Previews// Sonic the Hedgehog 4

Posted 30 Apr 2010 16:06 by
And the level design is multi-tiered too. I was shown a playthrough of the first three Acts of Splash Hill (the fourth consists entirely of the Dr. Eggman boss fight) Act 1 contains an upper pathway and a lower pathway, with the former requiring a lot of platforming and timed jumps and the latter involving some momentum puzzles and spike pits.

Act 2 in particular contains a fairly lovely piece of level design swinging vines are introduced here which help Sonic travel higher up the level. Towards the end of the stage, you enter an interior section with a chasm that needs to be crossed using these vines. If you don't time it well enough, there's a spike trap to avoid and a lower platform that gives you the chance to try again. Bottomless pits? Nope!

A lot of talk has been made of the homing attack, and that was also a concern of mine before I saw the game in action. While recent 2D Sonic games appear to have been marred by the inclusion of such a feature, in Sonic 4 it seems quite inoffensive. You can come across the odd chain of badniks that can be attacked to lead you to higher places, but the game in no way compromises difficulty with its presence. In fact, while much of Sonic 4 feels like a retread of Sonic 1, there are just enough discrete tweaks in the formula to make Sonic 4 look more progressive than regressive.

For instance, if the game was following Sonic 1, 2 or 3 level conventions to the letter, then the addition of a homing attack would no doubt dumb down the action. But in Sonic 4, the homing attack feels more like an InstaShield 2.0 (InstaShield being name of the split-second double-jump shield you engage in Sonic 3, fact fans).

Special Stages return; modern replications of the Sonic 1 rotating mazes that were the bane of my childhood. But there's a literal twist to these Chaos Emerald quests rotating the controller (on a Wii or PS3 obviously I'm told the triggers will be used on the Xbox 360 pad) turns the stage in a 360-degree fashion, giving you somewhat more control over your spinning destiny (but not much). To make things a bit more challenging, you need to collect rings to pass various gates before you can grab the Chaos Emerald for victory.

All in all, it seems that Sonic Team really has got its act together. The graphics are fantastic, the animation on Sonic is wonderful, and the gameplay mechanics are just the kind that fans have been clamouring for. Don't be fooled by selective internet video this really could be the return to past glory that the faithful have been waiting for.
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TSonic02 1 May 2010 21:30
Nice descriptions. My faith in this game has just risin. This Has to be a good.
TSonic02 1 May 2010 21:49
I still wonder, however, what is next for Sonic after this. Will they still make 3D Sonic games, or are they actually giving in to the peoples criticism and only making 2D Sonic games from now on. I would be disappointed to see that the potential to make more amazing 3D games then just Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 will never be shown.
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speed 4 May 2010 20:04
that is lame
sonikfan28 9 May 2010 15:07
AWSOME!I love sonic.=)
rezapoc 10 May 2010 19:54
The thing is that Sonic Team are only producing this effort, the real donky work is being done by Sonic Advance/ Rush developer Dimps.
Thats why i'm looking forward to this more than any other home console Sonic game since Heroes.

The next main series sonic game is guaranteed to be out next year as its the 20th anniversary of the first game.
spritemaster 11 May 2010 21:46
is anyone else bothered by the fact that every leaked level looks like a hd upgrade of past 2d sonic titles? Very few original levels have been made, and there seems to be this odd thing of including Past Bosses as well. I don't want to call this sonic 4, more along the lines of sonic remade.
Solaris Paradox 14 May 2010 23:36

They'll still be making Sonic games in 3D, no mistake. However, if Sonic 4 is a success, more games in the same vein would be an inevitability, so even those who despise the 3D games or aren't wowed by Sega's attempts henceforth will at least have a steady stream of new 2D games to look forward to, and it'd give Sega a good way to utilize the franchise without compromising the mainstream 3D games with constricted development cycles. It might even influence the design mentality behind the 3D games in the future if they see that the core Sonic fandom and core Sonic gameplay have potential for retail success.
Solaris Paradox 14 May 2010 23:38

They are, and blatantly, going for the nostalgia angle; perhaps the title Sonic 4 is a misnomer in that regard. But after 15+ years, I think that's permissible, as long as they change gears and take a fresher and more original approach before the charm of familiarity gets too stale.
blu_64 17 May 2010 18:05
nice to see one more positive preview for Sonic 4. ^_^
Black Doom 20 May 2010 17:47
BUT GREEN EYEZ>:O!!!!!! JK seriously this gamelooks very very promising (green eyes or not^_^) I can't wait! I'm as eager for it as mario galaxy 2!!
Mardic 20 May 2010 21:09
@TSonic02 Firstly, I prefer the 2D games. But, I believe that giving up on 3D games would be ridiculous. Sonic Team should continue to try their best to make 3D Sonic work. Also, a lot of people enjoy 3D Sonic more than 2D, so I really don't think they'll just discontinue 3D Sonic. I personally, REALLY enjoyed the adventure series, and didn't mind unleashed. But, they've gotta stop thinking that Sonic is ALL about speed, cause it's not. He's a platformer, the speed comes SECOND to THAT.
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