I want to start by saying Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I is not a bad game at all. I have always liked Sonic and he is my son’s favorite game character so we play every game and you know what? Even the modern 3D Sonic games are not as bad as people would have you believe. Still, I was very excited when this was announced as I thought it could be that perfect blend of modern and old school Sonic (spoiler alert it was Sonic Colors that did that) it may not be great, but this is far from the horrible game people say it is.
The Journey Begins
As the name suggests, Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I is only the first part of what would be a two-part game, well three if you count the Episode Metal that was also released. The game follows on from Sonic & Knuckles. Tails has gone and Sonic is doing his own thing, little did he know that Eggman was once again plotting and was out for revenge after being bested in Sonic & Knuckles.
Is That Grass Or Plastic?
The visuals of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I are a very mixed bag. The game certainly has a nice and clean look to everything, but it is perhaps a tad “too clean” if you know what I mean. This is most evident in areas that are like Green Hill Zone. Rather than looking like grass, everything here looks like plastic the whole game actually has a bit of a plastic look to it.
One thing that I feel they did get very right with this game is the soundtrack. It has a real “Sonic” vibe to it and I really do enjoy all of the music in this game. The sound effects are what you would expect and also have that classic “Sonicness” to them that we have come to expect over the years.
It is worth noting that what we have here with Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I is just the first part of one game. When it was released people were mad as hell that the game only had four zones! The game makes you play the first zone, but then you are free to play the others in any order you like. The zones all have a Sonic feel to them and feature three acts along with a boss battle against Dr. Eggman.
The gameplay is fun, Sonic can do what you expect of him, but he also has the targeting attack that he was given in his 3D games. It works fairly well in this 2D setting so I have no complaints about them using it here. There is a special stage you can do if you collect 50 rings in a stage, just like in the OG Sonic game. The gameplay is fine, but it has a kind of slippery feel to it that is hard to explain.
The Sonic franchise gets far to much hate for my liking. I would not say that Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode I is the best 2D Sonic game ever made, but it is not a bad one at all. Really it is only half a game and I do think that Episode II is far, far better than this. However, in its own right, this is still a fun time if you are a Sonic fan. Rather than just playing this, I would advise you to play this and Episode II together as that is really the complete Sonic 4 experience.
- Sonic moves as fast as always
- I liked how the story continued from Sonic & Knuckles
- The zones have an old school feel to them
- I thought the soundtrack was fantastic
- You can play the zones in any order you want
- This is really only half a game
- I do not like the way grass looks at all in this game!