Sonic Rush (Nintendo DS) Review

By Karn Spydar Lee Bianco 03.01.2006

Review for Sonic Rush on Nintendo DS

The blue blur has taken a trip down memory lane and returned looking and feeling better than ever before. (No sexual implications intended.) Sonic Rush brings the classic gameplay formula from nigh on all previous 2D Sonic outings and spices things up using the DS' superior hardware. But does it really represent the return to form many gamers have been looking for since the 3D instalments?

Some would argue that the Advance series has already achieved this consistently over the past couple of years. Certainly they sold very well and got good to great reviews (mostly) across the board, but not all gamers out there thought so highly of them. For some there was still something missing that only the original Mega Drive titles have ever provided, all those years ago. Two complaints were the inadequate level designs in places that just didn't flow well and bonus levels that were far more of a chore then a joy to play. Well you'll all be relieved to hear that these two issues at least have certainly been dealt with, and we'll explain how shortly.

Screenshot for Sonic Rush on Nintendo DS

An alternate dimension is combining with Sonic's and threatens to destroy everything in its path. Suddenly new character Blaze appears from her own world along with an eerie new Robotnik clone-like figure. While Sonic races around collecting emeralds and trying to find out what's going on Blaze is racing around collecting Sol Emeralds from her own dimension. What is the relation between the two Robotniks? Or the two sets of emeralds? Or even Sonic and Blaze? Well to find that out your going to have to play the game for yourself, we don't want to ruin any surprises now do we?

The game is set up in a way that recent Sonic fans may recognise. Firstly you choose a character to play with and then move around a birds-eye map of the world to choose which Zone to play. However you are unable to decide on your own route through the game but that's not really much of a surprise. Character wise, there are two to chose from, Sonic of course and a new counterpart from another dimension, Blaze the Cat.

Screenshot for Sonic Rush on Nintendo DS

Once you're into the main game the first thing you're likely to notice is how the Dual Screens have been used. Unlike many DS games that only require you to focus on one main screen with the other being used for say controlling or showing maps/inventories, etc, gameplay transitions between both screens as Sonic and Blaze run through loops and down ramps from one screen to the next.

Sonic and Blaze are capable of performing tricks akin to the ones found on the Adventure series. Tricks are operated via the R button in combination with the D-Pad and can either be pulled off in the air after a big jump or when grinding. Not only do these tricks fill up your 'Boost Bar' they also add points to your Trick Score which is combined with other scores such as Ring Bonus and Time Bonus to give a final score for that level. Depending on how large this score is you're awarded a grade, S being the best, followed by A then B and so on. This as well as the Time Attack mode are the two features that are going to keep you coming back to the solo-adventuring side of Sonic Rush once you have completed the main adventure (which is unlikely to take you very long). Other than those there is also a nice multiplayer option included that allows you to race against other DS owners on levels you have completed in the main game. Rush even includes a Download Play option so only one person need own the actual game to play against an opponent.

Screenshot for Sonic Rush on Nintendo DS

Last but not least are the two final excellent features; the bonus levels and the end of zone bosses. The game is great fun already but these two offerings bind everything together and add a little variety to ensure the game never becomes too monotonous or repetitive. The bonus levels are the only element of the game to make use of the touch screen. For those of you that remember the tube-like environments from Sonic 2 where you had to navigate Sonic along at high speeds whilst collecting rings and avoiding obstacles, they are based on those. What makes this such a joy to play through is the immensely increased accuracy of using the touch screen on conjunction with a stylus to control Sonic; it's just so responsive! The bosses are also great fun to play, each Boss level combines 2D and 3D elements to add more depth (pun intended) to the proceedings. Although you can only move left and right during each encounter, Robotnik can fly all over the place even into the background in some examples and fire an assortment of attacks at you while you try to dodge them and hit back whenever you can.

Presentation wise; Sonic Rush easily stands its ground against all other DS titles out there. The graphics are a sublime mix of 2D and 3D visuals throughout (not just during the Boss battles as mentioned, although it is most obvious there in some cases). Think along the lines of Viewtiful Joe as an example, with the extra power provided by the console it is possible to provide some exquisite 2D visuals but also throw in some visual effects (often 3D) here and there to spice things up. There is the occasionally hint of slowdown during boss encounters and when a lot is going on at any one time, but these occurrences are rare and are unlikely to hinder your enjoyment of the title as a whole. Equally Rush does not disappoint in the sound department either. Although some long-time Sonic fans might be a little confused by the soundtrack as it has a very dance-like feel to it unlike previous instalments. With repeating, high-tempo tunes here there and everywhere and even voice samples thrown in now and again. Although somewhat uncustomary they do seem to suit the game perfectly, some brilliant highlights are the Bonus Level theme and the underwater level theme.

Screenshot for Sonic Rush on Nintendo DS

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Sonic hasn't done so well in 3D as some might have hoped, but Sonic Rush rectifies this problem by heading back to the good old days of sprites and 16-bit gaming. An excellent decision.

Developer

Dimps

Publisher

SEGA

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (21 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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