Review: Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1

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Review: Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1

Playing a whirling ball of fur is way more fun than I thought.

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If you never played sonic before i guess the weirdness of you basically describing the first sonic game is lost on you. Sonic 4 is really just sonic with a HD coat of paint, i don't see how SEGA need any praise for basically re-making a game that is 20 years old in higher definition. I don't see what it does differently/better at all.

Scrumpmonkey:
If you never played sonic before i guess the weirdness of you basically describing the first sonic game is lost on you. Sonic 4 is really just sonic with a HD coat of paint, i don't see how SEGA need any praise for basically re-making a game that is 20 years old in higher definition. I don't see what it does differently/better at all.

well aside from nostalgia (which is always fun). Sega is respecting their fanbase and giving them more of what work, if a formula is good why change it, that like going to a bar and asking for a tequila slammer with a tomato instead of a lemon.

Why exactly is this NOT on the DS? This title is perfect for a handheld.

bahumat42:

Scrumpmonkey:
If you never played sonic before i guess the weirdness of you basically describing the first sonic game is lost on you. Sonic 4 is really just sonic with a HD coat of paint, i don't see how SEGA need any praise for basically re-making a game that is 20 years old in higher definition. I don't see what it does differently/better at all.

well aside from nostalgia (which is always fun). Sega is respecting their fanbase and giving them more of what work, if a formula is good why change it, that like going to a bar and asking for a tequila slammer with a tomato instead of a lemon.

In that case they would have done something more in the vein on "New super mario bros Wii" a game that, whist it does draw on nostalgia, has a whole new set of power-up, rules and is really a whole new game.

Sonic 4 does not do this, it is a recycling of the old games rather than a continuation of them. There are no new ideas here, no real new content. It's not just a tribute to sonic 1 2 and 3 it IS those games.

I was expecting so much more from this game. Though it might be new and exciting for newcomers to the Sonic The Hedgehog genre, its practically a 3D version of all the other platformers! Hell, the bosses are the SAME bosses you fight in the first three games! For instance, the ball and chain is the first boss in Sonic 1 and 2, the electric casino boss is the same one, on a smaller scale, that you fight in Sonic & Knuckles, and even the running one is a playoff of several fights before.

I would have been happier to see another old graphics game with improved levels and more storyline involvement. In Sonic 3 & Knuckles you get a glimpse into Eggman's deception towards Knuckles, when he convinces the echidna that Sonic stole the Master Emerald. Playing from Sonic's point of view shows Knuckles as an ass until you see him at the end trying to attack Eggman for the Emerald. If you play as Knuckles, you understand that he is simply chasing a blue shadow, which in the end, winds up as one of the most interesting battles in Sonic gaming, where Mecha Sonic is revealed as the true antagonist and Sonic comes to his rescue as the final fortress comes down.

Seriously Sega, what happened?

Scrumpmonkey:

bahumat42:

Scrumpmonkey:
If you never played sonic before i guess the weirdness of you basically describing the first sonic game is lost on you. Sonic 4 is really just sonic with a HD coat of paint, i don't see how SEGA need any praise for basically re-making a game that is 20 years old in higher definition. I don't see what it does differently/better at all.

well aside from nostalgia (which is always fun). Sega is respecting their fanbase and giving them more of what work, if a formula is good why change it, that like going to a bar and asking for a tequila slammer with a tomato instead of a lemon.

In that case they would have done something more in the vein on "New super mario bros Wii" a game that, whist it does draw on nostalgia, has a whole new set of power-up, rules and is really a whole new game.

Sonic 4 does not do this, it is a recycling of the old games rather than a continuation of them. There are no new ideas here, no real new content. It's not just a tribute to sonic 1 2 and 3 it IS those games.

Well it is a direct sequel of the 2D Sonic games that everyone remembered and loved. If nothing else, this game is a breath of familiar yet still fresh air after the myriad of craptastic 3D games that been made in the meantime.

If you don't like it for whatever reason, that's cool - pack up, play something else that you enjoy more, and no one's the wiser. But I think saying it's a "recycled rehash" is more than a bit off.

---

More to the point, it's nice to see a [mostly] unbiased review for this game. Most of the other reviews I read complained about the game being too hard, since god forbid you shouldn't try to speed run the stages on the very first fucking try, and then sit back in bewilderment when you hit a hazard and lose all your rings - a staple that's been in damn near every fucking Sonic game ever made - because you were too stupid to feel out the level first and learn the fastest/least damaging route.

But I digress. Nice analysis, especially if the reviewer really has played little of the 2D games back in Sonic's heydays.

DuskTMoon:
I was expecting so much more from this game. Though it might be new and exciting for newcomers to the Sonic The Hedgehog genre, its practically a 3D version of all the other platformers! Hell, the bosses are the SAME bosses you fight in the first three games! For instance, the ball and chain is the first boss in Sonic 1 and 2, the electric casino boss is the same one, on a smaller scale, that you fight in Sonic & Knuckles, and even the running one is a playoff of several fights before.

I would have been happier to see another old graphics game with improved levels and more storyline involvement. In Sonic 3 & Knuckles you get a glimpse into Eggman's deception towards Knuckles, when he convinces the echidna that Sonic stole the Master Emerald. Playing from Sonic's point of view shows Knuckles as an ass until you see him at the end trying to attack Eggman for the Emerald. If you play as Knuckles, you understand that he is simply chasing a blue shadow, which in the end, winds up as one of the most interesting battles in Sonic gaming, where Mecha Sonic is revealed as the true antagonist and Sonic comes to his rescue as the final fortress comes down.

Seriously Sega, what happened?

The ball and chain wasn't in Sonic 2 at all. Just Sonic 1. The first boss of Sonic 2 was the drill-jeep-thing.

And the Casino Street boss? Turns out he's from Sonic 2. Casino Night zone.

...If you're going to bring these things up please know what game they're from... There's only 4.

Otherwise, yeah, I'd like to see more like S3&K, but it is after the events of that and before anything else in the series... Plus, it's not the same developers. They've just managed to emulate the playstyle.

When I get some spare hard drive space on my 360 I'll pick it up.

I actually legitimately think that Sega and Sonic Team/Dimps did a pretty good job of making the game a true sequel. The reworked physics and homing attack did well at differentiating Sonic 4 from the other 2D games. Episode 1 may have its fair share of issues, but I thought it was still a strong start to Sonic 4 and provided Sega listens to some of the criticism of the game and takes it into account for Episode 2 (and I have reason to believe that they will), by the time all is said and done, Sonic 4 complete could be one of the finest entries in the franchise.

So yeah. Episode 1 is good, and you should go download it.

I have to agree with other posters, if sonic 4 was the ONLY sonic game in existance it would stand on its own merits fine. but its suppose to be the 4th installment, it fails at this. the levels are boring if you played previous sonic titles, each level has its own gimmic to it that gets old pretty fast.

Level 1- vines
level 2- cannons
level 3- lighting torches.

it quickly wears out the welcome of each unique level, which again is mostly a rehash of previous sonic levels. where the epic failure comes in is the boss fights, which is pretty much a copy and past from sonic 1 & 2 bosses with an added attack move here and there.

Wrapping it all together is sonics 4's physics which makes sonic feel 'heavy' when he doesn't have momentum, compared to the loser controls of the previous classic titles. with only a lock on ability added that they copied over from sonic adventure the real 'fans' of the series quickly finds out that the game falls short. heck even the special stage is pretty much the same.

Laying it down, S4 is more a remake then a sequel. which really shatters its whole purpose which is to continue this saga, not RETELL it. each sonic game added good things, sonic 2 added the spin dash, sonic 3 gave us bigger levels and more special stages and more story, sonic and knuckles continued that story with different character paths, more in depth boss battles and a all together larger more polished experience from 3.

Sonic 4 is not a bad game, but the reason why its not a bad game is because it's an old game and that doesn't make it a good game really. for 15 bucks you could get ALLOT more out of buying sonic games 1-3+S&N from the wii store if you have never played sonic games and felt MUCH more satisfied.

BlueHighwind:
Why exactly is this NOT on the DS? This title is perfect for a handheld.

Um...why should it be? Not arguing that it wouldn't be fun on the DS, but nothing wrong with it being on the big screen, either.

Glad to see this is finally getting a good review. I loved the game too but Gamespot gave it a 6.5!! It deserves at least an 8.

DuskTMoon:
I was expecting so much more from this game. Though it might be new and exciting for newcomers to the Sonic The Hedgehog genre, its practically a 3D version of all the other platformers! Hell, the bosses are the SAME bosses you fight in the first three games! For instance, the ball and chain is the first boss in Sonic 1 and 2, the electric casino boss is the same one, on a smaller scale, that you fight in Sonic & Knuckles, and even the running one is a playoff of several fights before.

I would have been happier to see another old graphics game with improved levels and more storyline involvement. In Sonic 3 & Knuckles you get a glimpse into Eggman's deception towards Knuckles, when he convinces the echidna that Sonic stole the Master Emerald. Playing from Sonic's point of view shows Knuckles as an ass until you see him at the end trying to attack Eggman for the Emerald. If you play as Knuckles, you understand that he is simply chasing a blue shadow, which in the end, winds up as one of the most interesting battles in Sonic gaming, where Mecha Sonic is revealed as the true antagonist and Sonic comes to his rescue as the final fortress comes down.

Seriously Sega, what happened?

To be perfectly honest with you, I loved Sonic 4. Ive waited something like 15 years for this game and even though it is just a rehash of a lot of Sonic 1 and 2 levels, I wouldnt change it a bit.
Sonic Team nowadays are not to be trusted with coming up with new ideas, so looking into the past for ideas was their best bet.

As far as the bosses go, you got them abit wrong:
Ball and Chain is Sonic 1
Pinball is Sonic 2
Tetris thingy is Sonic 2 (resembles the Aquatic Ruin boss alot)
The chase bit isnt from any of the older ones and so is brand new
The bit before that with the balloons is Sonic 2 (Metropolis Zone)
Finally, the Egg Walker at the end is Sonic 2

I agree with you on the story though. Sonic 3 and Knuckles is one of my favourite games of all time and was quite possibly the best Sonic game ever made.

Now we gotta wait for Episode 2
I can see it being Sonic 3 style zones with the Shield Power-ups
and Episode 3 being Sonic and Knuckles zones

If you own all 3 parts, you can play them all together under bonus features in Ep 3 much like the way if you own Sonic and Knuckles on XBLA if you have any of the other Sonic games you can lock them on

I just wanna say I CALLED IT

*Sighs and shakes head*
Greg... if simplicity and great level design is what you REALLY want, stay away from the "hold B and run to the right" simplicity of the Sonic games. The most creative this series ever got was in Sonic 3 when you could race with a friend... and they never went back to that... shame it the most fun I had with the series.

Anyway, if you are looking for simplicity and great level design. Super Meat Boy was just released on XBL and that is a PERFECT example of controls done right, and level design done properly. Check it out if you haven't yet, guaranteed to blow your mind.

Scrumpmonkey:

bahumat42:

Scrumpmonkey:
If you never played sonic before i guess the weirdness of you basically describing the first sonic game is lost on you. Sonic 4 is really just sonic with a HD coat of paint, i don't see how SEGA need any praise for basically re-making a game that is 20 years old in higher definition. I don't see what it does differently/better at all.

well aside from nostalgia (which is always fun). Sega is respecting their fanbase and giving them more of what work, if a formula is good why change it, that like going to a bar and asking for a tequila slammer with a tomato instead of a lemon.

In that case they would have done something more in the vein on "New super mario bros Wii" a game that, whist it does draw on nostalgia, has a whole new set of power-up, rules and is really a whole new game.

Sonic 4 does not do this, it is a recycling of the old games rather than a continuation of them. There are no new ideas here, no real new content. It's not just a tribute to sonic 1 2 and 3 it IS those games.

Remember, this is just Episode 1. Starting off with familiar territory is not a bad idea. Remember, it worked great for Super Metroid.

And also, if Sonic 4 is just Sonic with an HD coat of paint that Sega doesn't deserve praise for, why is the gaming community creaming its collective pants over the Sonic Fan Remix? Not saying it doesn't look good (it really does) but how can Sega do the same thing and everyone hates on it? I'm being dead serious, I just don't get it.

this reviews for this game are so all over the place, it seems like if your new to it then you enjoy it much more then if your an old fan

theaceplaya:

And also, if Sonic 4 is just Sonic with an HD coat of paint that Sega doesn't deserve praise for, why is the gaming community creaming its collective pants over the Sonic Fan Remix? Not saying it doesn't look good (it really does) but how can Sega do the same thing and everyone hates on it? I'm being dead serious, I just don't get it.

Didn't you get the memo? The best Sega fans know that Sega is never supposed to do anything right anymore! It's all about complaining non-stop when they try something new, then when they finally cave in and try to provide a nostalgic experience, that's when we change our minds and cry about it being too similar to the old stuff we constantly told Sega we wanted to relive!

I swear it's like some form of reverse Stockholm Syndrome.

Its interesting all the professional reviews I've seen praise this game. All the fan reviews hate it.

I figured this wouldn't be interesting. This is the first Sonic game in years to come out that I didn't really look at and think was interesting. Hell, level design looks pretty much like the old games. Personally, I'm more excited for Sonic Colors. Gameplay videos actually look more entertaining.

Wait... the review and posts make this sound like there's only 3 or 4 levels... and its STILL 1200 points?! thats something like $15 a pop. Granted if there are only 3 episodes, it will come out to $45 which is a good price for a new game, but honestly $15 for 4 levels doesn't quite cut it for me.
I don't think I'm getting Sonic 4 at all

BlueHighwind:
Why exactly is this NOT on the DS? This title is perfect for a handheld.

because they are probably waiting for all the episodes to come out first?

People are happy with this? I've heard lots of people slamming Sonic Adventure 2, my favourite next to Sonic 3 and Knuckles, and those same people going nuts over this game, so happy that they get to play the same games again in a new format that they don't care that they've been here a thousand times!

This is Sonic 1, 2 and 3 repackaged with the same boss battles, same level design, and less than stellar (but different, thank god) level layouts. It's good to see some learning has been done, but aside from the rather interesting "Dark World" idea, these are all roads well-traveled to the point of being steamroller flat. The new Sonic Team doesn't even deny it; it's supposed to be "respectful to the originals" by keeping the exact same aesthetic.

Tim Latshaw:
Didn't you get the memo? The best Sega fans know that Sega is never supposed to do anything right anymore! It's all about complaining non-stop when they try something new, then when they finally cave in and try to provide a nostalgic experience, that's when we change our minds and cry about it being too similar to the old stuff we constantly told Sega we wanted to relive!

I swear it's like some form of reverse Stockholm Syndrome.

This. I mean, Sega's done all kinds of attempts to update the formula for Sonic games, and it's a running joke that every Sonic game has been terrible since Sonic 3. Then they cave in and do a game that is just like the early, good games, and everybody hates it anyway because it lacks "creativity". There's just no pleasing the Internet.

Loving it. At the final boss after spending some time going for most of the Emeralds. But that last Special Stage is a bitch...

What the hell? All the bosses I saw were just reboots from the old games. Even the final boss is exactly the same as the one from Sonic the hedgehog 2. What? Did sonic team run out of ideas for Dr. Robotnik bosses? How hard could it be? And if it's a tribute, how come I dont see any tribute to Sonic 3 and Knuckles? All I saw were references to Sonic 1 and 2. I mean, come on sonic team. Like can you imagine if Nintendo kept making reboots of Super Mario Bros 3? Oh wait.

Oh well, it still looks worth the download, even if it is just a basically a reboot of the trilogy.

Having great fun with it.

Fun to watch this thread turn into a microcosm of the fan reaction, though. Love, it, like it, hate it, it's a crappy rehash, its great fun, this is just what I wanted, super meatboy's better, needs more story, I liked the new games and don't like this, why's nobody agreeing with me?, the music's flat, the music's awesome, the physics are choppy, the controls are a nice adjustment...

DuskTMoon:

In Sonic 3 & Knuckles you get a glimpse into Eggman's deception towards Knuckles, when he convinces the echidna that Sonic stole the Master Emerald. Playing from Sonic's point of view shows Knuckles as an ass until you see him at the end trying to attack Eggman for the Emerald. If you play as Knuckles, you understand that he is simply chasing a blue shadow, which in the end, winds up as one of the most interesting battles in Sonic gaming, where Mecha Sonic is revealed as the true antagonist and Sonic comes to his rescue as the final fortress comes down.

At the end of Sonic 3 & Knuckles from Sonic's point of view, you're on the Death Egg fighting Robotknik who's in a massive robot, with Giant fingers that try to crush you, and a Laser beam made from using the energy of the Master Emerald. And if you happened to collect all the Chaos Emeralds, you get to The Doomsday Zone, where you're Super Sonic flying through space after Robotknik who has taken off with the Master Emerald. Did you not play the whole thing?

Easily Forgotten:

DuskTMoon:
I was expecting so much more from this game. Though it might be new and exciting for newcomers to the Sonic The Hedgehog genre, its practically a 3D version of all the other platformers! Hell, the bosses are the SAME bosses you fight in the first three games! For instance, the ball and chain is the first boss in Sonic 1 and 2, the electric casino boss is the same one, on a smaller scale, that you fight in Sonic & Knuckles, and even the running one is a playoff of several fights before.

The ball and chain wasn't in Sonic 2 at all. Just Sonic 1. The first boss of Sonic 2 was the drill-jeep-thing. And the Casino Street boss? Turns out he's from Sonic 2. Casino Night zone. ...If you're going to bring these things up please know what game they're from... There's only 4.

Otherwise, yeah, I'd like to see more like S3&K, but it is after the events of that and before anything else in the series... Plus, it's not the same developers. They've just managed to emulate the playstyle.

So... because they didn't study up on their Sonic-fu, their point is wrong? It's easy to just say, "well, this person doesn't know exactly where the firethrower is located on Robotnik's machine in Mega Geartropolis Zone Act 2, so they clearly don't understand Sonic like I do", but that's a cheap excuse not to listen to real criticism.

I think they did a good job emulating the playstyle though, like he said. He starts a little slower and it seems like he is connected by a pair of fleshy legs rather than the magical floating he was pretty much doing before, but I think that's not such a bad change. The problem is the lack of originality masquerading as loyalty. I get that the shtick of this one is that Robotnik is using the same machines again, but that's a terrible shtick. It doesn't make sense, because why would he bother when they didn't work before? Not to mention his carefully calculated plot this time is... to kill Sonic.

That was his plan before, but he also had other things on his villainous plate like "collapse these ancient ruins, maybe crushing Sonic" and "burn down this forest, maybe immolating Sonic" and "create this evil Sonic lookalike robot, that will help me in my villainous empire, but mostly just KILL SONIC". The story from Sonic's point of view? "Well, kicking Eggman's butt was fun, but now I'm going to run places for a while. See ya, guys. Oh wait, Eggman's back. I'll fight him right after this loop-de-loop".

theaceplaya:

Scrumpmonkey:

bahumat42:

Scrumpmonkey:
If you never played sonic before i guess the weirdness of you basically describing the first sonic game is lost on you. Sonic 4 is really just sonic with a HD coat of paint, i don't see how SEGA need any praise for basically re-making a game that is 20 years old in higher definition. I don't see what it does differently/better at all.

well aside from nostalgia (which is always fun). Sega is respecting their fanbase and giving them more of what work, if a formula is good why change it, that like going to a bar and asking for a tequila slammer with a tomato instead of a lemon.

In that case they would have done something more in the vein on "New super mario bros Wii" a game that, whist it does draw on nostalgia, has a whole new set of power-up, rules and is really a whole new game.

Sonic 4 does not do this, it is a recycling of the old games rather than a continuation of them. There are no new ideas here, no real new content. It's not just a tribute to sonic 1 2 and 3 it IS those games.

Remember, this is just Episode 1. Starting off with familiar territory is not a bad idea. Remember, it worked great for Super Metroid.

And also, if Sonic 4 is just Sonic with an HD coat of paint that Sega doesn't deserve praise for, why is the gaming community creaming its collective pants over the Sonic Fan Remix? Not saying it doesn't look good (it really does) but how can Sega do the same thing and everyone hates on it? I'm being dead serious, I just don't get it.

Because after tons and tons of horrible failures, they're creaming themselves over an old game with HD graphics, 'cause atleast then they know it won't be another Sonic Unleashed or Sonic 2007.

theaceplaya:
Remember, this is just Episode 1. Starting off with familiar territory is not a bad idea. Remember, it worked great for Super Metroid.

And also, if Sonic 4 is just Sonic with an HD coat of paint that Sega doesn't deserve praise for, why is the gaming community creaming its collective pants over the Sonic Fan Remix? Not saying it doesn't look good (it really does) but how can Sega do the same thing and everyone hates on it? I'm being dead serious, I just don't get it.

Maybe because the fan remix was done by two people, and this was done by a team of professionals at Sega? Well, I'd hope that was the real reason, but...

First of all, the fan remix does something right out the gate that Sonic 4 can't do... take risks. Sonic The Hedgehog '06 was a risk, Sonic Unleashed was a risk, Sonic and the Black Knight was a risk. They all either failed or weren't successful enough for Sega's liking, meaning that this game that most of the collective hopes ride on is limited to what Sega knows people like (in business theory, anyway)... green fields with checkered stone, round mid-level checkpoints that change colour, bee and jumping fish enemies, and bosses that swing huge round balls. Those things were pretty much written in bold in the HQ document that allowed this game to be made. I think (/hope) you're right in that this is Episode 1 which is mostly testing the waters before Episode 2 brings the creative ideas.

Looking forward to Episode 2!

definite get...
I'm gonna nostalgia :P

The levels seem cool enough, but I really really have to point out the boss battles. Some guys above did it already, but I have to say it. What made them think it was a good idea to bring back the exact same bosses from previous games? Bad Sega! You're doing it wrong! I always said the haters were overzealous and deluded, but you're just proving them right!

bahumat42:
well aside from nostalgia (which is always fun). Sega is respecting their fanbase and giving them more of what work, if a formula is good why change it, that like going to a bar and asking for a tequila slammer with a tomato instead of a lemon.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Good one.

SEGA isn't respecting their fanbase with this game. What they did is take a big fat shit on their fanbase. Sonic 4 is easily the worst Sonic game ever, beating out Sonic 2006.

First of, the physics engine. If they were going for a game that's supposed to be like the old games like they said multiple times in press statements for the game, you do not change the physics engine so it plays like some other IP with Sonic having a cross-over appearance. That is called failure and SEGA was piling as much of it onto this game as the could.

And as other people mentioned, there is the copy/paste. Holy shit, there is so much copy paste. Has anyone else watched the launch trailer? At least half of it is just stuff they copied out of Sonic 1, Sonic 2, and Sonic CD. Hey SEGA, I've got an idea. Instead of paying $15 for a game that's Frankensteined from parts of games I already own, I'll just go play those games and keep my $15!

And the last fail is the episodic release. Remember, the full title is "Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1". First, you guys want $15 for half a game? I can get all three of the original, complete, and good Genesis games from XBLA for that same $15, why the fuck would you expect me to pay $15 for just a piece of another game? Someone is bound to say "But when Sonic 2 game out I paid $60 for it!" Well good for you, that is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT now though. Today the full game costs $5, not $60, so clearly $15 for only a part of a game that is made by Frankensteining parts of those older games you can buy for less and changes the physics engine so it doesn't even feel like a Sonic game anymore is a bad deal. And that's even BEFORE I point out that SEGA is so thick that they don't even know how many more episodes are coming out for this fiasco yet.
http://wiiware.nintendolife.com/news/2010/10/interviews_sega_sonic_the_hedgehog_4_episode_1

NL: How many episodes will there be in total, and when can we expect to hear more about Episode 2?
KB: I can tell you we've written the story for the whole saga, but we have not announced the amount of episodes yet. That said, you can probably expect to hear more about Episode II in 2011. (He smiles)

This is also not a good way to design your game! Hey, you know what guys, have fun paying $15 per episode, I'm going to be laughing at you if SEGA releases 5 episodes and you end up paying $75 for the "privilege" of SEGA shitting all over you. I, on the other hand, will likely not buy anything with the SEGA logo on it again.

tl;dr: Fuck Sonic 4 and fuck SEGA.

Yup the best way to make a character interesting is to go back to the roots of it.

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