Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1 Xbox 360 Review

Due to the fact that I have reactions as quick as an unconscious sloth, I’ve only just realised that the release of the Sonic 4 Episode 2 Teaser Trailer, is a good excuse- I mean reason, for me to upload another review that’s just sitting around on my computer. So here’s my review for the first Episode of Sonic 4. Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1!


After 16 years, the sequel to Sonic the Hedgehog 3 has arrived. And the amazing thing about it? It offcially sucked before it was released! Nah only joking, but the amount of moaning from fans that it wasn’t 16 bit, and that Sonic had his homing attack was just over the top! Sonic 4 is a good game!
However it’s not as if it doesn’t have flaws. And no it’s not to do with his homing attack or his green eyes. It’s his speed. It’s not that he’s slower. He still runs as fast as he used to. It’s the fact that he takes a while to get up to that speed. In the original game, as soon as you pushed right, Sonic shot off. In Sonic 4 he takes a while to get his momentum going. You will notice this as soon as you start Gree- sorry, Splash Hill Zone.


Another thing, that’s not as noticable (mainly because you won’t do it), is the fact that when you spin dash off an edge, Sonic will lose all his momentum, and plummet straight down, as if gravity just suddenly intensified. Something else that’s wrong with his spin dash is that in the old games, they taught you that spin dashing up a wall made you go faster and therefore higher. But in this game, it teaches you that spin dashing up a wall makes you go slower, and therefore lower.
Something else is the incredibly short length. There are six zones. Four of them are the main zones, and each of them consist of three acts and a boss. One of the zones is the special stage zone, which can only be unlocked by completling the first special stage. You can play any special stages you’ve completed it here. And the last is the final zone, and I can’t remember what it’s called. It’s something like Egg Station. Anyway this is where you fight the final boss. Or bosses.


Something nice is that each act has it’s own little gimmick. Most are good, but some are just bad.
So Splash Hill Zone has vines you can swing on, and ziplines. The Casino Zone has cards you can run on, canons that shoot you in the directions of your choice, and cards that act as platforms until they turn vertical. And of course the pinball tables.
The Labyrinth Zone has mine carts you can ride on, giant boulders that chase you Jones style, boulders you can run on, some sort of water chambers that you have to break out of, and that DAMN TORCH! You will remember that level, and I have not played it since the first time. It’s not the torch that’s the problem. You begin the level in the dark, and you can use the torch to light lanterns, which in turn light the room. You can also use it to light fuses to explosives that are in your way. But there is one puzzle that’s just really annoying. You’ll know it when you get to it. And one of the water chambers can be really aggrovating.
Mad Gear Zone has those rotating tubes and gears from Sonic 2, and those Slicers that everyone hated. But now they’re slower, and easier to kill. Revenge shall be ours! It also features a giant drill, and steam vents.
Now while playing, you may get a sense of deja vu. And rightly so. Each zone, is basically just a zone from either Sonic 1 or 2, given HD graphics and a different name. Generations a year early!


Anyway how does the game control? It’s fluent. It feels a bit slow at the beginning, but that’s just Sonic gaining momentum. The controls are the same as the 16 bit Sonic games. No changes what so ever, apart from the addition of the homing attack, but that’s just A and A. And it’s not really a change, being as though it wasn’t there before (in the 16 bit games). It’s more of an addition.
I might as well mention the special stages. They’re the same as the stages from the first game, but instead of controlling Sonic, you control the rotation of the stage. There’s also a time limit that has been added. You can gain time, by hitting power ups on the way. You will also need to collect rings so as you can open gates, that need a certain amount for you to pass. Think of it as a toll booth.
The aim of the special stages is to get to the Chaos Emerald, before time runs out. You’ll also need to avoid the red circles with exclamation marks. They’re just like the goal circles in the original. Hit one of them and the stage will end. Here’s a tip for the special stages. If you’ve nearly ran out of time, or find yourself heading toward a red circle, press Start, and you’ll have the option to restart the level. You’ll lose a live, but it makes it so much easier to get the Chaos Emeralds. Because of all this, the special stages are a lot easier in this game.


And of course, once you’ve collected all of them, you’ll get the one, the only, Super Sonic. It’s as if Sonic drank 50 cups of coffee, in one go. Good ol’ Super still plays the same. Destroying everything in sight, just by touching them. Although you can still die from falling, and from being crushed.
So overall what do I think? Well it’s a good game, but with a couple of flaws with the physics, and with Sonic starting off too slow. And although most of the levels are fun to replay (and even more fun to replay when you unlock Super Sonic), and some are a challenge, and some are a pain in the arse, it’s just too short! I know it’s only episode one, but for 800 Microsoft Points, or 1500 Wii Shopping points, or for however much on the iPod and PS3, it’s too short.
Final score. I’m going to give it a 7 out of 10. A good game, but a bit too short, and with a few flaws. Looking forward to Sonic 4 2. I know Ben is too, mainly in the hope that there is a Tails avatar costume.

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