Sonic Rush Nintendo DS
Published by SEGA
Developed by Sonic Team
Release Date: Out Now
Sonic Rush, an introduction.
Sonic, the SEGA mascot that has provided millions of gamers with hours of enjoyment over the years, is back for more in his first appearance on the Nintendo DS. Sonic has already featured in several GBA games and they've all been very enjoyable so when news of a Sonic game for the DS was announced it's fair to say that Sonic fans expected great things. Expecting a game to be great is one thing though and expectation usually results in disappointment, especially where highly anticipated games are concerned. Can Sonic Team give us a great dual-screen Sonic experience?
What's the game about?
As you might expect with a Sonic game the story is paper thin and simply an excuse to tie all the various levels and boss fights together. Once again Dr. Eggman is up to his tricks and naturally Sonic is going to do his level best to stop him. Well, actually make that Sonic and Blaze the Cat as both are out to stop Dr. Eggman. Yes this time you'll get to play as both Sonic and Blaze, and both have their own story to tell, as you bid to stop Eggman from getting away with the Sol Emeralds. Aside from the main game there's also a Battle Play mode for 2 players. Multiplayer games can either be played with just a single game card or with each player owning a copy of the game.
What's good about the game?
Sonic Rush offers a classic Sonic the Hedgehog experience. It's a return to the side-on, full throttle Sonic gaming that fans of the blue hedgehog know and love. Of course this time the action has two screens to fill and Sonic Team have done really well with this. During the main levels Sonic will move across the top screen and should he fall he'll land on the bottom screen to continue. There are also various slopes that will take Sonic from one screen to the other and when he's sent flying from the bottom screen he'll land on the top screen. So in effect then the two screens act as one elongated screen which works very nicely. During a boss fight, the action takes place on the top screen only. The lower screen is reserved for displaying the health status of the boss that you're fighting. The single player game is split up into zones. Each zone is comprised of acts and a boss fight. The acts are the usual Sonic experience where you collect rings as you make your way to the goal point. Several gimmicks have been added to help you progress through the acts. Devices such as bungee ropes, winding ropes, underwater mines and giant waterwheels all help to add a small amount of variation to the acts. Seasoned Sonic fans will also notice the addition of dash attacks and other tricks that Sonic can perform. When you're done with the acts in a zone, it's time for the boss fight. The bosses in Sonic Rush are challenging and most will take numerous attempts to defeat. We didn't have access to a second DS so we can't comment on the 2-player Battle Mode.
What's not so good about the game?
There are moments when Sonic Rush can become very irritating. Take the first boss battle for instance. It's possible for him to take Sonic out with one hit whilst you have to hit him around 9 times. The game has quite a few moments like this too, where you'll spend ages trying to defeat a boss only to be wiped out in an instant. As enjoyable as the game is it's not as wildly different as you'd expect. Yes the two screens make for an interesting experience but it's not really adding anything new to the Sonic experience. Use of the touch screen is also very limited with only some bonus levels allowing for use of the stylus.
How does it look?
Sonic Rush is best described as a 2D game with some nice 3D effects thrown in for good measure and it's a mix that works very nicely. Unlike the various 3D Sonic games that have appeared on the major consoles, the GBA versions managed to capture that sense of speed that the original Sonic games were famous for and Sonic Rush is just as fast and frenzied as you might expect. Whilst the acts are strictly side-on affairs the boss fights do change perspective from time to time and do look quite impressive. The bosses are also fully 3D. The presentation of the game is very good and completely in keeping with previous Sonic games.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
Sonic Rush is absolutely fine for deaf gamers. The game doesn't really have that much of a story to it but the dialogue that occurs is shown in text and requires you to press the A button to move the conversation forward. Naturally this means that you'll be able to read the text at your own pace. During the main game any comments that are given out are not subtitled. This is usually only a word or two and it's no real loss to be perfectly honest. Having said that though, during a boss fight the boss will say phrases such as 'Take this' or 'Get ready' which do give you an idea of the strength of his impending attack. This might seem like a disadvantage but having played through a boss fight a couple of times, you get to recognise what's going to happen from the boss's movements so it's not as big a problem as you might think. In every other sense there are no problems for deaf gamers.
You've got to hand it to Sonic Team as they've done a great job with Sonic Rush. The sense of speed, the challenging boss fights and the good use of the consoles' two screens make for an enjoyable Sonic experience. However, it's not as wildly different as you think it would be and those Sonic fans expecting something unique may be a little disappointed that the game is very similar to those games they've already played before. It's also a little disappointing that Blaze the Cat doesn't really offer anything different and doesn't feel that different from Sonic. Essentially though, this is a promising debut on the DS for Sonic and Sonic Team have shown that the game can be just as enjoyable on two screens as it is on one.
Overall Game Rating: 8.5/10
Deaf Gamers Classification:
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Sonic Rush is a great start for Sonic on the Nintendo DS. Sonic Team have made good use of the two screens and the game has that classic, high speed Sonic feel to it.