|Sonic the Hedgehog 4|
|Developer: Sonic Team, Dimps|
|System(s): Wii (WiiWare), Xbox 360 (Xbox Live Arcade), PlayStation 3 (PlayStation Network), iOS, Windows Phone 7, PC (Steam), Android|
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 is the collective term for two episodic Sonic the Hedgehog video games; Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I and Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II, released in 2010 and 2012, respectively. It is a controversial sequel to Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, marketed as being a return to the franchises' 2D roots.
During development the game was codenamed Project Needlemouse, after Mr. Needlemouse, a name given to several early prototypes of Sonic. While overseen by Sonic Team, much of the development was handled by long-time Sonic collaborators, Dimps.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 is set shortly after the events of Sonic 3 & Knuckles and takes place before the events of "Sonic Adventure". After Sonic manages to destroy Doctor Eggman's space station, he decides it is time to take a much deserved break. After parting with his companions Tails and Knuckles, Sonic sets off to explore new territories alone.
However, unbeknownst to him, his nemesis, Dr. Eggman, has survived their last encounter, and has revisited and improved some of his very best robotic creations in another attempt to defeat Sonic. Sonic must travel through a variety of zones to defeat Dr. Eggman once again.
The first episode sees Sonic travelling through four main zones: Splash Hill, Casino Street, Lost Labyrinth and Mad Gear, where he battles Dr. Eggman and altered versions of his past contraptions. Upon handling Dr. Eggman's four initial mechanisms, Sonic then squares off against the doctor in a boss battle marathon. If the game is finished with all seven Chaos Emeralds collected, a post-credits cutscene is shown, teasing the appearance of Metal Sonic in the next episode.
Episode II primarily focuses on Sonic's rivalry with Metal Sonic, following on from their last encounter during the events of Sonic CD. Tails also joins Sonic in this episode. Eggman uses Metal to keep Sonic at bay while his plan gets put into motion, which is a new Death Egg.
Sonic 4 attempts to replicate the feel of the Sega Mega Drive Sonic games with elements such as side scrolling levels and classic-style badniks. Each zone features 3 acts, similar to Sonic 1's design, along with a boss act. The Homing Attack and Spin Dash are present. Monitors return in this game, and power-ups attainable from them include the Speed Shoes, Shield, and Invincibility.
Special Stages are present with a Sonic 1 or Sonic 2 aesthetic. If all 7 Chaos Emeralds are collected in the Special Stage and 50 or more rings are collected the player will be able to transform into Super Sonic, a feature which has not been implemented in regular levels in an action Sonic game since Sonic 3 and Knuckles. The transformation is activated by pressing a button that is not Jump, making transforming into Super Sonic less likely to be accidental. In the Wii version, it's simply the button, while on the 360 it is the / buttons.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 is a controverisal game among fans of the Sonic franchise. With the majority of the original Sonic Team having left Sega, production of the game was spreaheaded by Takashi Iizuka and built primarily by the external studio, Dimps. Both halves of the game have attracted criticism, from Sonic's post-Sonic Adventure "modern" appearance which contradicts his look in Sonic 4's direct prequels (which in turn led to a large petition from fans to restore the older look), to the relatively poor quality of the graphics, music and crucially gameplay.
Thought to have been built on the Sonic Rush engine, the physics model, particularly in the first game, is regarded to be simpler and inaccurate, leading to unexpected losses in momentum and strange collision detection, particularly in regards to half-pipes or loops. Compared to prior 2D titles, there are a significant number of "automated" sections of the game, with much reliance on springs, speed boosters and chains performed with the homing attack.
Many of the game's ideas are recycled from earlier Sonic games (there are no new badniks in Episode I, and battles with Eggman mirror those of Sonic 1 and Sonic 2, albeit with some extra changes), and the music has also been subject to criticism. Episode II alleviates some of the problems but initial plans for further episodes appear to have been shelved entirely.
|Sonic the Hedgehog 4|