The latest issue of Nintendo Power magazine is now available on newsstands in the U.S. and inside is a preview of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1. The demo they got to play was of a new build, one which contains all acts and boss battles in Lost Labyrinth Zone and Mad Gear Zone. Nintendo Power says Lost Labyrinth Zone is heavily inspired by Sonic 1’s Labyrinth Zone with familiar elements, such as “endlessly looping waterfall mazes, pulley-based moving platforms, retracting spikes, and underwater segments that require you to grab air bubbles before you run out of oxygen.” Reaffirmed is the removal of the infamous mine cart stage and the torch mechanic put in its place, though nothing more is revealed than what’s is obvious in the screenshots, like lighting sconces to take down obstacles which block your path.
Nintendo Power also details two new features seen in the recent screenshots, including the orb that Sonic is standing on and a boulder that Sonic is running from. Sonic must keep his balance while the orb follows a specially designed track and other sections will see him be chased by giant boulders that fall out of the sky, requiring quick reactions. Nintendo Power also inform us that players will also have to escape a giant wall that threatens to crush you, while the stage fills with water.
In their playthrough of Mad Gear Zone, Nintendo Power compares the stage to most end of game stages in the Sonic series, “hard edged industrial stages full of steampunk-style machinery that practically screams you’re on the bad guys’ home turf.” The stage is said to not only contain stage mechanics that you’ll recognise such as pneumatic transportation tubes, steam geysers and giant pistons, but also some new ones. Sonic will have to run on top of cogs, some will help move Sonic to new areas, while other cogs will open heavy metal doors.
Nintendo Power states the difficulty increases significantly for the third Act of Mad Gear Zone, where an enormous drill machine chases Sonic in a similar fashion to the giant wall from Lost Labyrinth Zone. While the machine pursues Sonic, Nintendo Power says “you must leap spikes, hit switches, and dodge momentum-reversing blasts.” Sounds like it’s quite the challenge. Nintendo Power also reveals that players can choose to play the game’s four zones in any order they like.
The preview doesn’t mention anything in terms of any of the tweaks to physics, running animation, acceleration etc that SEGA of America’s Ruby Eclipse spoke of recently, but it does come with five new screenshots of the Lost Labyrinth Zone. To check out the screenshots and the full preview, pick up a copy of Nintendo Power issue 259 at your local newsstand.
Thanks to SSMB member Doctor Eggman for the info!