Remember my feature a few months back where I revisited Sonic 4: Episode 1? Well, guess what, I’m doing pretty much the same thing with Sonic Rush for the Nintendo DS! Hit the jump to find out what I thought about the game years after I first played it!
The game came out in 2005 at a time where I remember the Nintendo DS actually took off in terms of games that focus more on a hardcore crowd. I remember buying it together with Mario Kart DS, with the inherent logic being that these are two games that go really, really fast. Looking back, my former 2005-self seems like a much more optimistic and maybe even naive person than I am now, but still, I was right: Both games are fast. Sonic Rush is fast.
To put things even more into perspective, Sonic Rush was my first new Sonic game since Sonic and Knuckles for the Sega Mega Drive, a fact that I am actually quite happy about, after I had to review Sonic Adventure for one of the outlets I work for. Ignorance is bliss, at times. Back then, I thought the game was great fun and actually had some great visuals. The length was there to justify the price point and I was really happy about my purchase, never thinking about trading it in.
On E3 2004 there was that scary little demo where you had to rub the touchscreen in order for Sonic to run. Thankfully, Sega noticed that it was a terrible idea for a Sonic game, but at that moment, I was very hopeful about a Sonic game on the DS.
As I’ve already said, my memories of the game were quite positive and I really wondered whether or not it still holds up.
It does. For the most part. The leveldesign is solid, speeding around is fun and the overall feel of the game is just right. I enjoyed playing it again, heck, I even managed to get 6 out of 7 emeralds while doing so, something I didn’t manage all these years ago. I love the special stage, especially since it’s basically a redesign from the Sonic 2 special stage and there’s nothing wrong with that. Touch-controls are limited to that mode and as far as I’m concerned, that was the right decision, since it actually works there. Outside of that mode, there are no touchscreen controls whatsoever. However, the dual screens are used well, giving you a greater view of the action, since they can show more than one screen can. At first, it takes some time to wrap your head around, but after half an hour it fine just works. Other new elements in the game don’t fare so well. Performing moves in the air to fill your meter which can be used to boost your speed feels a bit tacked on, since it really doesn’t add a whole lot to the gameplay.
I ignored the story the second time around since I remember it being quite cheesy and unimportant. Blaze the Cat is another unnecessary addition to the Sonic universe and frankly, I can’t see why she is in there. Sure, you can play the game twice in order to see the entire story, but if you don’t care about story, there’s no use to it, right? She also plays like Sonic and the only thing that actually changes is the order in which the levels take place. Her addition was pretty much lost on me. If you compare this to Knuckles in Sonic & Knuckles (Yes, this again) it really shows how uninspired Blaze is. Knuckles could do new moves while Blaze is just a, pardon the pun, copycat of Sonic.
As I’ve already said, the graphics are nice. They are the kind of 2.5D graphics I always enjoy, since they give you a classic feel with some added graphical quality. The music is average, some tracks are really fun while other are just downright annoying. On the other hand, that has been pretty much the case in every Sonic game so far for me.
One thing that really got on my nerves is, that speed isn’t always a reward, but also quite often a punishment. Quite often, you’ll run into ennemies without seeing them, since you’re going to fast. There are also way too many instant death falls, especially in the casino zone, which always have been my least favorite one. The boss fights are fun and diverse, even though they can drag on quite a bit.
So, in the end, my memories were right: Overall, Sonic Rush is a very enjoyable Sonic game. If you ever see it or cheap, make sure to buy it. It’s a great experience for a portable device, controls really well and is one of the better modern Sonic games out there.
(On a side note, I really can’t find good screens of this game, so I’m really sorry about the quality of the few I included here…)