Sonic and the Secret Rings


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 8

Sound: 6

Gameplay: 5

Overall: 5


Attempting to reclaim the Sonic name from its growing pit of mistakes, Sonic and the Secret Rings only adds to that gaping hole. While wisely focusing on what made the character fun in the first place (speed), the developers have taken that out of much of the game. It's another botched attempt at resurrecting the 16-bit mascot that does more harm than good.

sonicrings1wii.jpg (58825 bytes)The focus is obviously on the controls as it is for all Wii titles. Taking a cue from full-motion video games of the past, there is a distant sense of control over the blue hedgehog. He runs on a rail, with the player able to control basic functions like jumping, turning and attacking. Sonic takes a staggering amount of time to reach top speed, making those first moments in which he begins to sprint agonizing. Tilting the Wii Remote left to right so you can turn is what the majority of your time will be spent doing.

Levels are designed to take advantage of this control design. As such, you'll spend most of your time whipping around tight corners so disorienting, picking up the gold rings contained in them is nearly impossible. While there's a nice balance between turning slightly and turning wide, the way the camera swivels around to stay behind Sonic is impossible to follow.

As in expected Sonic fashion, other portions either take the control reins away from the player or stop him entirely to traverse a slim hazard. A nicely done graphical engine creates some superb moments are the hedgehog somehow survives being bounced around like a pinball. While fine is the majority of Sonic titles, taking the control away from the player here creates an even larger sense of being disconnected to the action.

Level progression is by far the game's largest source of irritation. Instead of simply beginning the next level when you've completed one, you're taken back to the start of the main menu. The single theme song that plays on this screen will surely become a source of hate for Sega fans, especially when attempting to complete a stack of training levels that last less than a minute each. These levels only introduce one skill apiece. Even a child can handle running and jumping in the same tutorial.

The situation worsens, as you're not allowed to simply move onto the next stage. You need to earn experience in order to advance, and to do so, the developers have inserted mini-stages with specific challenges such as avoiding certain objects. These smaller bits are comprised from parts you've already cleared, forcing the player to possibly redo a portion that struggled to get through previously instead of moving onto a new environment.

Maybe it's about time Sonic let Dr. Robotnik keep the Secret Rings, Chaos Emeralds, Chaos, or whatever else people were too stupid to keep from the guy. Trudging through adventures like this, while not as painful as the Xbox 360/Playstation 3 version, makes Sega fans wonder if Sonic's world is better off destroyed. That seems to be what Sega is trying to do.


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Last updated: Monday, April 16, 2007 09:33 PM