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Sonic 3D Blast/Flickies Island
Posted by Billy
Posted on 28 July, 2013 at 8:04PM ↑ 2 ↓ 0
Sonic 3D Blast/Flickies Island

1996 was an awkward time for video games. 3D was the huge new thing, and everyone had to adapt or die. Some franchises made the jump quite well (see: Mario), some didn't do so to well (see: Castlevania). Sure new IPs came along much well suited to this 3D thing, but we what we really wanted was our favorite characters to make the jump. In '96 Sonic made the 'jump' to 3D... on the Genesis. The problem with this is in order to be '3D' on the genesis, is it had to be in an isometric view and imply depth instead of actually have it. Sega used this technique back in the 80's with Zaxxon. Later on Sega ported this game to the saturn with enhanced graphics, and that version was ported to the PC. I'll mention the differences as they come.

Gameplay wise its still a platformer as you would expect with Sonic, but the formula has changed quite a bit with the new perspective. Sonic does no longer run and twirl his legs, he just jogs.  My first experience with this game is the PC version, and as a result I recommend you do not play this game with a keyboard. Keyboard controls with the isometric perspective are impossible. Not to say a lot of the jumps aren't agrivating enough with the controller. You have a little shadow below you to see where you're gonna land, but that only helps so much.

To make the most out of the isometric levels they've made them somewhat non-linear, by forcing you to collect 5 birds (called Flickies) before you can proceed to the exit. Most acts of a level are split into 3 sections of bird collecting before you're done. The level-act system is much like previous Sonic games -- Act 1 and 2 are regular levels, act 3 is a boss level. The special stage in all versions is conceptually based on Sonic 2's, where you auto-run forward and have to collect rings. The Genesis version is the wrost because all of them are completely flat, and are entirely too easy. The Saturn special stages are great! They're fully 3D (since they're on the saturn n' all), add to the Sonic 2 special stage formula, and are just fun to play. They do get pretty challenging too. The PC special stage (yes they all have different special stages) are boring again. Once again they're full 3D but the levels are... barren. And these have an entirely different problem with difficulty -- they're too damn hard!

Everything in this game is pre-rendered. In the wake of Donkey Kong Country this is really no surprise. Compared to previous games everything looks very smooth. This really helps with the look in the mechanical levels, but in green groves and ruins not so much. The Genesis version is heavily dithered to make these graphics work, but the Saturn/PC version is much more colorful with much more detail. Not just more detailed colors, there's lots of background details added, and even fog to the second level in parts. The levels follow all the Sonic tropes you'd expect -- Grassy, ruins, carnival, industrial, etc. Yawn.

Sonic 3D Saturn screenshotSonic 3D PC ScreenshotSonic 3D Genesis screenshot

Saturn, PC, Genesis respectively. Screenshots courtesy mobygames.

The music is the standard Sonic fair, and there's some really catchy stuff here. However, there's some really generic stuff here too. Both versions feature different music, but both have their standouts/generic tracks. Of note on the Genesis version, one of the music composers, Jun Senoue, has done a lot of work for Sonic Team. As a result, some of his music from this game was reused in Sonic Adventure. He did not compose music for the Saturn/PC version, however.


Overall, I'd say Sonic 3D is a mediocre Sonic game, but an average isometric platformer. (It certainly wins out over Snake Rattle n' Roll)

28 July, 2013 at 7:50PM ↑ 0 ↓ 0

Sometimes 3D isn't all it's cracked up to be. I still love 2D platformers.
Thanks for the review!

Lazlo Falconi
28 July, 2013 at 8:14PM ↑ 0 ↓ 0

The first time I played this--or even heard of it was the Saturn version, and back then it blew my mind. The levels were so huge and expansive, and--what? Izzat... Is that full motion video? In a game?!

But the game certainly didn't age well. Once I grew up and got my head out of Sonic Team's asses, I realized that Sonic 3D blast was... Not a blast. I tried playing it again back in 2007 or so--fully aware of Sonic Adventure and Adventure 2--and it simply didn't work out. It was like a chore, but there wouldn't even be any reward for playing it.

So yeah, easily one of the worst Sonic games, as if there weren't enough titles vying for that achievement.

29 July, 2013 at 12:13AM ↑ 0 ↓ 0

>Is that full motion video? In a game?!
Whats more impressive to me is that the Genesis version had an intro video. Sure its short and has the framerate of a flipbook, but still!

Davrinsky sky
29 July, 2013 at 7:14PM ↑ 0 ↓ 0

I'm going to get it and understand this like/hate relationship on this game. I think I may have seen Billy play this game before, but I cant tell.

Lazlo Falconi
3 August, 2013 at 9:01PM ↑ 0 ↓ 0

In all honesty you'll probably never get it. I think the only redeeming quality of this game is that it came out at a time when we were all enamored by Sonic games in any form.

4 August, 2013 at 2:53PM ↑ 0 ↓ 0

Which is really a shame. Sonic was so hot! But then we got this crap.

7 October, 2013 at 00:32AM ↑ 0 ↓ 0

Great review! While I did own a Sega Saturn, I only had the Genesis version of this game.

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