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Sonic the Hedgehog 06: First Impressions


Scarecrow
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Hopefully this is a suitable area for discussion. I recently have got a Xbox 360 and finally have got to play Sonic06, a game for which I have avoided pretty much all spoilers (so i hope anyone posting here will respect tha). So I thought it might be interesting to post my initial impressions on the game and storyline as it develops, as well as asking generally what everyones first impressions were.

The opening video was, of course, gorgeous and I was instantly put in find of SA1 when finding myself in Soleanna as a hub city. It's very beautiful, plenty to explore at first and was a good oppurtunity to get to grips with the controls, which I have found a little tricky. Sonic slides a hell of a lot, but more on that later.

The first stage was action packed, that's for sure, and I noticed wha looked like alternative routes though I don't know to what degree. The water sliding parts were rather tricky and I have to say, Tails throwing bombs was a very bizarre choice but I guess it sort of works. Sort of. The Mach Speed section though, is pure evil, it'd be slightly less annoying if you didn't lose ALL your rings in one it, but the final loop is evil, you have to get it perfect!

After that I felt perhaps there was too big a pause before the next level section and took me a while to work out what to do. That said, Egg Cerberus was an amazing boss, took me a while to work it out but it's a clever idea and who doens't love steering a giant mech into a brick wall.

After this the Desert Zone was very satisfying. With the addition of the shield, once I'd figured the quick sand out, this was a level with very little bottomless pit deaths, and it had a beautiful design and very entertaining. At this point I'd also say, Eggman's robots are fun to fight but there does seem to be little art to kiling them beyond smashing them with rapid homing attacks.

The storyline is devloping interestingly, the Flames of Disaster, the Princess, seems somewhat basic at first but with a sense of something more going on. Oh and and there's a romantic interlude with Sonic and Elise that's actually really touching and gets to the heart of Sonic as a character and why he always keeps on runing. Wonderful little moment.

The introduction of Silver was a great moment, clearly he's been misinformed into thinking Sonic is the cause of some disaster, unless Sonic inadventenly was, I'll guess we'll see. He was hellish to fight at first though, grabbing me and killing me. It wans't too unfair though, once I worked out *how* to attack him (when he already has objects held up) then he was fairly easy. Interetsing that Amy knwos SIlver though, hopefully the reaosn will be revealed in his Episode.

After this I was lost for a while. I found some kids dog, messed aorund with some guards to open the gate to the New City and generally got a little impatient wanting the next level. Eventually I found Knuckles (after saving some guys data disc and taking part in the ring festival), does that Echidna actually do his duty anymore? I reckon he hangs round because he's actually lost the bloody master Emerald but doesn't want to admit it.

Now comes the bain of my existance. No auto-save. I get into White Acropolis and promptly die on the evil that is snowboarding. And it hasn';t saved for the last half hour, since having to go meet Knuckles. Damn it. A bad feature, I make sure to do it all again saving after ecah mini mission. That was weak though.

As is the snow oarding and the-without-warning-change-of-direction that suddenly switches the controls round. That helped. In fact, it was damn frustrating. Once we're past this pure evil section, it's actually a fairly fun level, though Tails bit was frustraing and you easily got turned around and lsot. I suspect Tails will not be a favourite of mine in this game.

And after this we get an awesome cut scene. Sonic, Tails and Knuckles banished to the future? I never expected to find Eggman trying to control time, nice twist, though uncetrian how it'll play into the Flames of Disaster and how the Princess is key. But what's this? Shadow and Rouge are already in the future? And the worlds gone to hell? I need to go play more because things have just got *really* interesting.

Overall I'd say thisgame has been enjoyable so far with some frustraions, and a little lack of control. The snow boarding was pure evil and was easy to get stuck ut so far I'm enjoying the intrigue of the plot and had fun with the levels.

- Scarecrow

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Also, I personally like hearing people's first experiences with certain Sonic games, even if they're older games. ^^

Me too. And I thought I might not be the only one, hence this thread. :) A friend actually is giving me his copy to keep because he has Unleashed now if he wants to play Sonic. Should also be noted, I have installed it to the harddrive and it seems to help with loading times and so forth. Not that it's saying much. There's no need for two long now loading screens either side of some random mission guy saying about five words!

- Scarecrow

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This is what works for me. When Sonic goes really epic. The destroyed vision of the future genuinely is nightmarish, the ruined cities and then the level starts. Crisis City indeed. I have to say, as with the snowboarding, it’s not the easiest thing to control and the jumps are very unforgiving to pull off. It’s actually more a chore than fun which is a shame. But there’s a lot of interest like where the hell did these fire creatures come from? I assume linked to the Flames of Disaster but we shall see. All in all, the visuals of this level kept it interesting, it was like running through a nightmare. Sadly it was then ruined with a AWFUL Mach Speed zone which was grossly unfair. It took me a dozen attempts and one jump easily sends you into oblivion. There’s no skill to this, a combination of blind luck and keeping some semblance of control, the first time I really felt something was badly done in the game.

After however, there’s more “what the hell”-ness to be had. Sonic and co stumble across Blaze (my first encounter with the character!), Silver and… Shadow? A grey furred, deeper voiced Shadow at any rate. Shadow from the future maybe? He tells Silver that Sonic is the Iblis Trigger. It feels like there’s so much more to this story! Not been this intrigued since Sonic Adventure 2! And then, in the past, Elise died on Eggmans ship, just to raise the stakes even higher! Plot wise this game just works.

Unlike the next level, a volcano themes level whose opening sprints punish the slightly error with death. A reliance on homing attacks on enemies, and numerous lava pits made this the least enjoyable experience, level-wise, so far. At least the middle section of Crisis City was enjoyable but this… nope.

Iblis! For such a big deal it seems to be a fairly mindless large monster, which is odd but actually serves to intrigue me further. And still don’t know how GreyShadow and all this talk of Solaris fit in. Either way, a well designed, exciting and not too difficult boss battle follows before Chaos Control sends Team Sonic back to the present. Which is an odd, if not useful development, of Chaos Control powers. Shadow and Rouge, however, are nowhere to be seen. I have to say, whilst the story works well, at this stage I do worry as the levels seem to be becoming more glitchy as I had heard. Still, I shall press on!

- Scarecrow

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Sonic '06 was the only reason I wanted a 360 all along, regardless of the shitty scores. I learned back then that critics seemed to hate newer Sonic games somewhat so I figured I'd be enjoying it. Turns out I was wrong, and after a while I realized that most games post Sonic Adventure 2 were balls. Main Series that is.

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What a coincidence! I recently got the game myself.

I'm not that impressed. <_<

Now, from experience, I've usually found that I enjoy the more recent Sonic games more than the reviewers do, which is why I tend not to rely on reviews when it comes to Sonic games. For instance, I really enjoy Sonic Heroes and I think Shadow the Hedgehog is definitely entertaining to play (though I hate Shadow and the story is pretty lousy). That's why I've held off from judging the game until I finally got to play it myself. From what I'd seen, Sonic 06 looked like a good game.

Then I played it. I don't like the way the levels are split into different sections, like when Tails takes over in the first level or when Sonic goes to super speed. I'd been hoping that this game would be more like the style of gameplay used in Sonic Adventure or Sonic Adventure 2. Okay, parts of it are, and I quite enjoy those parts, but the rest is rather annoying, especially the super speed sections.

Furthermore, the controls are, essentially, awful. They're really sluggish, when they should be responding much faster. So it really doesn't help when you're hurtling forward at supersonic speed and lose every single ring if you so much as touch an obstacle. I don't think I've passed a single level yet without losing every single life in the attempt, whereas on Sonic Adventure I can get through the whole game without losing a single ring! I don't think this is simply a matter of getting used to the controls, not when I can get used to the controls on other games on the Xbox 360 in a matter of minutes.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not about to say; "Sonic just doesn't work in 3D". I don't buy that crock one bit. Sonic and other high speed games have worked perfectly well in 3D, in Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2, for example. But Sonic 06 doesn't do the franchise any favours. I get the feeling that this was another rushed project, put out to meet a deadline before all the glitches had been ironed out. Maybe Sega needs to take a leaf out of Blizzard's book. They hold back games for years trying to perfect them. I also think part of the problem is putting too much emphasis on speed and not enough on fun platforming. The Adventures, Heroes, and Shadow all found a reasonable balance between the two.

Finally, the adventure fields (for lack of a better term). I like the adventure fields in Sonic Adventure. They were uncomplicated, not too big, and rather nice to look at. But the Soleanna adventure field in Sonic 06 can only really say one of those things; it's nice to look at. I find it too big, and too frustratingly complicated to figure out where to go next. The challenges are rather pointless too, and unlocking certain levels really shouldn't take any more than finding a key or an item. Talking to guards to try and figure out which one is the captain is just... eh...?

Anyways, I've said all I can think of for now. I'm going to try and motor on with the game, but I'm stuck on the jungle level. If you're wondering, it's the vines that are killing me.

Edited by Eon
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I played it at a friend's house for a few hours once. I'm a nintendo wii kinda guy, so it did take a few minutes to figure out where all the buttons were. Anyway, the first thing that came into my mind while playing it was 'geez, the internet really is an exaggeration machine'. Didn't die more than once on the first level. Had no idea where all the glitches were. Had a lot of fun with the speed zone, and running around Soleanna (sp?) wasn't that bad, either. Had moderate fun as Shadow and Silver, and some of the side missions were fun, although others made my brain hurt. I was having fun, actually. I was.

Then I experienced the loading times. Uggh...

So, yeah. It gets a six out of ten from me, due to loading times and the fact that the big bad guy is a Shadow recolor. A RECOLOR.

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Hopefully this is a suitable area for discussion. I recently have got a Xbox 360 and finally have got to play Sonic06, a game for which I have avoided pretty much all spoilers (so i hope anyone posting here will respect tha). So I thought it might be interesting to post my initial impressions on the game and storyline as it develops, as well as asking generally what everyones first impressions were.

I really have a hard time figuring out how you've managed to avoid all spoilers from this game for more than two years...

Anyway, I think it's pretty interesting to read your impressions on the game and story as you discover them. Please keep it up!

As for me, I didn't found the game as bad or glitched as most people said it was, but the gameplay was rather uninteresting, fun at times but not enough. But the great story made up for it.

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I really have a hard time figuring out how you've managed to avoid all spoilers from this game for more than two years...

It's easier than you'd think. I too have managed to avoid most spoilers.

You just don't read forum topics about the game, you don't look up reviews that contain spoilers, and you ask any friends of yours who may be inclined to blab the ending to refrain from doing so.

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Ok I have not REALLY played this game, so I can't be 100% sure it's as equally good, but I had positive opinions about Sonic Heros before I played it and now I'm feeling disappointed.

I was able to see a live play of this game that was really entertaining, because they had funny comments and pretty accurate opinions about what was going on. Just seeing that alone confirmed my 1st impressions of the game, which were "this being a terribly confusing plot about furries and poorly rendered humans with bad controls."

Granted when I saw the promo vid back in 2005 with Sonic running at top speed looking cool, it was a good sign. But as they added more and more my over all impression of the game just looked worse and worse. The graphics didn't improve from those 1st in game vids, and then they added Silver...and then there was the new Robotnic and Elise. It just looked sadder and sadder with each revealing piece and now actually watching it, it was sad to watch the easiest moments fail for these gamers.

Only good thing to come out of this was to see Shadow kicking Silver in the head. It's like the writers weren't happy with having to write a story with him, so they wrote that part with him and the animators spent delicate time and effort animating it with care...watching it over and over again. Granted it's not as funny the 50th time, but it just feels so rewarding to play the game to that point to get that little gem.

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Wow, this topic makes me want to go play Unleashed Sonic 2006 (heh, whoops, course of habit) again. *looks over at Sonic-Elise scene that takes place after the desert* I love that scene. You know, character development for Sonic and all that.

I liked Sonic '06. I could tolerate the glitches ('cept for Crisis City's mach speed zone - that was a bitch. "That Tornado's carrying a - *shot*) The only thing that really ticked me off was the loading times. It just broke the game up so much, ruined every moment of rising tension in the storyline. "Oh shit, is Elise actually dea-- oh. Oh. Okaaaay... load, load load... okay... er... huhhhhh.."

But I LOVED the story. So epic and in depth... LOVED it. Probably one of the best plotlines EVER in a Sonic game - maybe better than Unleashed's. Maybe.

Edited by DC111
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Ahah, a little late, but it's cool to see that there are some people enjoy the game anyway. Now go try Sonic Unleashed 360, then try to go back to Sonic 06. xD

Also, I personally like hearing people's first experiences with certain Sonic games, even if they're older games. ^^

Trust me its not a very pretty thing. I recently tried doing that and well, lets just say 06 is back in the back of my 360 games. <_<

But yeah like 2 or so years ago when I first tried the demo then the game I started out kinda disappointed. The demo was better than the final product? NOT FAIR! But except for that it was a good game until trying to play it after any other sonic game except SATSR. I still shoot myself for renting that garbage excuse for a sonic game. But this isnt the right place to talk about it.

shadixxx gives sonic 06 5.5 fat guys out of 10.

And gives unleashed 8.5 out of 10

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Interesting concept here, it's definitely quite intriguing simply hearing someones first impressions without any of the cack that fans throw around inserted into them; and simply being "what you see" so to speak.

I can definitely relate to some of the impressions here, and the general feeling that the game starts off great with a lot of potential but quickly becomes annoying what with glitches, loading and general lack of care making themselves known as the game goes on. (Not to say the whole game becomes a chore after the first level, it's just pretty uneven on the bad side for me.)

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I liked Sonic 06 when I first played it mid-Jan. I own it, but I want a 360 so I can play it again.

It's very glitchy, and the story is screwed up, but It's enjoyable in it's own way.

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I liked it when I booted up Sonic's game and ran around Solleana a little bit, the controls felt kinda nice and the graphics were okay so why not? After that though it went downhill, loading screens, complete lack of physics and weight on Sonic, glitches ahoy, poor design (Sonic sliding on water? Really?), etc.

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After buying a new ability, it’s off to save Elise whose apparently on Eggman’s Train. Is there anything Eggman doesn’t own? Actually, I have to say, this level, whilst short, is actually really enjoyable. There’s some nice open spaces, plenty of enemies, but short cuts and ways to avoid them. And, shock, even the Mach Speed wasn’t too bad, I did it on the third attempt. Short but sweet and keeps me hopeful. However Silver turns up and calls Shadow Mephiles, which I assume is the name for GreyShadow. Did someone’s fan re-colour sneak into this game somehow? I think I’ve seen that name mentioned on forums before, even whilst trying to avoid spoilers, but, honestly, I have zero idea what’s going on or who that guy is.

Anyway, Eggman grabs Elise (again, does this girl have no self control? Can’t she even try and run?) who shortly tries to commit suicide. She should have tried shoving Eggman off, though he’d probably bounce like a ball but hey, beats suicide any day. Anyway, she’s caught by Sonic. And then we get Egg Genesis, a massive boss who, despite looking scary, was actually really easy. Fun design but four whacks of its underside later and we’re running into the jungle... another great level. I would complain it isn’t clear how to use the bulb vines but after a few goes I worked it out. Very much reminded me of Frog Forest in tone.

Afterwards we get a beautiful, romantic scene that couldn’t be any more Japanese if it tried. Cherry Blossom tree, by a lake? Elise even moves in a bouncy anime school girl kind of way. And her dad sounds vaguely like Eggman. But at any rate, this would be a really romantic scene if, you know, Sonic wasn’t a hedgehog, but still comes across as very sweet, a close relationship. She’s got to go back to Soleanna now and Sonic will go fight Eggman.

Except Sonic vanished and Elise elects to go with Eggman after he threatens her city. She should just give in, I’ve never known anyone captured so many times in such a short period. And now, apparently, Tails has to save her. Uh huh.

- Scarecrow

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I am one of the biggest Sonic 2006 fans there is, so I'm glad to see someone else liking the game I enjoy so much. I only recently got the game (Christmas present, actually) and wasn't expecting much from the reviews and response of the Sonic fans. Boy was I suprised when I found out how good the game was!

Still, I feel like I should warn you that the Sonic story portion of the game is by far the best. Shadow's vehicles suck ass, Rouge can get stuck on walls (VERY annoying, but hasn't killed me yet) and Amy just.... no. Never again. But besides that, the game is pretty ace. It's just that nothing else (besides possibly Silver) is quite as much fun as Sonic.

Yes, the plot in this game is epic. IMO, the Sonic series needs more plots like this; leave the Sonic and Chip storylines to the yaoi fans. Also, glad you haven't spoiled parts of the plot for yourself like I had. For instance, someone had already told me that Amy is really the one who had Iblis sealed in her, and that the final boss is Inferno Amy.

Just kidding about that, of course. :D

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The demo misled me. I really liked the demo, to be honest. Kingdom Valley was a beautiful area, and it felt like a really decent sequel to Sonic Adventure 2. The bugs bothered me (slowdown), but I figured they would get fixed by release.

However...it was a mixed bag when I got Sonic 06 for real.

The graphics felt kind of bland, though the art direction was nice.

The last level at The End of the World was GRAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH! The rest was okay; I didn't run into as MANY bugs as I thought I would, but sometimes I'd get punished for the most rediculous of reasons and...not so much fun then.

I didn't have to fight the controls as much as I thought I would have...but they still proposed a fine struggle in the Mach Speed Sections.

Mephiles was an awesome villain, and parts of the plot were interesting...

But so much of it had more speed-ramps than I'd ever think, leaving me a little dissapointed with that.

Overall? My first impression was "YAY! Wait...*dies over and over* GRAAAGH! *kills controller*...Wait. *teasingly good section* YAY! *dies again* NOOOO!"

Highs and lows. A really mixed bag through my experience, not as unplayable as I've seen it be to others, but certainly not the worst, nor best, game.

6/10 would've been a good score for it, IMO. If SEGA had finished it and tuned the bugs and controls properly, fixed some plot holes, and finished that Rainbow Gem to allow Super Sonic in levels, this game would've been quite worthy of the title of Sonic Adventure 3. Shame it wasn't. :/

Edited by Roffles
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This post is safe to read and spoiler-free.

I mention this on the chance that Scarecrow isn't reading every post in the thread - one of the earlier posts had a minor spoiler implication, and he seems to have skipped over that. Also, I'm specifically speaking to him in the second part of this post.

I only recently got the game (Christmas present, actually) and wasn't expecting much from the reviews and response of the Sonic fans. Boy was I suprised when I found out how good the game was!

Same here, except I knew I'd like it. :D

This is a really great thread idea. It's even more interesting to hear first impressions from someone who previously knew almost nothing about the game itself. I ruined the story for myself at a low point when I was sure I'd never get the game, due to my lack of an Xbox 360 and not many other games for it I was interested in...and here I am having the game since Christmas. I feel like punching myself now.

I can see that you're having just slight issues with the glitches/gameplay faults in the game, so I'll give you some of my advice for getting through them. Granted, it didn't take much thought on my part at all, but not every person (indeed, apparently quite few) thinks like me, so...here's the best way I can put my advice into words.

This advice can be for anyone, really, not just Scarecrow, who wants to appreciate the game a little more. I tried to be a little humorous with this, so don't be surprised if it sounds funky at times.

Loading Times

I know these have been averted somewhat, but there's always those moments where you just have to sit and wait for the game to process stuff, and I had to deal with the regular (longer) loads. My advice here would be to think or focus on something else. Maybe you could even stare at those little arrows that zoom across the loading screen. Can you follow them with your eye? Maybe try playing with random controller buttons? Is there something else interesting you can look at? I got this game at the same time as my Xbox 360, and Rock Band 2, so there was always a Rock Band drum set to the right of my chair that I could look at while the game loaded. Is there a light anywhere above your playing area? Try tilting your controller so that the central large "X" button catches directly on the light. It turns the clear areas of the button all silver-like, and it's really cool to tilt around a little and get different effects. Yes, I did this a lot during the loading times. :)

Death-resulting glitches

Ahhh! Sonic's just been randomly thrown out of bounds to his death, and that was your last life! Do you curse and throw your controller at the wall? Yes, that may be what you want to do, but all you need to do is control yourself. Give it a little thought, and soon you'll realize that playing through the entire level again isn't such a bad thing. You make Sonic leap onto a platform, then jump off again and slam into an enemy at full force, accompanied by the cool sound effect of a full-spinning Sonic against solid steel...doesn't it have a certain charm of its own? Just being able to control Sonic for a longer period of time is a good thing in and of itself, especially considering how fun Sonic's gameplay is in this game - you're constantly moving that stick and hitting buttons to avoid obstacles and get Sonic to his next destination. The other characters are just slightly worse (in my opinion, anyway). The music in this game is, in my opinion, phenomenal, so you'll always get to listen to that again. Is it a calm, but somehow hot Flame Core Cavern tune? Or the fast-paced Radical Train chase?

Mach Speed Stages

They're barely controllable and packed with near-unavoidable obstacles, but who is this again? It's Sonic the Hedgehog, of course! He's supposed to dodge seemingly-impossible objects at lightning speed, and while you might not have Sonic's hyper-coordinated reflexes, you can, just like him, see what's coming up ahead. Focus on the background while keeping in mind that Sonic can't control himself mid-jump. Running at a slight angle to the left, an enemy in your way, but there's a cliff in front of your face with a boost pad just to the right? Just tap the A button - Sonic will only jump a little way, and then you'll be able to properly align yourself for the jump. Or, if you're confident about your Rings, just curve and take the hit from the enemy - there's tons of Rings in these Mach Speed stages anyway, and if you keep a sharp eye, just like I mentioned earlier, you'll spot them long enough before reaching them to get in the right position and grab them. And of course, if you do die, what's so bad about that? You just get to control Sonic longer. Hooray for the world's favorite hedgehog!

Differing Character Physics

What's this? Apparently someone's recently sprayed hot-glue on this wall. Don't fret, treasure hunter! Somewhere on this surface is a button that instantly destroys the sticky glue! It's invisible, makes no noise and can't be felt - but that just adds to the fun of finding it now, doesn't it? Climb all over and constantly press A to try and jump off. And if you can't seem to get it after a while, why not tilt your controller and stare at the shininess some more? You'll see in the corner of your eye that something's changed. And of course, what if this structure has a top? Just climb on there, and the problem will magically solve itself. Pretty easy, isn't it? Oh, but that's not the only problem you'll encounter. What if you have to get super-close to an enemy or your character moves exceedingly slow? Well, there are different speeds you can move at in this game, right? Just tilt the stick a little bit to carefully make your way to the enemy. You don't have to play as some of the worst characters that often, anyway, so it's not that big of a deal - but when it happens, just make a new connection with the thrill of playing as them as well. Maybe you don't need to be running around at top speed all the time? Just watching a character run can be very satisfying. Sonic's the best, with his held-out arms and speedy running, but the other characters have great animations as well. Knuckles has his fists ready, Shadow is fun to watch as well, and the other characters all have their little quirks.

I could do sections about the story and the game's stylistic elements, but these things don't directly influence your playing experience, so they'd take much longer to go through and describe, and would be much more complicated due to their intangible nature. Scarecrow seems to be enjoying these just fine, though, and you're the main recipient of my advice, so I'll stop there. Plus, I'm on a bit of a time constraint right now, so I'll leave you with this, and I hope it helps. Have fun with the rest of the game!

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...is this a joke?

If I was speaking to someone who didn't want to get more enjoyment out of Sonic 2006, then yes, it might be. :D

Just seeing if I can give some tips to improve your enjoyment of the game. I specifically tailored my outline for someone who wants to enjoy the game more. Sonic 2006 is not the only thing I could do this for. Heck, I hated the press-a-few-buttons-to-win aspect of Sonic Unleashed's daytime stages, but with this, now I feel like I could convince someone who thinks likewise to enjoy the heck out of it. Although I do like Sonic 2006, my personal opinion isn't important if I try to advise someone to have more fun. Heck, if anyone wants to get some more enjoyment out of those stages in Sonic Unleashed, just drop me a line. I'll gladly speak gently to your mind. Just give me a while, though. I'm still on time constraints. :o

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Interetsing post Reading! I always try and look on a positive side, I always *want* to enjoy a game but, whislt I am less judgemental than others in these respects, I do find faults and I admit it's far from the best game and, for a next gen game, it' lacking in many basic ways. Still, it's not *as* bad as some ahve said.

Onwards:

Odd repeating a level, only this time with Tails. This would be a lot more fun if the bombs were an extra option, throwing them whilst flying is a nice idea. But on the ground, as it is, it’s frustrating. It’s also quite buggy, with one loop stopping me halfway turning me round and sending me back the way I came. Which makes even less sense. Still, storywise, I’m a) not so sure what Tails was doing running round the beach and B) where exactly is Sonic during all this?

And Sonic turns up, presumably from a thumb twiddling session. Then there’s the three tests and to the horror of shippers everywhere I choose Elise. I suspect either would work or was I just lucky? By the way love the green ruins, I’d love to see a main hub area based on this to be honest. I loved Mystic Ruin before and this reminded me of that, be great if a game did a town based in a jungle like area.

I digress. Kingdom Valley was next and actually another interesting level design, looked beautiful and Silver is also here, having got over the Sonic-killing-thing, it seems. The level had some unfair moments actually, mainly in the second half. May I stop now to express the undying coolness that is Silver’s game play. Who can’t love stopping a missile in mid air and then sending it straight back at the mech who shot it. That’s simply awesome. A little tricky to control at first, but I am hyped to play Silver’s episode. He gets extra credit because his Japanese voice actor also voices Itsuki in Haruhi. Win. Anyway, the second half with Sonic is pure evil and I lose a ton of lives on springing vines and ring trails. The light speed in this game is dreadful and seems to rarely work. Thus I wasn’t impressed to get a Mach Speed zone right after with 2 lives to go. I used one right away and then, by some miracle, simply aced the running, not even dying on those insane sideways waterfall segments. Still, I put it down to luck more than anything! I suspect the game would work far better without them.

And then Elise dies. Along with Eggman, possibly. It’s quite a nasty moment, but it works wonders in building the tension. It makes the threat all the more real but I still wonder why exactly the Egg Carrier (SA-reference-ftw, btw) does get damaged in the first place. More time twisting to come, seems Silver can do it also. So after travelling back in time, Sonic goes and rings some bells in a surprisingly entertaining small mission. However, by this point, other missions are tedious and it does feel a little padded, when the pace should be full speed ahead. I’ve actually seen the mirror entrance to this place before and wondered when I’d get there.

Eggman’s Aquatic Base is a really neat idea, I don’t think an underwater base has ever actually been done before in a main Sonic game and I love seeing sharks, dolphins and whatever swimming outside. Design wise the level, for the most part, seems to avoid death pits until it forces you to play as Tails and Knuckles. Knuckles is just about tolerable but Tails is awful, leaping bits and having to throw bombs at robots in mid-air. It’s just frustrating, time confusing and eats through lives. Luckily I found a few and didn’t have to start the whole thing again though it took me over half an hour to get though.

And I’m on the Egg carrier which launches with an impressive sequence. Sonic turns up on the bridge this time. Eggman gets annoyed. I suddenly suspect this may be the final boss fight. As Egg Wyvern appears, one wonders why Eggman and Elise didn’t sue this to escape in the previous timeline, but let’s not question too much, the point of games is game play, things like that should be ignored. Anyway, the SA1 similarities continue, this is like a play on Egg Viper, especially with Eggman even having a new take on his “see if you can make it through here Sonic”. I love SA1 and this game seems to as well, it really wants to echo it, and I feel it does get really close at times, but annoying glitches, bad choices and just general difficult controls keep it from having that honour.

After beating Egg Wyvern there’s a simply amazing end video. The Egg Carrier crashing, falling apart around them, as in the other timeline, but this time Sonic’s there, carrying Elise to safety. It’s brilliantly done, very impressive and I love time travel stories at any rate. Also, as with SA1, Sonic’s story has focused on a straight forward “vs Eggman” plot, this time with something to tie in wit the time travel theme, saving Elise’s life; but there’s still so much story I don’t know and hopefully the other characters will reveal the bigger picture.

Overall I can see why there’s complaints. I don’t think, so far, it’s been as awful as everyone says. The loading times are bad, and I admit mine are shorter due to running it from the hard drive, so I can imagine it’s even more annoying. Many of the missions feel pointless, I got enough rings o buy stuff in no time, the sop seemed pointless. And there a lot of bugs, minor errors, and Mach Speed (particularly Crisis City) was an insane idea. To me the whole thing just feels unfinished but I’ve enjoyed the story so far and I have enjoyed playing it. At the same time, I can’t see myself re-playing the levels as much as with other games simply because the frustrating aspects would get tiresome quickly.

But there’s time for assessments later, I’ve started Silver already, eager to just to get a taster of his storyline. And it gives me exactly what I want, starting in the destroyed future, Silver lamenting the destruction around him. The whole worlds destroyed and then Blaze shows up and says Iblis has appeared. Interesting, considering Iblis was just a little snake people (well, I say little…).

Crisis City was an excellent level with Silver, much better than with Sonic. That said Blaze is really hard to control. I really can’t quite figure out what her moves are and how they work and it seems almost random at times. A shame as she seems a cool character, her gameplay is just weird as hell. Silver is amazing, springing from beams, flinging boxes and generally being fun. Also a lot more of a traditional platformer which is good as Sonic focused so much on speed.

Ok, this is interesting. Iblis is bigger. Much bigger. And, then we get a boss fight, the first for Silver which feels like a Last Story boss fight from the previous games! It seems a deliberate attempt on Sonic Team to up the stakes. “You thought Perfect Chaos was scary – in this game he’d be the FIRST boss!” kind of thing. Either way, managed to beat him, though some tough camera angles I could have done without. Seems he simply re-grows, like a phoenix which explains the smaller version Sonic fought. Which is cool. Of course, it makes me wonder what exactly the last boss WILL be that can follow Iblis. And Mephilies turns up, and we get to see the scene that Sonic and co watched earlier. Nice time twisting stuff. Mephilies screams “bad news”, especially as he sends them back to kill Sonic, and Silver is separated. So far, intriguing but I still have no ideas what’s going on with Mephilies the Re-Colour.

- Scarecrow

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