Thursday, November 4, 2010

Blog Post: What can be done to fix Sonic the Hedgehog 4

So, Sonic the Hedgehog 4 finally arrived last month, though it was with more of a whimper than a bang. That’s not to say all hope is lost. There are still two more episodes planned, and SonicTeam can easily make up for the somewhat disappointing Episode 1. Here’s what I think they can do to salvage the Sonic the Hedgehog 4 project:
                *New visual style= Sonic 4 featured a look that was very similar in style to the classic Sonic games. So similar that it was almost boring. None of the levels felt inventive of fresh. In a game like this, the levels should pop with visual style and feel unique to the Sonic 4 experience.
                *Better bosses= Sonic 4’s boss encounters were all about bringing back boss fights from earlier in the series with minor tweaks. No idea what they were thinking with that one, but Episode 2 should feature entirely new boss battles that make bosses from earlier games look simple in comparison. It’s been almost 17 years since Sonic 3, SonicTeam should probably act like it.
                *Level to level structure= One new thing SonicTeam did for Sonic 4 was allow you to select any level at any time from the main menu. This was an interesting idea but I think that overall, the game taking you from one level to another suits Sonic better. This builds momentum to the final battle and makes it feel more like you’re progressing through an adventure instead of just completing a checklist of levels.
                *Return the missing features= No multiplayer racing, no co-op, lack of some of the series’ better powerups, no check point bonus stages? C’mon, SonicTeam, let’s bring back the cool power-ups and features that Sonics 2 and 3 added to the mix. We didn’t want another Sonic 1 here, we wanted Sonic 4.
                *Better special stages= Sonic 4 did feature its own special stages, and though they were based somewhat on Sonic 1’s, they still played like their own thing. I think SonicTeam should take this even farther with Episode 2 and give us special stages worthy of the next gen hardware they’re on. Do something creative.
                *Fix the controls and physics= Go back to the physics used in the first 3 Sonic games. Sonic’s movement just didn’t feel right in Sonic 4. The fact that he stopped dead in his tracks as soon as you let go of the d-pad (regardless of how fast he was going) didn’t make any sense, and neither did the momentum on ramps. Improving the physics would address many of my gripes with Sonic 4's gameplay.
                *Bring back the other characters= I’m sure SonicTeam has this planned already, but it doesn’t hurt to say it anyway. Where are Tails and Knuckles? Bring ‘em back. They don't necessarily have to be playable, but they should at least make an appearance, especially given how big a part they played in Sonics 2 and 3.
And I think that’s about it. Sonic 4 still has great potential, and hopefully Episodes 2 and 3 live up to the name.


  1. Yeah, I've read about that whole "stop moving" thing, and it just sounds weird to me. I'm having trouble envisioning it, and not sure I really want to either.

  2. If you've ever played either of the Sonic Rush games on the DS, that's sort of what you can expect. Sonic in Sonic 4 moves a lot slower than Sonic in Rush, but it has the same weird "dead stop" thing.

    I was eventually able to get used to it by the time I got to collecting the Chaos Emeralds, but eh. I think it'd be a lot more fun to play with the Sonic 1,2,3 controls.