Sonic 4: Episode I - updated hands-on

I don’t know what the hell fanboys are bitching about. Sonic 4 is exactly the game I’ve always wanted to play. This here’s a picture I whipped up two years ago for an article called “10 Games that need the Mega Man 9 treatment...”

Above: Millions of you have been granted my wish!

Seriously, people?! Are there really even a handful of people that were excited to play this game until they found out Sonic had greens eyes?! Such is the cost of longevity, I s’pose. From comic to cartoons, 2D to 3D, Sonic’s fanbase is not only console specific, it’s even spans multiple mediums. And with so many incredibly vocal factions, I’d just gone ahead and written off all Sonic fans as virtually unpleasable.

Fortunately for you, Sega doesn’t see it that way, and its employing multiple platforms to deliver Sonic to specific sects of Hedgehog fandom in a manner anybody with a vested interest in his future should be commending.

Sonic Colors on Wii is taking a 3D stab at Super Mario Galaxy platforming bliss, the DS version recalls the overlooked greatness of Sonic Rush. The Blue Blur is getting his own Kinect game, for motion-controller crazy kiddies who love the Riders series. And Sonic 4?! Oh Good Holy Lord, Sonic 4 harkens back to the “gloriest” of hedgehog glory days in a brilliantly conceived plan to appeal to his oldest fans.

As the star of the highest selling games on Sega’s best selling console, if you were one of the 40 or so million people lucky enough to own a Genesis/Mega Drive, chances are you’ve some history with Sonic. And you’d be a moron of the highest caliber to deny yourself the opportunity to relive that legacy on PSN, XBLA and Wii just because the color of his pupils.

I’ll be honest: As head-over-heels elated I was with the idea Mega Man 9, the execution didn’t really do it for me. Turns out, maybe you can’t hinge an entire game, let alone multiple games, on preexisting nostalgia alone. So whereas Capcom attempted to simply amplify “that old feelin” Sega’s building off of it in this direct follow up to Sonic and Knuckles, and I’m digging the holy hell out of it.

Above: BWoOo

For one, the homing attack and midair dash Sonic gained from his 3D outings proves a fantastic addition to the 2D formula. Few people care to remember that Sonic was a recklessly piss-poor jumper, so this newly implemented technique not only increases accuracy and staves off spike/pit related peril, you may now chain homing attacks to achieve otherwise unreachable heights.

And that’s another thing Sonic 4 remembers that many of his 2D speed runs have forgotten: The level itself. While exploration’s become secondary to sheer velocity, blowing through the levels at the speed of Blast Processing wasn’t what had my generation replaying Sonic games over and over again.

Above: Now that's what I'm talking about!

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  • SCW - August 11, 2010 7:53 p.m.

    Awesome article chris. I like the fact that there willing to give me that nostalgic feeling while yet introducing newer updates to the genre. Lets hope the music kicks all kinds of ASS!
  • HawtKakez - August 11, 2010 8:40 a.m.

    I wonder if they will call Eggman "Robotnik" in this game. For some reason, Robotnik was a much more enjoyable name but that might just be my rose tinted nostalgia glasses talking.
  • shadowreaper72 - August 11, 2010 8:08 a.m.

    What ? People are bitching bout his eye color? Sigh..... I swear bitch about the stupid ass shit nowadays. Nevertheless I am looking forward to playing this game but seeing as the individual episodes dont last that long each episode better be only 5 dollars each or I probably wont buy it.
  • Redeater - August 11, 2010 5:09 a.m.

    The only problem with Sonic is that it is not nearly as good as everyone remembers.I loved Sonic 1,2,3 and Sonic Adventure 1&2. Hell I even had the game gear games. Thing is I have all the Mario games as well and while I play all of them on a somewhat monthly basis I have no desire to play Sonic again after my brief play on Sonic Collection. My main hope is that 5-10 years from now Sonic 4 will be a game I want to "take off my shelf".
  • notallgoodnameswheretaken - August 11, 2010 3:31 a.m.

    I completely agree with this article, but I thought this was supposed to be out by summer.
  • Usgo - August 11, 2010 1:52 a.m.

    how could they possibly fuck up sonic 4? ....dlc.....sigh......
  • Thuperman - August 11, 2010 12:08 a.m.

    Im with CoolBowling on this one, everything looks great on this game so far but i really want the music to be like the old ones as well
  • Anonymous93 - August 11, 2010 12:04 a.m.

    Is it back to Robotnik or is it still Eggman?
  • bmrskate - August 10, 2010 11:58 p.m.

    Ok, I'm jealous! I want me some Sonic 4 action! I will preorder this so quick that Sega will be forced to ditch the idea of 3D Sonic forever! The REAL Sonic might just have dusted off his old running shoes!
  • whiteknight1981 - August 10, 2010 11:55 p.m.

    Oh man, I admit it Mr. Chris I was one of those nitpicky Sonic fans. I had fond memories of being a little one playing hours and hours of Sonic, and I always thought that the new Sonic never quite had that sense of speed since his legs didn't blur out like a cartoon. Isn't that stupid? Just the fact that his legs blur in this revisit gets me all excited! That and there is NO STUPID GIMMICKS! Sonic is Sonic who jumps and runs really fast, nough said and all he should ever be! So says nostalgia!
  • CoolBowling - August 10, 2010 10:56 p.m.

    How's the music?
  • shyfonzie - August 10, 2010 10:43 p.m.

    Sega, don't fuck up again!
  • gamingfreak - August 10, 2010 9:45 p.m.

    Could the nightmare finally be over!? I hope Sonic Colors will be good too.
  • crumbdunky - August 10, 2010 9:37 p.m.

    The Kinect "game" is an insult, from what I've seen to Sonic on EVERY level(even the effing Werehog!) as, the bits we heard about were slowed down to hide the system's lag for the player. Sob. Colours is more interesting but just doesn't scream Sonic at me at all and I'm not interested in it AT all. This, though, is the first time I've WANTED a Sonic game in 15 years!! My wife is, currently, trying to break a couple of Sonic2 speed run records(getting scarily close-if she does it I'll be suffering FOREVER having doubted her chances at the off but she flies now and is within milliseconds of making the World eat crow-and she REALLY can't cook so bring your own!!)and as a result I see PLENTY of our blue mate so for this to interest a jaded cynic like myself is saying something. Now, will they have DLC to alter those eyes? That WOULD be fan service.
  • me111 - August 10, 2010 9:32 p.m.

    Homing attack? Green eyes? Dr Eggman? You can consider my interest lost SEGA! I'd only get this game if I could get it to work on my MegaDrive! Nah just kidding, can't wait!
  • juicenpancakes - August 10, 2010 9:27 p.m.

    Yes! Now this is what I want. Not that Sonic Kinect crap. This looks fantastic.
  • nuno004 - August 10, 2010 9:13 p.m.

    yay i love the 2d sonic so much i got it on my ipod classic and now i can say i love sonic again
  • ChrisAntistaLikesLittleBoys - August 10, 2010 9:12 p.m.

    I am excite
  • Ridgley - August 10, 2010 9:11 p.m.

    You're all over Sonic today.