Sonic Generations 3D review: While many Sonic games have gained a notoriety for being disappointing over the past decade, several truly great Sonic titles have appeared exclusively on Nintendo systems, particularly on handhelds.
Consider the Sonic Advance and Sonic Rush series and add to that the impressive Sonic Colours on Wii and DS and it's fair to say that things have been good for Sonic on Nintendo systems.
Each of the game's stages is a zone from a different game in Sonic's history, starting with the Green Hill Zone from the original game and progressing through Sonic 2 (Casino Night Zone), Sonic & Knuckles (Mushroom Hill Zone), Sonic Adventure (Emerald Coast) and a Sonic Colours stage which allows you to use Wisp powers.
In The Zone
Each zone contains a Classic stage, a Modern stage and a Special stage. The Classic stages star the chubby, silent Sonic from the Mega Drive games and play to all intents and purposes like the original 16-bit Sonic trilogy. Sonic's speed has to be earned with momentum, he doesn't have any flashy moves and all he can do (at first) is his standard jumping attack and spin dash.
It's the Modern stages that make the 3DS version of Sonic Generations stand out from the other versions, however.
While the Modern stages in other versions of the game play in the free-roaming Sonic Unleashed style, the 3DS title instead pays homage to the strengths of the Sonic Advance and Sonic Rush games with pseudo-2D levels that feature a swooping camera and all sorts of special tricks and moves for Sonic to pull off.
He's got a speed boost, he can perform a wall-jump, he can grind along rails, he can do a ground pound, he's got a homing attack when he jumps - this is the fully kitted-out Modern Sonic
Every now and then you'll also get to race through a special level against a classic Sonic enemy, be it his Metal counterpart or even his pesky 'evil' alter-ego Shadow. These stages are great, if frustrating and have a very small margin for error. Tthere's something hugely rewarding about mastering the level in order to win the race.
Classic Sonic's moveset still never really gets anywhere close to the outrageously tricked-out arsenal Modern Sonic possesses, it doesn't affect the classic gameplay any more than the likes of the fire shield in Sonic 3 did. What it does offer, however, is the chance for expert players to go back to Classic levels already completed and use Classic Sonic's newfound skills to finish each level quicker and aim for an elusive S Rank.
Chasing these S Ranks is ultimately what you're going to have to do if you want to get the most out of Sonic Generations, because the main game itself is a bit short. There are only two acts for each of the zones and a handful of bosses, so those rushing through the game might find it's over all too quickly. That said, there's also a huge selection of missions that you can unlock using either StreetPass or Play Coins, and then there's online multiplayer (A head-to-head race mode) on top of that.
Despite the main game's brief length, Sonic Generations is fantastic fun. As long as you don't mind replaying the same levels to try to better your own records, which is a challenge in itself, this is an essential purchase for Sonic fans.