Monday, March 5, 2012

Whole Lotta Sonic

The last time my nephew Ben visited we showed him the PS3. Bless his six year old heart, the kid was mesmerized. Unfortunately as we soon realized, we didn't really have any games that he could play - or would be appropriate to play that his parents wouldn't kill us over.

So, the next time I was cruising through the PlayStation Store looking for free demos, I downloaded all the Sonic games I could find. Sonic is huge, not just out in the world and at my local comic shop, but also in my nephew's household. Bingo, if the 'rents let him watch Sonic, of course they'd let him play it, right?

I snagged Sonic the Hedgehog CD, Sonic Generations, and Sonic the Hedgehog 4. The next time Ben came over, he loved it, and played for hours, seemingly grasping the controllers, the rules, the physics, the worlds, all that stuff. The more I watched this six year old, the more I marveled at his mad skillz, and the older I felt, because he was doing so much that I was incapable of in 90% of the PS3 games I've attempted. But that's beside the point.

My initial problem with Sonic is that he's a hedgehog. I've seen hedgehogs, and neither are they blue nor fast. They're actually fat, flat and quite slow mammals. This seems an unlikely model for the videogame superstar, but maybe there's something clever and snarky I'm missing out on. I knew one thing, sadly, this hedgehog had nothing to do with Sonic Drive-In.

I tried the first one, Sonic CD, and was mildly surprised. There was a fun animated intro sequence that I kinda dug. It made me wonder if there was a Sonic cartoon. It took me a few times, but eventually I got it. It's a lot like Super Mario Bros. for the NES, only with different stuff, but the same patterns. You had to know the world, and know what's coming, to get through it. Unfortunately it was only one level, being a demo, but I think I could have gone further, and for me, that's saying a lot. It was fun too.

I tried Sonic Generations next. I was wary of this one because ray had characterized it as being my speed. That's never a good sign when he says that. The point of this game is that you get to play the different Sonics as they have evolved over the years. I'll admit I'm dumbfounded. Years? Sonic has been around long enough to have different incarnations, really? Wow, it took the Justice Society almost thirty years to get a second generation…

The game demo gave me the options of exploring Green Hill, which I'm guessing is from an earlier game, re-imagined with high definition graphics, or see it in an entirely new perspective. Seeing as how I have played little to no Sonic so far, it's all new to me. I tried the first, and despite the little critter circling me and trying to help (kinda like the annoying paper clip man in Microsoft Word), I managed to get through. I think I might like the original Sonic game based on this, because for me, all the HD 3D stuff did was distract me.

The second version was almost like a first person shooter, um, uh, runner and jumper. You're behind Sonic as he does his stuff and facing forward. This looked cooler, and was even a bit acrophobic in places and probably not good for folks with motion sickness. I didn't do well with this one, but I wouldn't mind watching someone else play this one.

Well, that's enough Sonic for now, I'm all Sonicked out. Maybe I'll talk about Sonic 4 next time. I'm off hedgehogs for the moment, especially when they make me dizzy.

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