Sega released Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I in 2010 in an attempt to give Sonic fans “the game they wanted” after over a decade of subpar 3-D games, RPG and racing spinoffs, and one furry/human romance. I enjoyed Episode I and gave it an 8.5 back then, and like many other games, I've been wondering just what made it take so long.
It bears repeating that I am a newcomer to 'true' Sonic games such as Sonic 4. Back In The Day I had a Super NES and was busy firing red shells from my go-kart and doing barrel rolls in my Arwing instead of zipping through Sonic zones. Thus, my perspective is not the same as other folks that grew up with the series, so if I seem to be a bit kinder to the game than others, that's why.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II reintroduces sidekick Miles "Tails" Prower. While Tails is only playable in 2-player mode, he provides aid in single player mode in the form of combo moves: he can fly Sonic around for a short period of time or can join with Sonic to do a super attack. Like its predecessor, Episode II also features four zones with three acts and a boss fight at the end.
LET'S GO SONIC!!
Still Sonic - Except for the presence of Tails and one level that takes place in the sky, Sega hasn't tampered with the formula established in Episode I at all. It is just what it says on the box: Part II of Sonic 4, so if you liked Episode I, then you'll enjoy playing this one.
16-bit Sights and Sounds - The graphics and electric music maintain the retro vibe alongside with the 2D gameplay. I found myself bobbing my head to the music on occasion and everything looks better than it did back in the day, thanks to the higher resolution and 3D graphics.
Challenging - Like its predecessors, Episode II was not a cakewalk. The game provided a decent level of challenge for this old-school gamer and some trial-and-error was required in spots. Except for a few frustrating bits, I felt the game was fair, and didn't have as many of the 'how the F do I get out of this' spots that Episode I did.
Good Value - The original Sonic the Hedgehog had 4 areas with 3 zones and a boss battle in each. If we assume that Sega is going to wrap things up in Episode III and charge $15 for that one too, the total cost of Sonic 4 comes out to $45. This isn't bad considering that the original cost more than that back in 1992.
WHY SONIC, WHY??
Controls - While the controls in Episode II feel better than in the first part, they still feel a little loose to me, especially during the 'run to catch up to the boss' parts, where I found myself fighting with the controls more than anything else.
Some Frustrating Bits - There were one or two areas where I was stuck for a while, partially because of the control issues mentioned above. It was only during these parts where I died enough times to actually see the Game Over screen.
Retry Plz? - I know this was a complaint from last time, can we get a quick 'Retry' option? Losing your last hog is aggravating enough, but having to sit through two loading screens to get back to the action only makes it more so.
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II picks up from where the first game left off, with 12 more zones and boss fights to run, jump and spin dash through. The addition of Tails adds 2-player simultaneous play and extra moves; Tails even saved Sonic from the occasional bad jump during my playthrough. Like the first the excellent graphics, music and sound from the first game are present. The decision to purchase this game is going to depend on whether you liked Episode I. If you did, then you will find more Sonic goodness to enjoy here. Episode 1 did not rev your engines, skip it. Hopefully, we won't have to wait two more years for Episode III.
*This review was based on the Xbox 360 version of the game with a review code provided by the publisher.*