Review by GavLuvsGA

"It's okay, but not up to the usual standard"


I am a big Sonic fan, and I remember being excited when one day so many years ago, I somehow got my hands on a postcard which featured a large picture of Sonic and the words "SONIC 3D".

It was sometime since the release of Sonic & Knuckles and I was overjoyed at the thought of a new Sonic game and I nagged my parents to get me this game for Christmas.

Tranlating Sonic into 3D seemed like a cool idea, but could it really live up to the usual standards of the series.

Gameplay - 6/10

The gameplay is fair, but it's a far cry from the original style, with Sonic zooming through the levels at breathtaking speeds. You will not be doing that a lot as you search around for robots to destroy in order to free Flickies - mysterious birds that you need to beat the levels. There is a further challenge that your Flickies will scatter when you take a hit, forcing you to chase them around the place to collect them again. Annoyingly, sometimes they'll be knocked off if you simply go close to a trap and it manages to hit one of your Flickies.

The 3D environments are fun, and often have some interesting effects (the device in Rusty Ruin Zone that makes Sonic pirouette across the landscape until he takes a hit or jumps, so he can destroy objects that are in the way), but can be annoying at times, particularly when you realise that the place is full of invisible barriers that stop you cutting corners by jumping over the scenery. The standard Genesis control pad is also far from useful for dealing with 3D games, with its limitations (ideally you should use a joystick, like in the next-generation consoles).

The first few levels seem very slow-moving, but things do get more interesting after a while. The Chaos Emeralds are back, and to access them you must find Tails and Knuckles, who will transport you to the stages - Tails, apparently having been promoted to Knuckles' lofty position of "Guardian of the Chaos Emeralds" or something.

This is the thing that bothers me considerably. This seems like a rather desperate attempt to get both these characters into the game (wouldn't it have been simpler to make them playable characters and use a different method of accessing the special stages?) Tails and Knuckles both vanish after the fifth level and are never seen again.

The special stages themselves aren't particularly hard, and have you running a gauntlet of rings and traps to get the emerald, much like in Sonic 2 - only here, you can actually die in the special stages. Once you get all the chaos emeralds (and no, there is no Super Sonic here), beating these stages will get you extra lives. The only problem is - this game has a maximum capacity of just nine lives, and once you get the hang of the game, you're going to be going around with the full nine lives most of the time, making this "bonus" rather redundant. There is a secret level accessed by getting all the emeralds, but it's all too easy to beat.

Robotnik is back, too - surprise, surprise, and some of his attacks are actually quite interesting, but some also seem quite dull and ordinary. After a while, he seems to repeat his attacks a lot. On three separate bosses, he persisists in sending fiery snakes after Sonic, which chase him across the screen. He also develops a strange fondness for turning the boss area into what looks like his own personal game of Pong.

Story - 6/10

The series has moved on considerably from the Death Egg saga, but it's still virtually the same - Dr. Robotnik wants to conquer the world, only here the Flickies are bought into the story, as Robotnik believes they can help him find the Chaos Emeralds (again). Tails and Knuckles develop mysterious powers to warp Sonic to the Special Stages, but their presence in the story seems a little weird (honestly, you'd think they'd do a little more to help Sonic).

Sounds - 9/10

All the music is top notch, and is one of the saving graces of this game. I love the cheerful music of the Spring Stadium Zone, the heartwarming music heard in Diamond Dust Zone, which brings up a mental image of sitting in front of a fireplace in an alpine chalet. They also recycled the cool "1 up" music from Sonic & Knuckles.

On the downside, a lot of the sound effects are obviously recycled from old games. In Gene Gadget Zone there are a number of moving platforms, which actually make sounds like the ghosts from Sandopolis Zone, which is a little strange.

Graphics - 9/10

The graphics are pretty good actually, with cool looking "cinemas" at the start. Sonic and Dr. Robotnik aren't ruined in any way in the transition to 3D.

Play Time/Replay Value - 6/10

You may want to play this a few times, and it's fun to look for hidden secrets, but you may also tire of this game very fast.

Final Verdict - 7/10

It's probably worth buying, especially if you love Sonic games and are a collector. It's not as good as most of its predeccessors, but it's certainly better than the Game Gear equivalent of this game - Sonic Labyrinth.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 06/01/05

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