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DS  header logo

Sonic Rush Adventure

For: DS

These boots were made for running

Product: Sonic Rush Adventure | Developer: Sega Studios | Publisher: Sega | Format: DS | Genre: Action, Platform | Players: 1-2 | Networking: wireless (adhoc) | Version: Europe
Sonic Rush Adventure DS, thumbnail 1
Over the years, the high seas have been tamed by many a romantic figure – noble admirals, swashbuckling wayfarers, fearless explorers… but a blue hedgehog on a jet-ski?

Well, even if the lightning-fast ball of spikes known as Sonic isn't a hero of the oceans, at least he boasts a grand and glorious gaming heritage. Most of us will have played a Sonic game at some point in our lives, and for those of us who haven't, Sonic Rush Adventure isn't a bad place to start.

The story itself isn't exactly Captain Ahab and Moby Dick, though, but it sets itself up for some fun. A storm has whisked Sonic and partner Tails away to another world full of island chains, churning water and… What's this? Strong Australian stereotypes, too, in the shape of native critters such as the over-the-top downunder tones of Marine the Racoon. Strewth.

But before you get into the waves and start exploring, you'll need some transportation – that's where Tails comes in. By finding the right materials in the platforming sections of the game, he's able to invent useful gadgets and vehicles that enable you to complete your quests.

This cleverly splits the game up between the swashbuckling 3D bits while travelling in your seaborne vehicles, and the 2D platform leaping, running and smashing sections, which see you making your way through island levels collecting the resources Tails requires.

Of course, it's the platforming elements that will be the most familiar to Sonic fans. Sonic gets dropped in at one end of a level and has to run, fight and leap his way past the obstacles to the finish as quickly as he can. The gold rings he collects along the way remain vital in terms of maintaining his health, but there are also new additions. These include performing tricks while flying through the air, a neat boost meter that enables Sonic to power through obstacles and enemies without being harmed, and the use of double jump to fully exploit the vertically challenging level design.

Frankly, this is just classic Sonic – it's super fast, well designed and full of secret routes and hidden areas. As such, it can all get a bit confusing, of course. The levels are filled with so many boosters, swings, catapults, cannons and jetstreams that throw you in so many different directions that keeping track of where Sonic is heading is difficult enough, let alone worrying about collecting everything as you go along.

Once you get the hang of things, however, you'll find yourself confidently boosting as you collect, and doing so with a little more grace.

Each island is composed of several levels and is finished off with a boss, involving a brilliantly over-the-top battle with a big monster. These sections are experienced in 3D, which sees Sonic grinding rails, bounding off platforms, defeating giant squid, riding mine carts and generally fighting in a more immersive environment.

Linked to this engrossing effect are the graphics, of course, which are excellent throughout – bright, cheery and vibrant across both screens.

But it's not just the boss encounters that benefit from the three-dimensional makeover. The other 3D parts of the game see Sonic piloting Tails' inventions across the big blue in order to discover the various islands that make up the 2D platform levels.

The aim here is exploration, so before the section starts, you draw out a route on the map using the stylus and set off in your chosen transport, finding new islands or challenges as you go. It's straightforward but opens up the game beyond the simple platforming that restricted previously Sonic games, including the franchise's first DS outing, Sonic Rush.

What you get up to in these sailing sections varies depending on what you're travelling in. If you're on the jet-ski, for instance, you'll be boosting through landmines and leaping off ramps to pull tricks. Hop on the sailboat, however, and Tails will take charge of steering while you defend the team using an arsenal of cannons and flamethrowers. The emphasis is all about stylus use – whether in terms of moving left and right or tapping the screen to fire cannonballs or give the jet-ski a burst of acceleration – and it works pretty well.

Even if the single-player mode eventually starts to wane – and it will as the platforming missions tend to re-use levels – Sonic Rush Adventure includes several battle-based multiplayer options, some of which only require a single copy of the game, meaning you can play head-to-head with any other DS owner.

It all adds up to a pretty compelling package that'll keep any fan of Sonic and/or platform games occupied for many happy hours. Prepare to set sail – there be monsters and treasure ahead.
Sonic Rush Adventure
Reviewer photo
Mike Cook | 28 September 2007
Fun and furious, whether in terms of 2D platforming or 3D mini-gaming, Sonic Rush Adventure proves you can teach an old hedgehog new tricks
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