Review by SimJetJock747
"The most ridiculously average game I will ever play. Period."
Ten years ago, back in '96, Sega had an idea. They decided to team up with third-party company Traveller's Tales in order that they might make a game with their chief mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog, for the Sega Genesis. This game would be a sort of "last hurrah" for the dying system, and indeed it was. Problem was, though, they also put it on their fledgling system, the Sega Saturn. Sega intended this to be a gameplay revolution for Sonic the Hedgehog, but the end result was quite revolting.
Enter SimJetJock, a contributor for GameFAQs.com. I've had this game since it came out, and I've been turning it over in my mind for all the nine years I've had it. From love to hatred, I've felt it all for this sometimes adored, sometimes detested, always revolutionary, game. What follows is a compendium of my findings.
Any game, no matter how good the graphics or musical score, no matter how likeable the characters or engrossing the plot, must have good gameplay to support these other qualities. Sonic 3D Blast misses horribly with the gameplay here. The premise of the game is that in another of Dr. Robotnik's viciously deranged (and yet prodigiously misguided) plots, he has enslaved the inhabitants of Flicky Island (not surprisingly, called Flickies) in his robotic creations. Sonic travels to the island, hoping to see his Flicky friends, and finds the robots. Now, instead of running like %&$* all over the island, kicking @$$ and making a fool of Robotnik, he must free the Flickies and transport them elsewhere through large rings. In theory, this sounds pretty nice. However, keeping these small, cute birds with him causes more problems than rewards for the hapless player. You see, the least disturbance causes the Flickies to escape Sonic's exceedingly weak grasp and make for the surrounding environ. Thus, we have something that, compounded with the game's abysmal control, is exceedingly annoying.
In addition to good gameplay, a game must have controls that are easy to use, easy to remember, and difficult to use improperly. It is imperative that a game designer take controls into consideration, because the control of a game is how the player interacts with the game code. Again, Sonic 3D Blast misses horribly in this department. The button setup is actually rather well-done (A/C to jump, B to Spin Dash), and reflects how Sega will set up the controls in future games (read: Dreamcast titles). Because of the game's not-really-3D (isometric) perspective, it's difficult to control Sonic without the aid of a thumb pad (in other words, the digital D-pad just won't cut it here) or a lot of thinking. Control is so imprecise because of the perspective, that I can't easily hit the enemies without the aid of a certain in-game item, and I've been playing for TEN YEARS. After I've gotten into the swing of things, it's easy to lapse into the game's abysmal control, at least until I lose my Flickies. One type of Flicky, when released from its robot or holder, likes to jump about a small area of the stage until it jumps toward Sonic, or Sonic manages to jump at it in time. The others are much easier to collect, given a few seconds. All in all, this game's control, because of imprecision and time needed to adjust, is quite lacking.
Here is where this game shines. For a Genesis game, this game looks incredible. The difficult-to-play levels are extremely detailed graphically, and are a testament to Sega's commitment to good(-looking) games. (As a sidenote, that's something I've always noticed with Sega's games. They've always had a graphical edge to them that other game companies can't quite match. It doesn't really matter if you're talking the Dreamcast edition of Shenmue II or the original Sonic the Hedgehog; the games have always had a graphical flair to them that never fails to impress. Could just be me.) From the wild-looking and overgrown rainforests of the Green Grove Zone to the "wild and crazy" habadasherie that is the Spring Stadium Zone, this game is beautiful. Other reviews praising the game's graphics have even said that the game looks like a Saturn game put into sixteen-bit shoes for the (dis)pleasure of Genesis gamers everywhere. That may be pushing it, but the brilliant colors and steady framerate are quite pleasant for all, even if this is the only truly good part of the game. (Remember when I said this game is revolutionary? This is it!)
The sound effects and musical score are passable for a Genesis game, but only because the tunes stick in my head to this day and the game's sound effects are pretty much the same as the other Genesis Sonic titles. The game's music sounds and feels like something you'd expect of a Sonic game of the Genesis series. Synthesized, hokey, and most importantly, not half as good as something you'd hear in a good SNES title. I can safely say the same of the sound effects. Grabbing rings sounds like grabbing rings, and losing rings sounds like losing rings. Extra lives sound like Sonic 3's extra lives, and being whisked off to a Special Stage sounds like Sonic 2's being whisked off to a Special Stage. Get the aural picture? I do, and I'm not quite sure I like it.
This game left me feeling disappointed in lots of small ways. Most of all, the gameplay and controls were lacking, but the graphics and music tried to make up for it in their own special ways. Gameplay and controls make the game, and all the pretty graphics and good (read: passable) music can't make up for it, no matter how much they try. If you can manage to find a Sonic 3D Blast cartridge, go ahead and buy it if you have a Genesis, but don't buy a Genesis just for this game. For those of you with compilations featuring S3B, try it out.
(2 + 3 + 10 + 5) / 4 = 5
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 06/26/06
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