Summary: " Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 " is a fine addition to the Sonic franchise, returning the games to their 2D spiritual roots in style. Its enjoyable but remains a Sonic game, with all the flaws of the old Megadrive titles, the last of which is now 16 years old. It simply hasn’t progressed and moved on with the genre. Beyond simply dropping behind the completion at times it is like it has even regressed from the old games by over complicating them.
Excerpt: The title screen sets the precedent. Sonic poses behind a familiar looking emblem, waggling his finger expectantly at the screen as chirpy chip tune music plays in the background. Kids of the nineties will bask in the nostalgia radiating from the screen, fingers twitching as old cheat codes materialise in their minds. As he stands there, beckoning players to press the start button, we’re told exactly what Sonic 4 is all about.
Excerpt: Sonic returns on the XBox 360. What ? Oh that’s right, unfortunately there is no SEGA console but Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 is classic Sonic all the way to its core. Featuring all those colourful Sonic characters, this game is truly a homage to 16-bit gaming but even though it’s missing that “wow” factor from the original games, it’s actually quite an entertaining experience on the 360.
Excerpt: After a 16-year absence, consoles finally have a new side-scrolling Sonic adventure, and it winds up being a strange marriage of something blue, a few things new, and many things borrowed. It’s technically very good in many ways, and features some new things compared to the ‘90s Genesis games, but not many, and the usage of classic level archetypes makes them feel recycled even if the level designs are largely new - and it doesn’t help that boss battles are recycled from...
Conclusion: With a toe-tapping soundtrack, glitzy presentation and obvious accessibility, Sonic 4 Episode 1 has much to be proud of. Gamers who recall the early nineties and yearn for a simpler time when true 3d was restricted to bad sci-fi movies should lap this title up, but there’s definitely a sense that it could, or indeed should have been more.
Excerpt: We’ve had, amongst others, the Adventure and Rush series, Sonic Heroes, the Sonic Rush series, Sonic and the Secret Rings, Sonic and the Black Knight, the 2006 Sonic the Hedgehog reboot and Sonic Unleashed, but we haven’t had a proper numbered sequel until now. Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 is the first downloadable episode of, well, however many SEGA wants to make and takes the series back to its roots, stripping it back to its simpler and earlier days.
Pros: Visuals faithfully re-create the look of the original Sonic games, The homing attack is a fun and effective addition to Sonic's repertoire, Some fun level design lets you put Sonic's speed to great use
Cons: Poor boss fights range from dull and easy to dull and frustrating, Some bad level design brings things to a standstill, Overly ruthless about chaos emeralds, Encourages you to play one stage again and again to get extra lives