|I think mine was different from those. Or maybe it's just not|
pictured here... I think it was the blue one, at the bottom.
It makes perfect sense! You tilt the Wii remote left or right to move Sonic in either direction, and you must avoid the obstacles. Except after that, we add the jump feature (obviously), the spindash feature, the enemy lock-on feature... and then we have the dozens of missions, the odd unlocking pattern, the back step, the Ring abilities (including Fire, Wind and Dark abilities), wall shuffling, edge grinding, air launching, medals, the ability to slow down or speed up time, the Fire Rings, the boss battles... Holy wow! I'm gonna have a lot to talk about...
Sonic and the Secret Rings is part of a miniature “spin-off” series of games in the Sonic franchise, called the Storybook Series. As far as I know, there were only two games in this spin-off series: This one, and Sonic and the Black Knight. In each, Sonic gets sent to a fantasy world based on a famous work of literature (in Secret Rings, the Arabian Nights; in Black Knight, the legends of King Arthur), and ends up having to save that world from an evil entity. Good idea on paper, but considering the Sonic series' continuity, we can't treat these games as anything else but non-canon. Or maybe they are, but you need some Marvel or DC level of retcon to make it work. What's more, the Storybook games and Sonic Unleashed decided to play around with Sonic the Hedgehog, trying different things: In Secret Rings, we get the odd control scheme (which, by the way, I have no problem with). In Black Knight, we get sword-wielding Sonic (That, however, I had plenty of problems with). And in Unleashed, we had normal, speedy Sonic, and powerful, brawny werehog Sonic. I'll be looking at all three games over time, but this month I'm only covering Secret Rings and Sonic Colors. That should be enough for now.
The main menu has four sections: Adventure Mode (which we'll look at right now), Party Mode (which I'll study last), Special Book (where you can see everything you've unlocked), and Options. How about we start with the Adventure Mode?
Sonic is seen snoozing, with a book on his eyes. Wait, Sonic reads? I always thought he was, you know... not stupid, but illiterate? I just don't see him as someone who reads. The book he has just finished reading is the Arabian Nights, AKA One Thousand And One Nights. There's an old legend about that book, saying that whoever reads it in its entirety will fall prey to madness. That would explain so much....
|So what if I don't help? It's just a book, right?|
We start in the Lost Prologue, a tutorial world that takes place between Sonic's world and Shahra's. There, Sonic learns all the basics: Moving left and right, jumping, air-dashing, enemy targeting... the regular Sonic stuff that he should know by now, since it's in all of his games. However, you kinda need to learn it all over again since this game's controls are much different from every other Sonic game out there Sonic also learns to use the Ring abilities. See, when you select a mission in this game, you're brought to a screen about Ring customization. You can have up to four customized Rings at once. You customize a ring by selecting particular abilities and adding them to the ring. There's also a level-up system in the game; whenever you complete a mission, you get experience points based on your performance. Not hit once through the level? More EXP! Lots of rings? More EXP! You often get special Ring abilities by completing story-relevant levels, but you unlock most Ring abilities by leveling up. Other Ring abilities are earned by getting medals. Full levels will usually give you more EXP, but some missions here and there also give a lot of EXP.
|The mission selection screen.|
|It's too early for a boss fight against the main villain,|
don't you think? Stop buirning the steps, Erazor!
|Just a pretty picture.|
That also explains my surprise at Sonic reading that book, considering such a story would probably be longer than the entire Harry Potter series.
By the way, while I'm discussing the plot, I have to mention that pretty much all the cutscenes in this game are done in a parchment style, with mostly still images and very little animation, which gives the whole thing a rather unique and special feel that fits with the “book” theme. I suppose that was simpler than creating actual cutscenes, and besides, this time around, the voice actors don't have to worry about following the characters' lip movements!
|I'm punching myself for leaving my camera at home!|
While running through Sand Oasis to reach Erazor, Sonic finds and saves Ali Baba... who's portrayed here by Tails. For some reason. How are the Forty Thieves doing? Still thieving? Is Open Sesame still a safe password? Anyway, Ali Baba offers his help to Sonic. Well, I guess that's another Sonic character that just fits within this universe...
|This thing has more eyes than Eggman has meals every day!|
|Whoa! That's too big for me to eat! Let's go look for|
Anyway, Sonic completes a few missions, and THEN he can go to the Evil Foundry. I'll start discussing that world next Monday. Right now, I'll just say that Dinosaur Jungle contains a few of the more annoying missions in the game, including one in which you are racing against the wind spirit Uhu (who is as fast as Sonic when Sonic starts the game, so unless you're extremely lucky you won't be able to beat Uhu until you get Ring abilities that increase your maximum speed), and one where Sonic has to deliver dinosaur eggs scattered around a level into the proper nests, a mission that is extremely long and tedious... But it could be worse. There's another mission where Sonic has to smash 5 genie eggs. At the end of that mission, he gets another World Ring! Before going on, Sonic asks Shahra whether or not she can take out that Judgment Flame out of him or something. Apparently, she can't. Sonic doesn't mind, though, saying it just adds more challenge to the adventure. Yeah. If that's what ends up killing you, Sonic, I think you'll bite yourself for accepting that additional "challenge"... The two characters move on to the Evil Foundry.
See you Monday for Part 2!