Sonic 4 episode 2 (Xbox360)

[intro]

Since the first Sonic game was released in 1991, I fell in love with the blue Hedgehog. Loving his fast pace, wacky game play. It was this blue icon that made me a gamer today! Now Sega tries to go back to their roots with this game giving me some nostalgic memories.

[/intro]

Sonic 4 continues as episode 2. This time sonic teams up with his buddy Tails to save Little Planet from Dr Eggman. Metal Sonic has awoken, it is up you to stop him and safe Little Planet.

Game play
Luckily Sega did listen to their fan base and they fixed the serious issues from the first episode, there is more feel to speed and momentum. You play as Sonic and Tails, together speeding through four levels. The levels are spitted into three action acts and one bonus act, like in Sonic the Hedgehog 1. In total there are 16 stages.

The game play is simple, you control Sonic and Tails with the [thumb stick]. Homing attack is back, but now with the help of Tails. Sonic and Tails can now also combine their moves: Tails can fly you over obstacles or act as an underwater submarine. The two can transform together into a massive spin ball, smashing anything in their path. This is one of the cool things added to this game as this lets you reach and explore inaccessible areas.

After you got 50 rings and reach the end of the level, you can jump into a giant ring that takes you to the special stage, here you get the chance to win a Chaos Emerald.

The bonus stages are a revamp from Sonic the Hedgehog 2. You are in this huge half pipe, where you have to collect the minimal required rings to continue. Watch out for bombs as they can take your rings away. If you don’t meet up with the required rings at the end of the stage you won’t continue, but if you do than you are rewarded with a Chaos Emerald.

Unfortunately you are this time forced to play as both Sonic and Tails, you can’t choose to play as either Sonic or Tails alone. The computer controlling Tails is stupid. It makes sure that Tails loses his rings. The only way you can truly beat the bonus stage is becoming a master in the special stage level or ask another good player to play as Tails. To me the addition with the bonus stages is fun but the forced game play is unnecessary and frustrating. Get all seven Chaos Emeralds and you can once again turn into Super Sonic!

Clear all acts of the stage and you enter the boss act.

The boss battles are very tedious but thank the ‘gaming god’ you can use Tails to get you out of problems. It just feels to me the boss battles haven’t been well thought through. It’s either really hard or just plain boring. But the later bosses get punishing hard, making me wonder what I did in my previous life to deserve this!

Music
Ah the music, it’s still an annoyance. You can easily hear in the background that it is a loop. It’s sad they don’t follow the same style of music as in the old Sonic games from the Sega Mega Drive. But the familiar sounds return to this game making it joyful: 1 ups, rings sounds, killing enemies. All that makes it feel as a true Sonic game.

Graphics
The graphics are gorgeous looking. It’s cool there is a lot going on on the screen, both in the background and foreground. There is more than enough ambience in the levels giving them life. Every area is well designed having their own theme, but the levels are clearly revamped from other Sonic games. Enemies are well designed.

Good points
Wonderful beautiful rendered HD graphics
Tails makes a return! I must admit I did miss that little guy!
Playing both as Sonic and Tails has real advantages, it can save you from cheap deaths
Momentum of speed is far better than in the first episode

Bad points
You can’t choose to play as either Sonic or Tails; you are forced to play them together.
The music feels cheap
Boss battles are a pain: it is either too boring or too difficult
The last stages of the bonus levels feel punishing

Conclusion
Sonic 4 episode 2 is MUCH better than Episode 1 no doubt, but it still has its issues which keeps this game from feeling like a true Sonic game. Tails is a welcome addition the game. Sonic 4 episode 2 can give you about 4 hours of game play. Although really expensive at 1200 Microsoft points on XBLA, it is worth every point if you want to see this new experience.

If you own both Sonic 4 episode 1 and Sonic 4 episode 2, you get a little bonus:
– Episode metal, in which you can play as Metal Sonic through the old stages.

The Game Mistress

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