Saturday, 20 November 2010

Sonic Colours on Wii. Yay or nay?

I have been surprised by the Wii lately, games I actually want to play onit?!???  Goldeneye 007, Kirby's Epic Yarn, and Sonic colours have shown up.  I have said it once and I will say it again, I love Sonic the Hedgehog, I just hope this game doesn't break my heart like all Sonic games since Sonic Adventure series on Dreamcast...

So much potential as we have seen in his original games on the Megadrive.  So much squandered time and time again.  It seems that since the Megadrive he has never been able to keep the momentum up on home consoles.  I thought the Sonic Adventures were pretty good, but from then on, the only Sonic game worth playing have been the ones on GBA and the awesome Sonic Rush (and Rush Adventure) on the DS.
Tails, looking as cute as ever, and slightly better too!
The recent recent home console Sonic games, from before  the PS3 'reboot'  have generally been flops.  Even the code named 'Sonic Wildfire' which ended up being the awful Sonic and the Secret Rings, looked great and was an interesting concept was too heavily flawed to be fun.  Sonic and the Black Knight, eargh! Sonic with a sword?! Not even worth trying for me.  The sometimes brilliant and oftentimes craptacular Sonic Unleashed had potential, but spent too much time as a lame God of War clone instead of letting us do what Sonic does best.
Incedibly imagintive level design on this food based level!

Lets go into some history of making games here....   Sonic Unleashed was programmed by the same team that did the Rush series on DS.  It shows too.  The Sonic levels were fast, looked good and full of good level design ideas, would go from running into the screen to a side scroller, seamlessly and most of all fast!  Interestingly, in my neck fo the woods, the levels with the Sonic gameplay were predominantly used as footage for the advertising.  Unfortunately, the ads were quite deceptive, as once spent most of the game as Sonic's night time ego, the were-hog, which was slow, had bad platforming elements and spent the whole time beating up similar looking bad guys ala God of War. Lame for a Sonic games, especially since the ads seemed to feature all running awesome gameplay. 

After playing S.U for a bit, I thought to myself "If they just took the Sonic levels from this game and dropped the Were-hog so the whole game was that, they would create a winner of a game!"

I think that is what they have done with Colours.  When I first saw the intro movies, I groaned, the little colour things that are the gimmick of the game look lame.  Luckily after playing it, I have since discovered the game is pretty damn fine!
Mr. Sonc T Hedghog.  Suspicious as ever I see.  Maybe Eggman should take out a restraining order.

First thing that I found interesting is a dropping of Sonic's voice actor, they have someone new doing it and it sounds good I think.  the VA from before did a pretty good job in my opinion, but was occasionally annoying, Tails is done well.  I can't comment on Tails VA much as since Sonic Adventure, I have listened to the voices in Japanese due to the general awfulness of Tails specifically.  Although I liked him in the Sonic movie cartoon (with Metal Sonic), that was a cute voice.  I read a review that said all the voices were new actors, and I was sad if they were all new, as the guy who has been doing the voice for Eggman recently is brilliant at it!  So fitting, I love it!  Luckily Eggman is still the same.

Next thing I found interesting was a change in script style.  This one is actually pretty funny, as I discovered in the first two scenes.  One part was where Sonic and Tails were talking about stopping Eggman, and Sonic says words along the lines of 'Stopping Eggman is how we spend our spare time.'  There was another funny bit where the two main Robots are cleaning up the first boss, which is well done too.  Existential references in a Sonic game?!?  Who woulda thunk it??
Sonic using the block Wisp.  So much flashy!

Next up, graphics. OMG! If I may use such a Gen Y phrase.  The levels are so beautiful to look at.  The character models are pretty spanking as well, although hard to do sometimes, I have found myself stopping mid-level, just to admire the view of what is going on in the back ground.  I have only opened up 3 levels as well so far, I can't wait to see the others.  One level has sonic running through space on some sort of laser road thing, and the back grounds look so incredible I kept dying due to sightseeing too much, the same level has a dance style music theme to it, with lights and techno music, as it's niceto see some massive speakers in the background as part of the eye candy..  It was fluro lights and stars and stuff all over the place!

Homage.  This  Sonic has some nice homage to it, much like Sonic 4, I was particularly impressed with ye olde Moto Bug getting an upgrade and he has turned into a bit of a speedster too.  The wasp bug thing is there, as well as the irritating bomb dropping guy that likes to hang on walls from Chemical plant zone.  They all look great as well.
This loks like a level from Sonic Unleashed.  I do like the hexagon forcefield in the background!

Atmosphere.  The story is that Eggman has created an incredible theme park (Eggmanland?) to make up for his past transgressions, and this involves chaining about 6 or 7 planets together for each section of the park.  Its cool, as you can see in the centre (and first level) there is a small sun trapped in it.  Plus the music is appropriate and catchy, and to top it off, Eggman makes announcements over the P.A (much like joker from Batman) about people leaving their lights on in their cars for example.  A really funny one that popped up was along the lines of 'Attention patrons, the toilets are currently out of order, so you will have to hold on for the next 20,000 light years.'  HA HA HA! Lots of laughs....  Cool and adds to the theme park atmosphere nicely.

What a massive hamburger!

The Gameplay.  Its all the good bits of S.U without the crap.  Again the game flows seamlessly from 2D to 3D style gameplay and mostly it is pretty fun.  There are a couple of tricky bits to get around, but some practise will get you through.  Although how tricky the later levels get I cannot really say as yet.  All the levels flow fairly well and best of all the irritatingly ugly Wisp aliens add to the gameplay enough to make it interesting, but the aren't rubbishy lame skills for Sonic. they complement the gameplay really well.  My only real niggle would have to be that sometime platforming jumping can be hard due to his excessive momentum, if this was fixed, it would be so fine.  Oh and there is a half-assed two player mode, which I haven't really bothered with ye, but it does allow the opportunity to use a Mii in there which is kind of funny when you are using a Kim-jong-il one!
Sonic using the drill colour power to dig through the cake in the food level.

From the previous Wii Sonic games, you can kind of see where the team have taken good points from each one, disposed of the rubbish bits and jammed the goodies all together to form Sonic Colours.  Even though it is stuck on the Wii, it is a good game.  I would love to see a high def version for PS3, but that would mean sacrificing development money for different version, so I feel that the current arrangement is fine.    These elements all add up to provide a rewarding playing experience that is pretty to look at, pleasant to listen to and generally an enjoyable game all over.  As long as Sonic games keep up this level of quality, Sonic should be able to climb back into the ring and take on Mario again...
Thanks to Gamespot for the screenshots.


Oh and I think next year will be Sonic's 20th anniversary if my memory serves me correctly!

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