Sonic the Hedgehog Xbox 360 Review
Sonic the Hedgehog! What a bloody fantastic game; the joys of running through Green Hill Zone could not be topped!! I think I did it thousands of times over the years I had with the game. It was more or less a perfect game at the time of its release. Sonic ran at just the right speed – the camera scrolled with him perfectly. Rings were faultlessly placed, as were springs, boxes and the loop-de-loops. Everything just worked. When you hit an enemy and lost your rings it was your fault and you could blame your own reaction speed on the mishap; the game never made you feel angry and most importantly you never felt cheated. When you ran through a level perfectly without any mess-ups and took on the boss and got through unscathed you could give yourself a pat on the back – it truly was a job well done.
You Know I’m Bad, I’m Bad
Now we have Sonic The Hedgehog in 2006; the game of the same name… you should know by now that the game is not very good and you’d be right with that assumption so let me join the masses in telling you why it would be a bad idea to contemplate buying it. First problem – instead of going back to basic and being a restart to the franchise like Sega originally promised, the game is anything but that. It is in fact loaded with more tacked on extras and characters than ever before… so much so that less than one third of Sonic the Hedgehog actually contains Sonic The Hedgehog. The game is in fact broken up into three separate sections. The first containing the once great Sonic, another containing the insufferable Shadow, and one starring a new hedgehog called Silver… a character that has the possibility to be a good addition to the series – yes I said something positive; shocking!
Sonic and Shadow are mostly the same characters with just slightly different versions of the game’s homing attacks and Shadow’s ability to use armed vehicles separating them. Silver is different as he has telekinesis powers that let him lift things by means of his spiky mind. This is actually a nice addition and when you can get it to work correctly is borderline fun! However let’s not get carried away as there are more problems to speak of and these problems are even more characters popping up throughout the game in the form of Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Blaze, Rouge, and E-123 Omega. These six make guest appearances in each of the stories as controllable characters. On paper it probably sounded like a nice idea, but in reality it just breaks up an already broken game even more, and even worse it feels like a phlegm-filled spit right in the face of anyone who believed the “we are going back to basics” comment threw about by Sega’s PR.
Ok now onto another huge problem: the controls! For a game that is known for its twitch gameplay, the controls should be tight. Sadly they are anything but! No matter what character you are in control of you never feel confident when moving. If you are taking your time checking out surrounding areas then the camera seems to move to the most unhelpful angle making you jerk the stick in another direction to compensate and then you fall of the side of a cliff to your doom. Then if you decide to go quickly – how the game was meant to played – then you most likely hit a speed pad, start bouncing around and end up falling off the side of a cliff TO YOUR DOOM! This scenario happens on almost all levels at least once making it impossible to get any kind of rhythm going while playing. The camera is deplorable and downright unacceptable and a problem that continues to dog the series. You’d think by now Sega could have sorted this out since it’s been one of the big setbacks for the series for almost eight years, but instead it somehow now seems to have got even worse than ever. In all honesty I think the game should now be famous for the most unfair death in the history of gaming – even topping those damned jumping sections from Turok 64; a feat which I once thought impossible to obtain.
Really, Really Bad
That’s not all though as there are even more irksome problems. The game’s hub – called Soleanna – is bland it is honestly feels like some sort of hell to stumble though. There is nothing to do there, you can’t run and you can’t do anything that usually makes a Sonic game fun. It is filled with NPC’s who are boring and not even one of them is borderline interesting to talk to. Stemming from the hub troubles are even more annoying problems – loading screens. These will no doubt be a cause much aggravation for impatient gamers as they are everywhere and last up to 15 minutes in length. Personally most loading screens don’t bother me as they’re a necessary evil to have rich game worlds to play around in, but the ones in Sonic do annoy greatly as they’re only there due to bad development. One more gameplay niggle is that the title still adopts the old “Lives” and checkpoint system meaning if you die (AKA fall of cliff TO YOUR DOOM) you are tossed back to a checkpoint and if you die too many times you are tossed right back to main menu to begin the level again which automatically looses 20 to 30 minutes gameplay as you cannot save mid game… I will admit this worked well back in the late 80’s and early 90’s when levels were shorter but we’ve moved on since them – now will some one please tell Sonic Team to do the same!
Positive paragraph time! Yes there are a few moments that I could call fun in the game, but as you’d expect by now they’re few and far between. Firstly there are a few moments that hint back at Sonic games of old which I will admit were nice and brought a short-lived smile to my face. Next – the game is of an adequate length and should you have the time, patience and out-and-out doggedness to persevere through that hard times then there is a lot of game for your money. Following on from that the Achievements are well laid out and once again should you have the resolve to fight through the game it will take some solid play time to get all 23 to get all 1000 Gamerpoints – S-Rank on everything *cringe*.
And The Whole World Has To Answer Right Now
Graphically the game looks okay, but that is only when Sonic and his – oh so unwelcome – friends are standing still. Once you begin to move the game turns into a glitchy mess and anything that once resembled decency jumps straight out the window and the shit most definitely starts to hit the fan at regular intervals when you start moving at high speed. More problems are that the main hub mentioned above is actually early Dreamcast quality in terms of graphics, which is nothing short of terrible for a title released in the second year of the 360’s availability. There seems to be nothing in terms of special effects included in the game either with water resembling something like a blue gelatinous blob of pointlessness – although the very same criticism could be levelled at Sonic himself these days!
Voice acting it even worse as the characters always seem far too happy and hyped up at all times and as a result get almost instantly annoying literally seconds after they utter their first word. Thankfully the chatter is confined to only the cut scenes meaning you can play – or stumble through – the rest of the game without having to listen to them. Finally the music and – I know I will be shot for saying this but – I actually like the title screen music it has a nice beat and is the one parts of the game that shows some promise. Unfortunately it is once again all downhill from there as the rest of the in-game music ranges from acceptable to ear bleedingly bad.
Just To Tell You Once Again! Who’s Bad…
I suppose you know this by now, but Sonic the Hedgehog is a really, really bad game. Sonic has always been on a slippery slope since he went 3D and after this abysmal release it honestly feels like he has finally hit rock bottom. You’d have to be a Sonic nut to love this game, but even those who are nuts about Sonic would be truly nuts to pay anywhere near full price to add this to their collection. All in all it can be only described as one of the most disappointing games ever released and for a game of this quality to be emblazoned with a name identical to that of the incredible original release shows that Sega have no respect left for their once world famous mascot.
Sonic’s 15th birthday is really not one to remember. There was that HUMAN girlfriend, but you’re an f’n HEDGEHOG, you fool!!
3.3 out of 10