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April 27, 2015

Sonic Colors (Part 2)

Part 1 can be read here!

When we left off in Part 1, Sonic had just freed Planet Wisp from Eggman’s forces. There’s still a lot to cover, so I won’t waste any time making jokes in an intro. Let’s go!

Yes, do click.

Look to your left and you will see the pagodas. Look on your
right and you will see robots who are totally not doing anything
illegal, we swear, no seriously, why are you asking.
Enjoy your stay at Eggman's Park of Watery Evil- no, we didn't
say anything.
Well, there are still two planets to save: One that looks quite aquatic, and the other that looks like a giant earth worm. Or a Sonic version of an Onix. We can start with the aquatic planet, but I think Sonic can’t swim. This is gonna be difficult. …Wait a second, he can swim now? Well, “swimming” isn’t really the word. He can stay longer underwater, though, and he can just jump up and go back to the surface. He’ll still die if he stays too long underwater, though. Also, props to Eggman: Aquarium Park is beautiful, what with the pagodas and the overall Japanese feel of the place… Say what you want about Eggman, he appears to be a man of wealth and taste. If you know which song I’m referencing right now, you should know what I really mean about the doctor.

So much creativity. Yes, Eggman, keep recycling your own
concepts. You sure are going to win this way...
Anyway, I think this might be my least favorite world in the game. It’s extremely difficult to control sonic underwater, as if that wasn’t enough the underwater portions are frequently maze-like, and it doesn’t take long until you need to find bubbles of air so that Sonic doesn’t die. Don’t even get me started on the dozens of traps, the endless pits, located at the worst places possible, and oh so much more... Anyway, Sonic reaches the generator and is ready to turn it off… But a giant fish robot attacks! Imagine the earlier boss fight against the robotic captain, except underwater. This is not easy, but Sonic can use the Drill Wisp ability to give plenty of damage to the boss. It’s not “too” difficult. So, Sonic beats the boss, deactivates the generator and is joined by Tails. The poor fox tried the nearby sushi place. It made him sick. That’s not a good sign… Anyway, time to move on to the next world: The Asteroid Coaster!

That's the closest you'll ever get to seeing a Gastly or a Haunter
in the Sonic series.
That’s where Sonic unlocks the final Wisp: The Nega-Wisp! It transforms him into a creepy monster who can devour most obstacles. When Frenzy Sonic has devoured enough obstacles, he grows bigger. And he can grow pretty big. He’ll even eat the badniks! I hope they taste better than the sushi. Halfway through the world, Sonic and Tails wind up seeing all the Wisps locked in thousands of cylinders. Uh oh… this would give Eggman an insane amount of power! And I’ve got to say, the old madman went the extra mile to make sure Sonic would not leave the Asteroid Coaster alive...

I'm getting curious flashbacks to a strange amusement park
I never even been to. HorrorLand was the name, I think.
The roller coasters are dangerous (and Sonic frequently has to jump from a coaster to another), there are some devilish sections that are extremely hard to get through, and there are also sections where Sonic is jumping through “space”, and a single missed jump means losing a life. Damn, this game is HARD! Still, Sonic makes it to the end and fights a giant spaceship that teleports itself and attacks with asteroids, lasers and even more. He destroys the ship, which turns off the generator. Since this was the last one, Sonic and Tails assume all the aliens were freed (and same for Yacker, who had mysteriously vanished somewhere around the time the two visited Planet Wisp…). With the power gone, the tractor beams vanish. The two Mobians celebrate with the thousands of freed Wisps. But where’s Yacker? …Oh, whatever. Eggman’s plan failed, so it’s time to head back to Mobius, right?

In a surprising twist, it turns out Eggman has just enough energy to carry through with his plan! Oh no… The cannon starts charging… but then one reactor, which had been previously damaged, implodes, causing a whole lot of colored energy to get out. Well, that was surprisingly convenient for the heroes. Eggman’s plan is a failure, yet again! He wasted all that money for nothing! Just retire, Baldy McNosehair, it will be less trouble for you! Oh, but he won’t give up. He’ll go and fight Sonic anyway!

That robot... THAT **************************** ROBOT!
So, we unlock the final world of the game, Terminal Velocity, a short world with two levels. The first level is very long. And it’s just Sonic running down the space elevator, avoiding the attacks, something hard as all Hell to do because the most annoying robots from Eggman’s fleet all decided to get together to attack Sonic. Okay, I’m dropping the niceness. THIS PART IS HARD AS FUCK! I don’t care what I said about the past worlds. THIS ONE IS AWFUL. IT’S GODDAMN HARD! I’ve had it up to HERE with this game’s insane difficulty! Fuck it, I’ll just keep trying until I win, and then I store this game and never play it again! I don’t care how pretty it is, that doesn’t save it! I’ve been swearing way too much because of this game! I don’t know if I still like it… Anyway, the first level of Terminal Velocity just ends. Afterwards, we get our final boss fight. At long fucking last.

Well, Eggman, you sure look different. A new haircut?

Hey, Eggy. look up! It's your pal Hedgie! What, are you
distracted? Is there a bug in your matrix? Are you just showing
off your clean-shaved head?
Eggman arrives in a robot who is powered by the Wisp energy, and Tails isn’t sure Sonic can beat it. Either way, Sonic is going to try! It would be too dangerous for Tails, though, so Sonic pushes his buddy in the space elevator. The fight against the Wisp-powered robot piloted by Eggman is hard, since it combines the powers in ways Sonic never really could. But he keeps using the same combos, so he can get kind of predictable. Thankfully, Sonic manages to damage it aplenty, and ends the fight with a combined attack using all the Wisp colors at once! BOOM! Eggman is defeated! As a result, the giant space station also explodes, and Eggman finds himself caught in the explosion. There’s a final level after the last boss, in which Sonic outruns the explosion all the way down to Mobius. Actually, it’s not really a level, because Sonic finds himself caught in the embiggening explosion too. However, many Wisps (including Yacker!) get around Sonic, take him away and safely bring him down on Mobius. Phew! Yacker comes by to thank Sonic and Tails. Sonic also thanks him and his kind for saving him in that last part. Sadly, the little cute one-eyed alien says he has to go… Aw, bummer. Well, at least that was quite an adventure. The Wisps return to their planets, and they disappear, which means they were brought back where they belonged. (Although it really appears like they exploded, but don’t worry, that’s not what happened. That would have been a downer ending.) Post-credits, we get a scene of Eggman, stuck in a void with Orbot and Cubot… and this leads the way for Sonic Generations, which never came out on the Wii. Goddammit!

Let us brofist in celebration of this success!

So, there are three final sections to look at: The Sonic Simulator, the Egg Shuttle and the options.

Apparently you are not just limited to Sonic- and Shadow-colored
Simulator robots. Time to fulfill all your recolor dreams!
The Sonic Simulator is a mode where you control a robotic Sonic through seven “acts” with short 2D levels. These “acts” are divided in three levels each. There’s a multiplayer option, the possibility to play as a single player, as two players at the same time, or as two players one at a time. You see, in the Sonic Simulator, you can control robot versions of both Sonic AND Shadow, and you can switch between the two at will. However, in order to unlock all the levels in this extra mode, you need to find all of the 180 Red Rings in the game. It’s a tough job! When you beat all three levels in an act of the Sonic Simulator, you earn a Chaos Emerald. Ah, so THAT’S where those things were! Beat 1-3 all the way to 7-3, and you get all seven Chaos Emeralds, which means you get the ability to use Super Sonic just about anywhere in the whole game. Awesome.

Next is the Egg Shuttle. This little ship flying around the space station leads to a high score table. A high score table for what? Well, choose to play this mode and you’ll see! It’s an extra challenge in the game, where you must beat every single level in rapid succession, without ever getting a Game Over. Considering my lack of luck abilities talent with this game, I’d rather not try this challenge, it’s just gonna lead to more anger and yelling and vulgarity. Still, if you find yourself to be very good at this game, I definitely suggest you try this extra mode. Just make sure you have a couple hours in front of you.

Last but not least, the options:
-Turn the Guide On or Off.
-Change the game’s spoken language between English and Japanese.
-Change the game’s written text between English, Deutch, Français, Espanol, Italiano, and another that I can’t type (I suppose it’s Japanese).
-Add vibration to the GameCube controllers, if that’s what you’re using.
-A secret option: You get it once you’ve completed all Sonic Simulator levels, and it’s the option to turn On or Off Super Sonic mode.

I think that covers everything this game has to offer. Final thoughts? Oh, it’s good. It’s definitely good. For a long while, Sonic fans wanted something that got close to the charm of the early 2D Sonic titles (they would later get their wish with Sonic the Hedgehog Episode 4), but never got exactly what they wanted. Sonic Colors was not quite it yet, but it was the closest they had so far. While most Sonic games released in the past years were divisive, this one is enjoyed b y a majority of people. And I can see why. It gives us Sonic, and only Sonic; and it gives us a combination of 3D and 2D sections, which encompasses both types of view we had in Sonic games. Sonic is all about speed in this one, which causes some problems in the platforming-heavy sections. The gameplay is topped by amazing visuals and music. Sadly, while some people have only praise for it, I must admit I have one major point of criticism.

THAT ROBOT... THAT F******************************
****************************************ING ROBOT!
This game is very hard. Sonic’s speed makes it difficult to go through every level without getting hurt, and sometimes the obstacles are insanely hard to avoid. Oh, and of course, many of the levels in the game change a lot between the Starting point and the Finish ring. The first playthrough will be tough, because many obstacles appear very quickly, and sometimes the player won’t be able to avoid all that is getting in the way. And while the worlds in Sonic Colors are beautiful, sometimes you get caught by traps you didn’t see coming, or traps you knew were there, but for one reason or another you were unable to avoid (the camera when in 2D mode tends to do that, and it’s especially annoying in the underwater portions of Aquarium Park). The levels in this game are sneaky little bastards. I was playing through this game again in order to review it, and I frequently lost all my lives in some tricky sections. This game is VERY hard. And that’s its biggest flaw; it gets so dastardly difficult that you might just stop enjoying it. (To be fair, I have the same problem with New Super Mario Bros. Wii.) I have no problem with hard games, but there’s got to be a balance. It must be challenging, but it must not feel impossible.

Although, a lot of my troubles could be explained by the fact that I was playing with the Wii remote and Nunchuk. You see, Sonic Colors can be played in four different ways: With the combo Wii remote/Nunchuk (clearly I suck at this one), with the Wii remote in horizontal position (I remember, when I first bought the game, I used this control method, and if I recall correctly, it went WAY better), with the Classic Controller or with the GameCube controller (I didn’t try either). I really should have played with only the Wii remote, but still, I don’t get why a game would be difficult with one control method and much easier with another. Maybe that’s another problem?


Ah, whatever. I'm an idiot.

I like Orbot and Cubot. They offer pretty great moments of
comedy, like a two-bots routine comrprised of a serious, calmer
one and a hyperactive, kinda dumb one.
I like the story of Sonic Colors. The minimalist cast means there are no superfluous characters stealing the spotlight, a common complaint of many Sonic games since the days of Sega consoles. Eggman spares no expense, brings us his largest scheme, which makes it all the more impressive when Sonic stops it alone- well, almost alone. He can count on the little aliens his sworn enemy enslaved for his evil plan. Oddly enough, the Wisps here are not quite characters, instead they’re powerups. Well, outside of that, we’ve got the cute little Yacker, the only Wisp that counts as an actual character in this game. Anyway, Sonic pretty much stops Eggman all by himself (Tails does help, though the more important thing he does is create the alien language translator), destroys a gigantic space station, saves an entire species, and cracks jokes all the way through.

The game is breathtakingly beautiful. It’s a gigantic world, and every planet, every section has its own feel. It’s great. I just can’t praise enough the beauty of this game. The music is very good too.

So, yeah, I like this game, though I hate its difficulty (I REALLY should have played it with only the Wii remote…), but while it is a complaint, in the end I don’t think it’s bad enough for me to give this game a bad review. This game is just good. Try it. Find the control method that works best for you, and use it. Don’t make my mistake to cling on to one control method that gives you trouble. But seriously, give it a try someday.

As for my sudden bursts of anger related to my mistakes when it came to controlling Sonic... um... I still can't see any way to justify it... Um... What could I do... Apologize? ...Nah. Maybe I could... uh... I know! Here's a video.

And this concludes Sonic Month. That was quite an adventure. I thank all the people who read these three reviews, and I hope to have another Sonic Month ready sometimes in 2016. Until then, Planned All Along will continue as usual. Keep reading, more great stuff is coming!