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"It is time to reinvent Sonic," Sega told NewsWeek's N'Gai Croal during an interview last week. We've spent the time since then pondering exactly what that could mean - especially taking into consideration Sega's intent to "make Sonic contemporary again."
So, with little or no fanfare, here he is. Feast your eyes on the reinvented Sonic, the Sonic for a new generation of photo-realistic consoles and graphics-hungry gamers. After all, realism is so in right now. You can barely move for 'realistic physics' and 'accurately modeled environments' nowadays.
But don't worry if you're not keen - below we've four more ideas for trend-sensitive directions for Sega's mascot.
Above: Could this be the new, photo-realistic Sonic? Well, it's not impossible...
Survival Horror Sonic
Everyone's favorite bright blue hedgehog awakes to the sound of air-raid sirens in a mysterious, filth-strewn motel complex, after passing out following a heavy night hunting zombies.
Guide Sonic through this hellish landscape, battering fleshbeasts with brightly-colored crowbars and collecting the gore-flecked rings that spill from their punctured craniums.
Tails has been fatally wounded, and Sonic's only hope to save him is to painstakingly pound the globe collecting a series of inexplicably useful artefacts.
Use Sonic's new whip-cracking ability to traverse huge gaps! Gun down crowds of faceless, lazily fleshed-out mercenaries! And stack crates on top of one another in ancient caverns to unlock previously undiscovered, yet supernaturally powerful trinkets!
Roam a fully realized Green Hill Zone consisting of destructible trees and deformable terrain, while cracking down on Dr. Robotnik's legions of evil henchmen who wage surprisingly violent gang wars between their many factions.
Climb to Hill Top Zone and enjoy incredo-distant views. Mooch around while the bridge to Chemical Plant Zone is finished by invisible workmen. Or, if you're bored, sprint over fluffy locals going about their business and snatch rings to buy new hats, shoes and spike-extensions.
Curb Sonic's previously thrilling high-speed antics in this plodding, shadow-obsessed sneak-'em-up where all your enemies are forever facing away from you and investigating the view from conveniently-placed ledges.
Activate the Sixaxis motion-sensitivity for an extra level of challenge, as you try to complete the game while not moving your hands and jiggling the rings Sonic is carrying, alerting every nearby guard until you can out-run their goldfish-like memories.
April 4, 2007