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This wouldn’t matter, but there are times when you just don’t play fair. There are some evil moments where you go speeding down a ramp only to leap into oblivion, some rolling crushers that leave little room for error, and some badly placed enemies that you hit once, only to find your rings flying everywhere and your spiky self dropping down a chasm. To make things worse, some of your new moves are hard to pull off. At one point, it took me half an hour to essentially master one jump. Yet the odd thing is that, overall, I didn’t mind. There’s an old-school, arcade pleasure here – one of polishing a sequence of moves until it shines – and with only seven areas to get through, we wouldn’t want a game that you could push through in an afternoon.
Finally, it’s good to see you without your clownish entourage. The one other playable character, Blaze the Cat, is actually a workable alternative, sacrificing a little speed for some flexible manoeuvres of her own. Her adventures don’t add a whole lot to yours – she has the same levels, just in a different order – but she’s definitely worth a spin. The same goes for the multiplayer battle mode. I remember the thrills of Sonic 2 and the split-screen VS mode. Now, thanks to the DS’ wireless connection, I can relive them without having to share the screen with my rival.
And that’s what’s so good about Sonic Rush. It’s a nostalgia trip, but one that’s been dragged into the modern age. Everything here feels right – the blue skies, the levels, the cool music that plays in the background, like the best bits of your golden age mixed with some good stuff from today. Best of all, you seem to have recaptured some of the raw, untamed speed and energy that used to make you great. Welcome back, Sonic. You have a second chance – don’t mess it up.
The first genuinely brilliant Sonic adventure in years, and a great comeback vehicle for the world’s best-loved hedgehog. Another DS essential.