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 is
Sonic 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 Blast
boring. 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
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.