Sonic The Hedgehog 4: Episode II User Review
Episode II takes place a few months after Episode I, and Dr. Eggman has revived Metal Sonic from his first encounter with the Blue Blur and is ready for revenge. Back for adventures with his best friend Tails, Sonic must now stop Eggman and Metal Sonic and save the world. Sega both did something wonderful and something off with this decision to include Tails. What's good is that being able to use combo moves such as flight, super spindash and torpedo is a fun gimmick and even has a key part in some boss fights. But therein also lies the problem, Tails following you is MANDATORY. This doesn't hurt the game very much, but it's enough to irk some fans who like running around as Sonic alone.
Graphically, this game isn't that much of an improvement on Episode I, but it does look very cartoony and the backdrops look amazing. The enemy design isn't overly well done, but the bosses all look amazing. I'm not too keen on the spindash animation, but that's just me nitpicking.
Gameplay-wise, Episode II is leaps and bounds ahead of Episode I. The physics engine has been totally reworked, Sonic can no longer stand on walls and his spindash actually gains momentum. However there are still a couple speed issues, like not picking up speed fast enough and the spindash not actually GOING fast enough. One other problem I have is with Super Sonic. The physics for him seem to be unchanged from Episode I, he'll stop in mid-air if you're not holdsing a direction, and his homing attack doesn't seem to lock on properly.
The music in the game is alright, but it's nothing I'd revel over. Compared to previous Sonic games it almost feels too techno, and I don't like the re-used invincibility and Super Sonic themes. I do however like the remix of the critical boss music from Episode I.
As mentioned in gameplay, the control is vastly improved, but still lacks in areas such as Super Sonic, and the special stages can be a difficult to maneuver at times. Controlling Tails in single player (only during flight and torpedo) feels good, but flight doesn't seem to last as long as it should, with Tails getting tired after seven pushes of the jump button rather than a set period of time. The homing attack could be tweaked a little, its range doesn't always reach a target if you're at a bad angle.
Episode II is fun to replay with a friend locally or online, and the leaderboards can keep things competitive with score battles and time attacks. There's also 7 special stages (very reminiscent of Sonic 2 in which to get Chaos Emeralds. And in each level there is a hidden Red Star Ring, but collecting these doesn't get you anything other than a trophy.
All-in-all Sonic 4: Episode II is a great Sonic game. It vastly improves on Episode I and even competes with the Sonic games of yore. If the physics were more like Classic Sonic from Generations (the spindash doesn't need to be THAT fast though) this game would be that much closer to perfection. Sonic is making a comeback ladies and gentlemen, and this game is proof.
This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.