PS3 Previews: Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 Preview

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Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 Preview

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Scheduled release date:

Q3 2010

Publisher:

Sega

Developer:

Dimps Corporation

Number Of Players:

1

Genre:

Action

Release Date:

Q3 2010

Ah, Sega. There was a time when you were a goliath of the industry, when I would lose many a happy hour to your Sega Genesis that made me question Nintendo’s reign with the SNES. Unsurprisingly, that fleet-footed spiky blue mascot was a big part of these good times and while the platforming goodness continued onto the Dreamcast, the poor little guy has lost his way recently. Most all of the 3D installments have been dreadful, including that ridiculously mediocre effort earlier this generation. I know it’s based on nothing but nostalgic sentiments to say a certain franchise should’ve always remained 2D, but I just can’t help thinking this in regards to Sega’s ailing series. I believe Zelda should’ve always remained 2D, too, but there are about eight trillion people who would disagree with that idea. But I’m willing to bet that many are interested in one of our favorite mascot’s return to old-school side-scrolling 2D entertainment, which is why we’re taking a look at Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1.

First of all, Dimps is indeed at the helm for this; there was some confusion on that matter when the game was first announced. Secondly, you shouldn’t really think of this as a direct “sequel,” although Sega has said it technically picks up where Sonic & Knuckles left off. Thirdly and finally, we’ve learned through various sources (including a very cool GameSpot Q&A with Sega associate brand manager Ken Balough) that a very enthusiastic team is involved in this digital download effort. In fact, Balough says it’s a game “we’ve all wanted to see” and they know they’re catering to fans of the classic titles. Furthermore, the story in Sonic 4 is “bigger” and because it’s only Episode 1, you can certainly count on future episodes. You can also thank other game makers for pursuing the return of classics in DLC form, because that clearly paved the way for Sega’s decision to make this game. It’s a “promise to Sonic fans,” in that they will get a Genesis-era entry as if it were created with modern technology.

Geez, how long have we wanted that? How many of us have wanted a sequel to something like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night? Hey Konami, why not take a cue from Sega and do it! And you know, Sega doesn’t just want to give you an experience that looks like the Sonic of old; they also want the gameplay to be very, very familiar. Hence, we’ll get the spin dash, the power sneakers and all of Sonic’s other abilities we’ve seen before, but there will also be a few fresh additions. One example is the homing attack, and you can also expect a few twists and turns in the level design, which should be more dynamic and diverse than they were in the Genesis days. Essentially, the entire game is built around the aforementioned concept of appearing and playing like the old classics, with the benefit of modern technology popping up here and there. The graphics will obviously have that benefit, and so will the music; both facets of the presentation will be easily recognizable, but they’ll also boast next-gen polish. Get it?

For PS3 and Xbox 360 owners, Episode 1 will run at a glorious 1080p resolution and although media is a little lacking right now, there’s always that teaser trailer you can view through the GameSpot link above. It should show you everything you need to know, really. We’ll be interested to see how they approach the difficulty level and if they wish to make it easier – remember, older side-scrollers were much more demanding than the games of today – and of course, the length will be a consideration as well. As for those of you wondering if Sega will stick exclusively to the downloadable route for Sonic, you needn’t worry about a total abandonment of full games on physical media. Sega just wanted to make Sonic the Hedgehog 4 for the fans, and as a “new way to offer a great Sonic experience through a different medium.” I suppose that’s good news…provided we don’t get yet another lackluster 3D installment. I’m just not sure I can handle another massive letdown like that.

2/25/2010 Ben Dutka

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Comments (41 posts)

piratedrunk
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 9:56:01 PM
Reply

I'm so stoked for this game. I hope the episodes aren't too small though.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Zorigo
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 1:25:06 PM

same, i want this game to rock, the best sonic fix i've had for a long time has been that flash game...

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laxpro2001
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 9:58:18 PM
Reply

I'm really excited for this... I would like it if this was a direct sequel but we'll see how the story turns out.

I have but one rule for this installment... NO EGGMAN, its Dr. Robotnick or nothing!

Agree with this comment 6 up, 2 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 10:30:28 PM

Eggman is the biggest fail of a name and or name change that ever there was.

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laxpro2001
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 11:08:38 PM

Agreed

Agree with this comment 5 up, 2 down Disagree with this comment

animalmother
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 9:09:45 AM

YES....The mans name is ROBOTNIK. I agree with World, it was one of the worst names ever.(Eggman)

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sonic1899
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 9:57:20 AM

I know I might get thumbs down, but am I the only one who sees nothing wrong with him being called Dr. Eggman? A large number of his machines use the word 'Egg' in their names (Egg Mobile, Egg Viper, Egg Wvyern, Egg Albatross, Egg Dragoon, etc) and his character design is even shaped like an egg. His full name is still acknowledged as Ivo Robotnik, but I guess the folks at Sega couldn't help but find his 'Eggman' aka more suitable. Nothing wrong with naming yourself after something you eat for breakfast, is there? lol

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SolidFantasy
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 11:23:37 AM

all this talk of eggs makes me want to go fry a few up.

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Riku994
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 10:04:51 PM
Reply

Needs more Tails and Knuckles IMO, and NO ONE else, except for Dr. ROBOTNIK, and Metal Sonic as the enemies. Metal Sonic never gets old.

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Alienange
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 10:14:36 PM
Reply

Releasing this in episodes is rather smart. They can test the waters with episode one and if it warrants further releases then they can get working on it. Otherwise they can just claim that it was always meant to be only one episode.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 10:32:25 PM
Reply

I'm one of those 8 trillion who have to disagree on Zelda, Ocarina was the cat's pajamas. I still play it from time to time.

Sonic just needs a Dreamcast 2 to make a true comeback.

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laxpro2001
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 11:17:37 PM

hey world if you loved OOT I think you will enjoy this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbUqEPUZ-ds

its quite hilarious to anyone who has ever played the game.

Also I really enjoyed it as well but honestly my favorite was Windwaker, which I guess I justify because it was somewhat refreshing to have a change of atmosphere.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 12:11:17 AM

haha! that was hilariousness, especially the chickens. You can totally tell whoever made that is a fan of Family Guy. :)

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laxpro2001
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 1:41:42 AM

haha glad you enjoyed it. I just love how it actually used semi-realistic situations from the game and I almost died when link was thrashing around in the grass to save enough rupees for the "fancy new quiver"

and yea I got that vibe about family guy as well.

Last edited by laxpro2001 on 2/26/2010 1:42:02 AM

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main_event05
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 5:23:20 AM

Oh My God... The 10th chicken.....I'm gonna learn that song.

EPIC

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NiteKrawler
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 1:39:43 PM

I think Windwaker is my favorite 3D iteration as well. But overall, I'm going to have to go with A Link to the Past as my favorite.

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NoSmokingBandit
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 11:05:51 PM
Reply

Holy crap i cant wait. I was a Sega guy back in the day, though i wish i had a SNES now...
I still have my genesis down stairs, i'll have to pop in the old Sonic 2 cart soon and get all nostalgic and teary-eyed.

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556pineapple
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 11:18:16 PM

I still have my Genesis hooked up to the TV these days, and although it doesn't get used as much as the PS3, I still enjoy playing Sonic 2 and Sonic 3 & Knuckles. (Good old add-on cartridge.) Reminds me of my elementary school days...

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CH1N00K
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 11:07:45 PM
Reply

When this comes out it will be a day one purchase for me. My girlfriend loves the old Sonics, and with her playing a new Sonic with the old style gameplay, it means I can focus on other games with the other PS3 in the house....I mean we can spend quality time together.......yeah, that's what I meant...

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Oyashiro
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 11:10:11 PM
Reply

"Dimps is indeed at the helm for this."

That takes a load off my mind. I have no problem saying that this will most diffidently be a day one purchase now.

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556pineapple
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 11:16:18 PM
Reply

Thank you, Sega. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I tried the demo for Sonic Unleashed, and I'm convinced they didn't put any Werehog segments in it because they wanted to fool people into thinking it was fun. But this is what sonic should be. No gimmicks, no ridiculous transformations. Just good old fashioned 2D platforming at lightning speeds.

Last edited by 556pineapple on 2/25/2010 11:16:41 PM

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laxpro2001
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 11:18:58 PM

well hey... lets be careful how we use the word transformations. Super and Hyper Sonic are transformations and they both need to be in the game and accessible just like the regular genesis games.

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556pineapple
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 11:21:19 PM

Well in the Sonic world, I don't count Super and Hyper sonic as "ridiculous" transformations. I was mostly just referring to the Werehog. But good point, that needed to be clarified.

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laxpro2001
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 12:22:14 AM

very true, btw your photo is hilarious

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556pineapple
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 8:50:33 PM

Thanks, I think this is the first comment I've ever gotten on it.

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Yoyomom
Saturday, June 26, 2010 @ 9:39:13 AM

Wow. This is what the Sonic fans want now? I mean I like Sonic keeping his mouth shut as much as the next person, but he's got to do something.

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Mr Bitey
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 11:54:10 PM
Reply

This looks really good, but I'm a little skeptical about the episodic releases.

I really want to know the price vs hours of content per episode.

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Qubex
Thursday, February 25, 2010 @ 11:54:45 PM
Reply

May give this a serious look down the line. I like platformers. One of my favourite games of this generation is "Trine" :)

I hope Sonic is a good blast, and I hope they release a demo of it to at least try it out! :)

Q!

"make.believe"

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___________
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 12:11:03 AM
Reply

i really hope this takes the series back to its good old roots.
sometimes the plainest, barest, most simple things are the best.
the sega collection that was released last year is the best thing i have ever bought!
just goes to show how much more fun games were back then, as appose to now.
especially sonic pinball that was a classic!
now only if there was a way to get the old gameboy games onto the PSN.

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Deleted User
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 12:18:28 AM
Reply

can't wait for this, I'm a huge fan of the series of 4 first games (Sonic 1, 2, 3, and Sonic&Knuckles)

this should be good, everything seems to be pointing in the right direction.

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Scarecrow
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 1:02:58 AM
Reply

Beautiful...

Mario is still doing great on the Wii/DS

Good to see Sonic back in action (2D for the win!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) ok ok got carried away

Just hope devs notice that 2D or 2.5D is beautiful (Littlebigplanet proves this)

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SnipeySnake
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 1:08:56 AM
Reply

Yes! I was hoping they would add homing attack!

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SympoziumPawa
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 4:01:42 AM
Reply

oh no not Dimps I hated Sonic Rush and I'll just have to say that this is just disappointing.
I'm not liking the way its in episodes since when was Sonic or a platformer a episodic game

Last edited by SympoziumPawa on 2/26/2010 4:09:28 AM

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main_event05
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 5:17:18 AM

Acts, Episodes, Potato, Po-tat-o

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SympoziumPawa
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 7:36:49 AM

There's simply no reason for episodes I don't want to reach Stage 4 then wait for the next episode of the game. Thats why I feel that Sonic the Hedgehog 4 will just end up being a disappointing title.

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main_event05
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 7:40:35 AM

ok, what is the difference between that and a sequel?

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main_event05
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 5:15:59 AM
Reply

Can't wait. Sonic was the reason I got the Ultimate Collection, that and Altered Beast. :D

Maybe if this sells well SE will listen to the fans like Sega did. And at lest try for FF7

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FullmetalX10
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 6:39:08 AM
Reply

Wait a sec. 1080p? tha box can't handle true 1080p it will red ring fo sho, luckily I have a PS3, which of course can handle un-upscaled 1080*1920 lines and pillars of awesomeness.

Anyways, can't wait to gameshare this, half-price ftw.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 10:35:34 AM

It can do 1080p but it's more like a faux 1080p without actual high-def software.

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sonic1899
Friday, February 26, 2010 @ 10:47:00 AM

This is off topic Ben, but is there a way to change your user-name on this site? I might use my PSN ID instead...

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Nerull
Saturday, February 27, 2010 @ 2:24:10 AM
Reply

I'm looking forward to this as well since Sonic 1 was my very first game.
I don't really think of Unleashed as a massive let down... I never finished it but there were some good levels (and custom soundtracks, so I could make awesome combos like Sonic+Korpiklanni Running with Wolves, even when I needed headphones).

Last edited by Nerull on 2/27/2010 2:24:39 AM

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