By Fred Topel | Image property of respective holders
I haven’t really played Sonic the Hedgehog since Sonic 2 came out for Sega Genesis. I know they went platform style once all the 64 bit systems became all the rage. They must have worked out all the kinks in the last decade and a half because Sonic Unleashed is awesome.
The speedy stages are the heart and bones of the game. They’re way too fast for me, though I’m sure today’s kids think they’re too slow. I keep circling around trying to get all the rings but if I want to just blast through, I get the point. It’s giving my poor kittens little kitty seizures.
The nighttime action levels are fun too. They’re still fast, more like the speed I’m accustomed to Sonic being, only this is when he slows down. Combat is fun, particularly because of his were-hog outreached arms, so there’s a bit of a spacial twist. The coolest parts of those levels are actually the swinging around timing your way to different objectives. They certainly came up with all the different nuances of swinging through the environment.
Miscellaneous mini-levels change up the action even more, although a flying battle is more just matching buttons like the old Simon game. One of the speedy boss levels kicked my ass because I foolishly skipped past the special control screen so I had no idea what to do. I’ll get back to that.
My only personal complaint is the unskippable cut scenes. They’re beautifully animated, I just don’t care. I want to zoom through the levels and beat up monsters. I get that perhaps, for kids, it’s important to force them to watch the story, lest they lose their place. To me, it’s a bathroom break.
The various levels are so much fun that I imagine I’ll revisit them once I’ve beaten the game and gotten the hang of the new sonic speed. There are enough different paths and hidden sections that you really will just want to go back on the ride. Whether it’s looping the rails or rolling through the ground, it’s all breathtaking.