There's something you should probably know about me before we dive into this review. I grew up a Sega kid. While my friends were all playing their Nintendos and Super Nintendos, I was cutting my proverbial gaming teeth with the Master System and Genesis. As you might expect, this led to me quickly becoming a pretty avid Sega enthusiast, as I still am today. Granted, as time went on, I came to eventually love Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft as well, but deep down, my heart still beats for Sega.
It should come as no surprise, then, that when Sumo Digital's 2010 masterpiece, Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing, came out, I consumed it with a ravenous hunger; and it was good. So good, in fact, that I actually consider it to be one of my favorite games of all time. For my money, it beats all others - I'm not just talking about copycat cart racers, the Mario Kart games as well. Some may disagree with that statement, but I will happily and convincingly tell them why they are wrong.
Sumo Digital's 2012 follow-up, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, was also a thoroughly enjoyable affair, but it came nowhere close to reaching the lofty heights of greatness as the criminally-underrated original. It had exciting things to offer, sure (new fan favorite all-stars, amazing new stages, a cool transformation mechanic), but the graphics were lacking a bit by comparison and the gameplay was plagued by some pretty awful rubber-banding that unfortunately couldn't be turned off (unlike in the first game). It just seemed to lack the same level of care and attention to detail as the original. Which brings us, now, to the third entry in the series...
In 1994, after years of jealously playing Sega Genesis games at other people's houses (Sonic the Hedgehog, in particular), I finally decided to plunk down the allowance I'd managed to save up and buy the system for myself. I only took two games home with me that day and they were both Sonic titles, Sonic Spinball (a pack-in game that was included with the system) and Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Despite the fact that Sonic 2 had already been available for two years by that point, I hadn't actually had the opportunity to play it yet, myself.
When I got home and popped it into my shiny new Genesis, I was mesmerized. Seeing that beautiful Emerald Hill Zone level was just like the first time I had seen the Green Hill Zone from Sonic 1, a few years earlier. Both times, I was blown away. The first Sonic game had turned the gaming world completely upside down, and the second, not only managed to recapture that same magic, but improve on it enough to stand on its own. But while the other great Sonic games from those Genesis days (Sonic 3, Sonic CD, and Sonic & Knuckles) were all more or less equally good, none of those games could really manage to pull off quite that same awe-inspiring first impression.
In the time since those 2-D glory days, many other Sonic games have come to many other consoles. Many have come in 3-D, some in 2, and some have even featured a mix of both; and while certain titles may have been arguably better than others, not one of them has even come close to reaching the lofty heights of the originals. None of them, that is, until now...
It seems that this was a pretty big week on the Steam Store. Not only did the new Call of Duty hit, but also the renowned Arcade developer, CAVE, has made its Steam debut with their hit "bug princess" shooter, Mushihimesama (mooshee-heemay-sahmah). Additionally, SEGA graciously saw fit to bring over their previously Nintendo-exclusive Sonic the Hedgehog game, Sonic Lost World.
I don't know about you, but the CAVE news alone was enough to send me to gaming heaven (before their punishing shooter promptly sent me to bullet hell). Proceed further to see more of this week's new releases.
Classic Sega title and actually good Sonic game, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has been released on the eShop this week. And in 3D! Some say that Sonic 2 is the best game of the entire series, others might prefer the original. Personally, I like 'em about the same. Either way, they are both great fun and they are both now available to enjoy on your Nintendo 3DS.
Also out this week, a new entry in the Chibi-Robo series, a new JRPG that looks a bit like Bravely Default, and a pair of semi-popular indie games. Get your red and blue 3-D glasses, throw them in the trash, then proceed further to see this list of new releases.