The hacking community isn’t just about Sonic Mania and crazy versions of the 16-bit Sonic games. There are plenty for the 3D games as well, including one by hacker AnotherBlob that takes Windy Hill Zone 1 from Sonic Lost World and turns it into a version of Dead Line Zone from Sonic Rush. While AnotherBlob admitting to rushing it out to meet the Sonic Hacking Contest deadline (ha), it’s a quality mod, though there’s some room for improvement.
Most of the level consists of small platforms and ramps floating in space that end with a fenced tunnel similar to the ones from original Dead Line level. Like any good Sonic level, Dead Line has its share of extra paths and shortcuts. One such path is small, blue ramp that you’ll find early in the level. If you spindash and aim just right, you’ll roll high off the ramp and over a large chasm, giving you a shortcut. There’s also a small, grinding section with some robots on the side, attack them and you can find a tube that will launch you high up to the top of some buildings where more badniks await.
There are also five hidden red rings, which can be tricky to get to. I’ve only managed to find three in my time with the game, to give you an idea of how hard they can be to get. I got the first when spindashing over that chasm I mentioned earlier, one high up top of a building, and found another on the parkour tunnel near the exit. The level has some good replayability, as there are red rings and paths I still haven’t found even after several playthroughs.
While the level uses textures inspired by the DS original, and utilizes the level’s original music track, Hideki Naganuma’s What U Need, it’s also far from being an accurate 3D adaptation of the stage. The layout is very different and of course, this being a Lost World level, there’s no boost. As a result, this is more of a homage to the level than anything else.
The level has some difficult portions, such as one area where I had to spindash up a steep hills while avoiding spikes and Moro bugs. There is a long parkour tunnel to get through at the end that requires mastery of Sonic’s parkour ability. I stink at parkour and I’m not the best at wall-running, so it took me several tries. The difficulty’s fair, but it’ll definitely test your Lost World skills.
For all it does right, the level does have an issue caused by the flat, blue texture covering most of the structures. At one point, this texturing made it hard to get out of a large area where I had to run up a slope, but couldn’t see the way out. Some more texturing on the structures to make the exits more apparent would be nice, and I hope we’ll get that in a future update.
Texturing issues aside, Dead Line is a solid, well built Lost World level. It requires the full range of Sonic’s parkour moves, which can make it pretty difficult or anyone who hasn’t mastered his moves. It’s good for being a rushed project, and I look forward to seeing what the developer is able to do with more time. If you want more Lost World, you can’t go wrong here.