In 2000, SEGA reinvented Sonic when they brought him to the Dreamcast and despite a claim laid by a certain Megadrive and Saturn game, it was Sonic's first big flurry into the third dimension. They basically took everything "Sonic" and threw it out the window keeping the very vague skeleton of the series intact. They replaced Sonic's world of fluffy animals, planets which traverse time and space and islands that float in the sky and replaced it with... A built up metropolitan area called Station Square. But you know what? It was actually something decent. It had handfuls of flaws, but put side-to-side with Nintendo's offerings with Mario, the game was passable.
By the way, this Kingdom of Solleana? As far as the game's concerned Solleana is a town on the sea. Generally, when you think of Kingdoms, you think of... More than Torbay, if I'm honest with you. But anyway, Solleana is holding it's "Festival of Light", which it's apparently well-known for, being called the "City of Light". Yep, even the game's getting confused and we're only on the opening CGI sequence. When oh no, the evil Doctor Eggman, with very little regard for the well-being of the person he's here to kidnap, fires a full compliment of highly ineffective rockets to blow up stuff... For some reason. He then sends down more useful, but still rather useless robots to hold the princess at gunpoint, demanding she hand herself over. Immediately, Sonic appears as if out of nowhere and offers the only single moment of comic relief this game ever sees, as he destroys all the robots Eggman sent down, powering down one final robot, tapping it with his foot and watch it tumble over off the edge of the strange shrine-slash-island-thing they're standing on.
Alright, I'm now running onto four paragraphs of trying to explain this stupid story so let's speed it up. Reefer is actually called Silver, he's from the future as is returning character; Blaze from the Sonic Rush DS title. They're here to stop the destruction of their world by stopping the one responsible. Shadow's back, the black hedgehog, had a gun last time? No? Well, he's there. He's not quite as angry, angry about things, this time around and his story makes little less sense than the others. In the end Sonic dies, the princess kisses him (seriously) and he becomes alive again. Eggman becomes good again and rather than fire missiles at the big bad monster who wants to destroy all of existence, shouts at you while you take down the most useless final boss ever created. Taa daa!
So where do we begin? Well, at the start. When all the fancy CGI and poorly choreographed cutscenes have ended, the game throws you into Solleana Town where you must work out that in order to progress past the first 15 minutes of the game, you are required to find new footwear in which you can upgrade to enable you to travel along lines of rings. Makes sense. This introduces you to the very bane of your existence; town missions. The idea in itself isn't a bad one, use the 'overworld' as it were, to complete various missions. That sounds alright. Ha ha, of course not. See, when you go into a town mission, the game sits you down at a loading screen. A very long, boring loading screen. The same person you were speaking to a moment before then tells you what you have to do in this mission, another loading screen... Mission starts very abruptly. If you fail, not only do you get a talk from the same person who talked to you at the start of the mission, but not before a loading screen. Then you're given ANOTHER loading screen back onto the overworld. If that town mission is required, where a few ARE, then you need to go through that entire loading process over again. What? Who thought that was a good idea?
At this point, I'd love to tell you that dying in a stage makes a loading screen appear, however, sadly, such comedic gold is thwarted by someone with some measure of sense making the return back to your last checkpoint almost instantaneous. If you've played any previous 3D Sonic titles or even played the demo to this game; you'd know that jumping and pressing the jump button once more while no enemies are around gives you a boost of speed, this is called the "jump dash" and is just one of many areas in which the demo for this game excels it's retail counterpart, see in the final version of the game, there is no arch which occurs when the jump-dash happens, so when Sonic comes out of this move, he immediately loses all momentum as he falls haphazardly from a straight-line boost through the air. Why this change happened, I'm not sure. Especially since it worked well in the demo for the game.
So anyway, Smoky the Hedgehog is probably the worst thing SEGA could have put in a Sonic game to offset So-- Wait, sorry. Just thought of the Werehog. My bad. This is the second worst thing they could have put in the game to offset Sonic. You know, Sonic, he was all about being quick and nimble. It's the key selling point for his Megadrive titles... Well, Reefer Sunderland here moves like a sack of potatoes being dragged by a puppy with some string. And once you go back in time, the game drops you in the biggest, widest map in the game. Right in the middle of it. With no idea which direction you're supposed to go. And heaven forbid you go explore, you'll spend a whole day and night trying to find where you're going in this same-y looking forest place. The only thing going for this guy is the fact that using his telekinesis, he can not only hover but also bitch-slap enemies with cars, grab missiles out of the air and abuse the game's poorly implemented physics engine.
Shadow's story isn't much to talk about. He essentially awakens this world's version of the devil and it takes his form by stealing Shadow's, get this... Shadow! So Shadow-Shadow and Shadow spend the whole game fighting one-another, there's something about Shadow getting incarcerated in an open area by attaching Shadow to a glowing trampoline and that apparently the big robot thing him and that bat character from Sonic Adventure 2 seem to lug around, did that to him. And that's about it. Everything else is filler and even the main plot-points are as boring as I described above. Shadow is only really worth playing for the comedic value of how seriously they take his flailing-arms-jitsu and the fact he finds vehicles dotted around the place which only he can find which often have rockets on them. Did I mention there were vehicles? Well, probably for the best I didn't. 'cause you guessed it; they suck too.
A lot of complaints about this game is as is with many modern Sonic titles. The game spends longer taking control away from players, what with fancy loops which are completely scripted, bouncing you off springs, forcing you on rails when skimming over water, boost pads which temporarily remove the ability to turn, grinding on rails and then you have pseudo-control segments of the game where Sonic runs really fast forward. All you do is hold up and occasionally turn left or right (or die) to win. But frankly, with how the game controls and the awful implementation of gimmicks, you know, I am perfectly alright with this. Especially when it comes to later in the game where Sonic is literally standing on balls of steel... Which float... And vanish into thin air if a laser touches them... The balls go wildly out of control, it's difficult to see where the ball is in relation to the beams and you bounce off walls like a mad-man. One mistake and you die, back to the checkpoint, try again. Fortunately for the TV set, death doesn't mean loading screens. Because after several hours of town missions and staring at the "Now Loading" text, I was strung-up enough to hit the TV with the controller hard enough to cause fission.
And with that, I'm spent. This game infuriates me to my core. You may wonder why, well I'll tell you. See, as a twenty something, I have an overwhelming urge to cling to happier times; my childhood. And Sonic was that childhood. The whole Sonic fanbase out there is probably made up by a large portion of people like me, who don't want to let their childhood hero go. And why should we? People get obsessively angry about the new Transformers movies for ruining their childhood heroes, so I believe I have that same right to be completely pissed with SEGA for making crappy games with no entertainment value, no consideration for the consumer let alone the fans. I doubt that even if this game had the time to actually be somewhat 'complete', it'd still be an awful game with an ill-thought plot, bad design choices and control scheme that was outdated 6 years before this game went to market. It's unacceptable and I never want to see anything from SEGA this bad again. Ever.
Scooby Doo would be ashamed of storylines like this. Heck, SyFy original movies would be too.
No. I can't find a single thing I like about the game and the way it plays.
A mightly fine looking game. Don't be fooled by them, though.
A capable soundtrack which is varied and mixed. Some are even catchy.
Too longIt's hard to get an accurate read-out of how much of the game time is actually 'game' time and not 'loading screen' time. It does become a blur after a while.