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Sonic Rush Review

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Developer: Sonic Team Publisher: SEGA
Release Date: November 15, 2005 Also On: None

Sonic must have run through a few too many loops on his early Genesis exploits, because he got dizzy and lost sight of what made him so great when his games popped up on 3D consoles. Since the Dreamcast’s Sonic Adventure, I’ve felt that the blue blur’s been suffocating and he needed to find that elusive air bubble to catch his breath and float back up to the top. With the DS’s Sonic Rush, he’s done just that. Sonic Rush is the best Sonic game since the Genesis.

I have to admit that Sonic Rush has a story that bored me to death. It’s the same idea as every other Sonic title — Sonic has to chase down Eggman in order to retrieve the Chaos Emeralds and stop his evil plans. The only real difference is the introduction of Blaze the Cat, who is basically a female, pink, feline version of Sonic that is a little fireier than her blue counterpart. She’s got a separate, equally-long quest of her own with a slightly different story, and she searches for the Sol Emeralds rather than the Chaos Emeralds. When it comes down to the gameplay, though, I didn’t really worry about why I was running rapidly through forests and deserts. I didn’t have time to.

This game is just as fast and smooth as any traditional Sonic fan would want it to be. Each of the seven Zones (which feature two Acts each, making 14 levels for each character) is comprised of several different paths, loops, elevators, bumpers, pits, and more. Simply put, it’s one of the most frantic games in the series. The action plays out on both the top and bottom screen of the DS in every level, and you’ll always have to watch out when you hit a bumper and fly into the air or dive underwater and explore the depths. None of this detracts from the speed, and the game runs very smoothly regardless of how fast Sonic or Blaze is running. The use of both screens as well as the levels being a bigger challenge makes the experience slightly harder than I expected. I had frequent deaths, annoying restarts from checkpoints, and the like. This stuff was pretty grating but it just pushed me to play better, and there wasn’t a single death that made me want to stop playing the game. It’s only seven Zones long, which means that a single sitting could be enough time to finish the entire game, but earning grades on each of the level and trying to achieve a high score was enough incentive for me to replay most of the levels.

Despite all of this crazy speed, the game controls well. There are a few new moves that differentiate the “hold the right button and jump occasionally” control scheme of past Sonic games. Sonic and Blaze can bust a few tricks in the air that fill up a meter on the left side of the screen. This meter allows both characters to execute a dashing move that kills enemies and propels you forward even faster than normal. Each character also has their own attack that is mapped to the right trigger button. Sonic does his dash-jump made a staple by Sonic Adventure, and Blaze does a little hover move that kills enemies. Combat in Sonic is a little difficult at first, as the game moves so quickly that it’s tough to even see enemies on the screen. It eventually turns into a twitchy reflex to hit the dash button and kill enemies in your path, and in the closed-in areas of the game, finishing off your foes is as simple as using the R-trigger attack.

I have to mention my favorite part of the entire game. Actually, by “part” I mean “parts”. In every Zone there are hidden objects that propel you into the half pipe coin-collecting stages from Sonic the Hedgehog 2. These stages are controlled using only the stylus, which makes them a lot of fun to control. By collecting coins and attacking enemies, as well as dodging obstacles, you finish these stages and find the seven Chaos/Sol Emeralds in the game.

Visually, Sonic Rush brings the beautiful, colorful 2D style of past Sonic games to the DS with polygonal, detailed character and enemy models. Adding to that are 3D boss fights at the end of every Zone. As I said, the game runs very smoothly and never hiccups, even when I would slam into enemies and lose all of my coins. The music goes well with the game, as it is a fast-paced rock and electronica mix that stimulates the action even more. The only annoying factor is the voices in the game. Sonic Rush is simple, fun and visually appealing to any Sonic fan. It isn’t perfect; the game is definitely too short. For the gameplay found here, though, it’s one of the best DS platforming games out there. Sonic fans, grab a DS and enjoy yourselves.

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 5
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 8
Written by Cliff Review Guide