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Sonic 4: First Impressions?

Forum member Endri claims to have played through the entirety of the available Sonic 4 demo available through the Xbox 360 online service accessible by anyone with a developer or J-Tagged 360. Pending future evidence, this is technically a rumor, but it’s a pretty lengthy read nonetheless.

Quoting him from the forums:

Okay. I don’t even know how to start. But, here we go.

Early in the morning today, I, and a other few (un)lucky people, had the opportunity to playtest the X-BOX 360 version of the game. In fact, any of you could do it as well, provided you own a Developer’s Console, or a J-TAGed system.

I’ll try to give a very briefely analysis of what were my thoughts about this game.

Graphically (and artistically, I must say), the game is very beautiful, even thought I can’t really eat that celshading effect they put in Sonic’s model, to make it look like a differed shaded Genesis sprite.Something important to notice is that, the 3D models are not really 3D models, instead, they are sprites of pre-rendered 3D models. SO we are pretty much dealing with a 2D game here. That goes for everything else but Sonic, since I’m not sure as if Sonic is really a sprite itself, but I pretty much think it is. THat might explain the akward animations.

The level design. I played through Splash Hill Zone entirely up until Casino Street Zone. Splash Hill ZOne is pretty much Neo Leaf Forest Zone (for those who don’t know, Sonic Advance 2’s first stage). Everything about it looked like Leaf Forest. Hell, even the level art itself reminds Leaf Forest some way or another. The level design pretty much encourages the player to keep going to the right, except when the levels abruptuly decides to force you to go in the opposite direction by inserting unexpected walls, making you jump, jump to the left, jump to the right, keep running to the right. It is especially strange, considering the level layouts encourages you to keep running right. The acts are actually considerably huge in size, but quite short in time, much like Sonic Advance 2 stages. I don’t remember any level especific gimmick on the first stage, which is pretty unfortunate. You gotta love Casino Street Zone, since it’s freaking Casino Night Zone. It’s exactly identical. The colors, the tiles, everything. The level layout however is much like Music Plant Zone from Sonic Advance 2. A level that right encourages speed. Ha, about the Special Stages, they are quite fun actually, it is Sonic 1’s Distorted Dimension, but with a new twist: instead of controling Sonic, you control the stage itself. So yeah, my oversight was right after all. In terms of difficult, I found it harder than Sonic 1’s Special Stages (and provided, they were rather easy). I belive they are going to be even fun/harder with the motion controls of the Wiimote/Six-axis/DualShock3, since you have to rotate the stage using the trigger buttons in the X-BOX 360 version (RT rotates to the right, LT to the left, etc). Looks like a pinball of sort. Oh, don’t let me get started on the bossfight. You might already imagine how it is by now.

The gameplay is pretty solid, actually. Which is a great thing. However, the game pretty much have the physics of Sonic Rush. I hate I hate I hate I hate I hate, I can’t stress enough how I hate the jump! Fucking jump! It’s the worst jump I’ve ever seem in a Sonic game to date. Apparently they tried to mimic the ‘the longer you hold down the jump button, the longer you accent’ mechanic of the classic games, but as a result, they fucked the freaking cake with it. The jump is all over the place: if you rapidly tap the jump button, Sonic almost don’t jump; if you hold a little and release, Sonic starts accending, but he breaks to the floor as soon as you release the jump button. If you hold the jump button all the way down, Sonic jumps like if he had touched a spring, he jumps so high and almost no gravity, it’s like you are jumping on the freaking moon. And I thought the jump in the Rush series were bad. This one is even worse. The jump is so bad that I preffer to keep running right to win really. Don’t let me get started on the spin dash. THe spin dash don’t have enough power, no matter what. It behaves much like Knuckles’ Chaotix spin dash. Running rewards you with much more speed than spindashing.

My final remark of this game? It’s freaking Sonic Advance 2! It’s written Sonic Advance 2 all over the place. It is Sonic Advance 2 all over again. In fact, they could have named this game Sonic High Speed, and I wouldn’t mind it at all. But it is supposed to be Sonic fucking 4. To be honest, the name Sonic High Speed would fit this game better.

I am afraid to say that we are actually dealing with the very final product here, folks. Since the developers already sent the software for the Microsoft Evaluation Proccess. Additionally, the game’s software was sent to ESBR game content analizys team. Considering the game is already been analized and rated by ESBR, the development team cannot overgo any significative change in the game, visually or otherwise, which therefore pretty much means that this is what the game looks like.

I’m in a hurry here, and I’m sorry to not give a better insight on the game, but I’ll make sure to edit this post or whatever, whenever I have the time.

Assuming this is true–and given Endri’s technical prowess and experience with piracy, it very well may be–the glorious return to Sonic‘s roots may not be as wonderful or new as people had hoped. But hey, that’s just one man’s opinion. Feel free to make your own.

If you have a J-Tagged system or a developer 360 console, feel free to try this for yourself and let us know if it’s legit or not.

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  • Reply

    Aww…. I was hoping for a Sonic game that I could play for the first time in 15 years. ( I never had anything past genesis 3D blast)

    Maybe we were getting our hopes up too much.

    Now what I found interesting was the special stage… Within a Deep Hedgehog (Sonic 1: Bouncy Edition) seems to be exactly what the Sonic 4 stages are…. hmmm….

    I do want to see the Casino Night… I mean Street Zone. And who knows, maybe episode 2 might be better.

  • Reply

    Just cause one person said it sucks doesnt mean it does 4 anyone else…ill be the judge once ill get the game lol

    • Reply

      And I agree with you Fabian. And now for my comment.

      I sometimes think the majority of the Sonic Fanbase including you guys expect too much from SEGA. God damn it this is only the first fucking episode, yet you are jumping down their throats already. Give them a chance, this is only the beginning you know. I think this is a step into the right direction of Sonic coming back if you were to ask me. Although I am a Sonic fan myself, I don’t go to the point if SEGA does something different and we arn’t used to it, we start screaming our heads off, I actually give them a chance, although Sonic 06 was an exception, but I’m not going to go into that right now.

      From what I’ve seen in the gameplay trailer, it looks absolutely stunning and it looks like it plays well even though the game looks a little floaty, heck I thought Sonic Rush’s jump was more worse than Sonic 4’s because it felt like high gravity, it felt like throwing a huge rock in the air, it doesn’t go up very high, but it comes down bloody fast. That’s my opinion and it’s not being changed.

  • Reply

    Seeing how the game is practically still an alpha, I don’t see this as the final product, and ass for as having a dev console or J-tagged, it would probably be dumped by now if the said statement is true. I just say let’s wait for the final product.

  • Reply

    They pretty much confirmed everything he said was fake in the forums

  • Reply

    I don’t believe a word of this until others can verify. This is just someone trying to get attention and stir up the community.

  • Reply

    oh dear…please tell me that they aready removed the crappy jumping in the latest versions ='( Every other oiginal Sonic game had the same physics in it, and hell, even fan made Sonic Games have the same properties. Why can’t Sonic 4?

  • Reply

    If this is true, Sega should remove their masks and tell everyone that after Sonic Adventure 2, they actually were bought out by Mario to fuck up the series.
    Damn it Sega, not again.

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