that would later become the staple to Modern Sonic games for the next 15 years- Present. Sonic has a meter in which he can fill up by defeating badniks or collecting items then can use the Y button to unleash a boost sending Sonic (or Blaze) at top speeds knocking every enemy and hazard in his path. Moving at this speed creates new environment ideas that bring the game to life such as the trick system! Now when Sonic is launched from a hill or spring he can perform tricks that will add points, and fill up his boost meter. This is needed to complete the level and get the S needed. To get a S rank (the top rank in a level) you must complete the level within a certain time, while also making enough tricks and building your score. Managing both can be very hard, because you can technically jump on a spring forever and grind out your score... but the time in this game is VERY important. S ranks are very challenging to achieve, and learning to balance both score and time are strict. This though, makes time for replay value! levels aren't long, in fact about 2-4 minutes on average (during my play). Especially that all levels are so much fun, you never mind going through each level over and over again to challenge yourself, familiar yourself with the layout of the level, and master the best route, score, and time to get yourself that well deserved S rank! Collecting the Chaos Emeralds are another challenge... Sonic (specifically) must find a secret portal in every act 2 of each zone that will send him to the special zone. In the special zone, the player must use the stylis (taking advantage of DS hardware) and control Sonic's direction in 3D as he automatically runs ahead. This is similiar to Sonic 2 in 1992, but is done in a WAY better fashion. Sonic can avoid bombs, collect rings, and use the ramps to collect items up high and avoid traps. You must collect the right amount of rings before reaching the checkpoint. This is by far my favourite special stage EVER in a Sonic game and I wish all special stages were like this with a bit of a twist every time. In this case, the stylis from the DS coming into play. It's amazing how much control you have over Sonic with it and it's super responsive as well. Back to the main gameplay, bosses are challenging, but so fun. Every boss is different and has it's meter in which you must get down to 0. Did I mention Sonic feels great? I think I did but... the characters just feel so smoothe. If I want Sonic to walk, he walks... but walks fast. If I want him to run, it's fast but fast enough that I can control him.. and then the boost is uncontrollably fast.. but yet... I still can time jumps and where I wanna go with him. It feels like with this game, SEGA really had down of what Sonic should feel like in the future... it's a shame they never remembered this as time went on... I wish SEGA can play this game for future 3D AND 2D titles for inspiration. His controls are literally perfect for me... he even breaks when I want him to... it's true love.
ROAD TO 100%
- Complete the Main Story with Sonic
- Collect all Chaos Emeralds as Sonic
- Complete the Main Story as Blaze
- Complete the EXTRA Final Story
- Obtain S Ranks in ALL Stages with both Sonic & Blaze
Sonic Rush is a MUST HAVE collection to everyone's Nintendo DS. It not only is one of DS's greatest titles to date, but it was a huge stepping stone for Sonic's future... inspiring the Boost mechanic for future Modern Sonic gameplay and inspired the Sonic Rush series with later: Sonic Rush Adventure on DS in 2007 which I'm currently completing. Though it's not quite perfect, the first game of a series never is! Sonic Rush is an amazing start and really takes what's familiar to us, but not over exhausting the nostalgia and introducing us with so much new adventures that Sonic races to! Thank you Dimps, and SEGA !
+ Soundtrack AHH!
+ New Boost & Trick Mechanics are fun and keeps the pace going
+ Challenging Stages to Master S Ranks but FUN
+ Blaze is awesome
- Bottomless pits... Made no sense
- Wish cutscenes used in-game graphics instead of pictures