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The sequel fans have waited 16 years for is finally here - Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Episode I. Featuring enhancing gameplay elements, including the classic Sonic Spin Dash, and the versatile Homing Attack, Sonic 4 picks up right where Sonic & Knuckles left off. Get ready for the next chapter in an all new epic 2-D saga built for old and new fans alike.
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Sonic 4 may happen to rehash of Sonic 1 & 2 elements, but the level design, leaderboards, music, homing attack and graphics are all-new (At least, to the original series). The basic gameplay holds up pretty well, and there are some really cool gimmicks added into this installment, such as running across a path of cards, riding in a mine cart, having to beat the special stages under time limits (and no jumping), etc.
Of course, there have to be some flaws. First off, since this was built from ground-up, the physics are slightly off and somewhat floaty. Another thing is that it was really easy compared to the previous Sonics. You won't have a hard time being able to collect 100 (or even 200) rings. Lastly, although this is minor, it could have been more fitting for Sega to use the classic design of Sonic for the game.
Those flaws aren't to say that the game is bad. The game itself is just as fun as its predecessors. In fact, while it does contain 4 zones compared to the other Sonics' 6+, certain levels themselves are pretty long. I timed it, and the game is actually just as lengthy as the old Sonics. It could be a bit steep for a purchase, but it is totally worth it.
Overall, people can say it's a rehash, but in my perspective shown above, in which I think about what's beyond that, it's a new fun Sonic game.
This game is simply as good as a side-scrolling game can get with today's technology. The graphics and animations are colorful, the backdrops are beautiful, and the concepts and cleverness are really enjoyable. For example, there is one section that takes place entirely in the dark. Sonic carries a torch that spotlights him, and as he passes the occasional wall scone he can light up an area. Then later he might bump up against a fuse...and accidentally light it! Explosives detonate and clear a blocked passage.
Fans of the original Sonic series may be disappointed to see many of the original levels rehashed in Sonic 4: Chapter 1, but the rework really is better. We have a borrowing of the best traits of the games: spin attack, the homing attack, and the various types of shields we got all those years ago in Sonic 3--all very familiar. Then the newer version of the "Casino Night" zone has some very clever bits with cards and dice--at one point you spiral along on an unfurling deck of cards and we all cheered to see it. Most every level has ways to easily gain a ton of lives...but then most every level has a "quarter-killer" section that's going to take you several tries and a little luck to get through the pattern.
In that sense, Sonic 4 points out the one flaw in our older console games: we put up with dying a lot to learn a little. We got used to the fact that some sections simply can't be accomplished the first time. If you don't mind the occasional insanely-hard section, your patience will be rewarded. The only other real flaw is that Sonic is built for speed: when he stops moving, there's a moment or two before he can really get going again, especially if he is trying to do an about-face. I suspect that part of this is just a newer take on the controls and will get better with practice.
Team Sonic have remembered the joy of ripping around levels at a high rate of speed collection zillions of rings. Tons of fun for any Sonic fan, and thank goodness.
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