Review by ChaosInvoker

"The New Retro"

Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Genesis was first released back in 1991 and was a hit series. They made 2 official sequels during that era. A few years later after releasing a few other Sonic titles unrelated to the original 3, they wanted to go 3D. So they released their Sega Dreamcast which was way ahead of its time. After the Dreamcast failed they made countless Sonic games as a third party company, most were disappointing to their audience (myself included), although they did make a few gems from time to time. After going astray for such a long period, Sega finally listened to it's fans and went back to their roots to make a new sequel to the series that made Sonic a household name, Sonic 4 Episode 1.

Story: N/A

I won't rate this section because it's a Sonic game! Mario games are guilty of the same thing, the story never changes. Dr. Robotnick/Eggman is trying to take over Mobius, the world Sonic comes from. It's your job as Sonic to thwart his evil plan, alright time to move to my next section! >_>

Gameplay: 8

The game does play similar to the old games, but they've added plenty of twists along the way. If your familiar with the classic 3 titles then you'll find yourself running down memory lane as many things including level design, enemies, special stages, bosses and much more have made it into this game. People complain that Sega isn't being original by recycling old concepts, but I'm glad to see an updated style to so many classic memories. The psychics feel a little off, but this was expected as it's an intentional mix of retro and recent.

In addition to the nostalgic style used, Sega wanted to give you a few thrills in this title, like being chased a few times by large inanimate objects. You'll also notice that enemies always seem to be placed too well. And what I mean by “enemies always seem to be placed too well”, I'm talking about how they always seem to be in that one place you didn't expect, almost as if they measured the distance in order to place an enemy in the one spot that will always hit you. This is both a complaint and a congrats to Sega for making this game thrilling. If the difficulty was turned down a tad, this game could have been more enjoyable, however it isn't a huge issue either.

Graphics: 10

No problems here. The enemies, bosses, Sonic and the stages themselves are visually appealing. Even the animations and environments add to this games excitement. For example, in one of the "thrill" sequences, the room goes dark with red warning lights flashing, which makes the situation seem more dire.

Music/Sound: 10

The sounds are taken straight from the original Sonic games (Sega Genesis) and from Sonic Adventure 2 Battle (Sega Dreamcast), which work perfectly with this retro styled game.

The music is a little disappointing, I was hoping for some remix material or at least something a little more epic. I still give this section a 10 because the music is good and has a strong retro feel, while keeping enough of a new feel to it too.

Special Stages: 7

This part was a little disappointing to me. Aside from the 7th Emerald, the stages aren't that hard and I like the designs of these stages. I have two problems with them. The first is gaining access to an unattained emerald. It's a hassle to need 50 rings at the end of the stage just to enter the challenge, when most stages have a tough obstacle right before the finish line. There could have been two simple solutions to this problem, have it like Sonic 2 where you can enter a special stage at a check point or have the stage optional in the main menu after you've tried it and failed instead of having to complete the level over again if you don't succeed. The other problem I have here is the 7th Chaos Emerald. It has too many bumpers and red fail blocks in it. But the design for Chaos Emeralds 1-6 is challenging and enjoyable.

Zones: 8

I did like the level design for most of the stages. It was a great refreshment of my youth with a little flare added too. There are a few challenges within the levels, especially the thrill sections, which are a little too extreme sometimes. Not that I don't like a challenge, but I also stop enjoying something after dying 6 times before I can move past a certain point. Also I'm a little disappointed in the number of levels. Although we have 3 stages per zone, we only have 4 zones. I understand that this is only the first Episode, all the same it doesn't feel complete with only 4 zones, if they had 5 I'd feel a lot better! Heck I'd be happy to have 2 stages and a boss fight with 5 zones even though the total levels would be less by doing so, at least we get another boss and another environment.

Bosses: 6

I like the more than half of bosses as they are great rehashes of great classics. I'll keep this short so I don't spoil it, 2 of the bosses were a little too difficult in my opinion (the third and final bosses).

Final Conclusion: 8

This rating isn't an average. I should rate this part a 7, but I like the new direction Sega is going, the retro feel was a nice addition and it was a good effort, so I'm keeping all of that in consideration here.

Despite all the things that could have made this game better, I think they did a great job giving this new-school game a nice retro feel while at the same time keeping it fresh. Difficulty is probably this game's biggest problem, although it's not as bad as I make it sound in this review. Sega finally went in the right direction, I can only hope after they finish making episodes for this series that they consider making other new games with a 2-D perspective.

If you're a Sonic fan, give this game a go. If you're a naysayer that's always wanted the true 2D Sonic to return, this is your shot. And for everyone else, base it off of the old series, cause if you liked those you'll like this, unless you're a purest!


+ Boss rush final stage
+ Nostalgic
+ Thrilling
+ Sound Effects
+ Music
+ Level Design
+ Visually appealing


- Difficulty
- Not Enough Zones
- Final Boss is too hard
- No co-op
- 7th Chaos Emerald is too hard

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 10/13/10

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