In the nineties, Sonic was Sega’s great saviour. In these days, it was very difficult for Sega to compete with Nintendo and more specific, with their famous plumber, Mario. Sonic seemed to be a great success. The blue hedgehog was incredibly fast and the games were very addictive.
This success went on until Sonic had little new to offer and Sega tried to add a 3D flavour to Sonic on the Dreamcast. From then on, it all went downhill for Sonic Team… In the meantime, there have been a lot of new Sonic games for the Nintendo Gamecube and the Nintendo GBA, but none of them were good enough to get the same sales as the original Sonic. And even the great speed, which is typical for Sonic, was absent. Fortunately, Sega realised they had to try something different. With Sonic Rush, they returned to the roots of the Sonic games. After all these year, they once again managed to create a real fast, 2D side scrolling game with a 3D environment where needed.
The story of the game is hardly worth mentioning. It is, once again, Sonic his job to save the world from Eggman. To succeed, you have to make sure that Eggman does not catch the Chaos Emeralds. As a novelty, there is a new character: Blaze the Cat, who is the protector of the Sol Emeralds. Blaze has got the same moves as Sonic, with exception of the ball-attack from Sonic. This is replaced with some sort of a fiery attack.
Since the game is so fast, it sometimes can be frustrating when you bump against an enemy or obstacle for the thousands time. To reduce this a little bit, they’ve added the Rush meter which allows you to perform Rush Moves. The Rush meter fills by beating enemies and performing some sweet moves and tricks. You can do a trick in three possible ways: by doing an acrobatic trick while flying through the air (B-button), by making a trick move on a rail (R-button) or when you jump off a ramp (A-button). The Rush meter can be filled to 300%, but even if it is filled for a little bit, you will be able to boost with Sonic. You can use this boost to gain more speed (which may be needed to get across some big ravines), to run through obstacles or to get rid of some enemies on your way. If you are able to fill the Rush meter trice, you can – for a limited amount of time – boost as much as you want!
The enemies are not a major part of the game. They are spread over the acts (and two acts plus a big boss form one zone). The main focus is the incredible speed and running as fast as you can. To show all this fast action, the game makes great use of the two screens of the Nintendo DS. The game is combined on both screens, so you have got a great vertical view. The levels are very diverse and well build, with all the typical Sonic items in it: deep valleys, loopings, grind rails, trampolines, …
Despite of the 2D levels, the fights with the bosses are in a full 3D environment, but you still play them with 2D controls. In these stages, you stand on a straight edge (or a circle) and you can only move left or right. So, only the bosses (and the camera) can use the 3D environment.
Beside the default ‘Gameplay’ mode, you also have a ‘Time Trial’, which you have to unlock by playing through the ‘Gameplay’ mode. With ‘Battle Play’ you can play it in multiplayer. You can choose for singlecard or multicard multiplayer. With singlecard, there is a demo which contains a few levels, but still enough to enjoy the multiplayer game. Every completed zone in the ‘Gameplay’ mode will be available in the multicard multiplayer.
Sonic Rush is a real good and fast side scrolling game with a perfect balance between 2D en 3D. Because the speed in the game is so high, you will get the same feeling as you could have had with the very first Sonic games. Beside this, they have done some necessary improvements to the gameplay in general. This game sure can boost the image of the Sonic Team, which was very low after the average sales of the previous Sonic games.