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Sonic Rush June 23, 2007

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Reviews, Video Games.
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Back in the day, Sonic the Hedgehog was the upstart who dared rival Nintendo’s princess-saving portly plumber. He was a fresh character on a different kind of platformer, one where veteran gamers learned that speed mattered above all else, stages had multiple paths to the finish line, and clinging to a single ring was the key to survival. If one were to look at the sales figures, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to find sales of the Sega Genesis (that’s the MegaDrive to folks in the Asia-Pacific) driven largely by Sega’s most promising character.

Unfortunately, in the same manner that Sonic the Hedgehog was meant to be the fastest thing alive, the video game franchised he spawned seemingly jumped the shark just as quickly. Poor storylines, redundant characters, and ill-designed gamplay cast the series into a funk from which even its newer installments have never quite emerged. Yet what fans of the series know all too well is that the best Sonic game in years is readily available for gamers on the go in the form of Sonic Rush for the Nintendo DS.

It’s an old game to be sure (came out in 2005), but is hands-down a must-own title for the handheld. Sonic Rush gets just about everything right that made the original game stand out: it’s a no-frills, cheap thrills, pick-up-and-play, get-to-the-goal-as-fast-as-possible experience that is satisfying beyond words. More, with the handheld’s dual screens, there’s twice as much ground through which to rocket Sonic, a disorienting experience at first that quickly becomes nothing short of cool. Also, the story that introduces an alternative playable character in Blaze the Cat is mercifully passable (but then again, this is Sonic; the bar has been set rather low).

Short of reinventing the wheel, Sonic Rush shows that the least that needs to be done to recapture the glory of a storied franchise is to bring it back to basics . A sequel is already in the works, which looks promising despite the fact that it boasts only more of the same. While fans remain hopeful that Sega will come up with new ideas to re-jigger the Sonic franchise, for now they can find solace by popping Sonic Rush into a DS and have Sonic run, spin and jump as in the august days of old.

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1. Hey! Where’d My Vacation Go? « BRAIN DRAIN - August 27, 2007

[…] Wii Sports (of course), Super Paper Mario, Sonic Rush and over 2,000 online games of Tetris DS (honest!). In addition, there were maybe one or two more […]


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