Review by MIDarkAce

"Positive Review: An awesome game for the first Sonic of its kind."

First off, I'd like to say that everyone gives this game a much worse review than it really deserves. If you'd like to read a review by someone who thought positively of the game, then read ahead.

Please don't play this game for the story. Go read someone's guide. It isn't anything special, and if you expected it to be, you probably haven't played a lot of Sonic. I also have yet to see the story appear in the Comics at all. But, I don't have them all, so it's entirely possible. While it has all of the Sonic mood, it still has no story, so please, don't expect anything. If you do, you will be disappointed.

The graphics for this game are amazing. It doesn't seem to know it's a Genesis game. All of the characters, even though they look different, are easily recognizable as your favorite characters from previous Sonic games. The graphics have been improved all around, and while the art style seems to be just a 3D depiction of the same old stuff, this was the beginning move towards a new art style that would show up in future 3D Sonic games.

Say goodbye to Pocky, Ricky, and the others, this game's all about the Flickies. While this is no surprise, considering it's stationed on Flicky island, the fact that there are no new characters introduced may be one. Even the older ones that are still here (Tails, Knuckles), serve almost no purpose. They're only there to take you to special stages. There's also only one playable character, and that is, of course, Sonic. But it doesn't impact the game much, any other characters trying to follow you would only get in the way.

The controls take some getting used to, but you will get used to them. There's a difference between the jump key and the key to do any ball rolling. You'll have to press the ball-roll key to do the spin charge or roll into Sonic's famous stance. Most people can pick it up easily, and come on, 2 buttons isn't a big deal. The problem is when it comes to moving. Trying to use an 8 directional pad in a 3D game was never a great idea, and this particular game made it harder than normal. This will take you the longest to get used to, but when you do, you'll find it isn't so bad. Inertia plays a bigger role than in previous Sonic games, but you'll find it's a pretty easy concept to grasp. If you manage to find a 3rd party controller with an analog-style movement unit, though it will still only translate in 8 directions, you'll find you have an easier time with the movement. The controls aren't near as bad as they're frequently made out to be, and you should give them a try.

Sound and music section is exactly what you'd expect. Familiar sound effects and new music scores. The music for Sonic has always been awesome, and this continues the legacy of Sonic music. I've got the game on pause and I haven't gotten to the credits yet, but I'm pretty sure Dreams Come True still did the music to this game. They're the ones who are responsible for all of the original Sonic music that you love. If you were never a fan of Sonic music, then you're out of luck, but if you find yourself humming the tunes to your favorite levels, then you've got a ton to look forward to.

The gameplay is what takes the biggest change from the standard Sonic theme. It's the first of its kind in the Sonic world, and as such, isn't going to be perfect. There is no focus on speed in this game, and even the running shoes don't add a huge boost to your speed. It's far more exploratory. You'll spend most of your time searching for enemies to kill so you can take the Flicky it turns into. After you find all 5 Flickies in the area, you can go exchange them for passage to the next area. If you get hit, you lose your Flickies, and you have to gather them up before they get too far off. Just hope you don't lose track of them or you've got quite a task on your hands. You'll also give coins to either Tails or Knuckles in the hope you can donate a total of 50 to either deity so they can teleport you to the special stages. The special stages are mostly like Sonic 2's stages, except it's flat instead of being a half-pipe. The Emeralds you collect will do nothing for you except allow you passage to the final level and boss. Which brings me to the other aspect of Sonic 3D Blast's gameplay: the bosses. The Bosses retain much of what defined the bosses in previous Sonic games. Of course the main difference is the fact that you're in 3D movement, but other differences are that bosses each reside in their own Act, the 3rd in each level, and that coin resources are highly limited. Amazingly, the bosses play almost exactly like the original Sonic games, even with the added 3D. While the goal of each stage is always the same, the different levels change in massive ways. If you find a particular obstacle that always seems to give you a problem and keeps popping up, don't worry, chances are you've only got 2 Acts worth of it to put up with.

Trying to rate the difficulty of this game isn't easy. When I was younger, this looked like the hardest game in the world to me, constantly losing track of my flickies and spending several precious minutes trying to find them. Beating it seemed impossible. But coming back to it, I can't believe I ever had a problem with it. I've died a couple times, particularly on Level 3's boss, but it seems I've always got tons to waste. You also get good at the game really quickly, because as soon as you understand the controls, you take an entire level up in skill. I guess this is one game you'll have to decide for yourself how hard it is.

If you're a Sonic fan, then don't even consider going by without playing it. If you're just a casual Sonic player, then please, give it a chance. This game obviously isn't for everyone, and even if you don't like the levels, you'll probably love the bosses. This game is what a lot of later versions based their 3D-ness off of, but they aren't the same. It's definitely the time you'd put into it, at least as much as any video game can be. I gave this game an 8 because it holds so much of the original Sonic feel, with a change in game play. In the end, you'll have to make your own decision, but if you read this to see if it was worth playing or not, I hope I've influenced you in a positive direction.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 01/18/05

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