|Release: TBA 2012|
|Screen Resolution: N/A|
by Becky Cunningham
The Sonic the Hedgehog series has undergone a fair number of revivals over the past few years, but this one might be one of the most exciting. Hearkening back to the spirit of the classic Sonic 3D game on the SEGA Genesis, SEGA has announced that it will be releasing Sonic 3D for the Nintendo 3DS next April. The ever-diabolical Dr. Robotnik has kidnapped all the cute wildlife in the land of Tridimensia, replacing the bunnies and squirrels with angry robots. Sonic and his friends must save the day, and collect as many golden rings as they can while they're at it.
Sonic 3D's main levels will be played from an over-the-shoulder perspective, so that players can "feel the rush" of Sonic's sprints through the three-dimensional levels. Of course, there will be plenty of obstacles and pitfalls to avoid, and there will be tons of rings to collect in very obvious locations. The game promises new heights in "holding down one button" technology, as the more first-person perspective means players will generally be holding down the forward directional button rather than the left directional button. With the new analog stick on the 3DS, players will even have the ability to tilt a stick forward in order to make Sonic run, rather than holding down a d-pad button.
Sometimes, of course, Sonic will need to jump, which can be accomplished by quickly jerking the 3DS upwards. SEGA believes that this mechanic will allow players to physically experience Sonic's adventures like never before. Understanding that overexcited Sonic players may have trouble keeping ahold of their console while jumping, SEGA is exploring a partnership with Nintendo to provide wrist straps for the 3DS, allowing the player to anchor the console securely to both wrists.
Not every level will feature Sonic, however, as Sonic's colorful cast of animal friends is back to help him with his adventure. Their levels will take full advantage of the many features of the 3DS. Players will blow into the mic to help Tails stay afloat as he helicopters around with his multiple tails. Amy, bedecked in an adorable cheerleading outfit, will require the player to cheer in order to keep her motivated as she jumps through her levels. Big the Cat offers a game in which the player must connect with as many people as possible using Tag Mode in order to collect exotic rings. Finally, newcomer Vinnie the Mole has digging levels, in which the player must navigate dim tunnels using stereo sound cues. SEGA is confident that players will love these new and innovative levels, which must be completed in order to open up new Sonic levels and continue the adventure.
Sonic 3D's visuals will, of course, be in 3D. SEGA is currently tackling the challenge of creating Sonic's levels so that they provide a rush of sensation without creating too much dizziness or nausea in players. As with all 3DS games, it's recommended that players take a break from the game every fifteen minutes or so, and SEGA is confident that it will be able to create gameplay that can be sustained for that length of time without causing undue strain on players' eyes.
Since Sonic 3D is for a new generation of gamers, Sonic's personality has been given an overhaul. While the previous decade's blue hedgehog was a sassy back-talker, the Sonic in Sonic 3D will be "more laid-back and chill, like teen idol and international role-model Justin Bieber," states Sony's rep. That's not the only part of the game that's been influenced by Mr. Bieber, however. The game's soundtrack will feature a new theme song, performed by an artist who "totally sounds like Justin Bieber."
Overall, it appears that SEGA is working hard to bring an all-new Sonic experience to both series veterans and new players. "Sonic 3D represents the next generation of SEGA's enduring mascot, and we can't wait to release it to our legions of fans," SEGA states. "It's going to be mondo sicktacular, or whatever those kids are saying these days."
CCC Freelance Writer