Review by Zylo the wolf

Reviewed: 09/29/08 | Updated: 10/06/08

Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood is just like we wanted, but a bit to short.

After the Mario, face of video games, Sonic is one of the most well known video game characters of them all. During the early 90's Sonic had just been born and was a fresh rival to Mario on a different system, and since Sonic was way cooler than Mario a lot of people bought the Sega systems instead of Nintendo systems. However after the Sega Master System and Sega Genesis Sonic didn't appeared in many good games for awhile until the Dreamcast when Sonic Adventure was one of the launch titles, and it kicked ass.

But then after the first game on the Dreamcast, Sonic the Hedgehog has been one of those characters that used to be in good games, and truth been told some of the recent Sonic games are really good, but most of them are either just okay or down right awful. While all the Sonic games on the Gameboy Advance and DS are great games, when Sonic does something other than running around in 2D side scrollers his games doesn't get well received.

Sega decided to change that by making a Sonic RPG, and if the Japan RPG kings Square made the first Mario RPG then it would only be fair if the Western RPG kings Bioware developed the first real Sonic RPG. In fact a lot of people have said that they normally wouldn' have been interested in this game if it wasn't for the fact that it's Bioware who developed this game. I'll say it right now, I've never played any other of their games so I don't know if Sonic Chronicles stands up to the average Bioware game, but if it doesn't then Bioware reaily make a lot of excellent games.

When the game starts, you see a nice cuts-cene on how Sonic and the gang trashes Dr Eggman's Egg Carrier once again. The team escapes from the Egg Carrier as it blows up and peace is once again restored. Some time later Sonic is in Greenhill zone and is just doing what he usually does on his free time. Suddenly Tails calls and tells Sonic that Knuckles have been kidnapped by some strange enemies, it looks like it's not Dr Eggman who is up to no good this time. Tails said that Sonic should get to Tails's workshop right away so that they can discuss what to do.

Sonic's first task in Greenhill is to cross a river with a draft. To get this draft to work he has to solve a really simple puzzle, and as you might understand this game is full of these kind of puzzles that you have to solve in order to get any further on that stage. Most of this puzzles shouldn't take to much time to figure out but some of them really left me clueless. If you get to much trouble with the puzzles than you can buy hints from the guy who told you about the puzzle. I'm not so sure tough if those hints makes the puzzles to make any more sense tough...

In almost all the previous Sonic games every stage have been full of rings that made you be able to take more than just one hit. In Sonic Chronicles, they have another kind of use. On every stage you find rings everywhere, and you can either use these rings to buy hints to the different puzzles, buy power up items or new equipment at the store, or you can use them as a continue if you die in a battle. However you don't get rings after you've won a battle, so the rings in this games are a limited number so it might be good to not use die to often just because you got enough rings for another retry.

You can also found different chao eggs on each stage, and when one egg hatch you can equip that Chao to aid you in battle. Some chao's increases you health or PP after every battle turn, while others gives all your attacks some elemental powers e.t.c. No character should ever be in battle without a chao equipped.

One thing that really annoyed me when I first started to play this game was that you have to play through the entire game by using the stylus to move. At first this made it difficult at least for me to make Sonic move where I wanted him to go but after maybe 30 minutes of playing it felt like the most obvious thing in the world. You can also change the leader in your party with the stylus.

Sometimes there are different objects in the way on a stage, then you can either use Sonic as the leader to use his speed to jump on the ramp and travel far on the screen, or maybe there's a boulder in the way where either Amy's hammer och Knuckles's fists can aid you. And since there are many different Sonic characters who can fly that will also be useful. So when you decide which characters you should take with you, their movement abilities should not be ignored.

When you just start the game, Sonic is the only character that you have in your party but then you quickly get Amy Rose, and after that you get Tails to join your party, and then Rouge, and then the rest of the Sonic characters you expected to be in a Sonic game. However I miss Blaze, since she's the only playable character in the other two DS Sonic games besides Sonic, but I guess that it would hurt the story if she all of a sudden showed up. Team Chaotix are also not playable in this game..

So how does the battles work in a Sonic RPG? Something that I think many will like is that there are no random encounters in this game, in order to fight an enemy it either has to bump into you or you have to bump into it. When you get close to an enemy it sees you and will start to chase you. If one of the Hedgehogs are your party leader then it shouldn't be to hard to run away from it if you want to, but I doubt that it's possible to beat this game without a single random enemy fight.

Just like everywhere else in the game, you have to use the stylus in the battles. First of all you use it to select the different commands you want to give your characters every battle round. Most of the characters got more than one turn in every battle round, but if you select attack the first time then that character will attack for the rest of the round. Aside from regular attacks you can also do pow moves, use items, defend or flee. POW moves are this game's spells which cost PP which is the same as MP usually is in RPGs, but you can refill these by either using items or defend for the rest of the battle round.

The stylus got another very important use in battle. Either when you use a POW move or when one of the enemy uses a special attack, you can use the stylus to either make your POW moves to do more damage or to make the enemy attacks to do less damage. Beware that you have to perform supportive POW moves perfectly, or they won't work at all. So if you screw up with that it might ruin your whole strategy for that battle round. You also have to use the stylus to either catch enemies when they ran away or to don't make the enemy catch you when you flee.

I can't say that this game was a disappointment in any way, because the only problem I ever had was that I had some trouble to use the stylus, but that's something you get used to. I guess the only other problem is that the game is really short, it only took me about 15 hours to finish. Well at the end the game said that I missed some rings and stuff like that so maybe the game is a little longer, but it can't be that much. I also missed an optional character and some side quests, but that's about it. The game only had about 1 difficult boss fight to, but I don't think anyone should expect a Sonic RPG to be that difficult.

Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood was just about as good as I expected it to be, no real surprises. However I really hope that Bioware decides to make sequel to this game, and I think that this is a game that will really grow through time. Since the game is so short I think this is a game that I can play through once a year and still have a great time. It's a really good RPG but a bit to short...

Rating:   4.0 - Great

Product Release: Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood (EU, 09/26/08)

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