Review by PickHut
"It Really Needed a Save Feature"
You know what was Sonic 3D Blast's problem? It wasn't that it strayed from the side-scrolling, platforming angle in favor of an isometric viewpoint. Its problem is that it doesn't have a save feature. For an action game, it's pretty long. Two hours long, to be exact. This has to do with the fact that most of the Zones (stages) in this game drag on longer than they should. You see, each Act of a Zone contains three segments, and in each segment, you'll have to search for Dr. Robotnik's robots, each of which contains a Flicky (a bird). Every segment has a total of five Flickies that you have to save, and you won't have access to the next area until you collect all of them. This is the main goal for the entire game. Yes, it gets old quick, like, say, by the time you reach the second Zone.
It just takes way too long in the early Zones, since the robots are pretty spread out far from each other. Hilariously, I think the developers, Traveller's Tales, realized this, because starting around the fourth or fifth Zone, the enemies seem closer together, and the stages don't feel as long as they were early on. Another aspect that contributes to Sonic 3D Blast's length are the Chaos Emeralds. Unfortunately, collecting all seven won't grant you the ability to become a Super Saiyan, but it will allow you to partake in the final boss fight of the game. It's optional, so you can choose not to catch 'em all, but if you do, you'll not only have to go around collecting Flickies, but also collect 50 rings and then search everywhere in each segment for Knuckles or Tails, each of which allows you into the Special Stages.
With all of that going on, you're going to want to take a break by the time you reach the fourth Zone, which, by the way, is only an hour into Sonic 3D Blast. But you can't, because there's no save feature. You can pause the game, but I'm pretty sure you'll want to do something else with your break. This is why the game has low replayability, because you simply have to complete the whole thing in one setting, two hours straight. Seriously, if Sonic 3 & Knuckles had this same problem, I probably wouldn't have loved it as much as I do.
Now, for a second, if you strip away all the problems I mentioned above, Sonic 3D Blast isn't such a bad game. The isometric viewpoint gets a little getting used to, but you'll get the hang of it. Some of the Zones have some pretty interesting gimmicks as well, like the Rusty Ruin Zone (second stage), where you step on these panels that allow Sonic to spin around like a ballerina. You have to use this move to brake through certain barriers, but you'll have to carefully traverse through rotating spikes and flames to reach these destinations.
However, there are some nuisances you'll encounter which involve platforming. This is one place that the different perspective causes some annoyances, because it's very hard to tell if you're gonna land on a moving platform or not, causing your blue hedgehog to fall to the ground below or into a lava field. Speaking of which, Volcano Valley Zone has got to be the cheapest stage in the game because of the fields of lava. You'll get hurt or die when you fall into these fields, obviously, but here's the thing: the Flickies that travel with you won't be affected if they touch the lava. So, you're going to have to be extra careful not to get hit while traveling with the Flickies in this Zone, because when they scatter away, they will freely bounce and fly into the lava like it's nothing. Biggest pain in the ass to try to gather them again.
Now, let's put all those problems back in, along with the ones I just mentioned, and you have one problematic title. It's still not a terrible game, but it needed a lot more work before it was released. But I guess that's okay, because it has a FMV playing when you start up the game.
On the Genesis!
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 09/11/08
Game Release: Sonic 3D Blast (US, 11/30/96)
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