Review by GavLuvsGA

"Sonic Team has produced another good Sonic title!"

Introduction

I wanted this game for a long time; when I finally ordered it off Amazon, they were evidently having trouble getting hold of a copy; so much trouble in fact that they took four months to deliver it to me. When I finally got it, I started playing almost straight away and I loved it.

Gameplay - 9/10

One thing that the gameplay in this game does provide is challenge, and lots of it. For anyone who hasn't guessed, each level consists of racing seven opponents, while avoiding obstacles and using the wind currents to help you. You can also perform trick moves on the jumps to help you get over them, but if you screw up you could slow yourself down. At the start of the race, you can get a run up to go over the start line - but if you're too hasty, you will get electrocuted, slowing you down.

To complicate things further, you have to make sure your board does not run out of air by using the pit stops occasionally, otherwise you could end up on foot for a while.

Also, in a similar manner to the much-maligned Sonic Heroes, each character has their strength in particular skill (Sonic in speed, Tails in flying and Knuckles in power), and these allow them to take certain shortcuts throughout the levels - punching through solid walls for example.

The courses themselves get challenging very quickly, and on one particular level I found it difficult to steer away from a steep cliff on one side of the track. If you play the story mode, don't expect an easy ride as the game throws you in at the deep end with the first goal being to finish in the top three; by level three, you need to win the race to move on to the next level, and this may well take several tries.

There is also a free race mode where you can practise and a mode where you compete to set rules, such as grabbing emeralds and fighting your opponents in an arena in a similar manner to the battle mode from the Mario Kart games.

While some might accuse this game of ripping off the Mario series, the normal race modes handle in a completely different way to the pasta-eating plumber's racing games.

Overall, gameplay is good - but beginners should be warned that story mode may take a while to complete.

Story - 7/10

Dr. Eggman strikes again; this time he wants Sonic and his friends to take part in a racing competition. However, things are made complicated by the arrival of the Babylon Rogues, a trio of avian bandits who compete against Sonic and his friends.

It may sound a little silly, and Sonic Team didn't really need to add even more characters, but I quite liked the fact that this game features more humour than many of the more recent Sonic games and spinoffs (Sonic Adventure 2 and Shadow the Hedgehog were both incredibly dark in tone), and the scenes between Sonic and his friends are fun to watch.

Sound - 7/10

The in-game music is very nice and better than in many of the other recent Sonic titles. The voice acting is actually generally very good for once, with Eggman's voice being an improvement on the one heard in Shadow the Hedgehog. However, new character Jet sounds exactly like Sonic (and I have no idea if this was intentional).

One big annoyance is also the voiceover during the race, which I think is supposed to be Omochao. It gets annoying very fast, especially as it just repeats the same things and is almost distracting; "This could cost him the race", "He failed to land correctly". Aside from this, sound is good.

Graphics - 10/10

Excellent graphics, and very slick animation during the cinema sequences. There is a very funny moment involving Knuckles after he gets fed up of hearing Tails talking about kinetics and other things he can't understand. The designs of the Babylon Rouges are also good, with Jet resembling a green, beaked Sonic. The levels are designed very well, with a lot of detail.

In fact, the only bit of the graphics I didn't like was the weird-looking picture of Sonic that pops up on the title screen.

Lastability - 10/10

The gameplay is challenging enough that you will be replaying this game a lot; there are plenty of other modes to keep you occupied as well, and also new boards and characters that can be unlocked.

Conclusion

Many people have complained about the new Sonic games not being as good as the original; I disagree, and this game just helps to prove my point. Getting hold of Gamecube games in the age of the Wii and the XBox 360 can be difficult, but try and pick up a copy if you can. This is a game that even non-Sonic fans can enjoy.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 05/21/07


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