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Sonic Rush Adventure Review

Goody day you people, now in recent times I’ve been blogging a lot and I think it’s save to say that I’m addicted. And I’ve also noticed there’s two things I tend blog about a lot and that is reviews and Sonic the Hedgehog.  So in the end I decided to smash the two together and do a review on the sequel to Sonic Rush; Sonic Rush Adventure.

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So before I get into this review let’s get a bit of background information out of the way. Firstly as you can tell, Sonic Rush Adventure is the 2007 sequel to the original Sonic Rush that came out in 2005. It was developed again by Dimps and Sonic Team, also both Sonic and Blaze return as playable characters in a brand new story and this was the first Sonic game to have online racing head-to-head via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Ah Sonic Rush Adventure, is it another good Sonic game? Indeed it is. Somehow Dimps and Sonic Team had found a way to correct many of the issues of the first game and fine tune the gameplay in this title and while it’s not entirely perfect it is definitely a better game overall. Since I reviewed the first Rush game I’m back to review this one, If you haven’t read my last review you can view it here!

This review will be structured a little differently than the last game and will be separated into sections based on gameplay, presentation and replay value.

Gameplay

In Sonic Rush Adventure you venture through seven different worlds with two acts in each one, upon completing each act you’ll go into a boss encounter. At the end of each act/boss encounter you are given a rank based on you time, rings collected and score achieved while going through the level with S ranks being great and I think the lowest is E rank and let me tell you think now, you’ll have the know the levels inside and out and chain together many trick combos in the air to get those S ranks in later levels. Instead of just simply advancing from level to level in the classic streamlined fashion you now have a base of operations, Windmill Village on Southern Island. When you want to go somewhere you check your Sea Chart, plot out your route using the stylus and after choosing your destination the character travels to one of the seven main islands using one of the four ships, a waterbike, a sailboat, a hovercraft and a submarine. Each have their advantages and disadvantages when traversing to new locations, some can only go short distance while others can only travel underwater and each vehicle has different gameplay traits, some more effective than others.

As you all know gameplay is the most important factor of any game and Sonic Rush Adventure continues to keep the gameplay fast and fun. Running through levels with Sonic and Blaze is still as enjoyable as before. When it comes to Sonic he handles just like he did in Sonic Rush with a few changes and while I mainly use Sonic when playing this game I must note that playing as Blaze the Cat is a lot more fun this time round, it feels as if her movements have been refined and it makes for a better experience in my opinion. The boost bar AKA the Boost Gauge from the first game returns and it is still as fun as every blazing around at high speeds smashing through enemies and the environment too. There has also been a slight change to the way in which the trick system works, this time when you chain combos together along with normal tricks charging your boost bar, you’ll also get a set of numbers that represent how much tricks you do and that will add to your boost bar and overall score at the end of the level. I also like how one of Sonic’s trick animations have been stylized after one similar to Sonic Advance 2 which is one of my favourite Sonic games!

The new levels with their different weather and environments in this game provide new forms of fun, whether it be the shiny depths of Coral Caves or the floating palace of Sky Babylon, it’s lovely and wide in range. Seeing Sonic and Blaze zoom through two different screens still doesn’t get boring and the boss battles are pretty cool. The boss battles are pretty decent, though some of the bosses can become really annoying nad tedious and have some issues with hit detection and while there are most of them all just require a god few jumps on the head, there is some strategy needed for the adversaries nearer the end of the game. Another good thing about this game is that getting Chaos Emeralds in this time around is A LOT easier and A LOT more fun then the before. In Rush Adventure, you’re actually having fun when you’re trying to obtain the emeralds in the races against Johnny the Shark, both Sonic and Blaze have emeralds to collect and for the most part it’s fun but also very frustrating when obtaining the last set.

Now the new traveling system from island to island is fairly interesting the first time round, waterskiing is rather fun the first few times, along with the other water vehicles, but after a while it gets a little annoying especially when you have to get to specific locations or discover hidden islands you’ll start to become frustrated with the fact that this part of the game takes away the main part of the gameplay that you paid for which was the 2D platforming where you’re constantly running from left to right. As I said before this game fixes most of the issues from the previous game with most of the pit holes much more reduced in number and the enemies aren’t placed in random locations anymore… However I must mention that speed, as much as you’ll love to use it, it will turn against if you’re not careful and it’ll become your enemy. Sometimes you’ll be moving too damn fast to the point where you’ll continuously keep dying due to the unforgiving level design, especially if you’re a first time player and when the pit holes show up, my god they’re there and it will cause you endless amounts of pain suffering if you’re not careful.

Graphics

The game’s graphics though they don’t differ much from its predecessor though that is a bad thing as the visuals are great and as I played this game I noticed that the game does have a sharper picture than before with a much more vivid colourful palette and is better in texture than original game of 2005. Thanks to the new locations we are treated to some fancy visuals that look nice and lend themselves well to the Nintendo DS’s graphical capabilities. Some of these aspects are minor at best, but are noticeable in many ways. There isn’t that much to mention in this department, I mean if you played the first game then expect more of the same except with new locations full of character, unique traits and various branching pathways all at a consistent frame rate with good animation.

Music

In my opinion the music in Sonic Rush Adventure is nowhere as cool as the original, the first game had style, flair and was totally in your face. The charismatic feel of the original game is long gone with this title and in their place are these new, more vocalized, happy-go-lucky songs that don’t even come close the close sounds of Sonic Rush. This game happens to have a largely forgettable soundtrack filled with songs that I guess suit the nature of Sonic games but it doesn’t feel like they as impressive as they should be. However as much as I am not keen on this soundtrack there is a lot to like, some tunes are pretty good like Sky Babylon, Blizzard Peaks, Windmill Village Mode 5 and the some of water sections and final boss fight have their moments of awesomeness.

Replay Value

Running through levels and completing the main game will take a short few hours, but tackling levels for better rankings, collecting the Chaos emeralds and collecting various materials from all of the different islands will keep players busy for a while. And then taking into consideration the Time Trail Mode, Wireless Versus battles and Wi-Fi battles with anyone in the world and uploading of your fastest times onto the online leaderboard will keep the players busy indeed. However for all of these great game modes, some of it does kind of suck. Having revisit the same levels time and time again when collecting materials can become tiresome very quickly and the water travelling sections from island to island will become tedious after the 100th time. Also if you don’t have a means of getting online or have a buddy to go wireless with then your fun with this game will be severely shortened.

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Final Thoughts

In conclusion Sonic Rush Adventure for me lacked a certain spark that made me love this game the way I loved on the first game, but when I got into the game it would become a Sonic game you need in your life. Sure there are some other issues that have followed from Sonic Rush and this game has given us some new gameplay that is awkward and tedious. Also the story is game is horrible, I didn’t bother talking about it because it was that irrelevant plus I wanted to save you from the nightmare that is Marine the Raccoon. My god Marine the Raccoon is one of the most annoying characters in the Sonic universe, when you play the game you’ll see for yourself. I think she may be worse than Chip from Sonic Unleashed. I just hate her, period. gathering materials can become tiresome. But putting the bad points aside this game improves upon the previous version in many ways with the new gameplay elements, the new traveling system implemented and the extended replay value thanks to the collecting of materials and online Wi-Fi. Sonic and Blaze are still play as and this is the game is proof that Sonic is still kicking in the  department of 2D platforming. It’s hard to rate this game because although it fixes a lot of the issues of Sonic Rush, it presents us with a number of new issues in the gameplay and replay value department. Sonic Rush Adventure in my opinion also lacks the charm and originality of the first game too so in my mind I think of this game as the other half of Sonic Rush 1 with improved gameplay elements. It is still a great game and not to be missed out on

Rating: 8/10

 
 

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Sonic Rush Review

Howdy ladies and gentlemen, today I come to you with another review of a video game nature. This time we are heading back to 2005 for a review of one of my favourite Sonic games, Sonic Rush. Now I think you guys might have established that I am a Sonic the Hedgehog fan by all of the posts I have put up about him since November, but it really is one of my favourite things in the world. Sonic’s games are fun, they’re part of my life and I love to talk about it, and so with that in mind let’s move onto the review of the game.

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Ah Sonic Rush… What a bloody good game, I’ll never forget that happy feeling I had when I played the game for the first time back in 2006. I never owned the game myself until the year 2008 when I got my DS Lite and when I got it, bled that game to death, I played it all the time and while it was hella fun, it was really difficult and very frustrating. When Sonic Rush came out it was the kind of game that fans and most game reviewers wanted and it was noted as a return to form for Sonic games as it was very similar to the old 2D platforming titles on the Sega Megadrive/Genesis. However, while Sonic Rush was a good game there were problems that seemed to completely invisible to some game reviewers… Now before an army of Sonic fans start dishing out the hate on me let me say that I am a Sonic fan, I’ve played many games in the series and I’ve been a fan of the series since the 90s playing on my old Megadrive. I love Sonic games, however there are games in the series that are truly bad and have caused damage to Sonic’s reputation in the world of gaming. Luckily this game wasn’t one of them and it gave Sonic’s life a boost of energy at that point in 2005 after Shadow the Hedgehog had come out.

So let’s talk about the game. Sonic Rush is a 2D platforming game made in 3D, so with the 3D graphics in place there are elements of a 2.5D look at certain points with the perspective will change to add a different look or an extra dimension to the gameplay. This game also features only 2 characters; Sonic the Hedgehog & Blaze the Cat. Both have different abilities and play styles that change the way you move through the levels. While Sonic’s move set is similar to traditional formula, Blaze on the other had is actually quite different. Sonic is made for speed while Blaze is more about technique. The overall Sonic game formula hasn’t changed much, you still have to run from one side of the level to another collecting rings, destroying enemies and advancing through the levels without being taken out by the environments different hazards. However there was one new game mechanic introduced that separated itself from other Sonic games and probably changed/influenced the way all Sonic games were made from that point onward… Boosting. In Sonic Rush you had a boost meter (known as the Tension Gauge) and you could fill it up by either smashing through enemies, collecting boost monitors or performing tricks in the air. Then all you had to do was press the boost button and then BAM you’re blasting off at the speed of sound crashing through everything. It’s like an explosion of power whenever you set it off. But it could only be sustained if you had enough energy in the boost meter, when you ran out you were back to normal speed. Oh and another important aspect of Sonic Rush that I think added a new innovate aspect to the gameplay is that when going through levels Sonic & Blaze could move through both screens of the DS while running through levels and with that fancy new element put into play it did require some quick thinking and reflexes for some of the levels and boss encounters.

So in terms of content, you have 7 worlds which Sonic & Blaze would advance through, though depending on which character you were you would advance through the levels in a different order from the other. There was also 7 special stages inspired by Sonic 2 which you could tackle as Sonic only to collect Chaos Emeralds (Blaze just collected her Emeralds as the game advanced). At the end of each level there would be a boss fight each different from the last and requiring different strategies to beat each enemy. And as with most Sonic games after Sonic & Knuckles if you collected all 7 Chaos Emeralds you would take on one more additional level in your Super form to complete the game fully. In addition to the main game you also had time attack mode and a two-player mode via wireless where two players could race from one end of a level to another.

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So is the game good? Heck yeah, but it isn’t without its problems. For all the good that Sonic Rush did the sonic game series, it also introduced some problems that would follow the series into present day.

Well let’s start with all the good points, firstly from a visual standpoint the game is very pretty as the first 2D Sonic game to be rendered in 3D. The graphics are sharp, colourful, vivid and full of detail and character from the foreground to the backgrounds. The soundtrack composed by Hideki Naganuma was also pretty damn awesome too with such a crazy sound when compared to other songs in the Sonic series, it was zany and very memorable for a portable title. But it’s really the gameplay that makes Sonic Rush just a good joyride of a game, its fast and furious and just old school Sonic fun. Sonic himself is dead fast in this game, once you get to grips with the boosting mechanic it becomes second nature and its extremely fun and addictive, once you learn to navigate levels effectively blazing through at breakneck speeds is essential. It makes speed runs so much more fun. It is also nice to use Blaze with her different style of gameplay from Sonic, her fire-based attacks when she jumps and her different air tricks compared to Sonic’s create some interesting level navigation. The new gameplay elements like being able to do tricks to build your boost bar is wicked and the different environments that provide new forms of interactivity. Also seeing Sonic & Blaze zoom through the two screens is on the DS bloody fun. Couple that with the diverse levels and cool level designs and you have endless levels of entertainment in one handheld console.

Okay so now onto the bad points, so as I said before the boost meter is one of the best aspects of Sonic Rush because it allows you to move stupidly fast, however that can be your undoing. Sometimes you’ll be blazing along so fast to the point where you’ll accidentally set yourself up for death or put yourself in danger’s way. Since the game is designed around speed and moving fairly quickly you simply just forget about the platforming elements and just hold the boost button wherever there is a clear strip of land to blast through. And to be honest that is hardly fair on the player, it encourages fast gameplay but sets you up for unexpected danger. But it’s not only down to the boosting mechanic that makes this game a bit unfair, but it’s also thanks to the level design too. As good as Sonic Rush is, it features some of the most awkward, hard and questionable level design choices in all of the Sonic games. A good number of times you’ll find yourself continuously dying due to the unforgiving level designs, especially if its you’re a first time. Some times you’ll be moving along at top speed and run into an environmental hazard like spikes or an enemy placed in a horrible spot or most commonly you’ll fall and die via the various pitfalls placed all over the levels. Sonic Rush seems to be obsessed with pitfalls as they are the most common form of death whether you’re running at top speed and then fall into one or if you’re covering a small bit of land in the air only to miss the platform and then plummet to your death. It is incredibly hard on an unforgiving level when it comes to the final few levels. The level design in Sonic Rush is designed as more of a memory game than something you can try out and survive the first time around, it does require a lot of prior knowledge beforehand but if you don’t have that then prepare to die many times until you figure it out. One last thing I want to add is the fact that trying to obtain Chaos Emeralds is so damn hard! Trying to get to them is hard enough once the later levels come into play but then trying to complete them is proper difficult, now I know that its meant to be challenging and all that, but there is a difference between challenge and cruelty and that’s what those special stages felt like especially after the 5th Chaos Emerald comes into play, pain and suffering.

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It’s interesting to note that Sonic Rush was crafted by Sonic Team and Dimps, these two games developers collaborated on not the Sonic Rush games, but also the Sonic Advance trilogy and they also went on to develop parts of Sonic Unleashed (Wii version), Sonic 4: Episode 1 & Sonic Generations. And while the two developers haven’t always created solid titles all the time, I think after Sonic Rush came out, that started the continuation and future style of Sonic gaming for the good and bad times of Sonic’s future titles. Though this game is noted as one of the first proper 2D Sonic games for a while in that timeframe between 1994 to 2005 there was clearly a series of 2D Sonic games on the Gameboy Advance that people tend to forget about and that is the Sonic Advance series. The Sonic Advance series on the GBA was pretty darn good and with each entry in the series came new gameplay mechanics, new characters and interesting environments. And the impact of those games can be seen in Sonic Rush as the air trick system in this game was originally started in Sonic Advance 2 and then carried over and upgraded in Sonic Rush.

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Sonic Rush at the time was the 2D adventure that Sonic fans have been waiting for, it had been years series there was a Sonic game on such a big scale that wasn’t such disappointment in the eyes of the fan base. This game managed to capture the magic of the Sonic games on the Megadrive/Genesis, but it also was a game of its own and Rush seemed to have the right balance between nostalgia and inventive new gameplay. The game was well received, sold pretty well on the DS and was featured on many lists of good Nintendo DS games too. Most critics found this game to be a return to form, though some were not too keen on the quickness of the game and also found the inconsistencies in the level design in some cases noting on the high level of death due to the pitfalls. Despite these problems Sonic Rush was a success and spawned a sequel in the shape of Sonic Rush Adventure and has created a small legacy too, because of the introduction boosting mechanic that has found its way into nearly every new Sonic game including Sonic and the Secret Rings, Sonic Unleashed, Sonic Colours and more recently Sonic Generations.

Overall Sonic Rush though hard as heck and questionable in terms of later level design is still a damn good game. I’ve had many days wasted playing this game and it was hella fun as well as being hella difficult. If you haven’t had a chance to play this game please do yourself a favour and break it in and enjoy the speed and beauty that is Sonic Rush.

Rating: 8/10

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in Game Reviews, Media, Reviews, Video Games

 

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