Birdies! Love the Birdies!!
Good old forgetful Sonic has lost the Chaos Emeralds again. (Where to get an emerald that is not green has been a question that has haunted me since the first Sonic the Hedgehog.) This time they've landed on Flicky Island, home of the interdimensional birdies aptly called Flickies. Dr. Robotnik is also hot on the trail of the Emeralds, so it's up to Sonic to save the day once again and find all the Chaos Emeralds first. Maybe this time he'll put them somewhere safe. (I recommend a sock drawer.)
There were some high expectations for Sonic's premiere voyage onto the Saturn. The rarely known Sonic CD for the Sega CD was Sonic's first adventure on CD and it was pretty good. Sonic 3D Blast, however, seems to have taken a step in the wrong direction. No longer trapped in two dimensions, Sonic is now free to roam around in an isometric world. Unfortunately, as cool as this game is to look at, it eventually becomes remarkably boring to play.
Kudos to Sega for some of the sharpest graphics we have ever seen. The rounded, cartoony atmosphere is perfect for Sonic 3D Blast, right down to the monkeys on the trees. The character design is just as funky as ever: one of your enemies appears to be a distant cousin of the Michelin Man. If sprites bore you, the polygonal bonus levels should make you happy. The halfpipe bonus levels, first seen in Sonic 2 are back again and crazier than ever. Now, there are ledges you have to jump, accelerators you have to hit, and distorted tracks which spin like a corkscrew right underneath you. There should have been an option to just play the bonus levels, but that's what secrets are for . . . I hope.
The sound and background music are identical in style to the previous Sonics, but sound a lot better on the CD systems. There is a slight, but noticeable, load time for the special music when you get invincibility or speed shoes, which gets annoying. The jump noise, shield, and popping of the enemies seem to have been sampled from the original Sonic the Hedgehog, but somehow fit with the cartoony atmosphere.
The gameplay is where Sonic 3D Blast really suffers. This isSonic the Hedgehog, he's always been fast, he should always be fast. (That is until age catches up with him and he has to start using a walker.) The people at Sega seem to have forgotten this simple fact. Sonic 3D Blast is SLOW!
Because this is a much more non-linear game, you have to take your time, kill all the enemies, and collect little birdies. This addition is what makes Sonic 3D Blastboring. You can no longer just run as fast as you can through a level just to get it over with. Even worse is the lack of a save feature. In order to win, you have to sit down for many hours and play continuously until you defeat Robotnik.
Sonic 3D Blast isn't a bad game in the grand scheme of things, but is probably the worst Sonic game ever made. This is
not to say that little kids might not like it. In fact, the cute graphics
and characters would probably be perfect. In an era of violent, bloody
games, parents have a hard time finding good games for their young
children. Sonic 3D Blast is perfect for a younger crowd of game
players. As for the rest of us, rent it before you buy. While this game
may be your cup of tea, it definitely isn't the Sonic we know and love.