Sonic Rush Nintendo DS Review
The popular and favourite blue dude with attitude, Sonic The Hedgehog, blasts his way onto the Nintendo DS and boasts that he can take high-speed action gaming to a whole new level. It seems like only a few years ago that this very hedgehog was challenging Mario as king of the platformers but today he is now hoping to make a fantastic addition to the DS library of games. Well it seems like we are off to a good start as Sega have gone back to 2D (start a mini celebration).
Let face it the 3D sonic games have all sucked. 2D Sonic was always oh so much better than his multi axis brother and thankfully Sega have decided to keep Sonic Rush a relatively flat experience (with a few 3D touches), but while Sonic is flat the gameplay has a hell of a lot more layers than you would think. In fact it is much, much more fun to play than any of the Sonic (or Shadow) titles that have been released in recent years. If you have never played a Sonic game before it is easily summed up in one word, speed.
Sonic games don’t need a storyline but Sega have thrown together a basic plot to tie up loose ends and while not epic it does its job to bring the areas of the game together. Eggman, Sonic & Chaos Emeralds will all come into play and be familiar to long time Sonic Fans but the likes of Eggman Nega and Blaze the Cat crop up to add some variation to the fray. Blaze plays in the same kinda way the Sonic does but has some different routes through areas.
Thankfully Sonic Team have decided not to bother using the touch screen as it would not have fitted with the Sonic gameplay. Instead they have exploited the dual screen aspect of the game to a great extent. Of course when needed, the bottom screen can be used to display some menu options. At times, while sonic jumps between the bottom and top screen, you can lose focus but this does not pose that much of a problems as you will get used to the screen change after a few minutes play.
New addition to the Sonicverse come in the form of the Tension Gauge which can be boosted by performing tricks. Once you fill this gauge you unlock the Super Boost which makes an already high speed sonic go that bit quicker. Other new additions come in the form of vehicle one of these being a rocket propelled jet-car and the other is a golden one. The game also switches to that dreaded 3D at some points in the game to let you collect rings and fight bosses but it is a much more entertaining version than the others you may have experienced. The boss battles also have an old school feel as you have got to figure out the boss pattern, study it, and then find a weakness which is a welcome return.
As I have mentioned before, the games graphics rarely ever take advantage of the DS’ 3D capabilities, except in boss battles. While not been forced to use 3D the developers have made use of lush backgrounds and smooth characters which are a pleasure to behold. This is accompanied by a very nice framerate and the game never slows down despite the impressive speed and amount of objects on screen. The graphics are a welcome return to the cartoon-ish Sonic games of old. As opposed to the less surreal, and at times heart-breakingly annoying “Adventure” games.
While both the gameplay and graphics hark back to his glory days the music in Sonic Rush sounds like it was reordered in someone’s bedroom while they were drunk and/or high, if not both. There are no classic tunes like the ones used in Green Hill Zone and Chemical Plant Zone years ago instead it is trashy pop/dance inspired beats that do not suit the on screen antics in anyway. The sound effects on the other hand feel like they have been lifted straight from the Mega-Drive version of the game and that is not a bad thing as there was nothing wrong with them effect to begin with but, yes there is a but! Tails and Sonic have been given the power of speech yet again. The same whiny, annoying voice actors return to infest this game like a horrible cancer.
Like pretty much all Sonic games, Rush is short, but re-playable. And to be honest, the only time the game will stump you is the hard as nails, forged in the fires of Mordor, bosses. And believe me, they really are difficult. The game has two playable characters, Sonic and Blaze and even though they both pretty much play the same this, in effect, doubles the game’s size. To entice you to play a little bit more, Sonic Rush lets you challenge any of your friends that have a DS in a head-to-head race through the levels. Thankfully this only requires a single cartridge. You can also send a demo of the game to someone else’s DS so they can try it out as well. Spread the festive cheer with Sonic!
All in all Sonic Rush is just about on the brink of a must buy title. Sonic fans needs to get up off their booty and run out to get it as soon as possible as it is unquestionably the best Sonic title in recent years. Sonic Rush is what every Sega fan has been screaming for since Sonic made the jump to 3D. A return to the good old fun Sonic games. On the other hand if you are just a fan of platformers and have a passing interest in the little blue speed freak you could bide your time and wait until that inevitable price drop that will come in the January sales. Whenever you choose to pick up the game you will know you are playing a quality title once you get your grubby mitts on it. Sonic really is back on form. Finally!
8.2 out of 10