Spiky little blue Sonic the Hedgehog is one of the most recognizable characters in all of video gaming and was instrumental in the rise of the Sega Genesis, blazing a high speed trail of popularity into the homes of Genesis fans all over the world.
After the releases of such mediocre titles as Sonic and the Secret of the Rings, it seemed as if Sonic had lost his luster, but the release of Sonic Generations has turned that around by doing a masterful job of appealing to fans of traditional Sonic game play.
Generations begins on Sonic’s birthday, when he is surprised by familiar characters including Knuckles, Tails, and Amy in the park. The scene is interrupted when “Time Eater” appears and kidnaps Sonic’s friends, throwing them into various dimensions. Time Eater knocks Sonic unconscious; upon awakening Sonic discovers that he is in a realm known as ‘White Space’ where time and space end up after being drained of color and life.
During his mission, Sonic finds younger versions of himself and Tails, pulled from the original Sonic series. As the two Sonics conclude, Time Eater’s actions are unraveling the time-space continuum, they race to put a stop to it.
Generations gives you two different options to play through the levels. You can first go through the stages as Classic Sonic and traverse through 2-dimensional side-scrolling stages, which are reminiscent of the original Sonic series. Then you’ll play as Modern Sonic and run through a high-speed 3D stage, much like Sonic Adventure and the later next-gen versions.
You can switch between the two Sonics anytime, but you must clear all the stages as both Sonics to progress. The player can clear the stages in any order.
After rescuing some of Sonic’s friends, portals open up in the area of White Space offering challenges to complete.Finishing these will give you Boss Keys. You need three to challenge the area boss, and you must defeat the boss to get to the next area. You only need to complete one challenge per stage area to get the keys, but the game allows perfectionists to complete all the challenges if they wish.
Once the boss is down, you’ll be able to continue moving through White Space until you finally face down Time Eater. The mysterious Chaos Emeralds that are a staple of the Sonic realm make their return too, with each Emerald being guarded by Sonic’s foes from throughout the years.
While Sonic Generations features some incredibly tough levels, some content from the forgettable next-gen games, and some of the more annoying supporting cast (I’m looking at you, Cream), it is the best Sonic the Hedgehog game out there since the first one. I urge all Sonic the Hedgehog fans— fans of platformers in general—to buy this game immediately.