Now that the home consoles have had their share of the blue speedster it’s time for the handheld version and from past experience, these mini versions of our favourite hedgehog have outplayed their more recent bigger brethren.
This has been mostly down to graphical power, with the console versions you feel they need to throw everything at it whereas the portable iterations are more restricted and just like the original versions from the 90′s, are so much the better for it.
As story’s go this really doesn’t push out the boat much with a new monster called the Time Eater destroying time and space and throwing two era’s of Sonic into limbo, leaving it up to the two Sonic’s and Tail’s to literally run though time, visiting familiar worlds from their past and making everything right along the way.
The two era’s in question here are the 90′s classic Sonic made famous by the original games and the more recent attitude ridden modern Sonic that appeared Episode 1.
Each level has been split into two, act one for classic Sonic and act two for the noughties Sonic. The Sonic from the 90′s is what we all love so fondly about this character and a nostalgic tear forms in the first few levels as you spin around loops and jumps whilst dodging mechanical robotic fish and chameleons though a beautifully looking Green Hill Zone and Casino Night Zone.
Sonic’s angst ridden teenage version on the other hand spoils this feeling, from his constant rail grinding that offers little gameplay to the lock-on attack that makes taking out enemies far too easy and lacking any real challenge; you just want to whizz though to get to another 90′s level again. But it’s all too late as once you hit the first boss fight it really falls apart.
Again these boss fights are split into two acts; the first is a race against a classic Sonic adversary like Mecha Sonic or Shadow. The idea is to run to the finish line as fast as possible, trying not to get hit by the opposition. Though it sounds easy it feels like the game is cheating, with the boss either always in the lead or right on your heels no matter how good you are. Plus the level layouts really are not made for speed, with blocks and jumps so badly placed you really have to have a few attempts to memorise the course to even have a chance.
The second boss fight is your more classic battle with a huge enemy hurling fists and trying to squash you. The three hit boss rule has been out aside though, this time you have an enemy health bar on the bottom of the screen.
Just like any decent Sonic game the bonus levels make a welcome return, allowing you to chase after those Chaos Emeralds and collect them all for the ultimate final battle. Taking inspiration from Sonic 2 you run full speed through a tunnel, dodging mines whilst collecting power ups to keep a continual boost so you can catch the gem before the finish.
All of the levels in Generations are inspired from the many games that Sonic has appeared in over the years, but sadly SEGA seemed to of picked a couple of levels from each generation, so the wealth of Master System and Mega Drive levels are boiled down to two. This also causes some issues with the 3D games on the more modern consoles. Now I was a fan of the Dreamcast Sonic Adventures titles but the the levels base on these and other 3D Sonic games really don’t work. They have the notable scenes like huge killer whales charging at you on Emerald Coast but in a 2D level design that just does not work and has the same pitfalls as the boss races, too many items blocking the way and sudden death areas. This is made even worse by the fact that far too early in the game classic Sonic is given a homing attack, making him almost the same as modern Sonic and negating the whole Generations theme.
Sonic Generations is rammed with extras, which is a good thing as story mode is over in moments. Missions require you to carry out challenges across the levels you have already unlocked like speed runs, ring collecting or making it to the end without killing any enemies. Time Attack allows you to post your best times online and in Versus Mode you can race either locally or online. With all these modes you gradually start to unlock Collections like sound, art and 3D models plus extras to personalise your StreetPass experience.
With such a promising start, Sonic Generations very quickly falls into the trap of many other Sonic games, SEGA just have to tinker with him. Left to the true classic Sonic this could have been a passable Sonic game but with too many changes and some poor level designs this is not our hedgehogs finest moment.
Rating: GoodReview Policy
You can order Sonic Generations 3DS here.