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Review: Sonic Boss Attack Demo 1 Updated.
I have to say that I haven't seen many games that have a checklist to go through before you're qualified to review it. So...
1) You hate fan games and think all fan games are crap.
- No, some of them are perfectly tolerable.
2) You hate Sonic games.
- Also no, I'm a fan of them, and I'm embarrassed to admit that I also used to love the Saturday morning cartoon (and the 'darker' anime which was shown later on). But the boundaries of my insanity are far further out than there, so it's best to get that out in the open now.
3) You hate me for some reason.
- Not yet, no.
4) You are an idiot.
- No, but some people like to call me that. Typically those which I reviewed the games of and gave them less than 3/10. But no matter.
Anyway, I'm going to skip all the issues surrounding fan games - either you're indifferent about them or you hate them (for being fan games, that is). The graphics, while ripped - though I didn't recognise the Robotnik on the menu - are well put together and used convincingly.
Similarly, the engine is excellent, but it does have a couple of flaws. The way that the furry blue protagonist hits the ceiling is very suspect, as is falling off ledges, but other than that the game engine is fairly convincing. Variable jump heights and skidding are included, and springs are handled impressively.
The scrolling is good as well - rather than having Sonic always in the middle of the screen, the position changes depending on how fast you're going. The faster you run in a direction, the more the screen pans so that you can see in that direction.
The game isn't very well explained at the start, but after that the presentation tries to emulate the traditional Sonic style (contra-directional flying menus, and so on. Didn't that sound technical). Music is taken from the Sonic games as far as I can tell.
This brings me (finally) to the quality of the games themselves. This demo feels like a lot of mini-games stuck together, and that's probably because it's exactly what it is. The quality of the bosses varies a lot - some are excellent, others are not so good.
Drilla Killa has a daft name, and is just awkward really. It's similar to the Spring Yard Zone boss, but the blocks are taken out in sequence behind you. This means you'll fall in to the lava at least once, unless I'm missing something vital. Swing-O-Matic is better, though it's easy - just working out the sequence of movements and staying away when it's obviously dangerous works for getting past this one. Claw 'n' Run is a cleverly done boss, which involves a more tactical approach. However, the conveyor belt really moves too fast and it's very difficult to attack. The best of the lot is Eggman's Merry-Go-Round, which not only looks impressive but is a very challenging and well executed idea.
The difficulty level is slightly too high, I feel - perhaps even just reducing the number of hits some bosses can take would ease this a little.
Well done as some of the bosses are (and there are some incredibly good ideas here), I feel that it would be better to include some "normal" levels in the full game of this, or find an alternative way to have some sort of continuity about it. This engine's too good to waste on just a series of bosses.
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David Newton (DavidN)