E3 2006 First Look Preview
This generation, Sonic the Hedgehog will be more prolific
than ever. With three brand-new, console-specific titles on their way, Sonic could
soon become the series with the most sequels and spin-offs.
On Nintendo Wii, gamers have Sonic Wild Fire to look forward
to. The next-gen spiritual successor to Sonic Adventure will be appearing on
both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Last year, Sonic Rush hit the DS with
astonishing results. And soon he will dash into PSPs everywhere in his first
side-scrolling racing adventure: Sonic Rivals.
Polygonal environments, two-player competitions, levels that
are based on speed, not scavenger hunts – these are the things that made Sonic
a hit in the first place (except for the polygon stages, which has been a more
Rivals is fast, exciting to watch, and looks to be very
addictive. Sonic and company charged through each stage, leading to cool
background changes that are best described as a 2.5D effect. The gameplay is
strictly side-scrolling, but the stages three-dimensional. Together they make
an interesting pair, adding a new level of eye candy to the classic Sonic
But don’t think with all this talk of “classic” gameplay
that Sonic Rivals is a rehash. Remember, this is a racing game first and
foremost. You don’t drive cars, karts, or motorcycles – you race to the end of
the level on foot. Sonic’s running shoes should come in handy during close
battles, but it’s the shortcuts that’ll help most hedgehogs prevail.
Shadow the Hedgehog, Knuckles the Echidna, and Dr. Eggman
(formerly known as Dr. Robotnik in the United States) are the only two
confirmed “rivals.” If there are other characters in the game, Sega is
currently keeping them a secret. They have also yet to announce how many of these
rivals will be playable.
Each character is said to have their own level path, which
makes sense when you look at Sega’s other recent racing game, Sonic Riders. In
Riders, every character was given a special gameplay type that allowed them to
traverse exclusive areas of each stage.
Expect to encounter a lot of twists and turns, as well as
some of the most entertaining environments designed for a Sonic title. The game
is scheduled to hit stores sometime this fall – look for myself and other
gamers to line up to play it as soon as it does.