For those reading one of my Genesis review blogs for the first time, here is the basic concept:
I already reviewed a bunch of SNES games, so its natural that I am going to review the games of its prime competition. Does the SEGA Genesis stand a chance against the legendary SNES library?
My review series is based on the top 100 list of Retro Sanctuary
-If you have any suggestion of a game that is not in the Retro Sanctuary list that I should review, please suggest it.
-Make a bet on each game to check whether Chris Charter played it or not.
Without further ado, here is:
1: Sonic the Hedgehog 3:
Developer: Sega (Sonic Team).
First things first, I am changing my rating system to better rate different genres according to their own rules. It will still be from 50 quality points, but every title will start from 25 and earn/lose points according to criteria important to the titles and genres themselves.
By the time Sonic 3 was released, the 16bit console wars was already coming to close. After a strong fight in the beginning, Sega quickly lost ground to Nintendo. Especially in the back of terrible business decisions such as the Genesis CD and 32X enhancements.
While Sonic 3 is a great continuation of form to the excellent Sonic 2, Sega's business decisions actually hamper this game as well. For some reason, Sega butchered the game and later released an add-on (like physical DLC) to extend the game's length and add Knuckles.
Even if the base Sonic 3 game is not as good as the second game (or as good is it could have been without Sega butchering it), it still is a great platformer for the system.
"Sonic got through Act I.."
After Sonic 2 defined the look and feel of the franchise, Sonic 3 basically carries over and continues with it. Sonic is again the fastest platforming character around, and he has tails by his side. Before the franchise delved deep into creating the variety of inane side characters Sonic is known for, Knuckles the Echidna appeared as the original rival.
Knuckles appear in some stages, mocking sonic and creating more hazards for the player. It's a nice touch, and reminds me of Proto Man's appearances in some of the early Mega Man games.
Water is still Sonic's worst enemy
Outside of that little character interaction, the game isn't interested in telling a story, and instead is content with having you explore its labyrinthine levels and trying to free some (you are not going to defeat all enemies) from their robotic prisons.
Except, the fact that the game doesn't add much from Sonic 2 is a little troubling. Reportedly, the game consists of cut content from the second game, and that cannot be more apparent in its levels which look very similar.
Apart from the bonus levels, there isn't much extra going on. It sure sucks the Knuckles, the only true addition, is locked out in a cartridge extension.
Varied and Iconic Levels: +3
Addition of Knuckles: +1
"Get the blue spheres"
Again, we have a game that aims for mastery rather than simple completion. Carrying over the skills and speed from the second game, Sonic can once again dash, spin, and loop-de-loop around maze-like levels in search of a perfect run.
Levels are not linear affairs, with multiple routes, hidden areas, and some great level design. Sonic's speed sees him jump from ramps, hangers, springs, bumpers, and a variety of in-level contraptions that makes the game as much a pinball cabinet as a platformer.
Sonic always liked playing with balls
Playing it once, the game's speed cannot be utilized properly. Most wouldn't have the reaction time, and some would simply like to explore for rings and secrets. It's the sort of design that you get more out of the more you put in. Sure, its a fun little platformer by itself. but it gives you the tools to be a true master; doing things that look impossible to do.
The major addition to the game are three power-ups that gives Sonic some platforming edge as well as some protection. These power-ups manage to add a lot to the gameplay, and finding one of them in the levels is always a treat.
Going back to the secrets you can find, they are basically another rendition of the psuedo-3D bonus levels the franchise is known for, and they give a Chaos Emerald upon the completion of each one. With all 7 emeralds, Sonic can then become Super Sonic which just simply breaks the game.
Sure, its fun to use Super Sonic to simply go through every obstacle with ease, but I would suggest not utilizing this power-up for the best experience.
Great Gameplay: +5
Invites Mastery: +2
Super Saiyan Mode: +1
Too Short: -3
"Now Sonic can become Super Sonic"
While Sonic 3 doesn't do much to go beyond what Sonic 2 does, it is slightly better in its sprites, animation, and background. Everything looks great, with Sonic simply being being marvelous in everything from his running stride to his bored idle animations. Outside of Sonic, all other sprites look cool and well-animated. Especially the bosses
The levels look great, and besides the repetitive cues from past titles (see Carnival Zone), every level looks great with excellent animated backgrounds and a great individual style. Check out the first zone that drastically changes appearance after an in-game event.
Apparently, gambling themed levels are a Sonic thing
Music is where the game takes a step back from Sonic 2. While some tracks are really great (Angle Island and Ice Cap) most simply don't rise to the high standards of the second game. I feel there was a more concentrated effort to craft more layered music, but the end product didn't sound as good as the second game even it was more complex sounds.
However, it does generally have better sound effects.
Very Good Graphics: +4
Good Sound : +3
Maybe for some people its debatable which game is better between Sonic 2 and Sonic 3, but its very clear for me. Despite being a very good platformer, Sonic 3 doesn't add anything much from its predecessor, and instead comes in with shorter length and a soundtrack that is not as good.
Even with the Knuckles add-on, I wouldn't consider Sonic 3 a better game. Without it, Sonic 3 is not the best Sonic game on the Genesis, even if its one of the console's best platformers.
Eggman loves the smell of napalm in the morning
1- Search the level around for powerups and lives.
2- If you lose a life, you can always get one at the same location you found it in the first time.
3- Collect 100 rings to get a life.
4- Look around the stage to find the secret rooms to get the Chaos Emeralds.
5- If you have no rings at all, play the game like its Ghost's and Goblins.
6- Hold of getting the 7th Emerald if you want to experience all stages normally.
With this, I have completed my review of the top games in the Genesis library (those game that interested me that is). These reviews were ordered as per the Retro Sanctuary list, and I disagree with the placement of Sonic 3 at the top spot, because if you are going to put a Sonic game there than Sonic 2 is the better choice.
Now, that I have completed the review of 32 Genesis games, I am going to review the Genesis console itself. First starting with choosing its top games, and then by actually making a decision on the most important question of the 90s.
Genesis or the SNES?
For Previous Genesis game Reviews:
For More Screenshots: