Sonic Smackdown was one of the many games featured at this year’s SAGE event, and probably one of the more notable. The game pays homage to the Capcom style of fighting games, drawing it’s inspiration from the Marvel series of beat ’em ups.
The game is a 2D fighter utilising 3D graphics for the character models. It’s still a work in progress, so there is no single-player arcade mode currently. However, you can go into training mode and change the fighting abilities of your sparring dummy so they are not just standing around but can fight back. A local 2-player mode is also available.
The roster currently consists of eight characters, including Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Blaze, Shadow, Rouge, Mecha Sonic and the recently added Metal Sonic, of which the player can alter their colour scheme from the recognisable to the downright lurid. Each fighter has a unique fighting style that has been tailored to the individual character; for example, Blaze plays similar to a Ryu/Ken-style fighter, and uses fire abilities, Knuckles plays like a powerhouse and has moves that dig up the ground, Shadow uses his Chaos control for long range, while Sonic is more effective at close range with spin dash attack and an ultra move similar to Spider-man’s in Marvel vs. Capcom.
Similarly, the height of each character’s jump can be augmented in a similar manner to the Marvel games (press down, then up), allowing each chatacter to have a number of air combos. This greatly benefits some such as Rouge who can perform a drill kick that launch an opponent into the air, which can be repeated to kick an oppoent downwards in a strong combo.
A “burst” move can be built-up and activated, emitting a flash of light to knock your opponent away. The player can also gradually build up an ultra combo gauge, unleashing a special move for massive damage. If you’re familiar with the Capcom series of fighting games, you’ll feel right at home here!
This indy title has phenomenal graphics! The game uses a high-resolution, cell-shading technique to give the fighters a cartoon look along with four distinct stages including the Green Hill Zone, Sky Sanctuary, and Death Egg and a training room that looks very familiar if you’ve played recent Street Fighter games.
The developers have utilised a wide palette of sound effect from Sonic games past and present, in addition to stock punch and kick SFX to flesh out the exeprience. f you’re playing as Knuckles and taking a punishing, you may hear the infamous “Oh no!” from Sonic Adventure 2! As the game is still in development, not every character has voices, but this does not diminish the experience.
The music included in the game is great, and uses remixed classic tunes based on the three classic stages in the game.
Developer Streak Thunderstorm’s fighter is looking to be one of the best at SAGE 2019. Sonic Smackdown is shaping up to be a very solid fighting game and I can’t wait to see how it comes along at next year’s SAGE.