(UPDATE) This review was posted about a year ago but I have updated it and cleaned it up. The reason why I didn’t do a re-review of this is because my opinions haven’t changed, the review is in good condition, as in it still holds up to the standards of today. Also, I just don’t want to play this again.
In the mid 90’s we were coming out of the 2D gaming on the home consoles and into the world of 3D, where games and gaming would change forever, from the thinkers came the Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn and the Nintendo 64 (Atari Jaguar and Virtual Boy died before they could have some kind of positive legacy).
When Nintendo announced their new 3D Mario game Super Mario 64 for the Nintendo 64, gamer’s jaws dropped, it was an amazing site to see. So everyone slowly turned their head to his rival Sonic, to see what his 3D game would be like…he pulled out Sonic 3D…Oh dear.
Sonic 3D Blast (ソニック３Ｄブラスト Sonikku Surīdī Burasuto), also known in Europe as Sonic 3D: Flickies’ Island (ソニック３Ｄ フリッキーアイランド Sonikku Surīdī Furikkī Airando), developed by Traveller’s Tales and Sonic Team and published by Sega and was released in 1995.
So Dr Robotnik has kidnapped Flicky birds, because they can harness the power of the Chaos Emeralds or some lackluster plot like that and Sonic sorts something out, NEXT! Oh boy, what can I say about the game play, it’s an isometric game in which you rescue flicky birds and take them to giant rings in different areas of each zone, AND THAT’S IT, throughout the whole game apart from the bosses, all you ever do is catch Flicky birds, you do nothing else but catch Flicky birds, by the end of the level it gets old and boring real fast.
The controls are…it’s kind of hard to explain, for this review I played the game on the Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection as I haven’t got the original copy yet (Update as of 24/09/2014, I have an original copy of the game), I tried to play it with the directional pad and because it’s an isometric game, it’s sort of hard to play, so I always opt for an analogue stick which controls a little bit better.
The problem is trying to control Sonic, whenever you try to move him, it’s like he’s walking on butter, moving him around is weird, because the level is designed as a big area, there’s no proper room to run fast, in fact, it’s impossible to run fast anyway due to so much stuff in the way to hurt you. The only way you’ll go a bit fast is to spin dash which isn’t bad as you can change the direction of the spin dash whenever it’s activated, but you’ll always end up bouncing around the place.
The enemies which contain Flicky birds are just dull, they move around in one spot, if you get hit, the Flicky birds will scatter and you have to get them back, it’s not very annoying but if you’re not good at the game it could happen more often.
But even then it’s difficult to hit them due to the weird perspective of the isometric level design, in fact it’s difficult to hit anything, the perspective doesn’t work and leaves me angry and confused. I even got hit by enemies by it due to this. The level design is actually not bad, it’s colourful and very vibrant, but they do have the dullest level names. The music is not so memorable, apart from the opening scene, Green Grove Zone music and the boss levels, which aren’t that bad and I could hum to them.
The bosses aren’t that bad neither, they can be varied, but they are far too simple once you know how to defeat him. But the perspective once again ruins any fun or fairness you have in this game. The graphics are very impressive, even for the Mega Drive, and you know what, it still holds up.
If you collect 50 rings, find either Tails or Knuckles and give them the rings, then you will go to the special stage, this is a 3D scrolling part where you have to collect a specific amount of rings to get a Chaos Emerald; it’s awful; it looks graphically weird, it’s even difficult to do when it’s fast, I’ve only completed it once but I think it was down to pure luck.
You get your power-ups like the blue shield to shield you and a golden shield in which you’re able to do a homing attack on enemies, this is essential if you want to finish levels quicker. In fact, this homing attack became Sonic’s default move in the later games.
Overall this is a very repetitive game, whilst it’s not much of a bad game, the one objective levels will immensely bore you within the first act, the game play is difficult at times, you need that homing shield to help you because the perspective is your one true enemy in this game, the front cover is so tacky and…IT’S JUST BORING.
What saddens me is the fact that this was developed in the UK by Traveller’s Tales, the company who now make just Lego games, so all well that ends well…if you like Lego games. So at the end of the day, Mario was doing 3D better with his gameplay than Sonic was with his, yes they did Sonic Adventure years later, but I’ll get to that soon.
There was also a Sega Saturn version, I may do a random review of that one as well and despite the fact that I don’t own a Saturn, it was ported to the PC, so not a problem for me. (Update as of 24/06/14: I have a Saturn).
You can get it on the Sega Mega Drive, PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, Xbox, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.