P n the S er’ a k n Son

Sonic Ma­nia

GAX (Malaysia) - - REV IEW - By Sharmine Ishak

By the fans, for the fans

Over the last few decades, Sonic the Hedge­hog has fallen on some pretty hard times with a va­ri­ety of hits and misses through­out the se­ries. De­spite the ini­tial shot to fame in the 90’s, the spunky Blue Blur has not quite been able to re­claim his spot in the lime­light, even in three di­men­sions, so it was only wise when the team at SEGA de­cided to ditch the bells and whis­tles of mod­ern-day Sonic and re­turn to its roots as a 2D side-scroller. The re­sult is Sonic Ma­nia, the game fans have al­ways wanted, which takes us back to the good ol’ days of Ge­n­e­sis-era Sonic.

Al­most a great­est hits ap­proach to Sonic the Hedge­hog, Sonic Ma­nia lets play­ers take on the role of against Eg­gman (a.k.a. Dr. Robot­nik) and his new pals called the Hard-Boiled Heav­ies, who have come to work with the bald-headed vil­lain to ac­quire a pow­er­ful gem­stone known as the Phan­tom Ruby. De­spite the ab­sence of di­a­log, Sonic Ma­nia does an ex­cel­lent job at cap­tur­ing the essence of the story with comedic charm, as play­ers run, jump, spin, and col­lect rings across 12 vi­brant zones.

All that glitters are old and gold

It’s as sim­ple as Sonic goes, which gamers will ap­pre­ci­ate, with each of the new and clas­sic zones stand­ing out with their own set of tricks and gim­micks. Fans of the fran­chise will im­me­di­ately perk up at the sight of clas­sic stages like Chemical Plant and Star­dust Speed­way, which have been re­worked with new en­hanced art­work and game­play el­e­ments that give them a more re­fresh­ing ap­peal, while new zones like Stu­diopo­lis and Mi­rage Sa­loon took what’s loved about 2D Sonic games and twisted them into new lev­els that are both cre­ative and rev­o­lu­tion­ary. Pay­ing ho­mage to what made the orig­i­nals great, Sonic Ma­nia also brings back clas­sic bonus stages that fans may be fa­mil­iar with in Sonic 3 & Knuck­les, as well as im­proves on Sonic CD’s UFO hunt with its own take on the spe­cial stage. This and a cou­ple of other ref­er­ences through­out the game, in­clud­ing cameo appearances of characters like Nack the Weasel and Bark the Po­lar Bear (we are not mak­ing this up), make it an all-round trib­ute. Back it up with a sound­track that remixes the orig­i­nal tunes and cap­tures the new jack swing of Sonic CD, and you’ve got a Sonic the Hedge­hog game for the ages.

While the fastest hedge­hog alive may have had a few stum­bles in the past, there’s no doubt that Sonic Ma­nia has re­stored the joy of blazing through roller-coaster plat­form lev­els in 2D, as it cel­e­brates the suc­cesses that have made Sonic su­per. By work­ing with fans to de­liver a true blast to to re­cap­ture that nos­tal­gia of its golden age, paving the way for more re­vi­tal­ized clas­sics. Now, please bring back Streets of Rage.

A perfect throw­back to Ge­n­e­sis-era Sonic.

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