Sonic and the Secret Rings Wii
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Released on 02/03/2007
Sonic brings his trademark speed and attitude to the Nintendo Wii in his first solo adventure since 1991. In Sonic and the Secret Rings, Sonic finds himself in the colorful and vibrant world of the Arabian Nights tales. There he embarks on his most outrageous journey to date through an expansive 3D world brought to life with realistic water reflections, light bloom, and lifelike physics.
The story begins with Sonic turning the pages of the classic book, “Arabian Nights.” Suddenly, he is visited by the tale’s central character, the Genie, who reveals that the last several pages of the book have mysteriously gone blank. This mystical being grants Sonic the ability to travel into the book’s world. Armed with his signature speed, Sonic sets off on an adventure to retrieve the missing pages, and set the world of the Arabian Nights back in order.
Sonic and the Secret Rings makes custom use of the innovative Wii remote to create a truly immersive gaming experience. Mimicking the energy and movements of Sonic, players actively perform specialized moves with the controller, bringing their stamina and wide range of motion into the action! Players will hurtle Sonic forward by rotating the controller from side to side and perform combo moves with a flick of the wrist. This, combined with a dizzying sense of speed, will quickly draw players of all ages into the action!
- Fast, frenetic gameplay with Sonic in constant motion. Taking full advantage of the Wii controller, players perform a variety of physical movements that actively advance Sonic, combat enemies, and perform special moves! Tilt the controller left or right to avoid obstacles, swing the controller forward to destroy enemies, or perform many other motions to advance the game!
- Exotic settings and creatures inspired by the Arabian Nights tales. The unique and lustrous features of Persia offer a vibrant backdrop to Sonic’s speed!
- Branching paths for extensive gameplay variety and replayability.
- New Sonic moves. With the controller’s exclusive features, utilize new moves such as “boost” and “catapult.” Players will feel and enjoy Sonic’s speed in entirely new ways!
- A variety of mini-games for up to four players. Work up a sweat using the Wii controller in a variety of ways in the home party games! With more than 30 exciting party games, enjoy playing the mini-games with friends and family!
Has Sonic still got it?
Is Sonic gaming's forgotten figure? If you saw the wealth of ads over Christmas for the Xbox 360's Sonic The Hedgehog, you may think that's a bit of a barmy question, but whether he's still the industry power player he once was is open for debate. You could say the same for Mario too, of course - they're both products of early 90's gaming sensibilities, and in today's age of Gears of War and Grand Theft Auto, citing a particular niche for these elder statesmen of interactive entertainment proves a little tricky.
Which is why Sonic and the Secret Rings feels like such a perfect fit for the Nintendo Wii. It's a gaming system that openly ignores the multimedia frenzy offered by its competitors, and instead stays true to an old-school outlook that puts good old fashioned fun firmly at the forefront of the experience.
So, pure gameplay, then...and quite possibly, for the first time in a fair few years, pure Sonic - none of the extra characters, adventure elements or multiple gaming styles from his previous 3D outings. This could finally be the game to make 2D Sonic purists take notice of the ‘hog in three dimensions.
One thing's for sure; this will certainly be the first Sonic game to feature high-speed motion sensitive control. Intuitively, controlling the titular hero is done by holding the Wii remote sideways like a joypad, and tilting it to make him move. Forwards or backwards momentum causes him to speed up or slow down respectively, jumping is done with the 2 button, and dipping left and right makes him turn - a setup which promises to make for lots of panicked last ditch changes of direction - and possibly not a few falling-off-the-chair moments if you find yourself too eagerly engrossed.
Sega has stripped away all of the complications and focused on one single aspect of the Sonic experience: Speed.
By the looks of things so far, that could easily happen; because this time around Sega have stripped away all of the complications and focused on one single aspect of the Sonic experience: Speed.
Even months before release, Secret Rings is already looking fast and frantic, with level design heavily reminiscent of the best levels from the original Sonic Adventure. Fans can expect lots of speedy on-rails reaction-based platforming gameplay, with a healthy dose of set pieces thrown in for good measure - such as Sonic being boosted miles into the air by an enormous hulking dinosaur, or sprinting through a ruin with pillars collapsing all around him.
This would all appear to be part of the new setting. A general Arabian theme permeates Secret Rings, with the story taking its cue from the pages of Arabian Nights - quite literally, as it turns out. In Secret Rings, the last three pages of said book have gone blank, and it's central character, the Genie, grants Sonic access to the book's very pages, hoping the blue dude with attitude can find the missing story strands and put the book back together.
Frankly, it all sounds a little out of place for a Sonic game - but when it all looks as good as this, we can't say we care too much. Secret Rings is quite possibly the finest looking Wii title going at the moment, boasting some truly spectacular lighting effects, detailed background furniture and simply loads going on on-screen. This even betters Sega's efforts on the much more powerful Xbox 360.
Secret Rings is quite possibly the finest looking Wii title going at the moment.
Helping this along immensely is the new camera perspective, which in no small way reminds us of Gears of War's ‘roadie run' viewpoint. Positioning itself low to the ground behind Sonic, it really does convey a frightening amount of momentum, while at the same time allowing you to see far enough into the distance that you can plan for oncoming obstacles.
The camera is also dynamic, too - not averse to panning out for wide shots to convey a sense of scale, or moving to the side for some Sonic Rivals style 2D-esque instances. Even more impressive is that the game engine would appear to handle this without any noticeable break in play; or particularly hard-hitting drops in frame rate. If this proves to be the case for the final build we'll be very happy indeed.
We're already very excited, because this could well offer the fine balance of 2D and 3D Sonic conventions that Sega have long been aiming for. For the first time in over a generation Sonic Team seem content to merely focus on the character's core gameplay, and ignore the other distractions which have become so prevalent in the series. They've looked backwards to move forwards, and turned to an old rival in Nintendo to provide the spark that's been missing from the hog's outings in recent years. It may just be that act that re-establishes Sonic as a gaming icon.
Preview by: Mark Scott
Preview Published: 11.01.07
Sega steers its mascot back on track…
What's your favourite Sonic game? Ask anyone over the age of 20 that question and they'll inevitably come back with an answer involving one of the older MegaDrive games - Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles are both popular choices - or possibly the newer, but still side-scrolling, Sonic Rush on DS. There's no getting past the fact that, amongst gamers who remember Sonic's heyday, the more modern 3D releases in the series have had a bit of a mixed reception.
But even those players will find much of what they love from the old-style Sonic experience in Sega's latest 3D offering, Sonic & The Secret Rings on Wii. It's not perfect by a long stretch, but it certainly banishes the idea that Sonic's head-down hurtling and platform prowess can't work in three dimensions, while providing Nintendo's new console a much-needed original and oft-enjoyable speed-based romp with bags of replay value.
To call Secret Rings a pure platformer, however, would be somewhat misleading. Having puzzled long and hard about how to do justice to Sonic's speed in full 3D, Sega have made a game here which mixes well-timed jumps and spin attacks with the conventions of a racing game. This is basically an on-rails platformer, and though that wouldn't wash with the likes of Mario in this day and age, for the purposes of a Sonic title it works very well indeed.
A much-needed original and oft-enjoyable speed-based romp with bags of replay value.
As too does the motion-sensing control system. Holding the Wii Remote sideways like a joypad in much the same way as you would in Excite Truck, tilting forwards speeds up the heroic ‘hog, while sideways dips steer him through the levels - which wouldn't be out of place being labelled as tracks. Having said that, they do throw up enough typical Sonic traits - enemies to bash with his lock-on homing attack, ravines to leap, springs to bounce off, rails to grind and handfuls of golden rings to collect - to retain a very old-school platform feel.
Additionally, there's also a pretty hefty RPG-style character development system in Secret Rings, where level completion grants Experience points, with which you can purchase more skills for Sonic throughout the adventure. Equipped to different Skill Rings which you select before each level, his improvements include the ability to run faster, or an extra number of rings - but you can only use a few at any one time, meaning you'll have to choose wisely depending on the mission objective.
No shortage of fun
And there's certainly no shortage of them. Secret Ring's seven worlds each encompass a drastically different visual style, and boast multiple story and challenge missions. From a sandy desert oasis to a land choc-full of dinosaurs, a pirate ship to a floating ruin, it's an impressive visual feast for Wii gamers to enjoy - and throws up a variety of interesting conditions, such as collecting a certain amount of rings, racing a character to the finish line, or hurtling through levels without breaking a single one of the ceramic pots strewn liberally about the place.
Something we've neglected to mention so far is the story aspect - and that's because it's really not the game's greatest selling point. It sees Sonic spirited into the book Arabian Nights to stop an evil genie destroying the story, and won't be winning any new converts from those who've so far shirked Sonic's 3D outings. However, the Arabian Nights theme itself crates one of the Wii's most powerful, lense flared, motion-blurred visual experiences yet, and the handling of familiar Sonic characters - Knuckles, Robotnik (well, Eggman) and co. - as the book's key characters, is a nice fit.
From a sandy desert oasis to a land choc-full of dinosaurs, a pirate ship to a floating ruin, it's an impressive visual feast.
The main drawback of Secret Rings, sadly, is that it can at times feel a little one-dimensional. Sonic is always moving forwards, and stopping him completely is actually assigned to pressing and holding the 1 button, so there's still that issue of on-rails gameplay and a questionable lack of in-game control - not helped by a sometimes unresponsive lock-on targeting system or the ever-so-occasional instance when the Wiimote doesn't pick up your motions at all.
Moreover, moving backwards - achieved by tilting the Wiimote towards yourself - is counter intuitive as the camera doesn't move to let you see behind you, while an ability to jump backwards is only granted later in the game. At the game's (incredibly slow) outset this proves frustrating - with an objective of killing all 10 enemies in one level, you'll have to start the mission again if you miss one and then take a jump out of its reach. Why Sega didn't include the option to turn Sonic through 180 degrees we're not sure, but we'd expect to see it in the sequel.
We're confident there will be a follow-up, because despite the drawbacks, Secret Rings does enough right to be a lot of fun. An additional minigame-mad multiplayer Party mode makes it a good social offering too, and when the spiny blue speedster is hurtling through the game's stunning vistas at full tilt, it's really an experience to behold. Sega have tried something new here, on a console dedicated to new gaming ideas, and for the most part it works. Give Sonic & The Secret Rings a try; it may just end up your new favourite Sonic title.
- Sonic's head-down hurtling has never felt so fast or looked so good.
- Plenty of replay value with tons of Challenges.
- Fun four-player minigame-based Party Mode.
- On-rails play can be a little one-dimensional.
- Sometimes doesn't pick up on your Wiimote motioning.
- Why can't we just make Sonic turn around?!?
Review by: Mark Scott
Review Published: 02.03.07
Two decades of Sonic! And it only seems like yesterday that we first saw him speeding through rings, racing off the edge of the screen, and trouncing Dr Robotnik back on the Sega Megadrive.
Created by Yuji Naka back in the early 1990s, Sonic was Sega attempt to rival Nintendo Super Mario, and while the plumber remains a classic in his own right, Sonic hasn done too badly for himself, giving platform fans everywhere a taste for fast-paced action and colourful levels.
Sega hero shows no signs of slowing down either no pun intended. Later this year, Sonic Generations will be hitting the Xbox 360, the PlayStation 3, and Nintendo 3DS. It promises to blend elements from Sonic 2D origins with his later 3D adventures, and the word on the street is that it one of the best Sonic games Sega has seen in years. Here to the next 20, Sonic!
Sonic and the Secret Rings Preview (11/01/2007)
Sonic and the Secret Rings Preview…
Sonic and the Secret Rings Review (02/03/2007)
Sega steers its mascot back on track…
What's your favourite Sonic game? Ask anyone over the age of 20 that question a…
Hope you remembered to bake a cake: Sonic the Hedgehog, Sega ever-young platforming mascot, hits his 20th birthday this week.…
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