Hello, all! Sanity Is Overrated here. You may know me from my MSTing of that horrible Sonic fanfic, LOVE, BULLETS AND IMMORTALITY or you may have just found me here. Either way, I'll be doing gaming reviews as an aside now, for those days where I don't feel like wasting away my time with horrible fan-fiction.
Those of you who have read my MSTing of that fanfic will probably have guessed that I am a big Sonic fan - I got into the series with Sonic The Hedgehog 2 although my first exposure to the series came from the Sonic cartoon. The first one. The one that doesn't feature a group of rebels, singing hedgehogs, or a crazy tripped out owl and a cat-girl. That's right, Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog.
But I'm rambling.
The games have been...disappointing in recent years, I mean, I have never really liked a 3D Sonic game the same way I liked the 2D games. I have the Mega Collection and I'm always playing Sonic 2 and 3&K but after completing the 3D games, they gather dust on my shelf. That is, until now:
Sonic Colours for the Nintendo Wii. What does it consist of? Sonic, Tails, Eggman and Scratch an—I mean Orbot and Cubot. Sorry. Yeah, that's all of the characters. Unless you count Yakker, the white/blue Wisp (more on that below). So, why is this game better than other 3D Sonic games? Let's have a look:
GAMEPLAY: Sonic Colours features a 2.5D enviroment akin to that of Unleashed's day stages. In fact, it is overall very simillar to Unleashed as it uses the same engine: the Hedgehog Engine. This engine makes for very fast gameplay as seen in this game, indeed, for the first time we are given the ability to blast through stages at supersonic speeds if we know where to go and what to do.
This is because, unlike Unleashed where there were a lot of areas which weren't streamlined or like previous 3D Sonic games where the camera was crap or you were given complete free reign over the level, you are put on a set path. Although, there are opportunities to change paths like in the 2D games although sometimes (as in water levels) higheris best.
There are very little mechanics outside of the Wisps and none are tedious: the homing attack is as fluid as ever althought the targeting system introduced in Unleshed makes a return to prevent you from getting frustrated as the game sends you flying past an enemy and into a pit (a la Sonic Heroes). There's also the slide which works as an attack as well as a mechanic to pass obstacles such as low ceilings. Lastly are rails which are, more or less, ways to change paths although there are a few mandatory rails here and there.
Wisps are a mechanic for this game. There's the white/blue Boost Wisp which allows you to, well, boost. The cyan Laser Wisp which can allow you to rebound of walls and traverse cyan crystals found in some levels. The yellow Drill Wisp allows you to dig through certin surfaces in a level and water. The orange Rocket Wisp allows you to fly upwards and descend slowly to other paths in a level. Now for the Wii exclusive Wisps: the pink Spike Wisp allows you to stick to walls and ceilings and traverse them. The green Hover Wisp allows you to, well, hover and get to otherwise unreachable platforms. The blue Cube Wisp allows you to stomp, transforming blue rings into blue rings into blue boxes and vice versa, somewhat akin to the P switches in Mario games. Finally, the purple Frenzy Wisp allows you to destroy anything in your path although the downside is that you can barely control yourself in this state.
The great thing about the Wisps is that they aren't necessary to complete most of the levels, only some levels have them as a necessity or, at the least, make it hard to get past without them.
There are cons, too, such as the fact that sometimes the game can alter between being fast-paced to being reliant on accurate platforming. There are quite a few areas where if you go fast like it seems you can, you will fall off edges or miss platforms and et cetera. The bosses can be quite frustrating too as their weaknesses can be hard to figure out at times.
SOUND: It's a Sonic game. I shouldn't need to say more. Strangely, this game does not have a soundtrack by Jun Senoue or any Crush 40 songs, just like in Unleashed (I believe). It seems Crush 40 are being used less and less. I love "Reach for the Stars" by Cash Cash's Jean Paul Makhlouf, not a big fan of "Speak with your Heart" though.
As for the game's dialouge...I'm not a huge fan. It can be funny, but it's...too light-hearted. Don't get me wrong, I dislike dark, moody Sonic stuff like Shadow the Hedgehog tried to be, but this game felt like it was too childish at times. For those curious, this game was written by Ken Pontac and Warrenn Graff who wrote Happy Tree Friends.
The voice actors are good, I prefer them to the VA's form 4Kids such as Jason Griffith and Lisa Ortiz, but those were okay when they got into their roles (after Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic X). They kept Mike Pollock as Eggman though, which I like because he was my favourite of the 4Kids VA's. My favourite new VA is, so far, Kate Higgins as Tails. I'm not sure how I feel about Roger Craig Smith's Sonic voice, but I'll see how he does in future games such as the upcoming one: Generations. I haven't played Sonic Free Riders so I don't know who the other VA's are though apparently Blaze the Cat is voiced by Laura Bailey (Lust in Full Metal Alchemist), which is...interesting.
The sound design is good too, the sound effects are as pleasant as ever and the techno soundtrack doesn't feel repetitive or overwhelming, a problem I find in most techno music I hear.
GRAPHICS: The graphics is this game, and I can't stress this enough, are amazing. Easily one of the better looking Wii games. I do have a slight problem with Sonic's mouth in cutscenes though, it looks really weird how his mouth is almost always in a smile. Other than that, it is really nice.
I particularly love the level design in the game, especially the endgame levels such as the final two which I would describe - but that'd be spoiling (and I don't know how to do spoiler bars).
CONTROLS: There aren't many controls in the game really, there's moving your character, using Wisps, sliding and jumping: three buttons and the analog stick. So, it's not complex. Reactions are pretty spot on.
I would reccomend using the Classic Controller: it fits your hand nicer than the Gamecube controller and gives you a nice layout unlike the Wii Remote which, to me, feels a bit too spacious.
STORY: So, we come to the story. Not exactly the most pivotal part of most good platformers, but something to look at in any case.
The story takes place in space on board Eggman's Interstellar Amusement Park where a few planets are locked up (a la Sonic CD but with more than one planet, or Super Mario Galaxy). Eggman is taking Wisps to use for a dastardly plot (as always. Seriously, who thought Eggman was being nice?). Sonic and Tails arrive on the scene to help the Wisps along with a Boost Wisp, Yakker, who helps the team whenever he can...while getting his speech translated through Tails' dodgy translator.
Pretty simple, not much going on except Eggman's being bad, Sonic has to stop him. Standard-fare, can't really complain.
OVERALL: Thoroughly enjoyable game, play it once to get through the story and then play it again for higher rankings, or even to get the Sonic Simulator levels by collecting the red rings in the levels.
FINAL RATING: 8/10