Review by discoinferno84

"Oh no, I've got to keep on moving..."

If there's one thing worth praising about Dr. Robotnik, it's his consistency. After getting thrashed by Sonic and his buddies for the umpteenth time, the mad scientist has decided to steal the Chaos Emeralds for his weapon of mass destruction…again. Despite his genius with mechanics and robotic, this evil mastermind just can't take a hint. Though he manages to gather all the Chaos Emeralds without attracting Sonic's attention, his efforts are wasted when his latest experiment literally blows up in his face. Due to the explosion, the Emeralds are spread out across the local island. But as Sonic and Tails race to reclaim the missing trinkets, Dr. Robotnik meets with Knuckles, the guardian of the island, and convinces him that our two heroes are really just thieves trying to plunder his homeland. As Knuckles races off to kick Sonic's ass, another new foe remains unseen in the background. With a four-way race to get the Chaos Emeralds back, it's anyone's guess as to who will win in the end.

Despite the addition of a few new plot elements, little of the basics of Sonic the Hedgehog: Triple Trouble differs from its predecessors. You've still got to sprint through a handful of levels by jumping among platforms, zooming through tubes, launching from metal springs, and using Sonic's incredible speed to navigate the twists and turns laden throughout. Dr. Robotnik's legion of baddies are back in force, focing yo contend with swarms of mechanized bees, miniature drones arms with laser cannons, and plenty of other troublesome foes. Each stage is brimming with its own hazards, bet it bottomless pits, pools of tar, exploding platforms, and snowy pitfalls. In order to save himself from getting killed in one hit, Sonic must collect the rings scattered through the level; should he get hit by enemy fire, he'll lose his rings and leave himself vulnerable to attack. But if you manage to make it through the levels unscathed, you'll eventually take on Robotnik and win the day yet again.

If you're thinking that this game sounds like every other 2D Sonic game ever conceived, I can't say that I blame you. However, you can take solace in the fact that, unlike its other Game Gear brethren, Triple Trouble is modeled more in the style of its console predecessors. While the other handheld games are incredibly short and offer simplified versions of the console versions, this game strives to do better. Sonic is fully equipped with his moves from his Genesis Sonic the Hedgehog 2 counterpart, allowing him to charge up his speed and let loose in a quick rush. The levels are massive labyrinths of hidden passageways, breakable walls, extensive tube systems, looping paths, and everything else you love so much about the console games. Even the bosses are more original; instead of taking on Robonik multiple times, you'll get to face off against his giant floating turtle, mechanized centipede, a out of control locomotive, and plenty of other interesting (if not overly easy) bosses. Even Knuckles gets in on the action by setting flaming deathtraps for you at the end of each area. Should you figure out how to access the special levels to obtain the Chaos Emeralds, you'll also be treated to a new character named Nack who will provide even tougher platforming challenges.

The game makes an effort to stand out as well. Unlike the simplistic styling and basic color palletes of the previous handheld Sonic titles, Triple Trouble uses the Game Gear's capabilities to their full extent to offer a truly impressive presentation. You'll get to wander through lush forests filled with green bushes and leafy canopies, slog through snowy hills and icy wastelands, and navigate through factory walkways. Sonic and company are rendered fairly well, offering visions of our hero's spiky blue fur, Knuckles' sleek red pelt, and Dr. Robotnik's unusually round body and shiny metal contraptions. Despite being a new character, Nack comes with a style all his own, including a fanged grin, armored gloves, and a Stetson hat. Aside from the remarkably detailed presentation, the remixed tunes from the console games ought to make the game all the more appealing.

After doing so many half-assed jobs with the Sonic series on the Game Gear, Sega finally got it right. Not only does the game feature the tried and true Sonic gameplay in all its glory, but it actually comes off as the ideal handheld title for the system. All the characters are present and accounted for, including a new hidden character that will give you a run for your money. The massive levels will ensure that you spend plenty of time exploring every nook and cranny for rings and Chaos Emeralds. The sheer amount platforming, enemy bashing, and fast-paced traveling make the game far more fun than its predecessors on the Game Gear. Indeed, a handheld Sonic game can't get much better than this.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 01/16/07, Updated 01/17/07

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