Sonic the Hedgehog, who doesn't know of him by now? A Sega character who started off on the Sega Mega Drive / Genesis, this guy has been in games for over 20 years, rescuing small animals from the evil Doctor Robotnik. The original trilogy were a great bunch of games, and still makes Sega plenty of cash through numerous collections, but not all of the games released since then have been so popular, with several considered to be truly bad. More recently, the series has been returning to quality games with Generations and Colors.
This game strips away a lot of the clutter that the series has added over the years. Once again, it is just Sonic, Robotnik and a hoard of Badniks (the robots that contain many of the captive animals). Once again Robotnik is causing trouble, and Sonic aims to stop him from taking over.
The graphics in this game obviously want to get you right in the nostalgia. You will see a lot of stuff you remember from the classic games, only now in a much higher resolution. Level style, enemies, special levels, all are little more than updated versions of classic content. I won't deny that it looks pretty, but it would have been nice to see some more new content during the levels rather than rehashed tiles. A problem I did have was some flickering occurring on the background objects.
Sound wise, this starts off with the classic SEGA! intro jingle which I'm sure many fans will remember. And from there, it goes onto mostly forgettable tunes, though some updated classics exist in the soundtrack. The sound effects stick to the classics as well, with everything in the levels making the sounds you would expect.
Playing with an XBox 360 controller, I have to say these work well enough. You move with the left analog stick and jump with the A or B button. Later on, you can transform to Super Sonic, which is mapped to the Y button. Other than pausing the game with Start, nothing more is required to play this game. It also has acceptable controls for keyboard, using the arrow keys and Space bar.
Each Zone is remixed from classic levels, with most of them sure to be familiar to long time players of the series. You have Splash Hill in the style of classic Green Hill levels, Casino Street which takes Casino and spring based levels, Lost Labyrinth with the expected ruins and water, and Mad Gear which brings back the mechanical base levels. There is also E.G.G. Station, which consists of a boss run and final boss fight in Robotnik's typical space base, and the Special Stage, which is the seven levels containing the Chaos Emeralds, and based on the special levels from the original game.
Each of the 4 main Zones has 4 Acts with the final Act always having a boss fight against Robotnik. Most of these fights have been taken from previous games, but since each fight is split into two sections where Robotnik tries new tactics, at least you won't be expecting everything.
Despite each Zone having a main theme, most Acts will each have a gimmick to set them apart from other levels in the game. One level will have you running through dark ruins with a burning torch to light your way, another will have you shooting yourself from cannons, a third will have you escaping from a giant cog. This will keep the levels from being too repetitive despite many of the gimmicks being featured in older games.
Beyond the main levels of the game you still have the seven Chaos Emeralds to collect, with all seven unlocking Super Sonic as a playable character, as fans would expect. Within this game, he is playable in the regular levels, a feature that hasn't been part of the series since the original Mega Drive games, with other titles giving him his own special level to complete at the end of the game. There is also a total of 12 achievements to unlock during the game if you are interested in such things.
While this game might not be to the same standard as the classic trilogy, it is still a decent game for the series, and worth playing through if you enjoy the Sonic games.