Sonic 2 is back…only it’s Sonic 4!
Sonic 4: Episode 1, being released on all three console download services (as well as the iPhone), is for all intents and purposes a sequel to Sonic 2 for the Genesis.
Sonic handles pretty much the same as in the classic, only the game incorporates the homing attack / midair dash introduced in Sonic Adventure and the Nintendo portable Sonic games to keep things speedier. Only Sonic is playable in Episode 1, though the Sega representative implied other characters could appear in later episodes being planned.
Episode 1 will have 25 acts; four acts were on display at E3, all from a Green Hill-equivalent zone. The level design included the obligatory loops and corkscrews expected of a 2D Sonic game, and even featured music, sound effects, and instrumentation very reminiscent of the Genesis games. One level also included swinging vines, which were fairly cumbersome based on my experience and watching others playing before me. The final act was a boss battle with Dr. Robotnik (Eggman?) that played identically to the first battle from Sonic 1 until Robotnik became angry and more aggressive. Although not shown, Super Sonic will be in the game.
There will be a few minor differences among the various versions of Sonic 4. The three consoles are almost identical, although the PS3 and Wii have optional motion controls in the bonus stage (not on display at E3). However, the console releases will have two levels that are different from the iPhone versions. The Wii game’s colors also seemed less vibrant than on the PS3 and Xbox 360, though this could have been poor calibration of the television. (All three were running on the same TV model.)
Other than the conspicuous absence of Tails or Knuckles, Sonic 4: Episode 1 looks to be a very full-featured, old-school Sonic game, and I’m looking forward to trying out the final product.