Review by TheRetroPlayer
I would never though that the last game I bought for my genesis back in 1998 would receive such negative reception. I honestly thought that this a sonic game on par with the last 4 in the series, and I spend most of the mid-1998 trying to complete the game, and after I did, I replayed it over and over again. I had so many good memories from those days. I'm writing this review because I am sick and tired of this game being bashed. Not that I'm trying hard to find such negativity in the first place. I never understood why it gotten so much negativity, but I think I know why. Enough about that now.
Goodness. For a genesis game, this takes all. The graphics do a good job at the pseudo 3d aspect of the game. I never knew the genesis was capable of graphics like this at the time, but at the same time it stays true to the sonic feel of the series. Normally when sonic games like this get make overs outside of 2D consoles, the feel goes away making it some sort of neo-experience. Attempting 3D effects on a 2D console, but keeping true to what sonic really is works out very well. The levels like rusty ruin are a good example of level design. Its new, but it has that sonic like feel. Sonic and the badniks have pretty decent animations, and the 3D aspect makes them seem pretty canned, not that its a bad thing really. This is maybe the only Genesis game with a FMV video at the beginning, and its not even that grainy comparing to the earlier 3d consoles, and I have no idea how they were able to even program it on aging hardware like this. I forgot to mention how nice knuckles and tails looks in this game, especially tails and his new golden look.
The soundtrack for this game is very moody. The first stage starts out as optimistic to the last stage of act 2 before the robotnik fight to unsure but determent before the last fights in the game. Each stage sets its own mood for the music, and they all fit well. All the sound effects had been recycled from all sonic games, and even the stage complete theme, so there is nothing new in this department, and they sound just as good as ever, so no need to fix what is not broken. I can't really compare the Sega Saturn soundtrack so much because there are some comparable, and nostalgic sounding themes on there as well, but this version is the best overall. The best part about it is that it has a sound test to listen to the music of this game. I think this game has the best soundtrack out of all the 16-bit sonic games. Please use earphones or a good sound system to appreciate it.
The isometric view seems to easily throw off people, and because of that, everyone complains about bad controls. The controls are not even bad, except for the fact that making precise lands can be a bit difficult at first, and if you can easily adjust to the new point of view, you can easily get around this after some practice which I personally had hours of back 16 years ago of the time of this writing. The gravity in this game has been tone down to conform to the game's engine it seems so sonic can't jump high, but in this game, there is no need for that in the first place. The funny thing is that you need flickies to help you reach certain icons that help you get an extra life after jumping on a spring due to the high gravity in this game. Overall, the controls seem responsive enough, thought a bit sensitive, but they get the job done, as long as you know how to work with the isometric view, and then controls will not be a problem if you give it a chance.
Its pretty typical for a sonic game. Almost the same formula as the last games except you only have sonic around outside of cameo appearances with tails and Knuckles as gateways to the chaos emeralds. The storyline is basic and it gets to job done so nothing more in summary. Anyway, Sonic went to flickies Island to visit his Flicky friends, but when he got there, he found them all have changed into robots. After destroying them, he finds out that they flickies were trapped in there by Robotnik, and he he went off to find the rest of them enslaved by Robotnik through the entire Island leading all the way to his Hideout. The Chaos Emeralds in this game might not be useful in terms of gameplay, but you will want to collect them, trust me, you will not like what you will get if you don't. Speaking of Emeralds, the special stages are pretty damn easy in this game comparing to the special stages in the other games, so easy that every time I play the stages, I completed them all without restarting once unless I did something careless, but too bad its not easy in the Saturn version though unless pause exploit the special stages all the way.
I was surprised when people were complaining about collecting flickies as being the main reason why they hated the game or the controls. Really? I guess this stems from people who constantly run into everything since they can't get used to the controls, and have to recollect them again and again. If this game had no flickies to collect, it would have been a mostly pointless game to be honest. Like the gravity, sonic's speed had to be toned down to conform to this 3D engine. Honestly, it doesn't bother me, and I would hate to see him zip around all over the place in boxed environments that are in each level through the game, I would imagine people would think he is too fast for this game as there are a few people out there that think he is too slow already! Its not like Sonic Labyrinth where he was walking as slow as a zombie due to a stupid gimmick over stolen shoes. He might not be really running, but at least he is moving quickly enough to get the job done.
Instead of trying to just rush to the end of each act, you have to find flickies that are trapped in robots, and free them. The ones you grab follow you from behind until you put them into a ring that warps them to safely, but if you get hit by something, they will scatter all over the place like stray dogs, so you have to be careful. After you collect all the flickies in that said area, and bring them to the ring, the ring will disappear, and you can warp to another part of the level, all the way until you reach a goal at the end with a X mark. It honestly not even hard, but I guess it is for everyone else. Well that is what happens when you try to rush though these levels like a 2D sonic game, heh. Boss fights are rather interesting, but all of them are easy, even the last boss. When you damage Robonik's egg pod, you even see the cracks on the window which is amusing.
There. This is my point. If you are spoiled by speed in sonic games or for some odd reason don't like collecting flickies, then I would not bother with this game, and complain about it afterwards. Why waste time doing so? I am still impressed with this game, and how it feels true to what sonic is, well to me at least. If you're open to new experiences in the sonic series like this, then trying out this game will not be a bad idea.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 10/18/10, Updated 01/08/15
Game Release: Sonic 3D Blast (US, 11/09/96)
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