Sonic fans rejoice! After almost 10 years of putting up with horrifically glitchy and badly programed Sonic console titles, Sonic Colours for the Wii has brought back the excellent reputation of a (mostly) great franchise. Meanwhile, SEGA decide to publish a DS spin off of Sonic Colours so that they can milk the game's name for all it's worth... Or at least that's what SEGA, or the suspecting yet uninformed customer might think. You see,while Sonic Colours Wii takes the Daytime stages from Sonic Unleashed (360 & PS3 version) and adds some power ups and a sci-fi setting, Sonic Colours DS takes the Sonic Rush games and adds some power ups and a sci-fi setting. All Werehog and Hubworld free. Also, Sonic Colours DS is developed by Dimps, who are also responsible for the GBA Sonic Advance games as well as the DS Sonic Rush games. It wouldn't be inaccurate to call Sonic Colours DS 'Sonic Rush 3' except with the name and the gimmick of the new Wii game in order to make it sell more, but does the implementation of this gimmick, as well as other once non-handheld elements, detract from the game's quality?
Well, the story is the most similar thing between the two versions. Dr. Eggman has created an 'Interstellar Theme Park' and claims to have no evil intentions whatsoever. Obviously, this is a lie. Sonic and Tails, sporting new and improved voice actors, enter the theme park anddiscover what the doctor is really up to. He is using a race of small aliens called Wisps to power his theme park and his newest machines which he intends to use in order to try and take over the world... again. So Sonic has to stop him. The story has been simplified, just like in the good old days, and whether this is a good or bad thing is up to you.
There are some major differences between the DS and Wii versions of Sonic Colours that really put Sonic Colours Wii to shame. Firstly, the DS cutscenes are just text and images with an occasional animation that looks like it was made with Microsoft PowerPoint 95. I understand that Sonic Rush Adventure's cutscenes were the same as this and that the low capacity of the DS cartridges restricts the number of video files that a game can contain, but when Isaw the Wii's opening movie playing on my low-res DS screen, I was excited, but I quickly became disappointed after going through the next cutscene in text format. And what's worse is that the script hasbeen re written and the excellent writing has been replaced with cheesy, mediocre crap with all of the humor which made the Wii cutscenes so great removed with no logical reasoning whatsoever. What's going on Dimps?
The gamplay is essentially the same as Sonic Rush (a game of which I think is loads of fun by the way), but some new additions and some changes have been made in order to make it more like the Wii game. The homing attack has been implemented and it's pretty pointless and unecessary but doesn't make the game any less fun so I'm not complaining. The slide from Unleashed and Colours Wii is another addition but is annoying more than anything else. It is performed by pressing the R button and it's impossible to react fast enough even when not at top speeds because you can't see far enough in front of you, unlike in Unleashed's 2D sections in which the camera angle sometimes changes thanks to 3D graphics. If you don't react fast enough you'll come to a screeching halt and you'll need to get a run up in order to slide again because you can't crawl at slower speeds like in Unleashed and Colours Wii. Also, why the R button? Both A and B are used for jump/homing attack so why not just use A instead? The ground-pound-ish thing can be used in the DS game too by pressing Down on the D-Pad and A/B at the same time. Again, why not just use A like in Unleashed?
Of course, there are the 'Colour Powers', the temporary abilities that the Wisps give Sonic when they are freed. Collecting white Wisps increase Sonic's boost meter, yellow Wisps allow Sonic to drill through water and soft ground, orange Wisps fire Sonic into the air like a rocket and the cyan Wisps fire Sonic as a Laser that reflects off of walls and special gems. A few of the wisps from the Wii version have been removed but two more wisps have been added that are exclusive to he DS version. The red wisps, which turn Sonic into a flying fiery ball from hell, and the violet wisp, which turns Sonic into a giant black hole that sucks up objects and enemies. The more it sucks, the larger it grows and the faster it can move. The wisps are mostly not nessasary to complete the game but they are all fun to use and add more variety to the game and are vital for finding faster and higher scoring paths.
As usual, each Level/Area/Zone/Whatever has two acts and a 3D boss battle. These battles are in numerous formats such as the single platform from Sonic Rush, the constant running from Sonic Advance 2 and a round platform with the boss in the center. When a boss is hit by a standard attack you receive an addition to your boost meter, but if an enemy collideswith a boosting Sonic then the enemy receives more damage and you receive a boss specific colour power which allows you to defeat the boss in a faster and/or higher scoring manner. The boss battles are mostly original and very fun to play.
Graphically is where the game falls behind. The 2D art is mostly pretty good but almost every time 3D is involved, low quality is involved too. The bosses are mostly good looking, but Sonic's model as well as a few other 3D entities just look hideous and the DS is more than capable of producing better.
The music in this game is brilliant. Well, a MIDI bastardization of the brilliant music tracks from Sonic Colours Wii. Like the cutscenes, a few songs from the Wii version (E.G. the menu music) have been kept in tact, but most in-game tracks have been converted to synthesized tracks using the DS sound chip. It's not as noticeable in some of the tracks, but other tracks, like 'Planet Wisp Act 1', are noticeably worse than their fully orchestrated Wii counterparts.
So, Sonic Colours DS is definitely a great game,but is it better than Sonic Rush or Sonic Rush Adventure. Graphics, music and presentation wise, Rush and Rush Adventure are by far superior, but when it comes to the core of the experience, the gameplay, then neither games are better or worse, they're just different. The colour powers and other abilities that have been added to Sonic Colours make the game a different experience with more variety and a much needed change of pace. It's a shame that some of the other elements have been downgraded, but Sonic Colours is a fun game, and in this case that's what counts the most, so Sonic Colours DS gets an 8.5 out of 10. Sonic fans should be very pleased that Dimps has given us another great portable Sonic game.
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