Okay, since Blueeyedrat has already done the cutscenes given so far, I might as well just skip straight to:
Windmill Isle Act 1
A.K.A: A Sunrise Stroll Through The Hills Of Apotos
This level serves as a tutorial for Sonic the Hedgehog's gameplay. I must say, after over a year of ownership, the visuals of this level still impresses me with its beauty. Makes me wonder if the actual island of Mykonos looks anything like this.
Back on topic, the first area of this level is a rather straightforward run, with little in the way of actual obstacles. Along the way, Chip gives us various tips, some of which are rather obvious to the seasoned Sonic fan.
After a run through a loop, we're launched into the second area. We run up into a group of springs, the weird thingamabobs of the series that can launch you to higher places. After using to leap to the higher elevation, we come across the first hint of actual platforming. Hitting the nearby Question Ring (a Question Mark floating in the middle of a ring of small, rainbow-colored spheres), Chip gives us a... "helpful" hint.
Chip: That's a big step, huh? Maybe you can jump it with the A button
Yes, Chip, I do know how to jump. No need to remind me...
Anyway, jumping up to the next platform, we come across a huge group of pots with a Question Mark informing you that yes, you can do the Spin Attack in the game. Perhaps, this section was made in response to Sonic the Hedgehog 2006, which didn't have the standard Spin Attack as a technique.
Spin-Bouncing along the tops of the pots, we come across the "Homing Attack" challenge. This tutorial is actually somewhat important; unlike the other 3D Sonics, the Homing Attack is not initiated by pressing the jump button twice. Rather, it's by pressing the A button, then pressing the X button. It's a little jarring the first time around, but you'll get used to it after a while.
Using the Homing Attack on the spring, we're launched to a gtrind rail, where we're sent to the third area of the level. Passing through the Point Marker, we coming across our first enemies, the Egg Fighter. The Egg Fighters are the main line of Eggman's Badniks for this game, not unlike the Egg Pawns from Heroes and Shadow. The Egg Fighters even bear a close resemblance to them; perhaps that's why they're colored red in this level. This level's Egg Fighters are the basic grunts, with only a single punch as their attack. A Homing Attack can easily destroy them.
Wiping the floor with them causes a Pulley to activate. Using it sends us to the next area, complete with more Egg Fighters and a new enemy, the Aero Cannon. There are two variants of these enemies: the standard Blue Models, and the rarer Gold Models (which are basically the Gold Beetles of this game). To my understanding, these enemies are a lot bigger in the SD versions; close to the size of the Egg Fighters, in fact. * Their main attack is a ball of energy, shot from their... well, cannon. Any means of offense will take them out.
Clearing house, we come across the final are, the "Quick Step" challenge. The Quick Step is one of the new abilities added to Sonic's arsenal for this game; this allows to quickly step over to the left and right of you while running. This is an essential skill, as this challenge shows. Here, you must run down a long, twisty bridge, while using the Quick Step to dodge the various Spike Traps laid a strewn throughout the pathway. For this level, it's quite easy, and the game gives you hints of where they'll be.
Reaching the end of the bridge, we're launched over to a corkscrew path, a staple in the Sonic series. Zooming through, we finally reach the Goal Ring. In this game, it's a giant ring with a red star in the center. Touching it, the game evaluates our score. For the daytime stages, the overall score is graded in four categories: Time, Rings Collected, Speed and Enemies Defeated. Like in the SD versions, Sonic and Chip will at the score as they're being graded.
For this runthrough, I've earned a B, with a score of 103,989. Not too bad, but it could be better.
Pressing A shows us the Status screen. In this game, you can level up both forms of Sonic, obviously improving his abilities and all that RPG-related jazz. This screen will also show the number of medals you've collected so far. I'll elaborate on this at a later update. For Sonic the Hedgehog, you can upgrade his speed and Ring Energy bar. For the Werehog, you can upgrade the number of combat skills you can use, your strength, your lifebar, your Unleashed bar and the numbers of Shields you can use.
Note: For the purpose of this Liveblog (and because I like a challenge), I will not upgrade either Hedgehog or Werehog.
After skipping the cutscene, having already been covered by my fellow Liveblogger, we are now in the first hub world: Apotos.
Unlike the hubworlds of Sonic Adventure and Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), the hubs of this game are much smaller and concentrated. The hubs are split into two sections; right now, we are in the "Village". The Village (or the Country-Specific Equivalent Thereof) is where you can interact with the locale. Right now, I'm going to go through the village, searching for medals. Might as well shoot the breeze while I'm here.
Going over to
DAN GREENthe Ice Cream Man, he has this to say:
Ice Cream Man: Hiya! So how'd you like my ice cream? Best you ever had, right?! Even if the planet were to crumble all around us, it'd still taste amazing!
Hey, you gotta respect a man who loves his work.
Moving on, we meet our next NPC: Sandra, an elderly woman. She has this to say to our colorful pair:
Sandra: Hello. Lovely weather we're having today, isn't it? Oh! And who's this little fellow here? Huh? Do I know him?
Huh? She seems interested in Chip. I wonder if she knows of Chip's ori-
No. I can't say I've seen him before. Perhaps someone else has.
Aw, pickles. Looking to the left, I spy my first Moon Medal in the game. Might as well pick up now; trust me, the reason why will be made apparent within a few updates.
Moving along, we meet Gregorios, who appears to be the game's equivalent of a priest. He has this to say:
Gregorios: Well, what have we here? Travelers? What a pleasant surprise. Hm? trying to figure out which way to go, hm? Not an easy choice.
Well, I wouldn't say that...
If you continue straight ahead, you will come to the Entrance Stage. I have an inkling that it leads to your future.
Now, we have a list of three option of what to say in response. Let's assume Sonic has a mild case of amnesia himself and don't know what the heck's an "Entrance Stage", shall we?
Sonic: An entrance what?
Surprised, Gregorios responds with:
Gregorios: An inquisitive response! It is good to have a curious mind. You see, the Entrance Stage is a gateway to... To what you'd call... Eh, it's a sort of hub where you may access several action stages. Gathering medals from all over the world will open new paths for you.
Now, we have two choices for Sonic to say. Let's assume Sonic has never seen a medal in his life and is curious as to what they are, shall we?
Sonic: What are medals?
Surprised again, Gregorios responds:
Gregorios: There are two kinds of medals in this world: sun and moon. Gathering sun medals increases the power of the sun within you. Gathering moon medals boosts the power of the moon within you. and increasing your power will... well... increase the number of action stages available to you! I could explain in more detail, but experience knows no substitute. May I suggest you go to the Entrance Stage and see for yourself?
Gladly. Moving along the Entrance Stage's... entrance, we meet two NPC's. One's a big, strappin' man (Lambros), the other's a small boy (Alexis). Talking to Lambros, he says:
Lambros: I haven't seen you in these parts before. Are you a tourist? Do I know who this little guy is?
Well, do you?
Nah, sorry. I've never seen him before.
Aw, pickles. Moving along to Alexis, he has this to say to us:
Alexis: This kid? Nope, I don't think I've seen him before.
Aw, he doesn't know Chip either. Maybe if we explain the situation...
For real?! He's lost his memory?! That's got to be tough.
You can go all kinds of places from just up ahead. Who knows? Maybe that might jar something.
Good plan. Now, we can move along to the Entrance Stage. I'll go through the area once we've completed the act.
As Gregorios explained, the Entrance Stages are where you can actually get to the Action Stages. These areas are like a "sample" of what the Acts have to offer. These areas also contain Sun and Moon Medals. Since, as of now, only a small part of the Entrance Stage is available, we might as well go straight to the Act.
Entranceways to the Acts are symbolized by glowing, bronze panels. Within the glows shows the "Levels" of Medals I've collected. For Windmill Isle Act 1, the minimal level one can access it is Level 1, which I'm currently at right now. Moving over to the Entranceway, I'm shown the records for the level; it's blank right now. Selecting the level, we move on to Act 2...