Sonic and the Secret Rings Wii Review - 09/04/2007

Sonic’s first solo outing since, well the beginning really, the addition of his friends to games has been the downfall of the franchise apart from the sublime Sonic 2 on the Megadrive, but then again that was 1992.

Sonic’s back, and this time he’s left all his friends behind.

Sonic, for the first time, has also been taken out of his familiar world and put into the world of genie’s and magic carpets as he takes on the Arabian Nights. The story begins with the aforementioned hedgehog enjoying the story of the fourty thieves through the use of pastel shaded drawings, which whilst looking very pretty, annoy in equal measure as they are unskippable and the cheesy American voice over grates.

This game looks amazing, something that couldn’t be levelled at most Wii games at the moment: textures are smooth, the frame rate is good, with barely a hint of slow-down even with a packed screen, effects take on screen edge blurring and the usual sun glare effects that developers love to put into every game these days.

The sound effects are classic Sonic and the sound of collecting rings still brings nostalgic memories into the head, unfortunately the god awful tunes from previous games make their way back in here. I recommend putting on some music of your own, otherwise you might go insane.

Sonic vs. a T-Rex – I have a feeling that despite his secret ring, the dinosaur would win…

Stages are still put into levels but each one feels different from desert oases to lands of pirates and dinosaurs, each level brings something new and with it lots of challenges. Each level is made up of eight different ways to complete the course, from just getting to the goal, to not getting hit, to beating the boss. This is where the ring dynamic comes into play: it’s an RPG inspired levelling up deal, where if a course demands speed you give Sonic a boost with boost add-ons, if however you need to defeat a set amount of enemies then a more armour plated hedgehog is called for.

To be honest I found this part of the game tedious and it detracts from the main game far too much, it’s like Sonic Team cant leave well alone, they should be commended for making this stunning return to form, but just leave it like Sonic should be; pure unadulterated speed. If I wanted to play an RPG I’d play Oblivion on the Xbox360, I don’t want to see it in a Sonic game.

The only down side for the game is the sometimes unfair advantage given to enemies when you have to backtrack because you have over run something you should have collected. Jumping and locking on also slows what can be a blisteringly fast game.

Sonic Kebab anyone?

I also have to mention the Floating Ruins as the one weak spot in this game, the level design although good does cause problems when the wind effect that is put in can sometimes cause Sonic to get stuck on the environment, causing immense frustration. I almost didn’t get onto the next level as the disc was almost destroyed in a ‘Frisbee’ accident of frustration.

The controls work well, but after all the game is on rails and only a left and right movement using the remote is needed - this can be quite sensitive, but all in all it works very well most of the time. Jumping is handled by thrusting the controller upwards and takes a bit of getting used to. Using Sonic’s special powers is implemented on the D-Pad, once unlocked of course, these enable the slowing and speeding up of time and you can sometimes unintentionally press them in the heat of battle.

Not only is Sonic a great single player affair, but the multiplayer mode could certainly rival a particular Italian plumber's games - there are a wealth of options and the mini-games are in excess of thirty, and unlike the poor showing on Monkeyball, the games here are superb and only a few stinkers are present. The only downside is this gives the entourage of Sonic, Tails and Knuckles a chance to muscle their way into the game along with four more interlopers to unlock.

This is the best Sonic game since 1992 and a brilliant game in its own right, my only advice would be to go buy it now, before it speeds off the shelves.

- Emera1d



Sonic Team