Review by maddawg

Reviewed: 12/21/02 | Updated: 12/21/02

Won't win new fans, but old fans should be satisfied

Introduction: - The third game in the Game-Gear Sonic series was released to little fanfare because people were beginning to get tired of the blue-spikey one. However, for people who only owned hand-held consoles, this was the best chance to see what people with Genesis had been enjoying for years.

What's new? : - The game introduced a second playable character for the first time on the Sega handheld. This was something that had earlier happened on Genesis. In truth, this doesn't add as much to the game as people would hope. Tails can fly, which makes previously inaccessible rings and ledges possible to reach, however this comes at a price. Tails cannot collect the Chaos Emeralds, so it could be argued that only with Sonic can the game be completed properly. Undoubtedly, the game is much easier with Tails.

Sound: - The usual cheery tunes add to the atmosphere of the various zones. There's nothing as spectacular as the themes of the Chaos and Scrambled Egg Zones of Sonic 2 on this system. They are mostly quite catchy and the final boss music is pleasant to listen to and conveys the drama of the situation quite effectively.

Graphics: - At the time, they pushed the console to new heights (don't laugh, okay!) The zones are all pretty and distinctive and the characters look good enough. The models of Sonic and Tails are noticeably larger than in previous incarnations of the game. This doesn't really affect the gameplay, though. The bonus levels are all themed and drawn differently, which helps to convey the idea that they are special and that the player has achieved something to get the privilige of playing through them.

Gameplay: - Fun all the way, while it lasts. The levels are very samey, but there is always an addictive quality with Sonic games to find every single ring in a level or to finish them as quickly as possible. The bosses are all pretty similar to defeat, but might take a few goes to manage.

Lastability: - Not long, but the challenge to get every Chaos Emerald with Sonic will keep most players busy for a while. The bonus levels where the Emeralds are found are a totally different prospect than the regular levels. They are strictly timed and will take several attempts to get right. If anything, more of the characteristics of the bous levels should have been injected into the rest of the game.

Buy or rent?: - Rent, because you will have the game almost licked within a few days of play. Youngsters or those hardcore Sonic completists might want to own the game, however. Chances are that if you see the game available now, it will be very cheap, so in that case you might as well buy it because it will keep anyone happy for a few hours. It may even bring a reminiscent tear to the eyes of those for whom Sonic was an institution when they were growing up.

Overall: - The game deserves a mark of 7/10. Although some were disappointed with the short lifespan of the title, this should come as no surprise to long-term Sega fans. It is a trait of Sega titles that they are fairly short but very enjoyable for the time you play them. This even stands true today and in any case, Sonic titles have never been about high levels of frustration and long lastability. They are aimed very much at the younger end of the market.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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