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Matt Keller
30 Sep, 2007

Sonic Rush Adventure Review

DS Review | High seas hedgehog action.
We’re big fans of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, but we feel that over the past 5 years, Sega has consistently let everyone down with the quality of the new releases featuring their beloved mascot. To put it simply, with the exception of 2005’s Sonic Rush, every new Sonic the Hedgehog game has sucked. Hard. While this is mostly to do with design choices Sega has made for the 3D games (Hedgehogs kissing human princesses – isn’t that illegal?), one can’t ignore the fact that every new Sonic game seems to focus less and less on Sonic, and more and more on his greatly expanding roster of furry, cuddly friends. Perhaps the critical success of Sonic Rush could be attributed to its focus on 2D gameplay, and elimination of superfluous fluffiness, but I digress. After the absolutely miserable Sonic the Hedgehog for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, the release of another 2D Sonic-focused game makes us very happy.

Sonic Rush Adventure begins with Sonic and Tails being sucked through an inter-dimensional portal, leaving them on an unknown island location (rather inconvenient – Ed.). They soon meet a young raccoon named Marine, who curiously speaks in a stereotypical Australian style of dialogue, despite the fact that raccoons do not natively reside in Australia, except in a zoo. Initially, the goal of Sonic Rush Adventure is to get Sonic and Tails back to their own dimension with assistance from Marine the Raccoon and her friends – if only it were that simple. Sonic soon runs into Blaze the Cat (the other playable character, who just happened to be in the dimension at the time), who is chasing an ancient artefact currently residing in the clutches of Captain Whisker, a rather Robotnik-esque looking robot pirate, whose ineptitude prevents him from being any sort of worthy adversary. Sonic Rush Adventure’s story sequences are not really a welcome addition to the fold – they break up the gameplay, and Marine’s irritating dialogue and stereotypical demeanour is sure to inspire players to skip these sequences to get to the rich, juicy action.

  
Dead hedgehogs found by the roadside are considered a delicacy in Alabama

Dead hedgehogs found by the roadside are considered a delicacy in Alabama
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After enduring the first round of Marine’s garble, players get to dive head first into some real Sonic action. For the most part, Sonic Rush Adventure sticks to the same path as its predecessor, with its 2D stages focusing on pure speed and tricks, rather than mixing it up with platforming sections as seen in the classic Mega Drive Sonic series. This isn’t such a bad thing, but it is distinctly different from the older games. Sonic Rush Adventure has also done away with many of the original game’s bottomless pits, which were a cause of frustration for many, but does make the game perceivably easier. All of Sonic’s moves from Rush return, including the deadly dash attack, which helps maintain the game’s breakneck pace.

Seven major islands make up the bulk of Sonic Rush Adventure’s world, with each island acting as a zone in the traditional Sonic sense, with two acts and a boss fight attached. Each zone has its own distinct style, from tropical paradise to the typical machine heavy industrial area, and typically take about two to four minutes to complete. The boss fights themselves are a highlight, due to a bit of imagination in the design of the bosses, and some rather fantastic graphics.

  
A pirate ship.

A pirate ship.
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There’s a bit more to Sonic Rush Adventure than just standard Sonic levels. To travel between the islands, the player needs transport, and the earliest part of the game has the player completing stages in order to collect materials to build a jet-ski. Once the jet-ski has been built, the player gets to plot a course between the islands using the stylus, and then gets to control the jet-ski in a rather lovely 3D mini-game. Using the stylus to control Sonic and his vehicle, one has to collect rings, do some nifty stunts and defeat any enemies that get in the way. These sections are a little basic, but are quite fun nonetheless. As the game progresses, players need to collect more materials to build better craft, due to the limited range of the jet-ski. This means replaying the 2D levels, which gets old rather quickly. The hovercraft is the second vehicle, which controls much like the jet-ski, but the larger vessels (the barge and submarine) trade the cool jet-ski segments for a less cool shooting mini-game.

Sonic Rush Adventure isn’t a particularly long game at first glance, with the main adventure taking the better part of six hours to complete (if you put up with Marine’s inane banter). In true Sonic style, merely finishing the game doesn’t grant you the true ending – a search for the Chaos and Sol emeralds is required to see the real finale. Sol emeralds are earned through the completion of missions which put Sonic into rematches with the bosses previously defeated. Chaos emeralds are found through finding another character named Johnny on each island, who will give the player a challenge to complete. Other side missions can be found on the islands to unlock other materials. It’s a little bit of a pain that these extras do require playing the same levels over and over again, regardless of the quality of the said levels. Multiplayer modes have also been included this time around, with time and ring based challenges for two players, either locally or over Wi-Fi Connect. Online leaderboards are also available for those in search of bragging rights.

  
Tails is a bit like MacGuyver, building a jet-ski from a few bits of "Green Material"

Tails is a bit like MacGuyver, building a jet-ski from a few bits of "Green Material"
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The original Sonic Rush was one of the better looking Nintendo DS releases back in 2005, and Sonic Rush Adventure exceeds its predecessor on this front, thanks largely to better models and animation, more colourful locations and greater use of 3D, particularly in the luscious jet-ski missions. The game’s frame rate never skips a beat, which is very necessary in a game that relies on speed. The soundtrack is once again of a high quality, though it does contain a lot of hip-hop undertones which, while of a reasonably quality, do not really suit the game’s nautical theme (unless you’re a fan of the dubbed version of the One Piece anime). The game does not feature a lot of speech, which is probably a good thing given Marine’s dialogue.

Sonic Rush Adventure is a quality entry in a series that desperately needs to be reassessed, but intrusive, frequent and annoying story sequences, poorly conceived new characters and an awful lot of repetition keep it from being great. The adventure parts of the game feel a bit undercooked – there should be a bit more depth to these sequences than merely replaying already completed levels to collect materials to move on to the next point. That said, we think that Sonic Rush Adventure is a solid game that should appeal to not just fans of the newer Sonic titles, but those who grew up with the series too.
The Score
Sonic Rush Adventure is in many ways an improvement over its predecessor, but an ill-conceived plot, annoying new characters and an awful lot of repetition hold it back from being truly great.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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7 Comments
6 years ago
I really like this game. Last time I checked, I'm ranked 6th in the world rankings for Machine World Act 2, though it's probably fallen a bit since the UK release... I'll have to blitz it some more.

You're right about the story though, I don't know why they bother. It only seems to be there to get in the way of stages.
6 years ago
"Hold your tongue and say "Sonic 360 was a pirate ship" Gold icon_razz.gif
6 years ago
You forgot that Sonic Rivals on the PSP was a decent game, since Sonic and Co only move on a 2D plane... I think I'm sensing a pattern...
6 years ago
Im definately gonna have to pick this up along with Sonic Rush. They sound like a good return to oldschool form for the little blue guy.

I first started my Sonic experience with the original Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Master System. I played the crap out of that game. To the point where I knew when and how long to press each direction on the gamepad to hold the momentum for just that right amount of time to be able to move through all Acts picking up rings and bonus items seemlessly, without having to even slightly backtrack. My best friend at the time and I nicknamed the air bubbles in the Underwater Labyrinthe Zone "INeeJas" (I-Need-Ya's).

I remember my cousin actually recorded a playthrough of mine onto a VHS tape but it got lost with time. I got the game brand new from Archie Martin Vox back in the day for 20 dollars in a close-out sale! That was the best 20 bucks ever spent. I was devastated when years later, about 20 of my Master System games were stolen from my bro in law's place over Christmas when he had his family over (I lent him my MS), so he replaced most of them. Sonic was no longer available so he got me Sonic Chaos instead, which i HATED for the fact that the magic of the original just wasnt there icon_sad.gif

I dont have my Master System II anymore, but for good time's sake, I got a copy of Sonic the Hedgehog for the MS about a year ago from eBay. It now sits on my shelf as a reminder of great childhood memories..


What was everyone elses first Sonic experience? Id love to hear from everyone.
6 years ago
Why do they continue with the retarded stories? That crap just makes no sense to me.
6 years ago
How would having a well penned script and epic storyline help make a Sonic game better? One of the best parts about the late, great 2D platformers was that they didn't bother having a 'good' story - they left the gameplay to draw players in, not the hard-luck tale of a gritty, noir stlyed anti-hero or some other over-written wank like we get a lot of these days.

Ah, the simpler times.

Definitely looking to pick this one up, just as soon as I can find it for a decent price.
6 years ago
Ive actually been playing this game recently and I don't really mind the story, I mean its pretty easy to skip through and it has some cool images of the characters in it icon_razz.gif jk

But when it comes down to it this is Sonic at its best, the gameplay is amazing, the actual levels are very much like Sonic Rush but they have improved the boss battles from the previous title which ive been enjoying much more (I've beaten the first three now). Oh and that jet ski mini game is pretty fun! Unlike your usual mini game fillers like the gummi ship in Kingdom Hearts.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  27/09/2007 (Confirmed)
Standard Retail Price:
  $69.95 AU
Publisher:
  SEGA Australia
Genre:
  Action Adventure
Year Made:
  2007

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