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Sonic 4: Episode 1 - YOUR questions answered

Danny Dunning: Is the boss music awesome? Sonic 1, 2 , 3 and Knuckles all have epic boss music. I just couldn't handle it if Sonic 4 has 'meh' boss music. I'll crack. I can't take that kind of a let-down.
Danny, I wish I could tell you, but Sega wouldn't show us the boss so I don't know. However, the music so far is excellent, as Brett pointed out in hisrecent article, so it should be great. Also, the game is full of old music stings, from Sonic 3's Continue theme to the end of act and emerald collect chime. Plus the boss in the screenshots looks identical to that of Sonic 1, so a retro nod to the old theme is definitely not out of the question.

Presidh Macaden: Why the f*** are sonic games pouring in every f***in year??!!
Because it makes money. Sega is a business after all.

William Allenby: Will all the stages be as nostalgiarific as Splash Hill? Mix of old and new perhaps?
Good word, William. Nostalgiarific they most certainly will be. We saw Casino Night, Lost Labyrinth and Mad Gear zone on the level select screen (which undoubtedly populates once you've passed a level). The thumbnail for Lost Labyrinth looks like being a direct return to the Labyrinth zone of Sonic 1, while Casino Night will undoubtedly plunder Sonic 2 and 3. It's worth mentioning too that Splash Hill features the S tunnel from Sonic 1, the twist strips from Sonic 2, ziplines from Sonic 3... almost everything, in fact, is recycled from the old games. Hopefully there's some new stuff too later on.

Above: Restart points and speed boosts are both familiar sights

Barrie Baw Sellars: Is Jack Bauer in it?
If you look closely at the left-most face of the second Emerald, Jack can clearly be seen holding a gun to a squirrel's head. If you stand on one foot, chant his name and squint a bit, he puts down the gun and proposes to it.

Alison J Campbell: Is there any gimmicks to it (or stupid extra characters), or is it genuinely going old school?
It's proper old-school, with the one addition of a homing attack when you jump, so you can hop across lines of flying enemies to reach otherwise inaccessible platforms. Characater-wise, it's just Sonic and Eggman (yes, he's called Eggman again... grrr), although Iizuka-san of Sonic Team did mention in an interview that fans would be pleased with the line-up for Episode 2. Hopefully he only means Tails and maybe Knuckles. At least Episode 1 is just Sonic on his own.

Dan Harris: WhatXBL and PSNfunctions is it gonna have? Anything new and interesting? Or just the same old leaderboards et al?
There will be online leaderboards for time attack and score attack modes. Each of these modes is a separate gameplay decision, each with its own HUD, again most likely unlocked after you've finished an act once.

Jeremiah Pelley: Is this going to be alot like the Game Boy/DS sonic games? It looks a lot like them and it's not something I'm really interested in.
It's co-developed by Sonic Team and Dimps - the latter of which made Sonic Rush on DS. There are some nods to the GBA games, like the way Sonic opens up his body as he ascends after a spring jump, but I'd say it's most like a cross between Sonic 2 and Sonic Rush. If you mean is it moving away from Sonic Unleashed, then yes it is. Even the side-on bits are different, and there's no 'trick' button when you're airborne.

Above: Very little of thegameis flat like this. Speed is used sparingly

Philip Tomlinson: Do the physics still have the weightiness of the Megadrive games? What are the Special Stages like and will Super Sonic be playable in-game? Also, how is the level layout compared to the originals? The balance between speed and platforming changed?
Wow, that's a lot of questions, Phil. The physics do not have the same weight as the Mega Drive game. It's more like a cross between Sonic CD and Sonic Rush. It's not as close to the original trilogy as I'd personally like, but it doesn't look awful. For Special Stages, see above. Super Sonic will indeed be playable as you can collect all 7 emeralds in Episode 1. As for the platforming... the routes through the level do feature fewer peripheral platforms on the set route, so you're mainly taking a linear path through the act. However, there is a slower, more deliberate feel to it than Sonic Rush's constantspeed, so it's more like the old games in that respect. And there are high, medium and low routes through the acts I saw, so it's not just the same game every time you play.

Justin Towell
Justin worked on the GamesRadar+ staff for 10 whole years. Imagine that. Now he is a contributor, specialising in racing games, retro, and Sanic.