Sonic the Hedgehog: Back and not so bad!

The year is 1991. Sega releases its most notable game of all time, Sonic the Hedgehog. This innovative game put in you in the hero role as a blue hedgehog with the ability to run at super speed. Nothing was as fun as running through 2D levels at insane speeds, bouncing off baddies and spinning through loop de loops.

Over the next few years, we saw the release of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and 3. They were still good, but not the same as the original. You still ran through the levels at insane speeds, still bounced off baddies, but it was starting to feel a bit stale. So, like most video game companies, Sega decided to try to step it up a notch.

Over the next 14 years, Sonic games have been horrible in my opinion; terrible 3D levels, awful controls, and not much fun at all. Sega, now out of the console business and strictly a third party game developer, had to do something to save their failing game series. Enter Sonic Unleashed, the newest Sonic the Hedgehog game from Sega.

Sonic Unleashed: (PS2, PS3, Wii, 360) ESRB Rated E10+
www.sonic-unleashed.com

Sega's latest adaptation of the Sonic game series is a bit risky, but in my opinion they mostly pull it off. Here's the story:

Once again Dr. Eggman (Sonic's nemesis) is up to no good. In an attempt to take over the world he unleashes an amazing power which takes over Sonic. This power makes Sonic transform into a beast when the sun sets and back to himself when the sun rises. In Sonic Unleashed, Sega has decided to give fans what they want: 2D levels. A lot of the game is still in 3D, but there are seamless transitions between a 3D and a 2D perspective which brings old school players like me back to the good old days.

During the day, you travel between spots in the city looking for clues on where to head next which then sends you to a level. These levels feel like the early Sonic games with even the 3D levels simplified for easy gameplay. During the night is when things take a weird change. Sonic is no longer the speedster he has become known for when the sun sets, but is now a bit monstrous with stretchy arms and crazy attacks. The nighttime levels are not my personal favorite, as it feels a bit like a mediocre fighter, but it's an interesting take on the character and my son sure likes to smack around the baddies.

In the PS2, PS3 and 360 versions of the game the controls are all standard, but Sonic Unleashed on the Wii uses the Wii's motion control sensors to make this game even more fun. By flicking the Wii remote and nunchuck in different motions it will allow Sonic to speed up, slow down, dodge items and even to attack with monster Sonic.

Overall, Sonic Unleashed is worth renting, at least, as Sega may have saved face on a dying series.

Lastly for this issue is the game to avoid. I know most of you Wii owners picked up your Wii because of the multitude of kid-friendly games that Nintendo has made available. What you may not know is that Nintendo has stated that with the Wii, they are going to lighten up on what games they allow to be developed. For the first time in Nintendo console history, mature rated games have come out for the Nintendo Wii. Releasing in the beginning of February, Tenchu: Shadow Assassins is one of the Wii's mature rated games. Taking on the role of a Japanese assassin, you run amuck throughout the game bloodily killing and decapitating your foes. Not my idea of a very kid-safe experience.