PREVIEW: Sonic Generations

There can be no doubt that Sonic the Hedgehog is one of the most iconic gaming characters around today. With a plethora of titles, stacks of spin-off games, and even a cartoon based on the franchise (which is still screening today), Sonic just keeps going on. So what do you do when the speedy blue hedgehog turns 20? …you take a look at the history of Sonic, shine it up, put it all into a game and label it Sonic Generations.

Sonic Generations brings all the history of the game into one handy package. Whether you played it on Dreamcast, Megadrive or on a next-gen console, you will see some of your memories recreated and brought back in a shiny environment (with all the tweaks and upgrades you would expect!).

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As the game’s popped up again on next-gen consoles, you would expect everything to be in a nice shiny 3D world, and in the case of Sonic it is! …unless of course 3D is a dirty word and you are just too retro to use it. Well you’re in luck too: With a quick setting change, you can be playing the good ol’ 2D Sonic that you played back in the day.

This new console outing revisits nine environments spread over three generations of consoles – there really is something for every era. From the Dreamcast there is Speed Highway, City Escape and Seaside Hill. From Megadrive, you get to play Green Hill Zone, Chemical Plant, and Sky Sanctuary. And if you are new to Sonic, you won’t miss out on your favourites either, with Sonic Generations bringing Crisis City, Rooftop Run, and Planet Wisk from its most recent next-gen release.

The 3DS doesn’t miss out ether, Sega is bringing seven environments to the portable console, with six of them exclusive to the 3DS, and the other being an unlockable special level. All of this, plus the ability to hook up with your friends over wifi and get some multiplayer action going? Sonic Generations puts a lot of punch into a little platform.

[img_big]center,7835,2011-07-21/23413SG_bms_14.jpg,Sonic Generations[/img_big]

One of the aims of Sonic Generations was to make it feel like you never stop playing – even when you are just navigating through the menus. How do you do this? You make the menu like a level, so it just keeps flowing. This is something Sega has put some love into, the company really doesn’t want to make you feel like you have to stop and start every time you hit a menu or option screen. They have also used colour to show how much of the game you have completed. As you complete levels, the menu slowly changes from black and white to colour, with the aim that this will give the right level of oomph to keep you pushing to get everything complete.

It’s been twenty years since the turbo-charged hedgehog Sonic first hit our consoles, and like Mario, he’s now become an epic icon. Many games have come and gone over the years, many good some not so. However one thing is for sure, retro is in fashion and it is a perfect time to bring some old-school Sonic back to our consoles and not just in a title that is another mash-up full of characters from other games.

[img_big]center,7835,2011-07-21/23422SG_cpz_act1_11.jpg,Sonic Generations[/img_big]

It is great to see Sonic featuring in a real Sonic game that features some retro maps, the ability to switch between 2D and 3D and all the other things we have come to love. Sonic Generations is out Nov 3 for PS3 and Xbox 360 and on Nov 17 for Nintendo 3DS.

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