Sonic 4: One Up, One Down

Sonic 4: One Up, One Down

Subtitled “reasons to get your hopes up and reasons to get them down again,” IGN takes a crack at what most of us have been doing for the past week and a half.  The catch here is that it is a well-written, down-the-middle article with no bias (be surprised).

IGN breaks down the game in the style, gameplay, music, and design department.  Also, they talk about the benefits and detractors of listening to us, the fans.  Here’s an except regarding “Speed:”

ONE UP: When I was 10 years old, I would boot up the Master System version of the very first Sonic game and play as far as the third stage of Green Hill Zone. This was where you would fight Eggman after climbing a couple of hills. At the top, however, I would avoid the fight. Instead, I would tip Sonic back down the incline, roll him into a ball, and look on in awe as the screen blew by with increasing speed.

As such, it’s pretty obvious that speed is something of a hallmark for Sonic, and the initial Needlemouse trailer’s claim that ‘speed returns’ seems to confirm that Sega’s marketing department is aware of this. There’s promise here: for some, there are few gaming pleasures that rank with the thrill of keeping a perfectly streamlined run alive as Sonic spins, flips, and bounces towards the end of a stage.

ONE DOWN: But there is cause for concern. There is something very important from my childhood play that keeps on getting overlooked: momentum. Even on the Master System version of the game – a version that was, at best, a mere shadow of its Mega Drive sibling – there was a palpable sense of gravity. Sonic would gain speed when tumbling down slopes, and he would likewise lose it when climbing them. Overlooking the importance of the physics engine in the classic Sonic games is arguably the greatest misstep that this franchise has made.

The reason for this is actually pretty simple: the pleasure of the speed in these games came from the flow of maintaining the blue critter’s momentum; not in simply pressing a button to blast through the stages before you can even take in the scenery you’ve just left ten screens behind you. Most of the newer Sonic games are actually faster than the… well… the good ones. The pleasure in the speed came from earning it, and for this to work the game needs to slow down just enough to allow for twitch reflexes to actually be rewarded.

It’s the picture of Sonic 4 levelheadedness.

IGN AU: Sonic 4 – One Up, One Down

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Brad, also known as "Slingerland," is a staff writer and editor for both The Sonic Stadium and Sonic Retro. His area of emphasis is the inner-workings of the games and laughing at everything. Follow him on Twitter. - @bradflick55


  1. ‘Most of the newer Sonic games are actually faster than the… well… the good ones.’

    Unleashed is a good new game imo..

    I’m just waiting to see their pre-written totally biased review when the game comes out.

  2. ruby eclipse confirmed momentum based gameplay.
    i trust this guy so far, but for once ign has a point.
    all of the 3d sonic games used too many dash pads or had a boost button.
    gaining speed in the classics is one off the best feelings i ever had.
    all of you, who are saying the old ones are boring, give it a try to get fast. i also first thought they would be boring and slow,
    but today i can be fast in the MD sonic games. And it’s a blast.

  3. All this from about 3 seconds of partially obscured footage.

    Now I can understand being pessimistic (it is Sonic past the year 1997, after all), but daaaamn.

  4. When I was reading this earlier at work I was suprised he knew what “Walk On Water” was and how true it rung to the arguement he was making.

    Either someone told him or he has a legit idea…. Most amusing.

  5. Good to see them give it a fair chance and give constructive criticisms rather than rip it apart over the tiniest detail like half this fanbase has already done. Props, mister Henderson.

  6. @ChaotixNinjax

    I’d say Matt Cassamassina is pretty good with the Sonic games. Sure he may have criticized the Gamecube “remakes” of SA1 and SA2, but with reason, they weren’t wholly upgraged games, just rereleases on a popular console of the 6th generation. SADX, was actually inferior to SA1.

    Oh and so what that he hated Black Knight. Its his opinion, and remember this is the guy who Unleashed 7.2 and Sonic Heroes an 8.0

  7. @Scartillery

    Its not that I dont like him, its just when I read his review’s I feel its the same review Im reading, mentioning Sonic’s recent track with 3D, Mario ect. seems like a checklist when reviewing a Sonic game.

    I didnt know he gave Unleashed and Heroes that big of a score, what systems? last time I checked it was 6.0 or something.

  8. @ChaotixNinjax

    He gave the GameCube version of Heroes an 8 (it was the better version)
    He gave the Wii version of Unleashed a 7.2

    He is a rather Unbiased reveiwer in mu opinion. Though occasionally he does compare Sonic and Mario, he is the Editor in Chief of the Nintendo section of IGN, after all…

  9. Wow. I’m shocked. IGN actually put out something worth reading for once.

    Although their argument about speed vs momentum doesn’t hold much water here considering a SEGA employee, ArchAngelUK I believe it was, already confirmed that Sonic wouldn’t be running at full speed the entire time without regard to the layout of the level when he was explaining why Sonic was using an awkward running animation in the trailer.


    Agreed. That should be interesting.

  10. @ChaotixNinjax

    “I do not want Matt Casamassina anywhere near Sonic 4 when its reviewed.”

    Or that Hilary what’s-his-name >_< (The guy who reviewed the 360 version of Sonic Unleashed)

  11. @ChaotixNinjax
    Yes, that review was just plain crap. Though i heard Hilary got fired due to that review…is this true?

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