Sonic and the Secret Rings
Sonic's first outing on the Wii might be his fastest yet.
Preview by (Email)
August 18th 2006
Not much of an update other than to acknoweldge that we've officially updated the SEGA's upcoming Sonic title for the Wii to "Sonic and the Secret Rings." Not really sure what to make of that right now... it seems a bit long and unnecessary. Perhaps they'll get enough complaints and opt to change it again. *crosses fingers*
··· Chris Scantleberry
Last Update: 5/15/06
The Basics: While the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 will get the next evolution in the Sonic series, Sonic Team is still preparing a heaping helping of hedgehog love for Nintendo's new baby. Less of a successor to Sonic Adventure (the other title is filling that role nicely), Sonic Wild Fire offers a more visceral, streamlined, and arcade-like experience that wouldn't be out of place in a coin-op, and it promises to be one of the fastest Sonic titles yet.
What we think: After some hands-on time with both next generation Sonic titles, I was equally, if differently, impressed with both. For better or worse, Wild Fire is not the 3D Sonic that you've grown accustomed to. Instead of a free roaming platformer where players can take their time and maybe solve a puzzle or two, or explore a bit, this is a pedal-to-the-metal experience from start to finish.
Sonic will run forward on his own this time. While it's possible to pull back on the Wii remote (held handlebar-style with two hands in this case) to slow the critter down, it's rarely advantageous to do so. Tilting the controller in either direction steers Sonic to the left or right, tapping the 2 button makes him jump, and a quick jerk in midair will perform his trademark homing dash attack. Picking up fiery orbs will charge a fire gauge, which, when fully charged, will allow Sonic to perform his "Wild Fire" maneuver, sending him hurtling through the level and mind-bending speeds.
Sonic has always been quite the globetrotter, and his latest adventure finds him in Arabia. This might bring back a few bad memories of Sandopolis Zone, but fear not; we didn't spot any pyramids. The levels are nicely detailed, and although the game was not presently running in HD (a temporary condition, we were assured) the environments looked nicely detailed and Sonic (sporting a look more like the one we've grown accustomed to) had some nice bump mapping and seemed to sport impressive detail as well. Lighting was especially impressive with a sun that hung low in the sky and glowed though the palm trees that dotted the level's sandy paths. The visual highlight of the level was a waterfall of sand that gushed beneath a narrow ledge that has to be seen.
I don't think Sonic Wild Fire is going to be a real alternative to the main series. With its focus on rollercoaster speed it almost feels like it could carry the Sonic R torch with the addition of some quality split-screen multiplayer (which I really hope isn't overlooked). But for a lot of people this could be just what the doctor ordered. While more limited in scope, it's finally a 3D Sonic title with none of the collision or camera issues we've come to begrudgingly take for granted; a game that captures the blue guy's trademark speed and doesn't dillude it with exploration, gem collecting, or fishing. It's Sonic stripped down to his purest form, and that could be a very good thing.
··· Travis Fahs