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Sonic Blast (Gソニック G Sonikku?, lit. G Sonic[1]) is a video game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series developed by Aspect and published by Sega for the Sega Game Gear. It was released on 12 December 1996 in North America and Europe, and a day later in Japan. It was ported to the Master System in Brazil a year later. Sonic Blast was the last Sonic game for the Game Gear.[2]

The game was also ported to the Sega Master System in Brazil by TecToy and released in December 1997, making it the last game ever made for that system.

Sonic Blast would later be re-released in future Sonic-themed compilations, including Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut and Sonic Mega Collection Plus, and a demo of its ending can be unlocked in Sonic Gems Collection. Sonic Blast was released on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console in North America on 20 June 2013.[2]

While this game was released at the end of 1996 in conjunction with the similarly named Sonic 3D Blast, it is worth noting that the two games have little in common. No enemies, levels, or bosses, are shared between the games. The story is also completely different, as Sonic and Knuckles join together to collect five of a Chaos Emerald's pieces and confront Dr. Robotnik at Silver Castle Zone.

Storyline

According to the Japanese manual, renowned resident hero Sonic the Hedgehog was enjoying a nap on his palm tree hammock during a peaceful afternoon on South Island. His repose was interrupted, however, by the blinding flash of a Chaos Emerald. The Emerald shattered into five different-colored pieces with an earsplitting shriek, scattering off into the distance. Suddenly, the booming laughter of Dr. Eggman echoed above him - the villain had been aiming for Sonic with a laser beam, but struck the lone Chaos Emerald instead. Despite his error, Eggman was pleased with the unexpected results. He impulsively wanted to use the five shards of shattered Emerald to fortify his new aerial base, the Silver Castle, which he created after he realized that the other Emeralds began to scatter away from South Island. Just as Sonic prepared to set off in search of the pieces, Knuckles the Echidna stepped out from the shade of a nearby tree, having witnessed the event. The two heroes resolve to foil Dr. Eggman and collect the miniature Chaos Emeralds to restore it.

An alternate, less convoluted storyline is offered in the English manual (released slightly earlier):

Dr. Robotnik's Latest Scheme
A mysterious island has surfaced near Sonic's home - an island with a revoltingly familiar shape. The bald dome and walrus shape moustache are a total giveaway: Robotnik has built another floating platform to carry on with his plan to rule the world!
Sonic the Hedgehog and Knuckles the Echidna decide there's only one thing to do: get to the platform, break inside, and do some serious property damage. Unfortunately, that is precisely what that eggheaded villain is counting on. Robotnik has laid a series of traps he thinks are infallible. His plan is all too familiar: get rid of his nemesis Sonic for good, and once that's done, collect the Chaos Emeralds in order to gain the power he needs to take over the world.
Travel with Sonic the Hedgehog or Knuckles the Echidna through a maze of traps, evil robots and fearsome scenery, and prove to Dr. Robotnik that there's no trap made that a determined Sonic or Knuckles can't overcome!

Gameplay

Unlike its pseudo-3D counterpart, Sonic Blast for the Game Gear is a side-scrolling run-and-jump platform game. It was among the last new Sonic the Hedgehog games released for the Sega handheld, and sported some of the most advanced features of the 8-bit series.

The two playable characters in the game are Sonic the Hedgehog and Knuckles the Echidna. The object of the game is to collect five pieces of a Chaos Emerald, in stages visually similar to the Sonic the Hedgehog 3 Special Stages,but instead, require Sonic and Knuckles to collect rings as in the Special Stages from Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Emeralds can only be obtained in the second act of each level. Finishing a special stage in the first act will gain the player an extra life instead. Similar to Sonic the Hedgehog 3, Special Stages are entered through large rings hidden in the regular stages.

Much like Sonic the Hedgehog Triple Trouble, when you get hit by enemies, you only lose some rings as opposed to all of them (in this game, ten rings per hit). Sonic's maneuvers are similar to those in other games, but he has a special double-jump ability that allows him to reach greater heights, like with the Lightning Shield in Sonic the Hedgehog 3. Knuckles' abilities are his standard climbing and gliding, as seen in Sonic & Knuckles.

Controls

Button formation Movement
Sonic-Icon-Sonic-Blast Sonic the Hedgehog KTE-Icon-Sonic-Blast Knuckles the Echidna
Controlpadds left/right Walking/Running
Controlpadds up Looking up
Controlpadds down Crouch
Game Gear I Button/Game Gear II Button Spin Jump
Controlpadds right/left + down Spin
Controlpadds down + Game Gear I Button/Game Gear II Button Super Spin Dash
Game Gear I Button/Game Gear II Button X2 Double Jump N/A
Game Gear I Button/Game Gear II Button + Game Gear I Button/Game Gear II Button down N/A Glide
Controlpadds up/down N/A Climb
START button Pauses the game.

Objects

Gimmicks and obstacles

Bonus Panel rewards

Like in previous Game Gear and Master System games, Bonus Panels appear at the end of the first two Acts and will grant different bonuses after they stop spinning from the player passing them.

Backwards Dr. Robotnik Ring Sonic Knuckles Emerald Super Sonic
Oh great, then do not show anything
Gsign-Eggman
Gsign-ring
Gsign-Sonic
Gsign-Knuckles
Gsign-Emerald
Gsign-SuperSonic
Spin the plate
Nothing
10 extra Rings.
1-Up (Sonic)
30 Rings (Knuckles)
1-Up (Knuckles)
30 Rings (Sonic)
Continue
1-Up and 30 Rings.

Characters

Badniks

Bosses

Zones

  1. Green Hill Zone
  2. Yellow Desert Zone
  3. Red Volcano Zone
  4. Blue Marine Zone
  5. Silver Castle Zone

Graphics

A prominent feature of Sonic Blast was its rendered graphics, which had become popular in Nintendo's 16-bit hit Donkey Kong Country (also known as Super Donkey Kong), and gave the game a more advanced look in comparison to former 8-bit entries in the series. The characters also took up a big portion of the screen.

Reception

Sonic Blast mixed reception at the time of its release, although retrospective commentary has been far more negative. Nintendo World Report (NWR) summarized the game as "a step back" from previous Game Gear Sonic titles, due to what they called "the attempt at aping Donkey Kong Country's pre-rendered sprites on a handheld".[3]

Most critics disliked the graphics, some even claiming they ruined the game[4][5]. Digitally Downloaded stated the visuals were more distracting than impressive, writing they hampered the fluidity of the gameplay and prevented the use of elements they considered integral to the series.[5] Nintendo Life thought the game aged badly when compared to the other Sonic 8-bit entries, citing "muddy colours and shaky animation",[6] and USgamer said the character graphics were too big, especially for the Game Gear's small screen.[7] Jeuxvideo.com found the character animations poor and noted the gameplay limitations they caused.[4] Despite their mostly negative reaction to the graphics, many critics did acknowledge that the visuals were impressive when considering the limitations of the Game Gear.[5][4] Pocket Gamer noted that prior to the game's release, "the capabilities of [the Game Gear] had seemingly been fully explored"; they wrote while they offered some compromises, the visuals made the game stand out.[8]

Sonic Blast has been called one of the worst games in the Sonic series.[3][7] NWR exclaimed the game "should be avoided at all costs",[3] and Retro Gamer stated that the game's title screen was its only redeeming quality.[9] USgamer wrote it was "an unpleasant end to the Game Gear" and attributed its shortcomings to the system's discontinuation.[7] Complex declared it "the worst handheld Sonic game ever" and said "thank God they didn't attempt the '3D' aspect of its 16-bit older brother".[10]

Staff

  • Producer: Hiroshi Aso
  • Director: Ryushin Hamada
  • Planner: Katsunori Murakami, Hiroaki Suzuki
  • Map design: Akira Okamoto, Ken Sasaki
  • Chief programmer: Toshiaki Araki
  • Programmer: Yoshiaki Makishima
  • Chief designer: Fumikazu Sugawara
  • Designer: Taro Murayama
  • Sound composer: Kojiro Mikusa
  • Special thanks: Kazuyuki Oikawa, Aspect, All Staff

Trivia

  • The name of the game's five zones each begin with a type of color (Green, Yellow, Red, Blue, and Silver respectively). These colors relate to the Chaos Emerald found in each zone.
  • The game's Japanese storyline might imply that Knuckles quickly tossed a Chaos Emerald between the sleeping Sonic and Dr. Robotnik's laser beam to save him. As a certain game would later indicate, he's not above breaking some Emeralds to scramble the Eggman.
  • The ending Signpost featuring Super Sonic is the latter's only appearance in a Game Gear/Master System Sonic title, even though Sonic himself can not transform.
  • Due to this game's large ROM, this game will not work on early Master System models.
  • The international logo for Sonic Blast is very similar to that of its isometric cousin, Sonic 3D.

References

  1. G Sonic. TheGHZ. Retrieved on 23 April 2018. “Though Sega of Japan officially discontinued support for the Game Gear in 1995, distribution rights to the console simply shifted to the company's toy division, who rereleased the machine as the Kid's Gear and continued support for another 12 months. G Sonic was the last Kid's Gear game released, and the last commercial Game Gear title released in Japan. For Western release, the game's title was changed to Sonic Blast to correspond with Sonic 3D Blast (Sonic 3D: Flickies' Island) which was released at the same time. G Sonic and Sonic Blast are identical except for the title screen.”
  2. 2.0 2.1 G Sonic. TheGHZ. Retrieved on 23 April 2018.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Ronaghan, Neal (21 June 2013). Grinding Game Gears: An Overview of Sonic's Portable Origins. Nintendo World Report. Retrieved on 23 April 2018.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Sire, Godefroy (11 June 2017). Test du jeu Oldies : Sonic Blast, un episode pas si indispensible que ca (French). Jeuxvideo.com. Retrieved on 23 April 2018.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 A, Clark (14 August 2013). Review: Sonic Blast (3DS). Digitally Downloaded. Retrieved on 23 April 2018.
  6. Newton, James (25 June 2012). Sonic Blast Review. Nintendo Life. Retrieved on 23 April 2018.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 USgamer Team (18 August 2017). Gotta Go Fast: Ranking All of The Sonic The Hedgehog Games. USgamer. Retrieved on 23 April 2018.
  8. Willington, Paul (18 June 2012). Sonic Blast. Pocket Gamer. Retrieved on 23 April 201.
  9. Delaney, John (28 July 2008). Sonic Blast. RetroGamer. Future plc. Retrieved on 23 April 2018.
  10. Knight, Rich (16 July 2013). Ranking Every "Sonic the Hedgehog" Platformer. Complex. Retrieved on 23 April 2018. “The worst handheld Sonic game ever. It feels like such a rush job. Thank God they didn't attempt the "3D" aspect of its 16-bit older brother.”
Sonic the Hedgehog handheld video games