It has been 16 years since Sonic the Hedgehog 3 came out and fans have waited for Sonic 4 and now it has arrived and fans everywhere are rejoicing. Sonic 4: Episode 1 is probably by far one of the best Sonic titles to come out since Sonic Adventure on the Sega Dreamcast.
The storyline for the game is the same as its predecessors. Dr. Eggman (AKA Dr.Robotnik) has gone out and kidnapped the cute creatures of the world and turned them into part of his evil robot army. Sonic must now set out and save the creatures and stop Eggman from making his robot army with the help of the Seven Chaos Emeralds.
As Sonic you will go different stages at high speeds to collect rings, collect the Chaos Emeralds, and save the creatures from the evil Dr.Eggman. Players will go through 4 different stages as well as going through optional special stages for the Chaos Emeralds. Each of these stages pays homage to classic Sonic stages in some way from Splash Hill taking elements from Green Hill from Sonic 1 is just one example of what players can expect when playing this game.
Special stages will also send players down memory lane aside from story stages themselves. Players will have full control of the stage for moving the stage will navigate Sonic through the direction they turn the stage. Players have a set time limit to either get to the goal or find the Chaos Emerald. Once players collect all seven of the Chaos Emeralds, they will have the ability to go Super Sonic.
Boss battles will also send players through memory lane for Dr.Eggman’s fighting style matches those that the stages represent. Take for example the Casino Stage that took many elements from the Casino stage of Sonic 2. The battle is nearly the same as that of Sonic 2, making boss battles not so difficult if you’ve already played Sonic 1-3. However, Eggman now has a new attack during his battles. When Eggman is almost defeated he will tend to use a different move which players must avoid if they hope to defeat him also giving Eggman a point where he is untouchable for a few seconds.
This game features only one character of the Sonic series and that is Sonic himself, no Knuckles, no Tails, not even Shadow, just the blue blur back to his roots. This game is just like its predecessors in almost every way and that’s actually one of the main problems this game has. When you have Sonic running at high speeds players might find themselves running too fast and eventually run off the stage and die.
However, Sonic 4 also fixed many problems that the series had. The routes seem more natural and not random such as Sonic 3 and each fit with their stages perfectly. There are many ways to go about stages some routes are long while others are fairly short. In one stage alone I found maybe 3-5 different ways to get to the finish giving the game a bit of variety on how to go about the stages.
Now to answer the question that many of you readers are wondering “Is it worth the buy?” Well the answer to that is yes and no. If you’re a Sonic fan hoping for a good Sonic title to make up for the latest blunders of the series and are a fan of the series by all means buy the game. However as the title states this is only Episode 1 and there are more episodes to come and most likely there may even be a release that has all the Episodes for non-stop action. So really it’s a tough decision whether to buy this title or not. But if you are a hardcore fan I highly recommend this purchase. If you’re just a casual gamer, I recommend holding off until the most likely release of all episodes on disc.