Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1 Review

Posted: January 12, 2015 in Game reviews
Tags: , ,

Greetings mortals, I am DracoJames102 and I am here to give you a review.

Sonic 4 Episode 1 Title Card

When Sonic 4 was released in 2010 for Xbox Live and PSN, I was pretty eager to play it being the Sonic fan that I am. Back when I first beat it, I thought it was pretty good. But over the years, I’ve played the classic series more and more and my opinions on this game have really changed. Are they good or are they bad? Let’s find out how this sequel stacks up to the classics.

S4,EP1_boxart

Story

Doctor Eggman is up to no good and Sonic needs to stop him. What else is new?

Gameplay

Sonic 4 follows the same formula as the classic games. You can use the x, circle or square buttons to jump, crouch down and rapidly tap any of those buttons to use the spin dash and use the D-Pad or Analog Stick to move about. The HUD contains the timer, life count and ring count. This time however when Sonic is in the air, you can press the x, square or circle buttons to use the homing attack that Sonic uses in the 3D games. With it, Sonic can launch himself towards an enemy when Sonic is close enough to it.

Splash_HIll_Zone

The goal of the game is still the same. Reach the goal ring at the end of the stage. There are only four zones in the entire game excluding the final level which is pretty much a boss rush. Each zone’s themes are pretty much copy and paste jobs from Sonic 1 and 2 with updated graphics. Splash Hill is just Green Hill Zone, Casino Street Zone is just Casino Night Zone (though I do enjoy Act 2’s card gimmicks), Lost Labyrinth Zone is Labyrinth Zone (only not as tedious) and Mad Gear Zone is Metropolis Zone. It doesn’t help that each stage is littered with springs and speed boosters even in places where they’re not necessary. This game does give you the option to continue on to the next stage or it takes you to a map menu where you can choose to play any stage in any order you desire.

Map--article_image

The special stages are exactly the same as Sonic 1 too, though there is one difference. You can actually control the stage’s rotation itself with the D-Pad. The circles that take you out of the special stage have their ‘goal’ marks replaced with exclamation points so that’s at least an improvement over the old special stages. The bumpers however are frustratingly annoying. They send you too far and some of them are placed near the goal circles so there’s a high chance of you being taken out of the special stage. You also have a time limit to get to the Chaos Emerald at the end of the stage. If you don’t get there in time, it’s over. However one great thing about these special stages is that you can pause and restart the special stage over again if you’re running low on time or about to hit a goal pad making this one of the easiest special stages in Sonic history. If you collect all the Chaos Emeralds, you can transform into Super Sonic after collecting fifty rings and pressing the triangle button. Collecting all of the emeralds also unlocks a cliffhanger ending leading to Episode 2.

320px-SpecialStagewidescreen

The boss fights are completely unoriginal and standard. After completing Act 3 of each zone, you’re taken to a boss act where you fight Doctor Eggman, who uses the exact same strategies that he used in the previous games. The only differences however is that when he is close to losing, he tries out different strategies which even then are easy to read and defeat.

sonic csboss_thumb[1]

Graphics

For a 2D game released in 2010, the aesthetics are…passable. The character models are nicely structured but the 2D background and environments are nice but can look weird at times such as the plastic grass in Splash Hill Zone.

Music

The soundtrack is incredibly lackluster compared to the classics. Most of the tracks are short and extremely repetitive. I get that it’s trying to be like the classics in terms of tune, but they could have made better tracks. I do enjoy Lost Labyrinth Act 2 and Mad Gear Act 1’s themes so it’s not all bad.

Control

Sonic does control rather nicely, but compared to the classic games it isn’t as great. It is nice to pick up some speed with the homing attack air dash but Sonic stops on a dime even when he’s running at his top speed. The physics aren’t great either. Rolling into a ball down slopes doesn’t feel nearly as great as before and most of the time, Sonic can run up the steepest cliffs with very little speed. Sonic even uncurls after leaping off from a slope leaving him susceptible to incoming enemies and hazards in the air. Again the controls are ok but it still doesn’t match up to the good quality standards.

Final thoughts

While I did have fun playing this for the review, Sonic 4 Episode 1, especially as a follow-up to the classic series, is extremely lackluster. There’s very little originality, the music leaves a lot to be desired and it doesn’t have what made the classics so fun to play over and over again. I’ll give my final thoughts on Sonic 4 as a whole when I review Episode 2, but for now here’s my final score for this episode.

Final rating: 5/10

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