Review by LordAtomic

"Traveller's Tales developed this game, so the score should come as no surprise to you."

Sonic 3D Blast is the first time that Sega farmed a Sonic title to a third-party developer. While this is a good idea on paper, I must ask; WHY TRAVELLER'S TALES?! If this is the first time that you've ever heard of this third-party developer, I'm not surprised. TT has yet to develop a AAA title for any system.

Anyway, this is also the first fully 3D Sonic title. Dr. Robotnik, finally learning that his normal robots cannot defeat Sonic (it only took him 11 games to realize this), captures small birds called ''Flickys'', and turns THEM into robots. Sonic must run through eight large, 3D levels, rescuing Flickys who can open portals to warp Sonic from level to level.

Gameplay - 6.5/10
Sonic runs through 3D levels, each with three acts; the first two being exploration levels, and the third being a boss battle against Robotnik. In the first two acts of each level, Sonic must collect rings (for protection against damage; when Sonic gets hit with no rings, he dies), Chaos Emeralds (for access to the final boss battle against Robotnik), and Flickys (to teleport him cross levels). To gain Chaos Emeralds, Sonic must donate at least 50 rings to his friends, Tails and Knuckles (who are hidden in the first two acts of each level). Then, Sonic is transported to a mini-game where the camera is placed behind Sonic, and he travels across a bridge, collecting rings and avoiding obstacles. If Sonic collects enough rings, the emerald is his.

While the camera is in a psudo-3D, isometric view, it is also zoomed in way to far on Sonic, which GREATLY limits the viewing area of the levels. It also makes it that much easier to crash into a wall or obstacle. If the camera was pulled back a few notches, the game would be much easier to play. Unfortunately, this huge oversight has a major adverse affect on the quality of the graphics, control, and overall fun of this game.

Strangely, Sonic is much slower in this game than he is in his 2D predecessors; his legs don't even blur, he just takes long strides. This, combined with the limited view, keeps Sonic from ever getting that awesome sense of speed that he had in the original Genesis Sonic titles.

Graphics - 7.5/10
The colors are very drab and bland, thanks to the Genesis' limited color palette. Sonic's surroundings are dark and are just a bore to look at. And other than a few half-assed lines running across the ground textures, this game is not very detailed at all.

Like I said, the camera is zoomed in too far, which limits the player's view of the action.

Controls - 4.5/10
Sonic is very slow. He doesn't run nearly as fast as he used to, and he has a long lag time on turning while running, making it all too easy to run into a trap. Not to mention, every time you want to run in a different direction, you have to stop, use the control pad to position yourself in one of eight directions (up, up-right, right, down-right, etc.) and hold the button on the control pad that would make you go in the direction your facing (if you're facing up-left, you press up-left to start running in that direction). Confusing, huh? Simply put, since the Genesis controller does not have an analog stick, 3D games simply aren't meant for it.

One of the greatest strengths for the controls in the 2D Sonic games was the ability to pull off all of Sonics moves with the control pad and A, B, or C button. This is gone. Now, A and C jump, and the B button makes Sonic charge his spin-dash. So now, if you want to spin-dash, you have to stop and go through all of the confusing ''aiming yourself'' trouble that I explained above. NOT WORTH IT!

Audio - 8/10
The music is the same happy, cheery type of MIDIs that you'll find in the other Genesis Sonic games, except they're not nearly as catchy as the tunes in Sonic 1 and 2.

The Sound Effects are recycled from the previous Sonic games. The ''DING!'' as Sonic collects rings, the ''BWOOP!'' as Sonic jumps, the grinding noise as Sonic charges his spin-dash; it's all here.

Replay Value - 3/10
The game just isn't that much fun, so even hardcore Sonic fans will let it sit in their game collection after about a week. I myself only bought this game because I am a hardcore Sonic fan!

Pros
Nice audio
Tolerable graphics

Cons
Hard to control
Flawed gameplay

Bottom Line
I would've liked to see Sega create this game.


Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 12/28/01, Updated 10/06/02


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