Video game review: Sonic Colours

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Sonic Colours
Wii, DS
Sega

Over time, various video game titles and consoles receive updates, expansions, revivals, and sequels. But Sonic the Hedgehog is one that desperately needs to die.

Even those out of the gaming loop know who this speedy blue hedgehog is. Sega’s poster critter was one of the biggest crazes in the early ’90s, releasing several acclaimed games and two popular ABC cartoons shortly before it entered redundancy.

The series was expected to fade out until Sega shocked everyone with 1998’s Sonic Adventure, and again in 2001 with Sonic Adventure 2. In a perfect world, Sega would’ve ended Sonic on a high note, but instead they chose to repeat history: Two more bizarre cartoons and a slew of embarrassing games. Once again, we anticipated an upcoming end for Sonic, but at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, Sega revealed other plans: Sonic Colours.

As the story goes, Sonic’s notorious archenemy, Dr. Eggman, has apparently repented his evil ways. In an attempt to convince us, he’s built the single most epic theme park the gaming world has seen in recent years.

However, Sonic and his pal, Tails, are one step ahead, and faster than Sonic himself, we unravel Eggman’s “secret” plan. Sonic Colours introduces us to a new race of aliens called Wisps. They are cute, mostly squid-like creatures that harness a different ability depending on their specific color – cyan turns you into a laser, orange into a rocket. Eggman of course is using the theme park as a forced captivity for the Wisps, and plans on using their powers for his own gain.

Sega has been trying to make 2010 the year of Sonic’s revival, from stripping their least popular games from shelves to – finally – hiring a brand new voice cast. Their attempts, as usual, have been hit and miss. For example, Sonic Adventure was ported to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation3 in September, which was met with a near-universal panning.

However, Sonic Colours seems to be the best Sonic the Hedgehog game we’ve seen in a long time.

Although there is a copy for the Nintendo DS, which contains different features, I’ll be covering the Wii’s version. The game play in Sonic Colours literally blends that of every past Sonic game, often switching from first-person to side-scrolling views, and referencing some classic scenes and moves as well. Some of the Wisps, like cyan, really enhance the game, while others can quickly become an annoyance. But as you progress, you gradually unlock more Wisps, which makes for some serious replay value.

Then there’s the graphics, which are without a doubt some of the best we’ve ever seen on the Wii. The levels are colourful and absolutely stunning, and the theme park designs range from a trippy space station to a mountain made of cakes, candies, and hamburgers. In other words, you’re going to have a lot of fun.

Unfortunately though, you’ll be crossing some painful difficulty spikes in later levels, succumbing to the ever-annoying “cheap death.” Basically, your first play-through will be your worst, but that can be said for any game. Depending on your sense of humour or nostalgia, you may find the dialogue amusing or embarrassing; the game really is geared towards younger kids. Still, even if you’re not a big Sonic fan, the game is definitely worth a rental.

Angela Espinoza
Other Press (Douglas College)

(Online editor's note: yes, I realize that this game was released as "Sonic Colors" in all of North America, but seriously, it's just spelled wrong in Canada. So I fixed it.)

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