Sonic Rush Adventure (Nintendo DS) Review

By Karn Spydar Lee Bianco 17.09.2007

Review for Sonic Rush Adventure on Nintendo DS

Just when the world was ready to give up on Sega’s spiky blue mascot, Sonic Team unleashed Sonic Rush on the world, proving that there might still be some life left in the franchise after all. Of course, producing a sequel was really a no-brainer, but when details of the game’s new ‘Adventure’ segments were revealed, some fans feared that the Rush series was going to go the way of the much-criticised 3D Sonic games. So, is Sonic Team’s new direction a step in the wrong direction or a bold move to keep things fresh?

Before we begin it is worth noting that while Sonic Rush Adventure is much closer to its Mega Drive brethren than say, the Adventure series, it still places far more emphasis on high speed than it does on platforming acrobatics and exploration (just as its predecessor did). While some fans will lap up the break-neck speed, others are bound to be turned off by it, instead opting for the likes of ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 3’, which recently launched on the Virtual Console. Thankfully Adventure’ offers some enjoyable distractions in the way of story-integral mini-games, but we’ll discuss those in more detail soon enough.

At its core Sonic Rush Adventure is once again made up of seven main zones (actually, if we’re being technical, they’re islands), each of which is comprised of two stages and a boss encounter. Fans of the original Rush title will be pleased to hear that these maintain the best elements from that game (such as the Tension Gauge, which is filled by performing tricks) whilst changing and perfecting others. For example, the dreaded pits-of-doom and spiked opponents that appear as if from nowhere have almost all been removed and the general level design has been markedly improved, making for a much smoother gaming experience (albeit an easier one).

These adjustments makes replaying previous stages far more enjoyable, which is handy because the game will force you to do just that in order to progress through the story mode. Why? Well, the answer to that brings us onto the subject of sailing, or rather, the aforementioned mini-games from paragraph one. There are four in all (the Jet Ski, Sail Boat, Hovercraft and Submarine), each with its own unique capabilities. For example, the Jet Ski is speedy but cannot travel long distances whereas the Sail Boat can, although it can’t cross icy waters, which is a task for the Hovercraft, and so on and so forth.

Navigating the ocean in each of these vehicles is done by initiating one of four touch-screen controlled mini-games. To manoeuvre the Jet Ski you simply hold the stylus down and move left and right to avoid enemies, collect rings and jump ramps (on which you can also perform tricks by dragging the stylus appropriately). The sail boat, on the other hand, navigates by itself leaving you free to fire bullets, missiles or flame at oncoming enemies of both the airborne and water-based variety. The Jet Ski mini-game is also used in seven fast-paced races to unlock the legendary Chaos Emeralds.

Of course, you aren’t simply given each vehicle for nothing, you have to earn them. Or rather, you have to complete levels to earn ‘Materials’ which Tails can then use to create said vehicles. This is where the re-playing of stages comes in. Thankfully, the Material requirements are fair, and shouldn’t require more than a couple of replays to acquire. This is especially true if you’re anything like us and decide to go exploring uncharted waters of your own accord. Each new vehicle requires more Material to create than the last, and you can also power them up with additional Material later on, should you so desire.

With the exception of the Submarine (a sort of rhythm based affair), each one of these mini-games is extremely well-tuned and enjoyable, proving to be a worthwhile addition to the game, rather than an unnecessary distraction. Plus, they’re not just used to access story-critical islands but also the numerous Hidden Islands scattered throughout the ocean. These are smaller than the core levels, but usually offer some sort of specific challenge, such as an onslaught of enemies or a host of ramps and jumps to overcome. And they’re not the only bonus content available either, oh no! There are also one hundred varied missions as well.

Similar to the Hidden Islands, missions (which are unlocked gradually by talking to the world’s various inhabitants after you encounter them in the story mode) challenge players with certain tasks, be it collecting a certain number of rings or defeating a certain number of enemies, etc. However, unlike the Hidden Islands, each mission takes place on an existing level (sometimes slightly modified to fit the task at hand) and some also offer rewards upon completion. These are mostly cosmetic upgrades for Southern Island (your base of operations), but you can also unlock a fully fledged sound test in addition to fourteen shiny medals.

And as if it all that wasn’t enough to help you waste away hour upon hour of your time, you can also compete in wireless head-to-head and coin collecting multiplayer matches, or upload your best times to the online leader boards via Nintendo’s WiFi connection! Furthermore, Rush’s grading system makes a comeback, offering players either an 'A', 'B', 'C' or ‘S’ (S being the best) depending on how quickly they complete a level, how many rings they collect and how many tricks they perform. Chuck in a Time Trial feature and you’ve got a whole lot to come back to long after the story mode has been done away with.

So, there’s plenty of meat, but how’s the presentation? Simply put, it’s fantastic! The 2D and 3D visuals are melded together wonderfully, and both are easily comparable to the top DS titles currently available. Although you might often be going too fast to notice, each of the game’s levels contains an exquisite amount of detail, and a slew of sparkly effects and delightful animations are also thrown about with ease. On a similar note, the game’s soundtrack is also top-notch, with some extremely catchy riffs that pair up with their surroundings perfectly. You’ll definitely want to take the time to unlock the Sound Test feature, that’s for sure!

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

The main side-scrolling stages have been refined and freed of almost all unfair pits of doom/spiked opponents, making for a much smoother experience all in all. The additional sailing/adventure elements might not be to everyone’s liking, but if you can bear to be dragged away from ‘classic’ Sonic for just a moment you’ll find some perfectly designed mini-games that help to keep things varied and interesting. Chuck in a whole host of extra/unlockable content and you’ve got an extremely complete gaming experience that most people, not only die-hard 'hog fans, should be able to enjoy.

Developer

Dimps

Publisher

SEGA

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (10 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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