Saturday, June 23, 2012

Happy 21st, Sonic!

Sonic is legal now?! We're all screwed.

Another year has gone by already! To celebrate the 21st birthday of my favourite video game character, I'm going to reminisce about my top three favourite levels. One from the Genesis era, one from the Dreamcast era, and one from the modern era. Funny how that works out.

Hydrocity Zone (Sonic 3, Genesis, 1994):

This one is the king of all Sonic levels for me, especially act 2. I never get tired of the sequence where you have to run away from a wall threatening to crush you. The boss battles are also really fun.  You can go so fast the camera struggles to keep up at times! There's also some interesting alternate routes. It's a water level done right. As Sonic 3 & Knuckles was the first of the classic games I played, Hydrocity was the first thing that made me really understand why the Genesis Sonic games are held in such high regard and how SEGA did what Nintendon't. Pretty much all the levels in Sonic 3 & Knuckles are gold.

Speed Highway (Sonic Adventure, Dreamcast, 1998)

A level that truly lives up to its name. My body was not ready for the awesome that is this level when I first got to play the remake (Sonic Adventure DX) on the Gamecube. While it does have some platforming bits, this level is mainly about going fast. The brief "At Dawn" segment that finishes off the level is the icing on the cake. The music for both the beginning and end are two of my favorite songs in the series. The running down the building sequence even got a nod in City Escape, the first level in Sonic Adventure 2. Plus the level was revisited in Sonic Generations. I'll always remember the chills I got when hearing the classic remix, such an awesome take on an already awesome track.

Planet Wisp (Sonic Colours, Wii, 2010)

Now this level will always have a special place in my heart. When I first started playing Sonic Colours I thought "Yeah, this game is pretty good." Then I reached the halfway point and unlocked this wonderful work of art. The way the beginning of act 1 is especially well done with the transition from greenery to a factory under construction. It's what I would consider a great example of "tragic beauty." I was breath-taken and this was on a console with only standard definition graphics. Not to mention the music is easily some of the best in the game. You normally wouldn't expect anything sounding like it in a Sonic game. It was from then where the game went from "pretty good" to the best Sonic game since Sonic Adventure 2. I'm really glad Planet Wisp was chosen to represent Colours in Sonic Generations a year later.

Hope the years to come will bring even more memorable levels! I'm very excited about Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed coming out this fall. Hopefully the Wii U version will be a launch title.

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