So, bet you’re wanting to know how the trio play, right? How the levels pan out? Well, each of the three hedgehogs – Sonic, Shadow and Silver – have similar level objectives, yet have different ways of attaining those goals.
In general, the stages in Sonic the Hedgehog are longer. Much longer than even, say, Sonic Heroes. It’s not uncommon to be completing a later stage in around 15-20 minutes on your first try. On top of this, levels are split into two or even three separate sections, with the subtle change in soundtrack signifying the equivalent of the next ‘Act’ in the stage.
There is a lot of emphasis on robot destruction and level gimmicks according to your chosen character (more on gimmicks later in the week), so you might be hanging around a while as you survive Eggman’s everlasting threat.
You will also have the chance to play as more than the main three characters – Amigo characters sometimes take over in stages to add a bit of variety and break the action from speed, psychokinesis or driving. We’ll get onto the Amigos at a later date, but here’s the ways you’ll be playing as the main characters…
Sonic plays as he always has done – it’s a quick-as-you-can, get-to-the-end level structure where there are several opportunities to shortcut and look cool at the same time. In Wave Ocean, a grinding section shows a trail of rings, where if you Light Dash through them can cut a chunk of scenery out if you’re aiming for that ‘S’ ranking. Gems you can buy in the town shop can add abilities to your Special Ability, such as the power to slow down time (although not quite Matrix style), create a Sonic tornado or catch a burst of speed.
You will find Mach Speed areas where Sonic will be constantly running forward and you will have to control his left and right movement to avoid hitting trees, pillars and other obstacles. There will also be one or two stages where Sonic is holding Princess Elise and has to make an escape – luckily not many of his abilities are stripped while he’s carrying the Soleanna leader, and holding the Right Trigger will activate an aura shield, protecting the two from falling into unstable areas or being vulnerable to attack.
Shadow plays a lot like Sonic, really, only he has a different set of moves. And finally, it looks like he’s been re branded as a cool dude again, since he’s dropped the stupid “Who Am I” charade and just gotten on with it. When using the homing attack, Shadow can perform multiple attacks in a combo, with an animation similar to that seen in the intro movie to Shadow the Hedgehog (where he’s breaking people’s necks while doing the splits in the air and all that jazz). He can also use Chaos Boost which will give him strength and the power to use more special abilities.
The main gameplay twist to Shadow’s story is in the vehicles. We’ve seen the bad boy fly hang gliders, ride jeeps and hovercrafts. All with missile launchers, mind. This is Shadow we’re talking about. But amazingly, they control rather well, and aren’t the abomination and pointless addition they were in Shadow the Hedgehog.
Silver is the new kid on the block, and he’s got superpowers! Well, not really, but he can fly. Sort of. Coming from a future where everyone and their nan has telekinesis, Silver can use his to manipulate objects around him. Many times you’ll be picking up rocks and boxes and things to lob at enemies. In some cases you can even grab a robot’s rockets and chuck them back in their face. But there are some basic puzzles involved as well, including a room in Dusty Desert that resembles a pool table allowing you to knock boulders in holes. Jumping on pendulums and using your thoughts to swing around on them and bending bars with your powers are all par for the course as well.
Basically, if you’re a gamer or fan that’s looking for more than the basic run and jump method of play than Sonic 06 should be right up your alley.