Posts Tagged ‘Storybook’

Sonic Storybook Series

April 24, 2009

At first, I planned to cover Sonic and the Black Knight. However, I felt like I wanted to mention Sonic and the Secret Rings, as well. So, I decided to mesh them into one blog and talk about them both.

First off, the gameplay for both games is quite similar. In both games, you are running through a level, though the game, rather than the player, steers Sonic. Your only options as far as controls are concerned are forward and backward and strafing from side to side. In my opinion, I think this was a pretty good idea, considering the level layout. If the controls were  completely manual, the player could get lost. So, the game focuses more of “Race to the finish!” than actual exploration of the level. More levels appear as you complete them. Some are required missions, while most of them are optional. Lastly, there’s the gimmick part of the game, which I will talk about next.

In Sonic and the Secret Rings, Sonic gets to use a special ring that gives him different abilities. You can also level up that ring in order to equip more at one time. This was one of my favorite features of Sonic and the Secret Rings. A customizable Sonic allowed me to achieve Golds more easily than I could before. On the other hand, Sonic and the Black Knight uses a sword that plays a strong role in combat, though this can be a burden on Sonic fans, as he, most of the time, has to stop and and attack enemies, rather than slice right through them. It wasn’t easy using the Wii Remote to swing the sword, either, as there can be a delayed reaction, costing you either time or rings or both. The sword, like the ring, is customizable, but to a much smaller extent. The sword you use earns new abilities as you earn more stars. There are also three different modes of play for Sonic. The first one, which you start with, balances speed and swordplay. The other two either emphasize one or the other. All three modes of play give Sonic different abilities to unlock. Sonic, himself, can also level up in rank as he gains followers for completing levels. However, this only benefits the item identification system, rather than Sonic’s actual skills, as it increases ID points to use at the end of the level. Both games use a special meter to execute special moves. Sonic and the Secret Rings boasts Time Break and Speed Break moves. Time Break slows down time for Sonic, and Speed Break makes Sonic insanely fast. Sonic and the Black Knight doesn’t really have names for their moves. One move acts like Speed Break. Another move is a lock-on move that sends Sonic to the closest opponent in an effort to launch a critical hit. Lastly, unlike Sonic and the Secret Rings, at some point in the game, you will be able to use other characters to go through the levels, though many of those levels are Sonic-only. They can earn new weapons with different abilities by obtaining certain items that, when used at the blacksmith’s shop, can be combined to form a new sword.

Now, it’s time to talk about the levels, themselves. Sonic and the Secret Rings’s levels are nicely varied, environment-wise, while Sonic and the Black Knight’s levels are a bit less-varied, due to the fact that Sonic is roaming through the countryside and not through specific chapters. So, Sonic and the Black Knight can get a little monotonous. Also, I want to add that sometimes, there are simply too many enemies in Sonic and the Black Knight, considering the emphasis on swordplay, that while you’re attacking one enemy, another might attack you.

Though I probably should not talk about this, regarding spoiler reasons, I want to talk about the final forms, as well. Both games end in a similar way, as far as final battles go, but both games take slightly different directions on reaching them. In Sonic and the Secret Rings, Sonic had to go search for the remaining rings to unlock the final battle. In Sonic and the Black Knight, the storyline pretty much forces you into the final battle. As for comparing forms, in Sonic and the Secret Rings, Sonic becomes Darkspine Sonic, whose spines look a bit like Knuckles, as well as a white line down the center. Sonic’s pupils disappear, and his attitude changes from heroic to rude and arrogant. However, considering the rings Sonic absorbed contained feelings, it’s only natural that Sonic would end up that way, and in the end, I thought he was pretty cool. In Sonic and the Black Knight, Sonic uses the power of the swords to obtain Excalibur and golden armor. His most well-known name for this form is Excalibur Sonic. His attitude does not change, however. As far as abilities go, Darkspine Sonic does gain the ability to gather energy for his Break meter by spinning. However, Excalibur Sonic does not gain any new abilities, really. Both of them do have one ability in common: flying.

Lastly, I’ll talk about the controls. When people think of Sonic and the Secret Rings, the first thing that often comes to mind are the awful controls. However, I believe that despite the fact that you tilt the Wii Remote to run forward and backward and stuff, the game still had great potential. The rest of the game was undermined by the bad controls. In Sonic and the Black Knight, the controls are much better. In this case, the control stick is used to move Sonic. However, if Sonic and the Secret Rings ever had the same control scheme as Sonic and the Black Knight, I would choose Sonic and the Secret Rings over it.

I think Sega should continue the storybook series for Sonic. Not only do they have the potential to become good Sonic games, but they also introduce a different super form of Sonic other than the usual Super Sonic. I think hunting for the required items to become super (such as the secret rings) should return, as well as Secret Rings’s ability system. However, the final boss strategy may need to differ a bit more. I found Black Knight’s final boss fight to be a bit too similar to Secret Rings’s. I wonder what the next storybook Sonic might be. Sonic and the Three Kingdoms? Sonic and the Demon King? (Cookies for those who get both references) Nah. Maybe the next Storybook Sonic would be based on Greek mythology. Imagine Sonic fighting a Hydra! I’d love to see that!

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