Review by Hollow of Fear
"A mixed bag however it doesn't mean mediocre"
It's Sonic again, this time wearing a different engine. Sonic 3D Blast's objective is to collect Flickies (along with the traditional rings for Sonic's sake) and throw'em inside dimensional rings. Defeat bosses as well.
The visuals are almost perfect. It seems that the graphics have two issues, though: I've tested this game coupled to a 32X unit and for some odd reason the colouring there is much better and the game itself becomes better represented. The same is true for PC emulation of the S3D rom vs. the visuals on the Genesis itself. I'm not saying the graphics on the stock Genesis console are bad but they appear to be a bit more dull. The other issue is the cartridge format. I'm sure the programmers wanted to make its visuals an almost xerox of the Saturn version but even 32 Meg couldn't do it.
I believe the Travellers' Tales logo on the beginning uses Shadow/Hilite effects to force the Genesis display more colors on screen. If that's true, it's not that surprising it looks like PSX graphics :) Really, that logo is one of the best graphics ever displayed by a Genesis.
I was disappointed due to the lack of innovations for the sound engine. The bells, whistles and 'boings' are pratically the same of previous Sonics although the graphics quality was much improved. However, the music themes have variations and some are annoying while others (like the bosses' themes) are cool.
Despite the general lack of loopings and warp tunnels throughout the game the scrolling is fast and I was tempted to catch items, flickies and sway enemies within a few moves just to test skills. 2D Sonic games are tempting for these challenges as well but for the gameplay in 3D the players must be a lot more skilled. The issues within S3D's gameplay are without a doubt related to its lackluster of loopings and warp tunnels and how the game engine (stupidly) prevents the gamer from accessing some passageways.
Once the gamer makes a effort to learn the basics of S3D's controls it's hard to complain about them even though the isometry is a contributor for detracting the relative easeness of the commands (they're only D-pad and two buttons). If you're a Sonic fan like me you'll have some frustation during some time, but once the penny drops you'll appreciate S3D's new possibilities :)
This is overall a very good game title. The cartridge format means that some of the programmers' concept was watered down since it ran out of Megs but its gameplay shows it did remain almost intact when compared to the CD/Saturn versions. It's not difficult, on the other side it's delayed and can take many a hours. No saves unfortunately but with the help of an emulator you will be able to back-up your own game states.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 01/28/03, Updated 01/28/03
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