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Game 48 of 52: Sonic 3D Blast: Director's Cut - 06/06/24


Ryannumber1gamer

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So, we're jumping back to Sonic now, and with this one, I'm honestly aiming to try keep this one rather shorter because I don't have much to really add beyond the obvious. My experience with 3D Blast is the same as others - I got Mega Collection Plus as a kid, and played 3D Blast a fair bit (mainly because I thought I did better in it than I actually did), but never finished it. From that point, it was mostly just kind of my most eh Sonic games of all time. Even attempts to play through it failed because I just really didn't care.

That said, 3D Blast is a legit technical marvel (as a topic I posted years ago says) - in all of the programming tricks that you can watch on the Gamehut channel, and for this challenge, I wanted to hit something on the backlog for ages - because the original director of the game - Jon Burton - actually went back and made a Director's Cut mod for the game that adds a lot of QoL stuff, as well as additional features and more. So if I was going to finally complete the game, this was how I wanted to do it.

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The story and gameplay of 3D Blast is pretty simple. Eggman is causing trouble on Flicky Island, and Sonic goes to stop him in a isometric adventure where you must run around, smashing badniks, saving the animals inside, and going to a end ring to get them out and open the level up further, all the while finding 50 rings to get into the special stages and get the Chaos Emeralds. Basically - same Sonic formula with added steps. Unfortunately, most of these added steps aren't very fun. The isometric nature of the game makes controlling Sonic feel inaccurate and annoying, especially when trying to do some more precise platforming or keeping 50 rings to get the emeralds, and the nature of needing to find all of these critters to continue the levels feels more like a active hindrance that's made more annoying by the fact that taking a hit scatters all of them.

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I suppose the main thing I really want to say is I think Director's Cut is really admirable. The idea of the original director of the game coming back - on his own time and dime - to create a mod filled with various QoL improvements and additions for the game is insanely cool. Jon didn't have to do it, and the amount of time he did dedicate to it is nothing to be scoffed at. So much has gotten added to the game this time around. Super Sonic is now a reward for getting all of the emeralds, flickies now can shield Sonic, Sonic only loses one if he's hit rather than all, there's now markers to show you where they are if you lose them, there's a world map, a full blown level creator, and even some cut enemies.

Like, none of that is small stuff - that's straight up remaster tier stuff you'd see from Christian Whitehead - all in a free mod that can be easily downloaded via Steam Workshop and used with the built in quick save/quick load function to really give 3D Blast a good experience. Yes, for all intents and purposes - this is the best way to play 3D Blast, if you're itching for it, and this video does a good job illustrating it.

Unfortunately, I can't really say that does much for me, unfortunately. As much as I want to say this is a huge overhaul that massively improves the game to put it in the great Sonic tiers, it...honestly doesn't, not for me. For a start - I still think overall, I vastly prefer the Saturn's visuals and audio, as well as the 3D halfpipe special stages, which is a crying shame because the Genesis version looks so much more inferior and it's still the one that's constantly re-released. On top of that, the mod in general brings in new problems I think is really terrible. 

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As cool of an addition as Super Sonic is, he feels ultimately worthless, all because the game changes the requirements for the emeralds - where in the original, you could get multiple emeralds per zone, in this game - you can only get one emerald per zone, meaning the earliest you can unlock Super Sonic is right before the final level. On top of that, the new completion rewards is utterly ridiculous. Sonic tokens scattered all over the place, time trials that aren't particularly fun, and a outright ridiculous 5 billion score requirement for 100% that all of the staff involved with the event collectively agreed that the Chaos Emeralds would remain the 100% completion requirements for this challenge, rather than the new stuff involved with here.

Unfortunately, I do just think the game is too flawed to really make good for me. The game still feels too slow and clunky due to the collection element, the isometric platforming still feels rather terrible, especially in later levels. Trying to find Tails and Knuckles in certain stages is outright stupid with how hidden off they are with no indication as to how to get to them, and the bosses are extremely drawn out, with special mention to the final boss which is a great concept - being five different bosses that switch after every hit - yet the game makes you do bare minimum two cycles of them to get it done.

Overall, happy to finally have finished the game, and I do think for the time, the game is impressive, and I think there's a lot of merit and props owed to Jon Burton for making this Director's Cut in the first place, but for me, it just brings a boring game a little closer to average, but still not particularly fun.

Genesis soundtrack is still rad tho

 

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