Review by ponchikan

"Sonic the Hedgehog hits the wall"

Imagine being a ten-year-old kid with a Sega Genesis in 1996, as I was. Imagine having played all the classic 2D Sonic games and having loved their insane speed and exciting action. Imagine, after having played all these games, hearing about a new Sonic game coming out for the Genesis and Saturn, a game with "3D" in the title. You'd just about lose your bowels in excitement, right? 3D games were on the cutting edge in the mid-90's, and considering how flawless of a 2D to 3D transition Mario made with Super Mario 64, what reason not to expect the very same from Sonic the Hedgehog?

Well, you would have been sorely disappointed, as I was. I was anticipating the traditional Sonic speed and action in a 3D setting, and what I got was an absolute mess. Let's begin with the most obvious problem - Sonic 3D Blast isn't even in 3D. It's all in 2D isometric view. This isn't bad in itself; after all, SimCity 2000 was a 2D isometric game, and it's still one of my favorite games ever. However, this pseudo-3D semi-top-down perspective just doesn't work for Sonic. Killing enemies in Sonic 3D Blast is an ordeal that will leave you with handfuls of torn-out hair. As always, Sonic can either jump on top of enemies or spin-dash into them, but trying to jump on top of them with anything approaching precision is nearly impossible because of the awkward perspective, and using the spin-dash results in Sonic rolling around like an out-of-control billiard ball. There is a shield you can get that allows Sonic to target enemies by pressing A when in the air, Sonic Adventure-style, but that's the only help you'll receive.

Another problem with the game is its focus on hunting and collecting. Every time you kill an enemy, as usual, an animal pops out, but this time they're all birds and you have to collect them and bring them to a central spot on the board to move on to the next part of the stage. If you get hit, you lose all your birds and have to gather them again while they fly around disoriented. This enemy-hunting nonsense kills any speed 3D Blast might have contained and turns it into an item-collecting game. Not that there was all that much speed to begin with. The 3D Blast version of Sonic runs like he has a broken leg.

So, is there any good in Sonic 3D Blast? Well, yeah, but not nearly enough to make up for the
bad in it. The graphics are great, and every stage is colorful and interesting. Some of the boss fights are pretty compelling, or rather they would be if the perspective and controls in this game weren't so frustrating. The music is catchy as always, though it's not nearly as good as the old 2D games' soundtracks, and the sound effects are clear as a bell. You'll even hear a couple of tunes that were later updated and featured in Sonic Adventure, the first true 3D Sonic game.

But as the saying goes, a pig wearing make-up is still a pig, and Sonic 3D Blast is undeniably
the fattest, ugliest, smelliest pig in the pen. Sega used the excitement surrounding the new 3D craze to pass off a near-unplayable, frustrating piece of garbage that was guaranteed to sell because of the popularity of the Sonic name. It figures that Sonic Team didn't even develop the game, rather some group of clowns called Traveller's Tales. Great job on making the first truly bad Sonic game, guys.

Gameplay - 2/10
Controls - 1/10
Graphics - 8/10
Music - 7/10
Sound - 8/10
Replay Value - 0/10 (good luck sitting through it even once)
Frustration Value - 15/10

Overall Score (not an average) - 3/10


Reviewer's Score: 3/10 | Originally Posted: 03/17/08

Game Release: Sonic 3D Blast (US, 12/31/96)


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